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Artwork by Chesney Bradshaw

It came in the evening. A general tiredness and weakness spread over my body. I go to bed early. I sweat throughout the night, wondering what has brought on this sudden fever.

Was it my back? Lifting things and stretching my arms? Could it have been that chicken pie I bought at the greengrocer? Was it a return of the severe cold I had for two and a half weeks? Was it because of those Covid injections? Or is it something I don’t know about?

Thoughts rage through the night as I toss and turn in my bed. Sweating. Trying to handle the pain.

In the morning I don’t have enough energy to run. But I still walk my route. The street vendor isn’t there but his mess is all over the pavement and spilling onto the road. Behind where he trades all sorts of filth strewn on the green grass.

Onwards. I see newspaper posters screaming about unions, politicians, and murderers.

Who gets to choose the politicians? Well, it’s not the voters. They just vote for their parties.

A cyclist charges in front of me as I walk, riding on the pavement as if he owns the pedestrian walkway. I’m so shocked at his arrogance that all I can do is jump aside and let him pass. He should be riding on the road.

At home my dear lady gives me a haircut and the collar of her barber’s cape begins to choke me. I suddenly feel nauseous and want to throw up. She releases the collar, the nausea goes away and I begin to sweat.

Local blackout. It’s in the middle of the day but I decide to go to sleep after taking a tablet. I’m thinking of the talk that I have to give in the evening. Will I make it? I can’t let these good people down.

In the afternoon after waking up I do what I enjoy most with the radio playing. Criminal politicians prosecuted, the news bulletin says. The news will soon be over and all the rubbish will be gone. Back to the music. Crime is everywhere. In all the news. On the streets. It’s nauseating. Switch off, people say. But how?

I’m feeling well enough to leave the house and go to the talk. I’m talking about caring for caregivers to a group of people who suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar. I’m trying to get across that caring starts with yourself. I enjoy the questions from the audience on setting boundaries and spiritual solutions to insurmountable problems.

Back to the local blackout. I take more medicine and go to sleep.

My dreams take me to places I’ve never seen before, streets, rock faces, the edge of the ocean. Somehow I’m back in the Navy as a fresh recruit. I leave the base on a day’s furlough. Soon I realize I’m lost in a city without a cell phone and I don’t know where the naval base is situated.

Desperate and confused I try approach people but they turn away. A person I know accompanies me. We go inside vast hall. He walks to a wall and takes down a new name, title and long overcoat and the next thing I see him in a lecture hall.

I’m in a different place now and I’m asking another person how I can get home after walking all night. Then it dawns on me that I can get an Uber. But I still don’t know the address of the naval base. I look down and I find that I’m wearing a long shirt and I am in my underpants. I suddenly realise why no one wants to help me.

In the morning, I languish in bed. I feel refreshed. The fever has left my body. I get up, go to the bathroom, shave and shower, then put on my running gear. I take out the rubbish and go dump it in the rubbish bin outside. All gone. I embrace the day.

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