On Falling

An excerpt from text presented at the Falling Laboratory: December 2013. Facilitated by Emilyn Claid.

In 2006, the year you turned thirty-two, you took a trip to Athens for the first time. On the third day of your holiday the friend you were staying with, who you didn’t know particularly well but well enough to stay with invited you to a party to celebrate the opening of a new exhibition where she was showing a film. At the party, you got slightly drunk, not very drunk, just a little tipsy, but enough not to notice the details. In an effort to entertain your new Greek friends, you climbed onto a stool to make a speech, it was very entertaining, very witty until the stool skidded (you did not realize it was standing in water) and broke. You fell not very far, but with all your weight, onto your left knee, on a concrete balcony. Everyone rushed to see if you were all right, you were so embarrassed that you said you were fine, although you were not fine. You saw the fear in your friend’s eyes and you heard urgent voices in Greek and somebody helped you into a chair, despite your protests because it was clear that you couldn’t stand and after sitting in the chair for a while the host helped you into his bed. You lay there. Your friend came and lay next you. You both started laughing and couldn’t stop. You felt an enormous pain. Many hours later, after more hushed conversations in Greek, the host called an ambulance and you were carried out of the party on a stretcher, to a hospital. The doctors only spoke Greek and much was lost in translation, and without quite knowing how it happened, you found yourself lying in a hospital with your entire leg swallowed up in plaster, thigh to foot, bound for nowhere and completely reliant on the kindness of strangers.

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