Before I even opened my eyes I knew something was very wrong.
I wasn't at home in my own bed and I had no idea where I was.
For a horrible moment I wondered if I had taken my friend Cara's advice to get my sorbet man out the way. "The only way to get over one man is to get under another!" she cackled the other night when we were halfway into our third bottle of rosé. Solveig squeezed my hand under the table as I tried not to dissolve into a puddle of tears and great shuddery poor-wee-me breaths.
Cara's husband walked out on her last year leaving her with three kids, so it's not as though I could say she didn't understand, but ever since we were kids Cara had been made of sterner stuff than me. I'd been terrified to hand in homework a minute late while she blithely read a book under her desk during double maths. When Mrs Reid shouted at her, I quaked on her behalf but Cara cheerfully agreed that she would go to detention, but could she just finish her chapter first?
Please let me not have listened to her last night. I couldn't face opening my eyes to be confronted with some hairy minger all chuffed with himself for having pulled. I cringed as I pictured the awkward small talk over tea and toast, counting the minutes until it was decent to scarper - although no, people just took off these days, didn't they?
It was all swiping and no strings or surnames. Nearly six years I'd been out the game, I thought as a dull ache settled in my tummy. It was a new world now. My Granny probably had a better handle on Tinder than I did.
But then a sharp, anti-septic-y smell reached my nostrils and my heart fell into my toes. I was in hospitalOh no. Please say it wasn't wee Granny. It couldn't be.
One night when I was wee she had caught me crying in my bed at the thought that she would die one day, and she announced she'd do me a deal: if I ate all my vegetables at every meal, then she promised not to ever die. She would be ninety next birthday and she was fitter than half my clients at the gym where I work, so she seemed to be keeping her end of the bargain so far.
She'd been fine that afternoon. I was a bit grouchy when she phoned me to tell me that I was to get out my bloody pyjamas and to get back to work (I've only been moping for three days, for goodness' sake!). She told me she was off to Thai Chi with her pals from Bingo and I could come along as long as I promised not to start bubbling over Craig and making a show of myself.
It was alright for her. She'd been dumped, once a million years ago. An American GI promised he'd come right back to Scotland to marry her when he was released from duty after the war, and he was yet to show up, which was some pretty turbo-charged ghosting. He'd left her with a souvenir in the shape of my useless father ("ach it was VE day, 'abody was celebrating," she chuckled when I was about twelve and confronted her when I'd clicked what she must have done when she wasn't even married) She waited for him for a year, then when VJ day came and went, she decided that was it for her and men.
A sharp, white hot pain seared through me, and it finally occurred to me that I was in hospital for me. I finally opened my eyes properly. Sure enough, I was lying on a stretcher-thingy shoved against the wall in a busy corridor.
At least Granny was okay, I thought as my ribs throbbed. My head pounded as though my skull was about to explode and I couldn't help thinking of the time when Cara insisted we put an egg in her mum's brand new microwave to find out if it was true it would blow up.
I blinked, trying to bring the world into focus, as a group of medical-looking people went charging past me in a flurry of murky green scrubs. Machines beeped, sirens wailed, somewhere just out of sight somebody was groaning in pain.
What was I doing in hospital?
Presumably that white hot pain had something to do with it. My nose twitched and I went to scratch it, and yep, white hot pain as soon as I tried to move. My face had a weird, tight feeling as though I'd fallen asleep with a face mask on, and I realised that I could see everything through a haze of red. There was blood in my eye, and I was fairly sure I had a lump on my head worthy of Bugs Bunny.
Tentatively I tried wriggling my fingers and toes. Though my fingers protested - and a glance down confirmed they were swollen and glowering in lively hues of red and purple - they agreed to move after a fashion, as did my toes. Nothing irretrievably broken, then. That was something.
But what on earth had happened to me?
I forced myself to look around, hoping that there might be some clue in one of the other patients. Most of the cubicles in the Accident & Emergency room were taken up by a rabble of guys in kilts and dickie bows, and a couple of women in pastel coloured meringue-like dresses. There didn't seem to be an unbroken nose between them and they were each handcuffed to their respective gurneys, though that didn't stop them roaring slurred insults back and forth.
Did I have anything to do with them? Had I gone to a wedding and got in a fight? That wasn't exactly outside the bounds of possibility, but try as I might I couldn't dredge a single memory out of my entire useless skull.
The one gurney not taken up by the wedding party was occupied by a wee old man in an inexplicable orange tracksuit who sang a tuneless song, attempting to harmonise with sirens as ambulances came and went. I was fairly sure I hadn't been in a fight with him. I hoped.
It's not as though I'm any stranger to injury. Much to Granny's horror I started Munro bagging in my teens and I've never met a rock face I didn't fancy since. I kayaked to Ireland to raise money for the Glasgow Hospice last summer and I've trained in Mixed Martial Arts for yonks.
That must be it. I must have gone flying at training or something.
Now I thought about it, I had a dim recollection of realising that I was getting a bit sick of myself moping in my PJs thinking sad things about Craig and dying alone and all that. After hanging up with Granny I had headed to one of my favourite kick boxing classes, the one that always leaves me black and blue. In fact Craig used to joke that he could play join the dots with the bruises on my body when he...
Best not think about that.
'Ach it's nothing to greet aboot, it looks worse than it is.'
There was a nurse in my face all of a sudden. A wee guy with a whispy blond beard and pale blue eyes shone a light in my eyes, presumably to check they weren't rolling back in my head or whirling round like a cartoon character's. I impatiently blinked away the tears that had sprung up at the thought of Craig, and resisted the urge to tell the nurse where he could stick his wee torch.
'If that's you awake the police are wantin' to talk to you,' he said, reading the screen of one of the beepy machines next to my bed with a frown. 'Are ye feelin' up tae it? I'll tell them to get lost if you want. Maybe a wee cup of tea first?'
The police? But I hurt myself at kick boxing. What did the police want with me?