Smoking Room

A lot of the stories I tell are only brought to life by the characters within them. These characters are all real people, with their own troubles and their own stories. I will always be eternally grateful to them, as they made my darkest times, a little brighter.


I watched the police standing outside my flat.

My psychotherapist called 999 after I rang him from a bridge over the river. I had taken too many pills and drunk too much rum to remember exactly what I said, but I do remember that empty hopeless feeling that had led me to the water’s edge.

He told me to walk back to my flat and that help would be waiting for me. As I got closer to home, I saw the police making their way into my block of flats above the busy high street. As I watched the ambulance crew follow the police in, I decided to get up there before they broke my door down, or worse, call my Mother..

It was only at around 6 o clock the next morning that I fully realised what I had done. I was in hospital, freezing cold, feeling like shit, listening to the choir of snores coming from the other patients in the beds surrounding me.

I didn’t know what hospital I was in but I knew it was god awful. I was on a mixed ward with eight beds and one tiny post box window that had bars on the outside. I got out of bed, put my coat on and crept past the nurses station in the dark. Bizarrely, there was a smoking room on the ward, so I quietly snuck in there and sparked up.

It was a small dingy, damp old room, that had paint crumbling off the walls, and a cardboard bed pan for an ash tray. I wasn’t complaining though, I was desperate for a smoke.

As I sat there, drowning in my own thoughts, an old man wandered in and sat down. He was quite slim with a mop of silver hair and a bushy moustache. His face looked grey and sullen, but as soon as he saw me, he gave me a big smile. He reminded me of my Dad.

I expected us to sit there in silence, but after he lit a roll-up we began to bond over our mutual desperation for a cup of tea. He went on to tell me that he had multiple brain tumors and was waiting for an operation. I think he could sense the sadness I felt for him, so he quickly changed the subject;

“You’ll never guess what appened to me las night!”

I smiled at his strong Welsh accent..

“The nurse tolds me I had to av an enema and I should strip off and part my cheeks.”

My smiles faded.

“So I wents to the toilet, took all my clothes off and parted my cheeks over the bowl!”

I let out a snort.

“So the nurse opens the door and there I is, stark bollock naked, spreadin my arse over the toilet! She screamed and threw a sheet over me! ‘Cover your dignity!’ she said. Well I didn’t know, you was meant to lie on the bed and do it.”

He let out a choking laugh and though it may have been inappropriate, I couldn’t help but join him.