Jeanne Ellin: A fall, and the mystery of the birdcages

Banner with Jeanne Ellin's quote

Suddenly the pavement is coming towards me, still clutching my shopping with the special ham from the family butcher who kindly cut thin slices to cost the 90p in my purse.

Lady holding birdcageDid not put my arms out and landed on knees and palms. A passing mother pushing her toddler stops and helps me up. Asks if I want a cup of tea. I decline. I just want to make it home before I collapse. I know nothing is broken, just bruised and scraped. Four hours plus in A&E will not help me.

Vibrating like a tuning fork as my bones and sinews replay the fall for the next week. I examine my shoes and yes, the heels are worn. Should have checked before. Look at the rest and find two more on the cusp of needing repairs.

Took the next week quietly and nerved myself to retrace the journey. Even slower than usual as I approach the place where I fell before. It is Friday and within school holidays, so crowded. I usually avoid busy times when I can but I needed some bits of shopping, not everything can be delivered.

Something hits and impedes my heel on the downswing. I turn, not quite falling, and see a silver haired woman almost treading on my heels. She is holding two large metal birdcages, one of which had hit my heel.

She asked if I was all right. I began to say that I did not like being pushed past because my balance was poor. Before I got beyond the first few words she said that I was going very slowly and so she had tried to get past me.

Then she speed walked past to deal with the birdcage emergency.

elderly lady walking with stickI went home and spent some time thumb sucking and feeling sorry for myself. Should I stay off pavements so as not to be an obstruction? Wear a placard saying ‘Beware! Slow, unsteady walker. Just ask and I will pull over so you can hurry past.’

Yes, very sorry for myself.

Then decided to concentrate on the mystery of the urgent delivery of birdcages. Two divorcing lovebirds? A pair of sick parrots needing quarantine? A decorating crisis requiring those elegant accents?

Any other theories Henpickers can come up with, the more exotic and absurd the better, will be welcomed.

Jeanne Ellin

About Jeanne Ellin

I am a poet working at living a creative life in a one room flat, companioned by a menagerie of chronic health problems. I began this series of posts after being inspired by two women younger than myself, who, fearful of their imagined old age spent in ill health and poverty, committed suicide. I explore every year as a bonus of adventures, with moments of discomfort or fear, but with unexpected treasure to be found - helped by a sense of the ridiculous, a world perspective and creativity.