Words by John Theodoropoulos, Illustrations by Dina Theodoropoulos
I was holidaying with family in a little place in Turkey named Fethiye. We would routinely go on long drives to discover the beauty of the area. On this particular day, we had agreed to drive to a little café located just off the coast, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Aegean Sea. A heavenly place on Earth.
I was transferred into the vehicle and the four of us drove off to enjoy the scenic views. We had heard so much of this café by the sea. We were eager to arrive and spend our time eating, relaxing and observing the magnificent sunset we’d been promised. Watching the world go by is a favourite pastime of mine.
On arriving at the location, we parked the car and began the monotonous task of getting me transferred from the vehicle into the wheelchair. I was sitting on the edge of the passenger seat, with my legs dangling out of the vehicle, when I began to suspect something was wrong. I could hear murmurings and expletives coming from behind the boot of the vehicle – out of my vision – from the three accompanying members of our road trip.
I asked if everything was okay. There was a brief silence, until one responded – ‘yes, just wait, it should be okay’. I then saw one of them open the rear door and search frantically throughout the rear of the vehicle. It was then that I realised something was definitely up.
‘What’s going on?’ I asked.
The three of them united and approached me hesitantly: ‘we can’t find your Jay cushion’.
For those not in the know, a Jay cushion is designed to stabilize the pelvis, protect skin from the risk of breakdown, and position the body. It’s composed of a multi-layered foam/gel base and placed on the seat of the wheelchair. In other words, essential for my health and comfort.
We decided to retrace each of our steps.
I told them no one handed me the cushion after my transfer into the vehicle. Another stated they entered the driver’s seat as I was transferring. Two down, two to go.
The next spoke of how after transferring me from the wheelchair, he proceeded to fold the wheelchair and position it in the boot of the vehicle. I immediately and anxiously asked what he did with the cushion before folding the wheelchair. He said he handed it to his partner.
Now, to the final witness.
She recollected that she received the cushion and whilst waiting for the wheelchair to be placed inside of the boot, she placed it on the roof of the vehicle. The next thing she remembered was sitting in the back seat. We have the culprit – mystery solved!
We decided to telephone the apartment complex where we were residing to see if there was a cushion on the side of the road. They went and found the cushion in the middle of the road. They spoke of how it might have been run over and was a little tattered – I knew the truth – they were being polite. I knew it would not be a little tattered but roadkill.
We decided to stay, and deal with the ‘tattered’ cushion later. I transferred onto the wheelchair – missing one Jay cushion – and proceeded towards the café. It felt weird not being at my usual height, but I would soldier on.
The spectacular view I’d been anticipating was somewhat diminished, as I wasn’t able to comfortably look over the surrounding bar to the oncoming sunset. Wheeling myself under the table, my chin was at the same level as the table itself – that is how much lower I sank without my dear cushion beneath my derriere. I felt like I was playing a starring role in The Land Of The Giants or Jack And The Bean Stalk.
After a few drinks, we all laughed at the situation, but mostly about my immediate miniature status. Sometimes we make do as best as we can. It turned into a great evening by the end.
We eventually took the ‘tattered’ cushion to a tailor who stitched and glued the cushion as best he could, so that minimal gel would ooze from its inner casing. I returned to my normal status, and the fragile cushion survived till our return to Australia.
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- July 11, 2023