13 O’Clock

I lay in the bed in the hospital on the hill. From my window I could see the expanse of countryside below me stretching to the very edges of the horizon, peppered occasionally by small fluffy clouds with legs. I fancied I had been born here, seven years ago, in a fit of squeezing and blood loss and crying. I fancied also that I could remember this introduction to the world: hills and sheep and cheap orange juice, kicked from the dinner tray, spilled all over the maternity ward floor. Disastrous and beautiful.

To my left the windowsill beneath this picturesque scene was adorned with books: children’s hospital books, of different sizes and colours. The title ’13 O’Clock’ drew my attention. A paradox to a 7 year old; a clock that reached 13? Decadent, interesting. To my right 12 junior doctors smiled at me with a romanticised patheticism. I wondered if they’d ever heard of a clock that had reached 13. They would see many after me, but today I was one of their firsts. One of a hundred thousand… though it always hurts the first time. Their white coats, rugged clipboards and bespeckled faces were the very height of nineties medical fashion. Later they’d retire into the staff room and fuck each other until the windowsills were dripping with sweat. My windowsill was covered with books. Continue reading “13 O’Clock”