It only ever happens once in your life…
It happened yesterday but it was only when I awoke this morning that I actually realised that it only ever happens once in your life, and it doesn’t happen for everyone, so I should savour it. So this is me savouring it.
I had quite a busy day yesterday for one reason or another so it had to fit in between lots of other things – it is amazing how busy you can be even when you have been retired for a few years. I have no idea how I managed to find time ever to do any work!
Amongst other things I had to go and pick Fatima up from work yesterday, whereas, normally, I pick her up from a bus-stop not far from home. But a couple of weeks ago she turned her ankle very badly and they decided at the hospital that they should put a full plaster on from toe to nearly-knee-level so she has been hobbling around for a while and I have, therefore, been picking her up from work to save her struggling with or on the buses.
And the timing was perfect. If we had been just half a minute later we’d have missed it. The yellow van was parked outside the house and the driver was just about to get back in the van and drive away. He might have come back today, or another day, or he might have just about been going to leave a note but then the excitement may not have been the same. And as soon as I saw the yellow van I had a good idea what it was and why he was there because I had been expecting it.
So we had to drive past and turn around and I wound the window down to let him know it was us and we’d be there in a second. And because he was parked where I normally leave the car I then had to pull in behind him and keep the engine running and keep the brake on because we are on a hill, whilst Fatima had to quickly hop out of the car (literally HOP!) and intercept him and sign his little machine.
I am sure you (my ‘regular’ reader) will, by now, have guessed what “it” is? But as I said, this is me savouring “it” – keeping you waiting.
There are many things that only ever happen once in your life because there is only ever one “first” experience and a lot of them happen when you are a child, which is perhaps why childhood can be so great and sometimes so daunting too, of course. The first time you touch something that is too hot or too cold, the first time you see snow or icicles, or the seaside, or the first time you fall over and bang your head on the floor, or the first time you walk into a door, or get knocked over by and enthusiastic dog or… the list goes on and it is probably for this reason that we learn to forget the first few years of life!! Too many uncomfortable firsts!
I guess for some people this particular ‘first’ can come at an early age, and then something similar might happen to them a lot, but it will never again be the first. Probably for most people who have this particular ‘first’ it will happen when they are more mature and then, there are some, like me, for whom this ‘first’ only happens after they have retired and normal work has stopped getting in the way! And for many, (perhaps also like me, who knows!) this ‘first’ may also turn out to be a ‘first and only’!!
Okay, okay, I am getting there – thank you for sticking with me until now!
The ‘yellow van’ was a DHL van and he was delivering something, but you perhaps had already guessed that bit? He was delivering a small parcel wrapped in stiff cardboard and it had come all the way from England, from Milton Keynes, as I discovered later – but that is another story, perhaps for another day!
It was a book, weighing almost 1.8 pounds, very nearly a kilo, so we can use it for a door-stop if needs be. And by now you MUST have guessed, it was my FIRST copy of my FIRST novel, on paper, looking like a REAL book. WOW!! I couldn’t wait to get the cardboard wrapping off and actually see it and feel it. There is something about a real book that knocks spots off e-books – I am definitely a bibliophile – I love the sensual nature of reading, the tactile nature of the experience. I have, of course, read many e-books by now and I am certainly hoping I manage to sell lots of them, too, of course. But a REAL book.
I knew I had written a lot of words, over 200,000 – over twice my Master’s dissertation and I knew it was going to be about 530 pages but, even so, it came as a surprise that it felt so heavy! Perhaps not a book you’ll read in bed without your arms getting tired? But it was like several good birthdays and Christmases rolled into one as I got through the wrapping. My first novel, you know, like, a REAL book!! Wow!
Not everyone has that experience and it can only happen once in your life. So I feel, thrilled and privileged, and more than a little excited. Perhaps you can tell? So, a BIG thank you to everyone who has helped me realise this dream. I had better get on, now, with all the work I need to do to sell lots of them – anyone want a good door-stop!?