Sunday 14 November 2010

Secret Garden

I have a secret garden.

It's tucked away, behind the hospital, only reached by a maze of corridors. It's a long walk. By the time I get to the door and open it onto the real world I'm tired, but the second I feel the cold night air on my skin, carrying away the hospital-stench of sickness and decay, I relax.

It's quiet. The whirrs and beeps and shouts and buzzers all left far behind. There are benches around a beautiful statue and the borders are planted with rosemary, sage, roses, violets and bay. The trees give shade and remind me that they will still be here long after I've gone. As the buds start to form in spring I will be well again and Addenbrookes will be long forgotten.

No-one seems to remember it's there. It gives me the one thing no hospital can. Peace.

I always sit alone, relieved and grateful for the solitude, for the rare moments of escape and it's crossed my mind that maybe it doesn't really exist at all. Maybe, it's all in my mind.


  1. Hi Sue, you're in the, 'zone '. I remember years ago, crashing a rally car and sustaining some injuries, I found myself in hospital, but not, if you know what I mean. I could switch in and out of reality, and for a time I couldn't distinguish what was real, so I was in the ' zone '. The doctors told me it was a coping mechanism, but I actually controlled it,it wasn't involuntary....I quite enjoyed it really, but when I saw the photos of me, later, I was really shocked, luckily I recovered completely, a couple of scars to show for the incident, but nothing to show the grand children.
    Anyway, It could be presumptious of me to assume a connection between our situations, it just struck me as I read your piece.
    The other thing I want to mention, is the quality of your writing, I am constantly impressed, when you're out and about, you must get that novel started, if anyone has a literary future it's you. I can't wait for your first Booker ! Take care. :-)

  2. Ken - That's incredibly astute!
    I am totally in the zone, you're spot on.
    At first I used to stress over everything, get myself upset all the time, but over the years I've definitely discovered "the zone."
    You described it perfectly.
    There are worse places to be.

  3. Hi Sue
    I was in a production of The Secret Garden in Bristol a few years ago, playing a man who thought he'd lost his spirit. The point about the garden is that it appears barren for a while, but its contents are still "wick" as they say in 19th c. Yorkshire. What seems desolate and hopeless is teeming with potential.

    For you, rollon Spring, and without going all Keats on you, reverse the Ode on Melancholy thus - "she dwells with beauty, beauty that migh seem to die for a while, but actually then revives spectacularly"

    All the best

    John TT