[How I came to like Jazz, 1,713 words, Genre: Realistic Fiction]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
The stream of bad luck started one day. It started off while lying awkwardly on my side. I had slept the night like this and it was the most unusual of sleeping positions. The way that I had positioned myself on the bed, putting most of my body weight full bearing down one half of my body. It was such a position that when I awoke that day, awakened by the ring tone of my phone going off at intervals of five minutes each, prompted me to throw myself up and off of my side. The problem with this was that half my body had become numb. I had lost feeling through the right side of my body. And without thinking, desperately scrambling through the abode of my single bedroom apartment, I began to walk through the corridors of my home, seeking out the high pitched tone of my mobile phone.
But as I took the second step out of his bed in search of the mobile phone, my foot stumbled. The right side of my body being numb to sensation, my leg had fallen asleep, I stepped backwards on my right foot. Stepping backwards is such an awkward phrase, but there is no other way to describe it. The foot went backwards. It seemed that I was stepping on the floor with the top part of my foot. And then after that the ankle twisted. The ankle twisted and I let out an awful howl… A howl, a screech, there was no other way to describe it. The sound that I made was just as awkward as the placing of my right foot. And then as mighty towers fall, so did I, going down with the rest of my body and falling to the floor. From there I took a moment to recover. I had to regather my senses. Hone down on my position and find out exactly what the hell had happened to my leg. I was, after all, still half asleep. Awoken from my slumber by my phone that would not stop ringing in some mysterious corner of the apartment. I swore time and time again and looked down at my leg. There was blood on my larger toe, it had been stumped and it was bleeding. The awkward angle in which I had stepped on his foot had returned to its original angle. That being, it screeched out in pain, but no bones lay splintered from the skin. And from some area of the apartment the phone still rang. I did not risk adding further injury to my leg, so I began by pulling myself across the carpet of the floor. Cursing as I did so. My leg pulsed in pain, several waves of distress travelled from my foot up to my head and resulted in several words of distinction such as, ‘Cunt!’, ‘Fucker!’ and the all hallowed, ‘Ouchies!’
With a certain degree of pain, I pulled myself into the living room and found the mobile phone. It was still ringing. I answered the call.
“Hello, sir! Sir! There is something wrong with your computer. You have to check your computer sir!”
Instantly I hung up the phone, realizing who it was. God damn telemarketers! From that point I rang emergency services, asking for an ambulance and reporting the injury. Without prior knowledge of the injury, I thought that the leg was broken and asked for assistance to be taken to the hospital. For the next twenty minutes I lay on the floor awaiting his rescue. I lay on my back and pulled the blinds of the windows back that looked out and onto the streets. My neighbour walked past the window and went out into his car. I looked at the neighbour and the neighbour and I shared a glance with him. The neighbour ignored me and the look of pain that seared onto the brow of my face. The neighbour seemed to shrug off the weird position in which I stared outside the window as another one of my odd eccentricities.
I saw the paramedics pull into the apartment complex and walk towards the apartment. Funnily enough, I hadn’t locked the door and the paramedics were able to gain entry without having to manoeuvre myself to the position where I would have to open the door.
They sat down with me and asked what had happened. I told them what had happened and they told me that they would have to take me to the hospital for an x-ray. The two paramedics shifted their weight and were able to carry me between each other to the vehicle as I hopped on one foot out to the ambulance.
After I arrived at the hospital, I was put into a cue and put into a triage assessment where, in comparison to the other visitors of the hospital, I took a high priority. I only had to wait a further fifteen minutes before I was taken to the x-ray machine and treated properly.
I had twisted my ankle, that much was true, but it was not broken. I would be off work for the next three weeks until my ankle healed and the cartilage that was torn up repaired itself. They bandaged up the ankle, minus the plaster of a broken leg, I found myself exiting the hospital on a set of crutches. I called for a taxi and was taken home.
By evening I was sitting back at home. I knew for the next three weeks he would be off of work. I had to call them to let them know of my recently incurred disability. It was a shame that I had started work with the company only one week beforehand. I had been so happy to get the job and now I had to inform them that I couldn’t work. When I made the call to work they seemed to receive the news with a smile and a nod. But when I asked about work cover to cover the period of time that I wouldn’t be able to work, I was met with an icy silence. The icy silence was followed by the news that there was no such thing as work cover for employees that had been with the company less than three months.
There had always been a manic side to my nature. That side of my nature that would dramatise each situation, each event and I would whirl my mind into a chaotic mess of worries and fears. I didn’t know what I was going to do! Fuck! I didn’t know what to do! I couldn’t ask my family for any money, I had done that too many times in the past. And as I sat there, that same familiar thought that so often breached my mind as a manic depressive entered. I wanted to kill myself. What was the point? What was the point to anything!? I didn’t have a job. Didn’t have a partner. I would get behind in rent and then within a couple of years I would be homeless. Out on the street, begging for money, sleeping away the cold nights. That’s the reality I had concocted in my own mind and in my own mind it was a very real reality that I was facing.
I looked around, how would I do it? How would I do it? A razor blade to the wrists? An overdose of paracetemol? How the hell would I do it? Then I saw it… The most ascertainable method in my current situation. On one leg, I hopped over and grabbed a plastic garbage bag out of the mass of garbage bags that I kept in his kitchen drawers. I wrapped the garbage bag around my head and with a leather belt tied it around my neck so that it would block out the air and I wouldn’t be able to breathe.
With the bubble of oxygen left in the bag I breathed in. Life, it would soon be gone. And not sorely missed. The series of events that led up to my current predicament was only a small addition to the long list of sore points that had been a long and arduous life. The bag sucked up against my face as I breathed in and out. Hyperventilating at this point, it would not be long before I passed out and after that… Onwards to the great beyond, whatever lay over that hill. And as everything went black, my mind screeched out in horror and my bodily instincts of self-preservation kicked back in and without being able to control myself, I pulled the plastic back off of my head. Being free of the plastic confinement, I breathed in that much needed resource and regained my breath. What the hell was wrong with me? I wanted it, I wanted to die. It was just that… I would give it another shot. And then on the repeat attempt the same thing happened. Just before I lost consciousness, my body naturally tore off the plastic bag and I was back where I started. I continued this repetitive cycle for the next hour. Every time, the same thing happened. In one of my attempts, I rolled over and onto the remote control for the television. Without trying, I managed to turn the thing on and switch it to a non-broadcast channel that played the radio. In amongst the attempts, I began listening to the television. It was jazz being played on the television and after I had exhausted myself through the several attempts to end my life, I sat there and listened. Just listened. I couldn’t even end my own life, I had failed at even that. And then I just lay there.
And then I did something I had never done before. I began to appreciate the music. I could really feel the upbeat rhythm in which jazz is born and founded. Yep, the beats entered my ears and travelled up my spine as I bopped my head up and down. Jazz was the shiz niz.
And that’s how I began listening and appreciating jazz. The blow of the brass instruments, the racy tunes that lit a fire up under my arse. It all clicked with me.