When the lights go out - hope­less

The Southland Times - - COMMENT&OPINION -

Which do you think is worse, to get a fright or to frighten an­other? Hard to say, but it can hap­pen that the two come to­gether as when you bump into some­one in the dark and the fright goes both ways.

Hap­pens – did to me last week in Hok­i­tika when a great storm brought us an un­ac­cus­tomed pitch dark for some hours.

Heavy rain woke me and trig­gered my de­sire to ‘‘go’’ so go I did.

Out of bed, no lamp work­ing, to the door, no re­sponse from light switch there.

Strangely I did not think of a power cut, just re­mem­bered we were sleep­ing in a room at the end of a long hall with doors down ei­ther side, one of which would lead to a bath­room. But which? First door opened to a snore. Next nearly knocked me out as I opened and con­fi­dently went into a linen cup­board, hit­ting my fore­head hard.

Backed out, stunned, and af­ter one more try hit the jack­pot and the loo. Which would not flush. Nei­ther would a basin tap yield wa­ter.

On the way back, no sign of a wel­come light near our bed­room; just black­ness.

Even­tu­ally I got in, turned to climb into bed and saw a shape com­ing through the door I had pulled closed.

‘‘Look it’s me,’’ Him­self as­sured, head­ing over grop­ing his way across the bed.

Well of course it was. Wak­ing alone he had fol­lowed me out, and in, and now we were to­gether again. Bliss.

He had twigged to the wa­ter short­age, the power cut had shut down the pumps that brought wa­ter to the house. Ac­cus­tomed to a grav­ity-fed sys­tem that truly had not oc­curred to me.

Lights, heat and wa­ter came on stream about noon but it had been a night to re­mem­ber and the mild headache that stayed with me for a few days kept the mem­ory fresh.

Now that was last week. This week, last night, Na­tional Coun­cil of Women South­land pres­i­dent Anne McCracken in­tro­duced a guest speaker; the re­mark­able phys­io­ther­a­pist, for­mer Wood­lands net­ball player, He­len Tu­fui.

She, like me once, cracked her head on a door­frame, and then thought about it. Today she runs headache clin­ics in Auck­land, Christchurch, Dunedin and at her home base, In­ver­cargill.

Re­mem­ber that name.

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