Novelty Hour

Sometimes it feels like everything’s already happened.

They are night-building the new hospital by moon- and floodlight, 100 yards from the old hospital.  Outside the soon-to-be-the-old A&E sit three brothers who are known locally – their pictures were in the paper when their wives all died in the same bus crash.  All three wear permanent sad owl expressions and spend their time in places that are well-acquainted with the language of crisis.  It could possibly be a poignant, romantic, heartbreaking thing, though if you ever speak to them you discover that they are unpleasant individuals.

The sky is up there – turquoise, bone-coloured, dull-yellow.

The three brothers heckle as I clamber in to the taxi, trying to swing the cast on my leg in the right direction.  It ends up easiest for me to sit across the back seat, and once I am settled in, we pull away from the hospital, leaving the brothers to their belligerent vigil.  Driving away from the old hospital takes us closer to the new one, the one they are night-building.  The driver is asking me how I injured myself as he stops the taxi, waits to turn out in to the main road.  I wind the window down – it is a warm evening – and I can hear the sounds of building coming from the site.

The opening of the new hospital is inevitable.  Then they will knock down the old hospital.  My leg will be fixed.  And after a while it will seem as though it has always been this way.


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