Friday 19 April 2013

'Snowglobe' by Angi Holden

Everyone keeps talking about the weather. There's other news of course: a couple who have gone missing with the proceeds of a charity auction; an elderly lady bludgeoned to death in her bungalow; a cabinet minister photographed in a seedy night-club with his secretary. Lisa leans back against her pillow and wonders if that even counts as news.

But it's the weather that everybody seems interested in. The third bout of snow since New Year, and this time there has been chaos. Not just in the Highlands of Scotland where, let's face it, the people are more prepared, more resourceful and are actually expecting to be snowed-in once in a while. No, this time there has been chaos in places more often associated with sunny photos in holiday brochures. She knows of a friend caught in a blizzard, who left her car and togged up in all-weather gear walked to safety. It was a week before they dug the car out.

For Lisa, the weather has been a distraction. Propped up in her sixth-floor hospital bed, she has watched the world beneath her turn into some snow-globe image of the city she knows.

Around her, patients have come and gone. Often the weather has been to blame. An elderly man, who had slipped on the icy steps by the Arndale. A woman who was cut from an overturned car. A teenager knocked down when crossing the road, her turned-up hood obliterating her view of the oncoming van. Each has their own story, and over the past few weeks most of the tales have been about the weather.

Lisa would like hers to be the same. She too would like to be able to blame something (an unseen pothole) or someone (a councillor who voted against spreading salt on the pavements) but she knows it was her fault. If only she'd got the steps out instead of climbing on that chair. If only.

The porter comes to collect her in the wheelchair.

'Time for physio,' he says, cheerfully. 'Come on. It gets better ever day. It's always the first steps that are the hardest.'

He's talking about the physical ones, of course. The pain in a limb, the strain on a muscle.

Lisa nods. She knows there is nobody to blame but herself. She accepts that now. It wasn't the uneven floor. Or the wonky leg. It was her and her impatience. And accepting that, she knows she's on the way to recovery.

'Yes,' she says. 'The first steps always are.'

Behind her, the snowglobe swirls beyond the window

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