With Grace

With Grace
(a mini-story)

Grace looked out from her bed at the people walking past her window. Talking, frowning, laughing, staring at their phones. Little girls in unbelievable pink tulle tutus and purple gumboots ran to ballet class with mothers dressed entirely in black walking behind. A young boy came into view, peddling furiously to propel his small tricycle. A moment later his father came into view at the other end of a pole that, after a moment’s pause, Grace realised was a handle to push his son along.

Grace watched a young man—an assistant from the local green grocer’s—carry a box of produce to a customer’s car. As he placed the box in the boot, Grace glimpsed celery and carrots, bananas, oranges, lettuce and tomatoes.

Grace remembered the taste of tomatoes before the medication took that pleasure away. Closing her eyes, she imagined the feel of a cherry tomato in her mouth: the roundness of it between her tongue and her palate, the pressure as she squeezed until it burst, the feel of the seeds and juice and skin mixing as she chewed. She may not be able to taste the sweetness of the juice or the bitterness of the seeds, but she would savour every other aspect to the full.

Grace knew the days ahead were dark, with discomfort the only certainty. She knew that the pleasures available to her were limited. And she knew that she would savour every one she could.

Grace opened her eyes again and watched the people walk past her window. She smiled.

I have learnt that unspeakable pain changes a person.

Changes how they perceive the people, places, and events that surround them. Their own sense of self.
Reorients long-held presumptions and perspectives.
Knots time.
Curves light.
Shifts and shapes all other courses.
Allows those who endure to stand on the edge and look ahead: without fear.

So I’m with Grace. And thank you for sharing her tale.