Tuesday is the day I get to see my bust. I had a plaster cast made a few weeks ago and it has since gone to an artist to go wild with their creative juices and slap paint or whatever on it. I am grateful mine has not gone to Gilbert and George. During the day I feel tired. Beyond tired. I do my mindfulness practice mid-morning and fall asleep. I could sleep anywhere. In the afternoon I have a little nap, thinking this will help. It does not. I hurt in all kinds of places. The soles of my feet feel bruised so walking is painful. My back hurts and, given the choice, I would curl up on the sofa and not go out but I am determined to attend the private view of my cast along with at least 3 of my friends’. My friend Mo calls to confirm she is going with another friend, Margaret. It’s nice to have moral support as I don’t know what I will be faced with. She floats the idea of a meal afterwards in Brick Lane. It sounds lovely but it’s so long since I have been out in the evening that I’m just not sure if I can do it.
On leaving the tube station, we miss Brick Lane by a mile and walk past the end of it, totally in the wrong direction. I am feeling hot and in a lot of pain so this is not the right time to make a mistake. If I felt energetic or even pain-free, it would not be a problem but this evening is not one of those occasions. We walk back in the direction we have come from and cross the road to ask a community police officer where it is. He points across the road to the junction we have been standing at. Sigh. We walk down Brick Lane and are assaulted on all sides by people wanting us to eat in their restaurants. Every type of approach is tried, including “Do you want to eat in the worst restaurant in Brick Lane?” an offer which, like others, we refuse. Eventually we reach the Brick Lane Art Gallery which is bursting at the seams with people who are spilling out onto the pavement, drinking wine and beer and happily chatting. We make our way inside and see our two friends who have already arrived and point me in the direction of my cast. On the way I see Jane who organised the whole exhibition and made the casts. She looks happy and rightly so. The exhibition is brilliant and people are clearly enjoying it. It is so hot inside the gallery I am immediately a soggy, over-heated lump. My glasses steam up, just to make my joy complete. My cast is exquisite. In hues of pink and green, it is simply beautiful. As I am exclaiming over it, a young man approaches and asks if this is my cast. When I confirm it is, he tells me he is the artist who decorated it. Skev has done a superb job and it is really good to meet the man who handled me!
We meet up with other people we know who have also had themselves cast and Mr Mason takes lots of photos, many of them with me looking damp and slightly demented.
Eventually we wander out into the warm evening and make our way back down Brick Lane with Mo and Margaret. We are enticed into a curry house which is nice but feels a bit as though it’s lost its heart and is now a tourist attraction. I suspect there are many more authentic curry houses in the vicinity but the food is fine and the service is good. By this time I am seriously in pain and very, very tired so we agree to take a cab home as we all live in a similar area. It is so wonderful to be whisked off without having to slog our way to the tube and also good to have friends who just understand without making a fuss.
Once my bust has finished its tour, I will be able to have it back. I have no idea where I will put it but it will be a reminder that there are more adventures to be had post cancer diagnosis and that I will keep on having them for as long as I can.