The Day I Died

The day had been quite ordinary. At seven o’clock I heard my children get up, use the bathroom, and go downstairs to prepare themselves for school. When I went down to the kitchen fifteen minutes later they were packing their lunchboxes. I brewed a cup of tea for myself and Dawn, and brought it back upstairs to bed. Eduardo shouted goodbye from the front door and Molly came into the bedroom to kiss us farewell as she always did. Dawn and I made love and I felt her little cunt wrap itself around me. Just as the eight o’clock pips sounded I had a shower and afterwards shaved. At eight-twenty I was eating breakfast. Twenty minutes later, I hauled my bike out from the shed and left through the rear gate. Dawn shouted Au revoir, mon cherie from the first floor bathroom window. At ten to nine I whooshed into the school yard and chained my bike around the back.
In the ancillary teachers’ room I said good morning to some colleagues; other teachers were in the main teachers’ room. I took my glasses from my bag, looked quickly through the work I’d already prepared, and left for the first lesson.
Ninety minutes later I was back in the teachers’ room talking to the same individuals. One of them was banging on about how we should move Mohammed, who was the weakest student in the elementary class. That was fine by me. Another, who had just returned that week after one year of completing an MA, joined in. Beshayer, her student, could also be moved. Okay.
Next lesson I taught Mohammed, another Mohammed, Abdulaziz and Wafa.
Thursday is always a strange day of the working week, you’re well into it and yet it’s still not so near the weekend. Especially lunchtime, when you know that one more lesson, one final heave, and you’ll be on to Friday, the end of the week.
I heated some leftover lasagne in the microwave and tucked it into the bottom of my bag. Then I went out and unchained my bike. Mostly freewheeling down the hill and feeling both the warmth of the sunshine and a chill from the rushing air on my bare arms and through my shirt, I made my way to the river. At the quay, I pulled up, sat on a bench, and ate the hot lasagne. Afterwards, I lay back on my back and closed my eyes. The sun was warm.
I had to get back to work for the day’s final lesson.
As I cycled, it happened. Unbidden, and all of a sudden, I understood that one day I would no longer be here and yet everything would continue to exist, at least physically for a while. Other eyes would see the white stepped concrete river banks, other bodies would feel the warm sunshine, other beings would take in the river and have feelings.
I think perhaps the movement of the bike going in the opposite direction of the river’s flow made me aware of the passing of time. That and the autumn sunshine.

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