How to get rid of a post-op winter depression

A gentle billowing of the yellow curtains .... soft street murmurs floating in ... Yes, they must have opened the windows to catch some of the pre-spring breeze. Such a luminous day too! And how sweet everyone was! One of the nurses had brought freshly baked cookies for her colleagues. But not for me, since I had to remain sober for the small operative intervention I had to undergo. I had already had a little red pill, “ just to make you feel more relaxed”, and more was to flow intra-venously  soon, the anaesthetist had assured me.

So I sighed blissfully, loving life, the world, and this hospital in particular. Like that cute gown they had make me put on, with little green flowers!
Oh, and there was that nice surgeon again! Who benevolently was going to give me the smallest of cuts in my leg, to kindly remove one of the bolts from the iron bar that kept my leg together. Oh yes, what a perfect day! It was Friday, I had the day off thanks to this operation and I was to return home still today.

The next day, I woke exhausted after a night plagued by nightmares (starring a giant spider with a swollen larva-like body and 8 spidery legs, flying through the air, dodging the knives I was throwing at it to eventually land elegantly on the kitchen sink).
The daily health walk was a flop – after 500 meters I miserably hobbled home again. The world was a crummy place. My entire life was a fiasco. I was a pathetic dud. Dear C was soon to leave for Spain, for an indeterminate period. Things sucked, the walls were closing in on me . I had to get out. Something had to be done! Such as going out and lighting a candle in a church? Well no, not really, but speaking of churches .... checking out the Walloon heritage pages on the web..... what was this: the Collegiate Church of Saint Gertrude - I hadn’t ever visited that supposedly marvellous Roman church in Nivelles.
Only 30 kilometres away ... and C was easily persuaded for a little outing by car.

Yes, my heart leapt, seeing the stern, pure lines of a sturdy roman church from afar. Those solid towers, those robust round arches ... But coming nearer, the aesthetic delight slowly subsided and suspicion rose. This was all too regular and too smooth ... this was not a venerable ancient building bearing witness of militant Christianity in dark ages ... Entering the building, one could not fail to spot that many of the heavy pillars were cast in concrete. Aha, a leaflet to enlighten the ignorant church-visitor: consecrated in the 11th century, duly bombed out in 1940, reconstruction finished in 1984...
When we left the building, we were greeted by pelting rain. And where was everybody? The city centre looked neat enough, but the shopping streets were near empty.

One shop drew our attention, second-hand stuff - peering in we saw an anarchistic disorder of piles of books, paintings, DVD’s... A handwritten notice on the door informed us that if the shop was closed, this meant that the owner was working on his Network. But the shop was not closed. While I was gingerly picking my way amongst the heaps of merchandise – putting a crutch here, a foot there – the owner (a young man, still in his twenties I’d say) was eager to explain:
- that the disorder was only temporary (he had just unloaded his truck),
- that he was in fact a “collector & connoisseur” ,
- that he was developing a Network of likeminded collectors,
- that he was building a Database,
- that he had a Business plan and was going to make enough money out of this to fund his leisure activities,
-  that we had to watch out for “caravan collectors” coming on the Web soon (but he may have been bluffing there, he definitely looked hesitating) and.....
-  that next week a load of superb art catalogues from Christies’ (or Sotheby’s – I don’t remember) was to be delivered! (as I write this, it is ‘next week’, and I’m sitting here car-less, unable alas to reach those loads of art books arriving in Nivelles) .

We left the shop with a dozen DVD’s and next proceeded to elucidate the mystery of the missing locals in the city-centre: they had all congregated in the various taverns on the main city square. We followed suit and entered a grand café, oozing the comfortable bourgeois fifties with its mirrors and copper and wood .... A good place to settle with books & papers & a glass of rosé , waiting for the rain to subside.

When the sun finally did peak through, I insisted on a final limping walk to the local park before going home. I was rewarded with an infinitely sombre, wintry park, pathetically dull with its empty benches, its vacuous allegorical statues, its pompous gates . Immensely endearing, really. So much so I could leave all my gloom & doom right there and then.

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