I’ve been off work for three months with this dreadful illness. My boss is never off the phone asking when I’m coming back and I’m down to half pay. It’s really not my fault. I didn’t ask for the ear infection, the loss of balance or the out of body experiences. But it’s been plaguing me for what seems like forever. And so I thought I would try and beat it myself, cold turkey, bite the bullet and confront the vertigo head on.

And so I’ve found myself on top of Divis Tower. I thought it would be best to find the highest building in the area and to stare into the horizon with deep calm breaths taking in the whole of West Belfast and up towards the Black Mountain.

It was going well, until I heard the screaming coming from under my eye view. What the fuck is that? Is there some woman up here shouting? There’s screeching and crying but I’m glued to the spot. My calmness has switched to fear and I’m dizzy again.

My brain is telling me to investigate the noise but my legs are like jelly and have caused me to drop to the safety of the cemented roof. I’m curled up in the fetal position and terrified. Pulling myself forwards, the crying is growing louder. It changes from mad wailing to a whimper. Is there somebody up there? What’s that noise? Can you help me please?

I realise that noise was my dead lower limbs scratching across the cement surface. But I start heaving and dry retching the closer I get to her. How the fuck am I supposed to help this person when I’m like a bag of shite myself? Eventually I reach the ledge and I see her looking up. The woman stops crying and then starts again when she sees my face. What the fuck is wrong with you? Can you get someone else to help me instead?

Holding in my vomit I apologise for my grey face and tell her I’ve got vertigo and that I’ll be able to pull her up once I’ve composed myself.

She calms down and sits on the tiny mantle with her back pressed up against a red panel. As long as she doesn’t move, she will be safe. Me on the other hand will boke directly onto her head if I look down one more time.

I tell her I will phone the police and a helicopter will rescue us. I ask her how she got there and she says she normally comes up to the roof for a smoke and to admire the view but she dropped her lighter and bent down to pick it up, that’s when she lost her balance.  She’d been there for about an hour before I came.

So I stopped heaving for a minute and still lying down, reached into my pocket and pulled out my mobile. No signal. Fucking Giff Gaff….



3rd June 2017

Falls Road Library Creative Writer’s Group

25 Minutes writing time