It all started one peaceful afternoon in the
college common room 1994. You see I knew that there was going
to be a rugby cup final, but I didn't expect to be going.
That was until big Nick arrived in the common room and read
the list of the spectators. Nothing unusual there you might
say, but when he read out the squad names and I was on there
well I was what you might call shocked. You don't see many
prop forwards in a wheel-chairs do you?
Only joking, only joking. But I was still shocked to find
my name was on the spectators list. How did it get there?
I asked myself. I thought, "I bet that bloody Julie has
put it there." I knew she wanted to go and told me that
I had to as well. Sod that I thought. Until that day. That
fateful day when I found my name on the list.
However I discovered later on it the day that a well wishing
friend had put it there. Andy was his name and boy did he
owe me one now. (thanks pal)
I only had a week to think of an excuse. But I really couldn't
think of a good enough one. So short of actually coming down
with chicken pox (which I've already had) or mumps (which
I didn't want) I was fated to go to the rugby match, and according
to Julie I was going to enjoy myself, and even if I didn't
at least she would. (Thanks Julie)
On the day itself, I really didn't know what I was letting
myself in for. I'd always been a quite, stay at home type.
Quite shy really. (alright, so I'm lying a tiny bit.)
I was helped onto the bus by Nick, and another burly rugby
player. (better than letting them weak women struggle with
a big tough guy like me)
On the way there I had to put up with verbal abuse from Julie,
Melanie, and Michelle. Who were sitting in front of me and
Michelle was behind me. To cap it all I was sat beside a very
quite reserved young man. I bet he wondered what he had let
himself in for sat beside these reprobates.
As we were travelling along, as you do, I felt this very
warm feeling on my leg. I looked down and expected to see
my leg on fire. (good job it wasn't a false leg it could have
melted) I realised it was the heater. I told J, M and M that
I felt like I was burning. But they told me to stop complaining,
and enjoy myself. "But I'm f****** burning," I kept
repeating. At this point they just kept laughing at me. They
thought it was a huge joke. "I'm not sitting here when
we come back," I protested.
Just then I saw a glimmer of hope. Nick was going round asking
everyone if they were okay. I'll tell him about my problem,
I thought. I will also tell him that my so called friends
were been cruel to me.
"Alright Karl, are you comfortable enough?" Right,
I thought here's my chance. Tell him the truth.
But did I? Did I? No I didn't. Like a prick I just smiled
and said, "Yes, yes I'm fine," just like that. Can
you believe that? My big chance to get away from the towering
inferno and I said that I was okay. As he disappeared up the
stairs of the bus I muttered, "No I'm f******* not okay,
I'm burning me leg off, okay." To which I was met with
laughter, by my so called friends, and of course my leg feeling
like I was some kind of Guy Fawkes.
Right, I thought, I'm going to have a bit of comfort, "open
them windows," I shouted to Michelle. Relief at last,
at least I was getting a breeze so that I could cool down.
There was only one snag, as I was cooling down everyone else
was freezing. I could hear people muttering, "by hell
it's got cold on this bus all of a sudden, who's opened the
bloody windows?" But at that point I didn't care, at
least I felt cool, sod everyone else. Lee Pound, who was also
sat with us, had to move, he'd had enough. (He couldn't take
it) Me, I could because I'm tough.
In the meantime things were so exciting on the bus journey,
that we spotted some rabbits in the fields, and Melanie swears
she saw the Bertie Basset factory, God this night was just
filled with excitement. I found myself thanking God when we
eventually got to the Rugby ground. At least now I would get
to see a decent rugby match, and be cool as well. (definitely
better than looking for rabbits, and frying your limbs off)
By this point I just had to go in the pub to have a drink
to cool off some more, (It's the truth) I was sitting near
the women's toilets, (for no particular reason you understand)
I was just dumped there. (honest) "We'd better hurry
up, the rugby is about to start," I said. So everyone
got their things together and rushed to the pitch that the
match was to be played on. In all the hurry I got away from
Julie, Melanie and Michelle (yes) great I thought, they won't
be able to moan at me now. (little did I know, they were thinking
the same about me) Anyway I didn't care I was with the real
women. Whom I didn't realise could shout and scream worse
than any man. (no sexism intended)
At half time Me and some of the lads went to the pub. We
were running, really fast, (well I was been pushed really
fast by Andy) and as usual I ended up in a hole, and nearly
fell out. But fortunately I didn't, so we carried on running
to the pub. Well we didn't want to miss anything did we. (the
rugby I mean) So in the pub we had a quick one, and then ran
back for the second half. You may now be thinking, how was
the rugby match going. Well I'll tell you, it was great, we
were winning, what more can you ask for? The second half was
even more exciting. The other team came back and the last
ten minuets were more exciting than any rugby I'd seen for
a long time. The reason been that towards the end it was anybodies
game. (but really it should be ours) At long last we scored
a try that clinched the match. Everyone jumped in the air
(I think that a few people were close to heart attacks, including
Julie I found out later, trust her)
With that the whistle blew, and once again people were jumping
up and down and running on the pitch, sort of a pitch invasion
of sorts. I was pushed onto the pitch by my friend. The team
was presented with the cup, and the medals. The way was now
open to have a little celebration. (alright, alright, a lot
of a celebration drink) However I didn't realise that our
drink was going to be in something that was not much bigger
than a dolls house, and beleive me you don't get many wheelchairs
in a dolls house I can tell you, especially when there are
more than 100 people trying to cram into one.
Just before I went into the (small) club house, I was desperate
for a jimmy riddle. But like many places they did not have
a disabled toilet. So we had to improvise, in the field behind
the club house, where cars were parked, and houses backed
onto the field. (private eh!) As luck would have it (or not
as the case was to be) There was an old shed made of metal,
with the door swinging open, so I decided to go behind the
door, with Melanie as a look out. God knows what people going
to their cars were thinking. Me, I couldn't care less at least
I was feeling a bit better, (apart from nearly freezing my
bits off) After finishing waht seemed like a flood, I headed
straight for the clubhouse, and some serious drinking. (and
I mean serious)
I had nearly forgotten to mention that I had taken some packing
up with me. You know, the usual, salmon sandwhiches. However,
I in my infinate wisdom thought that everyone got the pie
and peas supper. Wrong! Only the team got this, so completly
forgetting my sandwhiches, I continued merrily drinking. Never
thinking of how it may affect me later. By the time it came
to get back on the bus things were becoming a little bit hazy.
I am told that Melanie and Michelle put me back on the bus,
and guess where they put me. Yes, straight back against the
towering inferno. (I think that they were trying to melt me
once and for all) "I don't want to sit here again,"
I protested. But once again nobody took any notice. (some
friends) Julie and Michelle went to do the usual phoning of
parents (taxi services in other words) to tell them what time
we would arrive home (or not as the case may be) Melanie sat
beside me whilst all this was going on, just in case I fell
off the seat, (as if I would)
Just when I thought I was doomed for a journey home sat near
the witches of eastwick, Julie, Mel, and Michelle, my best
friend Andy Pandy came down and saved the day. "coming
upstairs Karl, with the lads?" "yes," I replied.
"I think you'd better check with Nick first," Julie
chipped in. "Don't worry, It'll be okay," Andy answered.
The next thing I knew, I was on the top deck at the back with
the lads. How Andy got me there I will never know, he'd had
a good drink as well. When I look back now it was either fry
or be dropped, I didn't really care that night.
We had a few cans of beer on the way home, (okay more than
a few) and we were singing songs all the way home. Some of
us were budding Freddie Mercurys, and the girls were budding
Olivia Newton Johns. I can vaguely remember at one point the
lads singin "there's only one Karl Dean," (of course)
I was standing up at the back holding onto the seat in the
front of me. I don't even know why I was standing up, I just
did it. I thought It was a miracle, but it was not to be.
Something else that was not to be was, me getting the opportunity
to have a pee in the field that the bus driver had stopped
near to let anyone who needed to go. Nobody told Julie that
I may need to go, and by that time I don't think anyone cared.
(except me) I suppose I should have told someone that I needed
to go but me been me, I just didn't think, because I thought
we were at home. It wasn't until the bus driver pulled away
again that I realised we weren't, and I had missed an opportunity.
As the bus gradually dropped people off at different stops,
the urge for a pee began to get stronger. How much longer
would we take?
Just as I thought that I could hold on no longer, we were
back home. Now for the big event. How was Andy going to get
me downstairs? How would anyone? Everyone was drunk. Including
me. I had visions of sliding down on my bum. Suddenly I felt
movement, Andy picked me up and God knows how but carried
me down the stairs. But the exertion proved too much for him
and he dumped me on top of everyone's kit bags. There I was,
laid spreadeagle on top of everything with everyone looking
and laughing at me. I think the bus began to spin, but I can't
be quite sure about that. The next thing I knew I was been
lifted off the bus by God knows who. No sooner was I off the
bus but my body just seemed to slip down onto the pavement.
I thought, "what am I doing down here?" I can remeber
seeing a crowd around me laughing (again) I also remeber a
shadow looming over me, and when I looked up I could make
out that it was in fact my MOTHER. She just looked down at
me. Oh! Oh! I thought. but couldn't say anything because I
was just laughing too much. Unfortunately she was not laughing.
One minute I was on the ground, the next I was back in my
wheelchair. (I know how they feel in star trek now when they
are been beamed back and forth) I also was transported rather
quickly to my car, and whisked off at high speed. Whilst we
were driving home (in silence) It came back to that I wanted
a wee wee. Great, I thought. "I need to go to the toilet,"
I announced. "You can wait," she replied. "No
I can't" I shouted. Suddenly she stopped the car. I thought
that I was going to get my wish. But no, can you beleive that
SHE was only going to post a letter. I couldn't beleive it,
what did she think she was playing at?
Finally we got home. Thankfully I was allowed to have my
wish and emptying my bladder. (such a relief) After that I
eat my packing up (you can't waste good salmon) I went to
bed. (sure that room spun too)
By the way it took a good 24 hours before my Mam would talk
to me properly. And to cap it all I had an interview the very
next day for a place at University. And guess who was taking
me there. Yes you guessed it. My Mam.
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