I’m naked. Well, almost. I’m wearing only a fig leaf.
Standing outside the train station on London Road, I looked across at the skyline of Leicester. ‘Whatever happens, I’m not coming to this shit-hole’, I thought.
You’re unaware your arm is resting up against a boiling kettle. The skin is burning but you can’t feel it. When and how do you realise? When you smell your skin crisping up like pork crackling?
We ‘upgraded’ to the suburbs when I was 7 years old. The school I left behind was an austere Victorian building with separate entrances for boys and girls.
When I woke I touched the side of my head gently. Dried blood. The pain was intense. Like a visit by the mother of all hangovers.
It felt like my eyeballs had swollen to the size of cricket balls, being pushed out of their sockets from the inside.
I vomited in the bathroom sink before leaving for school. The accident had forced me to drop back a year. Today I joined the new sixth-formers as they began their A levels.
Wearing only a paper gown tied at the back, I climbed onto the cold radiography table. I rolled onto my side into the foetal position as instructed.
‘Must feel good to be going home?’ The ambulance driver chatted cheerfully as he wheeled me out through the sliding doors of the hospital.
A man with the demeanour (and the tape measure) of an undertaker appeared at my bedside.
I learned the identity of the driver while still in the hospital. A 19-year-old former pupil of my school.
I was part-way through my secondary school exams (O Levels). The culmination of 2 years of study. These exams would determine my future academic and employment prospects. That was all gone.
The femur (thigh bone) is the largest bone in the human body. It takes 3 months for a broken femur shaft to repair itself. So, regardless of my other injuries, I’d spend 3 months in a hospital bed.
After a week in hospital I was moved from a private room to one shared with another patient. A young motorcyclist, recently admitted. He was in pain, groaning constantly.