Look it, have you ever woken, in the dead of night? It’s so dark, that for a second, just a split second, you think you’ve died. And you’re so scared. And you lie there and you feel so horrible, and so…alone, and all that crap you know? Yeah, well, with every step I took, it felt like I was walking to the place where all those horrible feelings were born.
Its funny isn’t it, the way the human mind works? Memories, they're just faded shadows is all just faded shadows, that we dwell in every so often. I mean, it was just a corridor, just a walk down a corridor, and yet it’s that that sticks out. I remember the rest, obviously, of course I remember. But it’s all a blur, you know? I almost…trained myself, I suppose, not to think about it…everything. And I don’t, you know, I get on with my life, but it’s walking down that Godforsaken Corridor, it sneaks up on me. And it’s so clear. Every step I took echoed and I can still hear it echoing in my mind. Who the hell am I to complain, there’s so many others going through so much worse than me.
Look, I don’t want to talk about it ok, or, or need to.
I don’t want to waste another day.
I don’t want a hug.
I don’t want a tissue.
I don’t want to rent your shoulder to cry on.
I just, I just…
I just thought I’d tell you about the corridor, cause’ I think, it’s a bit mad, that that’s the one thing that sticks out. Yeah, I freaked out ok? You don’t get it. It was so messed up down there. It was like a forgotten place. It’s stupid, but it felt like I couldn’t smile down there, because no one ever did or something. And with every step I took, I felt like, once I got to the end, I couldn’t go back. I’d be stuck there. Which is stupid, cause’ all I ever had to do was ask the nurse and make some bullshit small talk with her, while she took forever to type out that code, and let me out.
But sometimes, I’d think, if she can’t get out, then neither can I. Who decided she should stay and I should go. Stupid, so stupid, I know, she’s in the best place…or so I’ve been told. But she can’t decide when to go, you know? And even if she could, she’s locked in her own mind, and I swear, if I knew how to make her better… but I didn’t. I don’t know. And I’d give anything to make her better. And maybe if she got better, she wouldn’t look so sad anymore.
You know we were chatting once, she was in there a couple of months at this point and we were just chatting, and she said “you look wrecked, are you sleeping?” so I told her, cause’ she asked, I told her about waking in the dead of night, and it being so dark and thinking I’ve died for a split second and being so scared…and she told me, she said to me, that when she get’s that feeling, when she wakes, and it’s so dark that she thinks she’s died…she’s relieved.
Look, I wasn’t the first, and I certainly won’t be the last, but when you see someone walking down that corridor…and I saw this one girl. And she was so small. And so young. And I would bet a diamond to a dollar, that she didn’t know she was crying when she walked down that same corridor. And I wonder now, looking back, did I?
Sitting on the bus this all spilled through my mind. I don’t who I’m speaking to when this inner monologue clatters through my brain, I always like to imagine someone, or something, is listening and gartering what I’m thinking and what I’m not saying to keep safe for when I brave enough to examine it all. It’s funny. So I thanked the bus driver I slipped of the bus and ran into his arms as they swept around, a magic clock to block out all thoughts in my mind. I smiled at him. He smiled back. He brushed my hair out of my face as a smile meant for someone played across his mouth. “How was visiting your ma?” A question that could be spoken in monotone, for it had been asked so many times and knew the answer before I even attempted to speak it. “Ok” I whispered back. So I snatched up my bag pack and my denial, I smiled a smile, and breathed a breath, I thought a thought, I walked away hand in hand with him. I offered a wish for mam to be aware of the love I held for her, as I say I like to think someone is listening, or something.
About the author:
Martina Teeny Collender is a Queer, Disabled, Award Winning, Published, Playwright, Poet and Writer living and working in Waterford City and County with her beloved Ellie.
She's been commissioned to write plays for Loose Screw Theatre Company, Red Kettle Theatre Company, RigOut Productions, Trinity Players, Comeragh Wilds Festival, Imagine Arts Festival, The Drama Circle, Brothers Of Charity, Rehab Care, Waterford Youth Arts and Garter Lane Arts Centre.
She's been published in The Waxed Lemon, The Munster Express, The Lonely Voice run by the Irish Writer's Centre, Pride Of The Deise Supplement, ChewBoy Productions: Chewin The Fat Issue 3, Shallot Journal of Mental Health, Art and Literature and The News and Star.
She's been awarded Best New Play three times by Liam Murphy at The Munster Express and was shortlisted for Best Play at the Billy Roche International Play Competition for her play Visiting The Grave.
She's been funded by Waterford City and County Council, Artlinks, Ted and Mary O'Regan Bursary, Creative Ireland and the Arts Council Of Ireland.
Two of her plays Crotty The Highway Man and Pettiecoat Loose have been published by Suirdzign. Her play Still, We Sing has been published by Beir Bua Press.
Once upon a time there was a girl, she had a chronic illness that made her have balance problems and dizzy spells. It was very dangerous for her to just walk around like a normal person. She was a constant fall-risk.
So one day, she met the sweet little prince who would be the one to save her. She ordered him online and he was sent out to her by airplane.
She went to the airport and picked up her little prince.
He was a cute fluffy ball of fuzz hiding in the back of the small crate he was in. She reached in and called him by name, for she had already named her little prince. His name was Amos. He inched towards her as she put her hand into the crate to try to get him to come out from his hiding place.
The little prince crawled towards her and climbed gratefully into her lap. She gave him some water and a little food to comfort him after his long cross-country trip. She put a collar and a leash on him and took him for a short walk to stretch his furry legs.
Then they climbed into the car together where the little prince met the girl’s husband who was just as happy to see the little prince. The girl’s husband drove them home while the little prince sat in the girl’s lap the whole way home. She held him tightly and scratched him behind the ears and spoke to him softly the whole drive to his new forever home.
The man and the girl took the little prince to their humble home where prince Amos was allowed to sleep on the soft and warm bed with his two new friends. They slept together as a pack, which was something the young prince was familiar with doing, having recently left his litter himself.
The little prince was so smart that within two weeks, he had already figured out what his job was supposed to be, and he taught himself how to alert the girl when she was having balance problems, and he would walk beside her and take her hand in his mouth and pull her to the ground gently, so she could avoid falling down.
Amos then went to service dog school with the girl to learn how to do his job better. Amos was always at the top of his class. He learned very fast and outshone all the other dogs in his classes.
He got to the point where could alert his girl with 100% accuracy. A feat unseen before by his trainers.
Amos got so good that when his girl had to start using a walker to be able to walk, that Amos could use his front feet to kick the girl’s feet gently as she walked to keep her gait proper as she used her new walking aid.
All of these things were instinctual for the little prince. And he consistently helped her with her ailments.
Then a day came where the little prince sniffed his girl and he smelled something different. He alerted her and she checked where he was sniffing. She called her doctor and told her doctor that her precious boy had found a lump. Her doctor said to always trust the dog, especially Amos because he was so in tune with the girl.
And Amos was right. The lump got checked and the girl was diagnosed with cancer for the second time.
This time the cancer had metastasized, and had spread throughout her body. Amos was on constant alert for new symptoms and ways to care for his girl.
The cancer had entered the girl’s brain and paralyzed half of her body. So Amos kicked up his skills on his own and started alerting her to various side-effects and issues. He continued to help her to walk as much as he could and he started helping her to move her wheelchair. One arm was weaker than the other, so Amos took on the job of trying to pull the chair straight. He continued to help her in every way he could with alerting her to impending seizures. And helping her on her left side whenever her muscles failed her.
This is not a story about how a damsel in distress needs a man to save her.
In this girl’s case, she needed a service dog, and Amos the little prince came to her rescue. He was the love of her life, and he rescued her every single day for as long as they knew one another.
And they lived happily ever after as they cared for one another constantly.
About the author:
Judy lives in Arizona with her husband and her Giant Schnoodle Amos. She is a former library clerk. She struggles with a chronic illness and stage 4 cancer. Judy writes mostly fantasy, but occasionally delves into other genres. She writes books and short stories for all ages. Visit her website at JudyLunsford.com.a