Head Room


I think I am in a room.

There is a floor. A solid surface beneath my feet, otherwise I would fall like a dying bird.

There is a ceiling. Reaching up, I extend my arms, stretch my fingers and touch a ceiling. I cannot fly away.

Walls? I reach out into the inky, impenetrable darkness but feel no walls. I need walls. A boundary to make sense of where I am.

I go down on my hands and knees to move across the floor, the only thing of substance, the only reference point I have. I explore the terrain with my fingertips searching for a wall. The surface of the floor is smooth, glasslike, without blemishes. There is no olfactory sensation. No chemical smell or natural scent. When I tap the floor with my wedding ring there is no echo. No reassuring echo. Only the sound of my breathing.

Then I hear a voice. A distant voice.

I move towards the voice and touch a wall. As I stand my hands slide up the surface. It has the same featureless tactile qualities as the floor. I place my feet with care as my hands search for a way out. A door. A window. An exit from this illimitable blackness.

“Now Mr Jackson, to help me reach a diagnosis tell me, describe if you can, what is going on in your head……?”

The Last Note

“I’m off t’ watch band in park.”
“Okay, Dad, enjoy yourself!” her words cut off by the closing door.
“Do you think he’s okay?”
“He’ll be fine, son. It’s been a year……”
Seth set off down the street towards the village green the round cobbles beneath his feet and the sound of the brass band in the warm air.
“It’s all changed, Ethel. The bank, the baker, Murgatroyds. All gone. Streets full of them charity shops now. Even farrier’s workshop’s apartments. All changed since we were young.”
“Here. We’ll sit here. At the back.”
Seth settled into the canvas chair and looked around. “A good turnout, love. At least the band’s still popular like it was.”
The deep rolling notes ebbed and flowed over the audience. Seth liked the sonorous sound of a brass band. He thought it complimented the soft undulating landscape of the Dales. Then, when there was a passage of sharper, almost discordant notes he saw the web of stone walls that marked the field boundaries, or heard the cry of the gulls that followed in his wake when he ploughed the fields.
“Do you remember the farm Ethel? I loved the farm in the spring. D’ye mind when Elsie got out o’ the field and crossed the cricket pitch when Tom Ainley was about to bowl?” The sunlight caught the brass instruments and Seth, shading his eyes with his land sculpture hand, could make out his grandson on the trombone. “And yon daft dog, Jack, y’ remember Jack that the hens chased…….”
“I’ve got to go, Seth.”
“Oh, Ethel, can’t you stay a bit longer.”
“No, Seth. I need to leave.”
Seth smiled. “I’m tired. I think I’ll come with you, love.”