Friday, 11 February 2011


on wednesday evening
as i scaled the stairs
i suddenly registered a terrible weariness in my legs
moments later i sensed a horrible loose feeling in my guts
and retired quickly to the bathroom with my novel
my body was showing signs of distress
my mind enveloped by a stifling fog
ameliorated by sleep deprivation
a mild case of influenza?
unfortunately no rest for the wicked
those who toil by the hour for their daily bread without sick pay
i'm not complaining
although doing a day's work yesterday felt like wading through treacle
i couldn't miss saying a farewell to the refugees
it was quite a humbling experience
despite their meagre resources
the students had clubbed together to present me
with a veritable aladdin's cave of cards and gifts
a large bottle of vodka
another bottle of champagne
some eau de toilette called something like 'strength'
a fashion shirt, a couple of polyester ties, 3 pairs of branded socks
a box of luxury biscuits
another box of coffee-centred chocolates
a huge 'thank you' card
wildly unsuitable presents for yours truly in the main
('i never know what to buy you' says my mother)
but touching all the same
there were a few tears
pride in their achievements
mixed with a little shame at perceived lack of progress
but they were all full of gratitude
which communicated itself to the course organiser
who offered me a decent payrise if i go back in may
and even the effeminate scottish receptionist
who congratulated me on the feedback
'how do you know about that? i ask, surprise
'i work on reception - i know everything' he grins
you can never rely on it
but it's always nice to be acknowledged
to feel that your efforts have made a difference
particularly when dealing with people towards the bottom of the pile
with the cards stacked unremittingly against them
good to be an influencer
to think that just maybe
you could be the one to ignite the spark

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