A sudden change challenges faith
|I open my eyes to bright lights and people gazing at me as if I am some kind of carnival act. A steady high-pitched note dances on the edge of hearing. My skin crackles with the kind of pain that could make you question your faith.
It’s as if I’ve just woken up from a deep sleep. Everything is blurry and muted, as if someone has pressed the slow motion button on the remote control. I am sweating and struggling to keep my eyes open.
“Calm own Mr Gal,” someone says. I feel strong hands press down on my shoulders but all I want to do is sit up. The pain of the contact creeps in, slowly at first and then rushing through me like a torrent of fire. I thrash to break free but the torment remains and it’s horrible.
Then I remember. I stop. I lie still.
We were on holiday in Istanbul and had just been around the Hagia Sophia. As always, the little man was running thirty paces ahead of us, chasing pigeons and climbing on anything with a ledge. She called out to him through the cacophony of the crowds and he turned to look back at us with those hypnotic blue eyes. Smiling the carefree smile of the young. Then, a flash of light so brilliantly white it could have been sent from the heavens. A deafening rumble. Blistering heat. Darkness.
Now I’m here. A man in blue scrubs and white gloves is saying something but I can’t hear it because the buzzing in my ears is drowning him out. Everything hurts. I can feel unconsciousness slowly drowning me.
“Wife,” I manage to splutter. They shake their head. I hear a feral cry and it’s several moments before I realise that it is coming from me.
“Little…the little-” but I can’t. The words are suffocated by tears.
Before I surrender to hopelessness, my head drops to one side. On the bed next to me, entombed in bandages and staring at me with those hypnotic eyes, is the little man. The pain washes away. I summon all my energy to smile. I think he smiles back.