31st May 1998
Brief glimpse of Parisian haute couture
We love you Sue
By M.T L. Ebell
Suddenly, there is light. It is colder. I feel myself being lifted up and carried . . . out to the landing. Somebody shakes me. My eyes focus on Manny! Coughing I sit up and am pushed unceremoniously down. "Stay there," he says curtly, going back to the room. He speaks on the telephone. He comes back with my bedspread in his hands, He tucks it around me. Gently, he rubbed my hands, "What were you thinking?" he asked. Tears begin to trickle from my eyes. The tears I should have cried two weeks ago. 'I couldn't turn it off," I whispered. 'I wanted to, but I couldn't. I knew I couldn't spoil Rouanne's big day." He looked puzzled. 'You know,' I sniffed, "today, dinner for all . . . to tell us . I heard you at the dance." 'Oh.' Manny sounded relieved. I suppose he'd thought I was hallucinating or something. He told me that he'd come up to stick a note on the door for Rouanne and had got a peculiar smell. Luckily I had not locked the door and he'd been able to push it open, wet towel notwithstanding, and had opened the windows, to let in air and light. "Didn't you turn off the gas?" I asked.
"Of course I did. How long were you lying there?" Though it had felt like ages it was less than forty minutes since I'd left the Hall. The others, Rouanne at least, would be turning up soon. "I couldn't really have succeeded, could I?" I asked weakly. "I suppose I didn't really mean to or want to. But when I knew I could not go through with it and I couldn't stop it....that was really scary." Contemplating those few moments, I couldn't help myself. My sniffs turned into sobs and I clung onto Manny and cried in earnest.
A few hours later, I felt much better. Manny had informed the Infirmary and they had sent a nurse to take charge. I remember being wheeled off and brought to the Hospital, just as a precaution, they told me. I needed to be on a saline drip for a while. I felt a drip. I knew now I had only been playing with the idea of doing myself in but those few minutes when I felt so utterly helpless; not wanting to die, but going to anyway, would stay in my memory for ever.
And here I was, alone again. Thinking of those confused moments. The Nurse arriving. Rouanne and the others rushing up the stairs. Rouanne not seeming unduly worried at finding me draped all over Manny. Mike's horrified face, Sid, Hillary, thoroughly appalled . Mrs. Dean and Rouanne coming to the Hospital with me. John rushing off to fetch Anna. But after a bit they had to leave and go off on various errands.
I suppose Rouanne and Manny can have their Dinner after all. That's what I'd wanted wasn't it? But I had wanted to be there. I fantasised about it. How would they make the announcement? Would Manny be dressed all formally in Tux and tails? Would they flourish their marriage certificate to prove it wasn't a hoax? Would Sid mind terribly? Would Greg and Alan be there?
Bored, I imagined in greater detail. They would have dinner in the Common Room, scene of so many International Nights. It would be gaily decorated with streamers and stuff probably left over from May v Dance. A few balloons. A banner with the hastily written message. . . what would it say? "Just married"?, "Just owned up"?
There was a bustle and Mrs. Dean came in. "I wanted to sit with you for a while dear, but it seems you are to be moved . They've kindly said I could come with you." Then I was hoisted on to a stretcher once more and into a vehicle. Mrs. Dean clambered in after me, followed by the Nurse. I felt much better now and tried to sit up but was discouraged by them both. "It's just a little way, you must take it easy Sue.''
I lay back wondering if I was so ill I had to be transferred to another hospital. If so, shouldn't they have told me? I had begged that my parents were not informed of my illiness earlier, but what if 1 was really sick? I sure would want them, then. It was a bumpy ride, this ambulance didn't seem to move as smoothly as the first. It slowed. Stopped. Then there was much manoeuvring as the driver reversed and drove forward and backward so many times I did feel sick. Why didn't they just carry me out. The door opened and I was moved onto a wheelchair. The Nurse grasped the handles firmly and wheeled me into the . . . the Common Room ! It was gaily decorated with a few streamers left over from May v Dance. There were balloons. A banner with the hastily written message 'We Love You Sue!' I couldn't believe it! I just couldn't! This was not supposed to be my night but theirs. Rouanne was hugging me and I told her so. She laughed and said that everyone knew about them now, and that Sid always had! That had been why he had seemed so close to her at times.
"So you need not worry.'' She added looking mischievous. I wanted to ask her what she meant but there wasn't time. Everyone was around me. Then they moved away and I saw "The chair for the guest of Honour!" they informed me laughing. It was almost a throne and was placed on a small platform. There were balloons tied to it and on it sat a teddy bear holding a card saying 'We Love You'. Oh, it was just too much. Dear Mrs. Dean was by my side. Try not to get too excited dear," she said, "let someone help you to your seat.'' 'Tentatively, I stepped off the wheelchair. As if on cue two arms were proffered. ''Let me help you,'' said Sid, on my right. "Let me," said Alan at the left. I looked from one to the other. Which one should I choose? Some years later. . . but that's another story. Right now?
"You both may," said I.
Ever wonder what it would be like to report the news that is shaping history before our very eyes? Ever wonder what it would be like to take a bunch of distorted facts and stories, make sense out of them and then tell the public the truth about what is going on? Ever wonder about what a great responsibility a journalist holds to the public? I haven't.
The unidentified flying object was seen off the coast of Ratmalana last evening. This is the latest in a series of recent UFO sightings in the island. The authorities investigating the incident say that although the man claiming to have seen the object is blind, his other senses are working perfectly.
The minister for aviation and tourism has announced that he intends to attract UFO enthusiasts from all over the world on package holidays to the island. His only concern is that the locals would scare the aliens away before their potential can be fully exploited. He says that he plans to introduce a bill in parliament next week banning any locals who find an alien from taking the little green men apart to see what they're made of. On being asked what would happen if the UFO sightings suddenly ceased, the minister reassured the press by saying that he personally knew many people who would say just about anything for twenty bucks and a "bath" packet.
Meanwhile, UFOlogists are debating over the significance of the UFO being spotted. The experts however are divided on this issue, unable to decide if the spots are alien markings used for identification, or a deliberate attempt on the part of the aliens to make a fashion statement" .
Local "dansal" operators received an unexpected boost from science yesterday. Swedish scientists in Stockholm conducting research on unhygienic eating places have discovered a new technique that they claim enables the "dansalas" to cut time wasted on washing plates in half.
The new technique is not an expensive one. All that is needed is a large barrel-full of water. The used plates are simply taken after use and are dipped sideways into the barrel and given a light shake. This is where the science comes in. The remnants of food in the plate being heavier than the water would sink to the bottom leaving only a light film of oil on the plate when it is taken out again.
The International Association of Dansal Operators (IADO), in a statement issued yesterday welcomed this discovery by the Swedish scientists. They say that this technique would be very useful in the current Vesak/Poson season. The only people who don't seem to be particularly impressed by the discovery are the "kollas" at the dansals, who claim that they have been washing plates like this for years.
Paris, Milan Colombo?
Colombo seems to be fast becoming a top fashion venue for international designers. With the YSL fashion show last week and many more planned, Sri Lanka seems set to take the fashion world by storm.
Sri Lanka's place in the history books of fashion is more or less guaranteed already. Being the home of the "Cool dude" Sri Lanka has been identified by the world fashion industry as a market to which they can send any crap with a designer label and have it lapped up. But these cool dudes may not be left out in the wilderness of fashion for long. Industry insiders believe that extremely tacky clothing might come back into fashion soon. We may not have yet witnessed the revenge of the cool dude.
With India having successfully detonated five nuclear devices in the past weeks, the world watched yet another country emerge as a world nuclear power. The news brought statements of disappointment from countries that were signatories to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
The foreign minister however, was reserved in his approach to the issue when questioned by the press. He said that "Whatever devices India made was fine with us 'cos they were bigger and stronger than us anyway, and could kick our butts even without nuclear devices, so this development makes very little difference."
He also said off the record, that this would help the government justify issuing a general conscription decree for all citizens below the age of 63. The move would be necessary just in case one of those "Nuclear thinggys" accidentally exploded in the wrong place because "More people die in nuclear bombs" he explained.
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