In February 1981 I had a terrible accident during a football match. My right leg was broken at three places and around my ankle a lot of ligaments were torn. I was rushed off to hospital. Once there the swelling was so bad, that all they could do was to put a plaster cast around it. After that I was send home again with the message not to move and keep the leg up to reduce the swelling. The university had a small ward where I could stay. There was a nurse during the day and a doctor came round regularly. I was the only patient. I had to arrange my own food and at night I had the place to myself.
At that time I had girlfriend called Witsi. She was Malaysian, sweet, pretty, quite tall, especially for an Asian girl and she was also a terrific dancer. I discovered then that Witsi was also a very caring girl. She came round every day, bringing me a lunch, cooked my evening meals, did my washing, helped me move around and kept me company in the evenings.
When the swelling got less I had to go to the hospital to be operated. All together I stayed three weeks in the hospital. I wasn't allowed to move, there was no pressure on my leg allowed. I wasn't feeling ill and I was not in pain. Life became very boring at the hospital. It was a good time to think things over. I thought about Barbara and was wondering how she got on. To find out I decided to write her a letter. It seemed to me that she probably got her life sorted out by now and therefore sending her a friendly letter could do no harm. It was not an emotional or miserable letter. It turned out to be a nicely written letter of which I was quite proud. I wrote her about what I have been doing and that I was in hospital now. I did write that I hadn't forgotten her, but I didn't ask her to come and see me or to get in contact with me. I didn't even know if Barbara was ever going to receive this letter as I posted it to Belsize avenue, she might have moved.
Two days later after I posted the letter, a Saturday afternoon, a scene happened which could have been in a movie. I shared the ward with three other guys, they told me later that I looked like that I had just seen a ghost.
That Saturday afternoon I was just dosing off a bit as I wasn't expecting any visitors. Then Barbara walked in the ward. She looked round, saw me, smiled and walked towards me. She sat down on my bed, took my hands in her hands and said with the sweetest smile "Hello Robert, how are you?".
Barbara unexpected appearance in the hospital and the natural way we spoke to each other and especially how our meeting ended, made such a big impression on me that even after 30 years. I still remember parts of the conversation we had. This is what I remember.
b. hello Robert how are you?
r. wow, you came all the way down here to see me, did you drive to here?
r. with that old Hillman
b. what do you think, it was the first thing I sold
r. what kind of car do you have now then
b. a Volkswagen of course
r. yes you always wanted one of them, so how are doing?
b. I am fine, life hasn't changed much. I am still working at the burger King, working hard at college and going home in the weekends. It did some modeling. Once I went to Portugal for a photo shoot
r. wow, Portugal that sounds like fun
b. it wasn't, it was hard work and very tiring.
r. so you got my letter then.
b. yes I did, I cried a lot that evening and then I decided that I wanted to see you and here I am
r. I guess your mother doesn't know you are here now
b. You guessed right, but what do you think, should we try to see each other again
r. I like that very much, but don't you have a boyfriend now?
b. I got a friend, he is very nice to me, he is a photographer.
r. do I know him?
b. you might have seen him
r. Is he that tall Chinese guy with glasses, he was a photographer I seen him once when I picked you up after rehearsal of that beauty contest?
b. thats right, its him
r. I remember now, he seemed very keen of you then........ I got a girlfriend now.
b. That doesn't suprise me
r. anyway I like to see you again
b. I haven't got much time, I got to work hard now at college and I got a job now on Friday evening, I help out with shows, at the moment I am working by the beauty contest. I understand now why I came second.
r. O yeh, the contest, how did it go with that winner who couldn't speak Chinese and had to go to Hong Kong to do some representative work.
b. it was a disaster, I don't think they make that mistake again
r. and you still go home every weekend to work in the shop
b. I got to go now, I have to be on time back home, I told my mother I was visiting a friend in London. (stands up to leave)
r. am I going to see you again?
b. you might (walks away)
b. (turns round and looks at me teasingly ) write me another letter and then I let you know (leaves the ward with a big smile on her face)
等到我的腿肿消了一些，我需要回到医院动手术。一共我住了3周院。我被禁止活动，我的伤腿上不能有任何压力。我自己并不觉得难过或疼痛。日子过得非常无聊。倒是个好好考虑事情的时机。我想到Barbara, 猜测她在做什么。为了找到答案，我写了封信。我觉得似乎她应该已经把自己的生活理顺了，给她封信应该没有什么坏处。那封信既没有太深情也没有可怜兮兮，措辞很不错，我当时也有点得意。我告诉她这段时间我都做了什么，现在我在住院。我写了我还没有忘记她，但我没有要求她来看我或是联系我。我把信寄到波赛兹大街(Belsize avenue) ,也不知道她是否能收到信，或许她搬走了也不一定。
因为计划没有人来探病，那天下午我迷迷糊糊要睡着了。Barbara走进了病房。她四处张望，看到了我就微笑了，向我走过来。她坐到我床上，伸手握住我的手，带着她那种甜甜的微笑对我说，Hello Robert, 你好吗？
b. 当然是大众 (Volkswagen)
b. (她转过身，顽皮地看了看我) 再给我写封信吧，那时我才可以告诉你。（带着一脸灿烂的微笑，她走出了病房。)
(thanks to Natalie for the translation)