Casualty

Kieran wants to know if I drive. What kind of car?
Is it petrol or diesel? Is there an NCT on it?
What happens if the guards catch you with no NCT?
Did I ever hear of Multiple Sclerosis? He’s had it since 1997. Went into remission and walked off the wheelchair. Something about a new trial drug.
Do I know Loughrea? Where am I from? Do I mind him talkin’ to me?
He’s been in casualty for the last five hours and hasn’t been seen. They told him they were busy. His doctor is tied up with emergencies. They’ll call him when they’re ready.
There’s big brown doors behind which everything is going on. I got up, walked over, and went in. There were beds and patients all over the place. I could hardly get through the corridor. The nurses and doctors were mostly calm. An unanswered phone rings behind an unpeopled desk. Machines bleep. Old people on trolleys in pain and confusion. A man with a broken hand. A tired woman eating tea and toast after some kind of procedure. Everyone’s here forever.
Back outside. Kieran wants to know what phone network I am. Vodafone or Meteor? I say 087 and he says – Vodafone so? And I tell him yeah Vodafone.
And how far would the car go on a tenner? 100 kilometres? His daughter’s learning to drive. She has an L plate on the back windscreen. Think will we be here long?
I say I don’t know. It looks busy.
His daughter sends him a text message. He shows it to me. It says: “How are you doing?”
He looked at me, his eyes full of questions. “What’ll I say to her…?” He says. “..what’ll I send back….?”

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