A Story You Won’t Hear in Florida – #4

This tragic story of the reality of the American abortion ban in some states is one that everyone needs to read. Even if you are not American, similar laws could well be coming to your country. Have some tissues ready, it is heartbreaking.


Well it was a bad week for abortion rights advocates as Republican majorities in Nebraska and North Carolina continued to restrict abortion access.  Have you noticed that nowhere is this issue put up for a vote anymore.  Nah.  Put t to a vote and it gets defeated every time. The pro-life crowd is jubilant, out there saving babies.

So let me tell you a story.  Not too many folks have heard it.  Didn’t get a whole lot of attention.  Particularly here in Florida among the holier than thou crowd.

But it made the Washington Post and then got attention.  And it went down some 40 minutes from my home.

Milo Evan Dorbert drew his…

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The Slow Dances

It didn’t do to get to the club until late, so we went to the local pub for drinks before taking the bus into the West End.

You had to be eighteen of course, whether to buy drinks in the pub or be allowed into the club later. We were only fifteen, but wearing smart suits and ties, having well-polished shoes, no doorman ever turned us away.

On a Saturday night, we spent everything we had. That meant walking home later, and spending the week at school with no money. There was a charge at the door of the club, and drinks were twice as expensive in there. So you didn’t offer to buy drinks for any girl, you got your first drink and hung onto if for as long as possible.

The music was good, played by a DJ in a booth at the back. The dance floor was very small, and most of the clubbers were crammed around the sides, or waiting to buy drinks at the bar. Ninety-nine percent of those actually dancing were girls of course. Boys like us waited, biding our time for the slow dances later.

My best mate had already deserted me, but that was okay. He had chatted up an older girl whilst buying our first drink, and for the past hour he had been with her in the corridor that led to the toilets. They were snogging like their lives depended on it. His lips would be bruised on Sunday.

I had spotted her dancing with her mate, and she had turned and smiled at me. On point with the fashions, she looked great in her Mary Quant style mini-dress and white tights. Her short dark hair was the same colour as her huge false eyelashes, and her eyes were the sort that look wide open and smiley. She had left her shoes under the table where they were sitting, and her shoulder bag swung from side to side as she was dancing.

Her mate looked out of place. Tall, frizzy hair, and a flowery-patterned dress that I guessed her mum had made for her. But I wasn’t judging. After all, we were out of place. Two boys from the wrong side of the river, using our smart suits to pretend we were older and more confident than we were.

Less then thirty feet away across the dance floor, I could see the Mary Quant girl looking at me as I leaned against the wall trying desperately to appear cool. She had a drink with a straw, and every time she reached across for it, she looked over at me. The fourth time, she smiled, and I smiled back. Then she said something to her friend, who turned to look at me, then nodded.

This was my chance, the slow dances would start soon, and I would walk over and ask her to dance.

When the lights dimmed and the first record came on, I didn’t rush over. No point appearing to be too eager. Wait for the second one, then stroll across and hold out my right hand. As the second one started, I straightened up, put down my empty glass, and moved one step forward.

Too late.

He swept in from the side, and scooped her up onto the dance floor. At least five years older than me, and as smooth as silk. Her arms went around his neck, and I knew I had missed my moment.

Fifty-Five years later, I still sometimes wonder how her life turned out.

Guest Serial: Author Reveal

Hello to all of Pete’s readers! I hope you are doing well and the sun is shining where you are.

Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to Pete, for sharing my story on your blog. You are a very kind man to have done this and I will be forever thankful. Secondly, to you, the readers, thank you so much for reading my story, liking and commenting, I really do appreciate it.

I bet you are wondering who I am by now! My name is Ami, I’m 26 and live down the road from Pete (well, about 20 minutes away) but we’ve never met yet.

I am the blogger over at Undercover Superhero https://undercoversuperhero.com/ and have been blogging since October 2018. On my blog, my story is called ‘My Recovery’ and currently has 13 chapters.

There are only 13 chapters so far as I’ve not had time to really focus on writing more about my recovery. Not bad going though, considering I struggled to type with one finger at one point. It is true that, in total, I spent 9 months in hospital and a specialist neurological rehabilitation centre. During that time, I went from bedbound, total loss of co-ordination, dependent on everyone and anything to do the most simple tasks.

To then learn to write, type, eat and drink independently, sit up, stand up and walk again, albeit only a couple of metres with my walking frame and the assistance of 2 people. What have I been up to since being discharged from rehab in November 2018?

Ewan and I got married, and I walked down the aisle with the support of 2 people, this was my motivation to give it my all when I was receiving intensive physiotherapy, and it definitely paid off! In November 2020, we welcomed our baby girl, Daisy. She is nearly 7 months old now and is amazing. I love her more than anything. Aside from being a mum, and blogging, I enjoy writing for different publications and raising awareness.

Ever since Pete published the first part, I have been keeping up with the comments, and I would like to reply to some of them here. Nothing bad, but some of them really touched me.

“It seems to be a mystery to everyone, but meanwhile, the writer’s health seems to be declining more rapidly. It must have felt like there was no reason to hope.” – You are absolutely right, I had no reason whatsoever to hope. I was losing everything and to say it was devastating would be an understatement.

“I don’t understand the disbelief from the others unless there have been past episodes that suggested the writer might be exaggerating. I would think most people would err on the side of caution and do everything to make sure a loved one was really okay”

I asked both Mum and Ewan why they didn’t believe me when my symptoms were at their worst. It definitely wasn’t a case of not wanting to believe it all, but they just genuinely could not believe everything that had been happening. I was angry with them for quite some time after it initially happened but it really wasn’t their fault. They didn’t know what to do and I don’t blame them at all now.

“This is a real living hell, I’m hoping there is a happy ending as no one should have to go through all of this.” – That last bit really got to me, I think because it was all a constant, and there was no break in-between whatsoever, I guess I just got used to it and convinced myself that there was a reason for why I was going through all of this.

“Blimey, what else can go wrong?” – This made me chuckle a little, sorry I use humour to deal with certain aspects and saw the irony to this comment.

“I never heard such a tale of woe!” – Me too until I was experiencing it and then also reading back of what I’ve written about it so far.

“Mom never said ‘I love you’ back?”

Not that I remember whilst growing up. However, her actions speaks volumes. If she didn’t love me, she wouldn’t have worked 5 days a week, went home to walk the dogs, then travel to King’s Lynn at the beginning, then to Cambridge when I was at Addenbrooke’s, stay with me until visiting time ended, travel back home, and then do it all again the next day. Mum made herself ill by doing this, hence why she couldn’t come and see me.

She was so run down with the stress and worry of everything, barely eating, or sleeping, and ended up with a chest infection. So, even when she doesn’t say “I love you” back, I know she will always love me.

“A tracheostomy sounds like a horrible experience” – Initially, it was very daunting. But, had I not had the tracheostomy, it would have taken me a lot longer to recover. Yes, the process of having one is not pleasant, but that aided my recovery significantly. In comparison to the breathing time, it was in a league of it’s own, and in a good way! I no longer have the tracheostomy, it was removed after a few weeks of having it, I’m left with a slight scar.

“How did she eventually remember so much detail?” – I wondered this too, and asked this when I attended my ICU reviews. Apparently, some patients do remember a lot of what happened, some don’t. I think it’s clear that I’m one of the one’s that do! Would you be surprised if I told you that I have PTSD?

“Perhaps an alternative title might have been ‘If you think things can’t get worse…” – This also made me chuckle. I wanted to give some hope, given the circumstances!

“Addenbrooke’s – “Nothing but praise” – Absolutely spot on! This hospital saved my life and I can’t fault them.

I was quite taken aback reading everybody’s reaction to my Ataxia diagnosis. It could well be my adaptable mindset talking but with the right support, equipment, etc. You can still have a good life. Given all of my diagnosis, we were convinced that I wouldn’t be able to have a baby, so Daisy will always be our miracle.

Lastly, I just want to say thank you again to every single one of you, and Pete too. If anyone has any questions, or would like to get in touch with me to have a chat, a natter, a bit of banter, then I’m only an email away. My email is ami.hook.ireland@gmail.com

My sincere thanks and love to you all!