As I pushed Pearl Rose out into the blazing sun, I felt as though my heart had been kissed and punched simultaneously. Having been discharged from EDGH Pediatrics outpatients clinic, we were leaving its foyer for the final time. Moving into the future away from Eastbourne, a place that had broken and made me all at once. The lesson that some daughters can be saved and that others can't. How lucky I was to be walking out directly into that day.The bitter sweet feelings I experienced as I marched forward into this summmer's afternoon were sublime and brittle in the stop of a heart. I felt the overwhelming magic of being human.
Over the last five years this concrete theatre of life has been the stuff of dreams and nightmares ; of new beginnings, near misses and final curtains. Within those walls I witnessed miracles and lost a friend. Behind it's closed doors and hospital curtains I have sat in various states of pain, wonder and trauma. The butchery of the birthing room, the lonely nights nursing tiny offspring weak as fledgling birds. one fed by a tube into his nose, one born with her eyes wide open but no fat on her minute body. The floodlit trauma of A & E, where I sat and calmly counted 16 health professionals arrive to care for my boy. Wheeling them both into the x-ray suite, one after a fall down a full flight of stairs, one struggling for breath as the pneumonia took grip of her lungs. The pain of being told that you have lost a child and the elation of seeing her days later pulsing 4mm big, a miracle the size of a Pearl on a hospital screen. The first scan of my unborn boy looked as though he was being cradled by an angels wing, when we walked out of the foyer back to the car it had started to snow.
My house in Eastbourne overlooked the hospital and as I took a break from my writing I would look down onto its ugly spread, it's chimney smoking come snow or shine and I would often marvel at how much of who I am was made within those walls. Such Realism, such Magic. I have since found out that Angela Carter the mother of magical Realism was born in Eastbourne and I can't wait to tell my children that they are in good company. One day I will write about its corridors , it's lamp lit wards at night and the octogenarians in their dressing gowns and matching slippers, whose best advice for fighting pneumonia was to keep the babies fingernails clean.I won't write about its realism but its magic and in the spirit of Angela Carter even the Porters will have gilded wings.
Meanwhile the baby has started to cry and I tut as I glance at my unfinished glass of wine. Too much magic and I may burst. Goodbye Eastbourne you've been emotional.