Outside town, visiting a friend on the edge. I drag my body up her road, taking ‘my’ Parkinson’s creature for a walk.
I am determined to love this Parkinson’s creature because it is me and never was any-thing else but me. And I hope to love it so completely that one day I can set it free.
We are two life forms fused - marionette meets hunchback, with a, jangling, lolloping gait, left foot scuffing, slapping, battering the asphalt. If I wore hobnails there would be sparks that would set this life alight. With the exertion, Parkinson’s creature begins to twitch spasm and shake me.
A gang, a crew, a huddle, a thuggery of tattooed-up, suspicious-eyed human beings stare and then they lurch and spit their way over to me. They too are shaking - alcohol, aggression, drugs, fear. I’ve seen all these before in a previous career as an intact human being police officer. But now, I see them through a wider I.
One of them locks fierce eyes with mine, shifts smartly and comes straight across the road at me, with eye-line lowered, shoulders raised, fists splayed. He is coiled and about to strike. ‘Oi!’ he demands.
‘Where do you fit in around here?’
I’m surprised. There’s no attack.
‘I’ve come to see my friend for a cup of tea and I’m going for a walk.’ And fear catches me and Parkinson’s shakes me. He darts forward, his hands clear his waist band, ‘here it comes’ and I make no defence.
He grabs at me. Then he embraces me! I can feel his heart pounding. I am so scared I laugh. We all laugh.
He says ‘Mate, you’re one of us! You shake and all that shit, just like one of us! We’re brothers, brothers mate! And we all laugh and we all spit.
And the Parkinson’s creature within my cells, and whatever lurks in his shake in their own delightful resonance. And we all laughed and we all spat again!
Tim Roberts lives in New Zealand. At 56, thanks to Parkinson’s, his life priorities have changed and he discovered that he carries a huge and smouldering appetite for life and is hungry for inspiration. He savours vitality and creativity and has started to experiment writing poetry and drawing. Twitter: @TDRobertsNZ