Back in London. Delphine and I took the train from Borth. We came for the week – so Delph could attend a dance intensive every day at the Trinity-Laban conservatoire. I love saying conservatoire, Miranda Hart-style. One more time, lips all puffed out- con-ser-va-toire. Ahhh. No wonder the Europeans don’t understand us. I don’t mean that against them either. Careful these days.
Yesterday Delphine had an accident. It was day two when one of the instructors suggested they do a lift. A lift is new thing for Delphine. Not something she does at ballet at home, not yet anyhow. Somehow during the lift, both Delph and the instructor fell. As she tried to get up, Delphine realised her ankle had been hurt.
The first I heard about it was sitting downstairs in the cafe. Another instructor came to see me with a bag of ice in her hand.
‘We are icing it right now,’ the instructor said. ‘I don’t want to make you worry but I have to keep you informed.’
Leave it, I thought at first. Don’t interfere. As her mother, sometimes my presence can be a hindrance to calming the situation down. The instructor looked super mellow about it too. Five minutes passed. Chloe, Delph’s cousin was sitting next to me. It was her Easter holiday and she’d come along rather than sit at home.
‘I think we should go and check on her.’
I looked at Chloe. ‘You do?’
She nodded. ‘I’ll check and you can hide so she doesn’t see you.’
Good idea. We went up the spiral staircase to the dance studio. ‘She’s crying.’ Chloe breathed.
I approached the glass door. Sure enough, Delph was sitting on a chair, crying. A man was bandaging her ankle. People were still dancing around her. We watched as he put her sock back on over her bandage and very gently, her ballet shoe. Then he came out of the studio.
‘Are you the mother?’
‘I need you to come and fill out some forms.’
’How are we going to get this kid home?’
‘I’m not sure but she’ll need to rest it. No dancing moves for the rest of the week.’
I nodded, but it wasn’t the dancing I was trying to process. It was the getting home part. We’d come by public transport. Three trains and a ten minute walk to my mum’s house. We’d timed the journey at an hour-and-a-half. How was that going to be possible now with Delphine’s injured ankle?
After signing the forms, I went back upstairs to check on Delphine. She was still on the chair except she’d made herself part of the dance again. Her face was red and blotchy as she made arm movements along with the other dancers. Chloe was now positioned by the studio’s table, watching her.
I left them and went downstairs to the cafe. The other dance mums looked at me worriedly.
Was the person who lifted her trained to take her disability into consideration they asked? I shook my head, unsure. An accident, yes. But avoidable? This is always the bit that hurts.