Spring in England. Your surroundings when you grow up imprint what you view as normal. To focus on the trivial: Cape Town weather, for all its fabled variance on a day-to-day basis, has very simple seasons. The middle of winter is the coldest, darkest and wettest part of the year. The middle of summer the hottest, brightest and driest. My instincts therefor are that these binary opposites should be thus neatly paired up.

London's icy winter, dry as an ice-cube and now the stormy spring pelting showers like microcosms of cape winters. I sense through the wrongness that I feel that there is a different pattern at work here.

What strikes me as odd is how rapidly the hours of daylight grow longer. Now there is light at nine pm already, like cape midsummer, yet the wet cold air suggests winter to me.

On E2, I have written a worthy historical summary that cannot really compete with the source material at the local library on which it is based. It is well-received by the standard of votes and cools. On other occasions I write what I feel to be important to me, and often that does not get up voted much. That's just the way it is. Do not live for the approval of all. Be yourself.

...and we crossed the street as fast as we could, the familiar words of hatred in the air.

Bitch. Cocksucker.

They had already knocked the girl down in front of traffic, and she was screaming, sobbing, screaming. The man who almost ran her over had tried to help, and he was on the concrete, three times my size. That left two of us, and six of them.

We got her out somehow, fighting to protect a young lady the size of a twelve-year-old. She didn't even know we were there, I don't think. Only that she wasn't being thrown around anymore, and she was getting away.

By the time security and the cops arrived and dealt with the others, we had made it to the underground parking and out of sight. Leslie kept the police looking elsewhere long enough to share a few cigarettes, and eventually she could talk again. She was from Ottawa, her name was Diane, and between the drugs and the crack of skull on asphalt, she was in pretty bad shape.

The squad car found us eventually, of course. Her boyfriend had already been arrested, and she managed to tell the police that he had her money, her ticket home, her everything.

The security guard asked me if I was alright, and I said that I was. Then she waved to us as the police car pulled away, and by that time it was daylight.

May 17, 1990

It was 13 years ago this month that I had my left leg amputated. Family and friends surrounded me in love, support and prayer during the battle that lasted three years. They did everything medically possible to save my leg, but when all was said and done, I couldn't take it anymore.

I'd gotten so depressed that I couldn't hide it from my family. I had always kept my chin up for them because from the bottom of my heart I believed that after all they had done for me, the least I could do for them was to be brave. Not even for them could I be strong.

The limb became necrotic and amputation was the best course of action. Hearing the doctor say the words was a shock at first as deep down inside I guess I was hoping for another answer. Lying in bed that night and thinking about it, however, I knew what was happening inside of my body and I knew what needed to be done. From that point on it was stand with me or get out of my way.

It's a defense mechanism. When something needs to be done that's particularly difficult, I don't allow myself tears or any other display of emotion. If I did, I wouldn't be able to do what I need to. Logic and reason take over and if I need to cry, I cry alone. I know it sounds cold and hard, but you do whatever it takes to survive, That's what it took for me. When it was over, I was relieved. The threat to my health was gone and I no longer had to stay in bed.

It was a decision that I haven't regretted for a single moment. It had to be done. In many ways, I think it was harder on my family than it was on me. I am blessed to have them.

The doctors warned me that I could lose my right leg to the same disease. I'm ready. As ready as I'll ever be. Amputate any body part that becomes a threat to my health or my life. My spirit. however, will remain intact until the day I die. That belongs to me. My spirit is my friend and my weapon. It's where I store my hopes and dreams. Nothing will ever take that away from me.

My mother is a devout Catholic. She attends mass all the time, works Bingo to help the church, and prays for my soul all the time. She's dealing with the alternate lifestyle thing pretty well, but we all have stumbling blocks.

My mother's boss was married last night to the man to whom she had been engaged for nearly a decade. There was a marvelous party, and everyone in attendance thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I was asked to be the bartender, as I have a wealth of experience in the pouring and consuming of alcoholic beverages.

But it occured to me this morning that I had never seen my mother slightly incapacitated by the drink, let alone stupid-drunk like she was last night. I don't blame her, of course, because it was an emotional catharsis after so many years of anticipation and a solid month of preparation. She had a great time, and she smiled a lot.

But it reminded me that, perhaps, she hid a lot of "real life" from me while I was growing up. Did she cry more than I remember, just because she wanted to protect me from the harshness that is reality? From what else did she protect me?

More than anything, it reminded me that my mother put me ahead of herself for many years. It was nice to see her smile that drunk smile we all know.

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