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London Calling; A Time to look Back

Updated on February 8, 2017
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Jo has been an ITU nurse at the London North West NHS Trust for 14 years. She obtained her RN at University College London Hospital.

The Return

The London traffic was far worse than he remembered. Tony gazed out from the window of the black London taxi cab. The city had changed, much of it was new since he was last here. The driver was an eager young Pakistani who insisted on giving him the full tourist speil. “This is the London Eye,” he pointed proudly, “ they built it for the millennial celebration in 2000. It is the largest observation wheel anywhere in the world.”

Assuming Tony was a tourist, the driver continued to point out various places of interest, as the taxi inched its way through the horrendous traffic. “Did you know, it is possible to view up to 25 miles around London from the London Eye? He inquired, Tony smiled, as the amiable young man enlightened him about London, in a thick Pakistani accent. If only he knew!!... Tony did not elucidate, and the driver continued, not aware that his passenger already knew London like the back of his hand, well... he did once, but must now concede, twenty years was indeed a very long time. Once again, here he was, a stranger in a foreign land.

The excitement of this beautiful vibrant city was mounting; it felt strange but also familiar. The vehicle, however, moved painstakingly slow, like a snail on sedatives, Tony sighed.

Tony took the opportunity to reminisce; he drifted softly back in time. The driver still chuntering on. Tony sat back, one hand under his chin, his right foot tapping impatiently, a far away look in the hazel eyes, the apparent composure on the handsome face belied the intensely conflicting emotions surging through his body.

The voice of the driver and the noise of the heavy traffic merged and faded into the background like the distant echo of a restless ocean.

The elegantly dressed middle-aged man leant back into the comfortable seat.

Tony felt young again, in his prime, a young man on the brink of discovery. He would become a doctor, not just any doctor, but a doctor with status, money, and influence.

From Sicily to London

Tony grew up in a relatively poor Italian family; he left home with mixed feelings and a heart full of hope. The young Tony could barely contain his excitement, but there was also sadness, as he moved away from Sicily and his family to chase his dream of becoming a doctor in London.

Tony's father Alessandro, reluctantly arranged the move to London, heTony would live with Alessandro's brother. Tony's uncle Gino and his family.

Uncle Gino left Italy ten years ear; he now owned a string of successful delicatessen in and around Hampstead village, one of the most affluent areas of London. Hampstead village is said to have more millionaires within its boundaries than any other area of the United Kingdom. Gino was a Sicilian of modest beginnings who made good in London and was very proud of this fact.

He was happy to have his nephew join his family. Gino always wanted a son. "The Lord in his wisdom gave me four daughters, as punishment!!...." he would throw his hands up in jest, but there was always a hint of sadness in his voice when he uttered those words. Gino loved his daughters dearly, however, he sometime felt completely out numbered, as the only male in this noisy family of women.

Tony soon became the son Gino never had; he would cringe with embarrassment as Gino bragged to his customers, "this is my talented nephew Tony, he will be very brilliant surgeon one day."

In the slow London traffic

Finally, the mist that were clouding Tony's mind lifted; nostalgia threatened to overwhelm him. How could he have forgotten her? He smiled, Yes it was all coming back to him now. But the girl, how on earth is it even possible? Sweet Jesus! it really possible? Tony remembered the shock he felt, having opened the package from the morning post, he slid the enclosed disk into his laptop and saw the same beautiful face from way back.... the same face.... but yet..... not quite the same.

He replayed the video, gazing at the young girl's face, searching for.... he did not know what. she was exceptionally beautiful with the smile of an angel and a sweet soulful voice. He watched the unchecked tears raining down her cheeks, the sheer relief and disbelief in those lovely eyes as she looked at her, as if afraid to let herself believe, but it was true, she had won the contest and declared, the United Kingdom's X factor winner of the year.

Tony was no longer sitting in the back of a taxi cab crawling through the London traffic. He was at the operating table, 20 years in the past. He would steal occasional glances at the very efficient theater nurse working beside him. He loved the intensity with which she followed his every movement. Preempting him, she'd wait with the appropriate instrument in her hand, pressing it firmly into his, as he reached out, he never needing to ask.

Tony Left London for the US, accepting a lucrative job as a Cardiac Surgeon at the world famous Mayo Clinic. His life was a mess, as he attempted to end his marriage with a modicum of dignity. However, Kate wanted revenge; her marriage was now over, but she would not leave quietly. She intended to make life hell for her creep of a husband; she will end this sham of a marriage with as much bitterness and recrimination as possible.

Fortunately for Tony, the offer of a job in the US, came just in time. On hearing Tony's version of marital woe, his friend and mentor, who was also a prominent Surgeon, arranged the move. The " old boy's " network still going strong and crosses the pond with perfect timing for Tony. "You're just running away, you fucking coward." Kate spat at him, in a heated row, when he revealed his plans to her, and maybe she was right.

Tony and Kate were happily married for three years, before the awful news, that Tony would never father a child.

Kate was desperate for children, an only child, she dreamt of a house full of boisterous Bambini, this news was devastating for the young couple. Kate wanted a large traditional Italian family, after undergoing every test possible, they were told that Tony had an extremely low sperm count and would not be able to give Kate the children she so longed for.

On the couple's 5th wedding anniversary, Kate spent the day crying into her Gin and tonic, while Tony sneaked into another man's bed. Neither Kate nor Tony was happy with the constant sniping and fighting. Tony dealt with the situation by taking comfort in the arms of available married women, and only married women.

He would break this rule, just once.

The Young Doctor, Tony In London

The sight of the attractive, vivacious theater nurse, always manages to excite and infuse some well-needed sunshine into Tony's day. So much so, that consciously or unconsciously, hers was the first face he would seek as he entered the hospital.

Exhausted, after a long and testing day, Tony was feeling jaded, a bit depressed, as he changed into jeans and blue cashmere pullover. About to head for the exit, he stopped; he thought he could hear music drifting from the coffee room, but surly every one had left? Curious; he decided there was time for one more coffee before braving the London traffic.

Tony pushed open the door to the coffee room, and entered. “What a lovely surprise,” he shouted loudly, above the loud music coming from the radio. The young woman was oblivious, as she moved with the music shaking her mass of dark curly locks backwards and forwards as she played an invisible saxophone. Then in a velvet smooth voice, she sang along with Gerry Rafferty' "He's gonna give up the booze and the one night stands And then he'll settle down in a quiet little town And forget about every...." the next word died on her lips as she threw her head around to find Tony vigorously clapping his hands, reclining in an old arm chair. His long legs thrown out in front of him, as he tried unsuccessfully, not to cracking up with laughter.

Joy turned away grabbed the bag containing polystyrene cups, which she was tiding away, she dropped the bag and began to giggle; she placed both hands on her face, " Oh my God!!... how bloody embarrassing?" She attempted to move past Tony, aiming for the door, Joy began what was meant to be a cheery, good night doctor, but could not get the words out.

Tony suddenly knew, he did not want to go home. He took hold of the young nurse's arm, time to bite the bullet, he thought, “Joy, please, have dinner with me tonight? He whispered urgently.

The question was not planned, Tony's heart, pounding much too fast, he waited for her reply, it seemed a long time coming.


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    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      alan, I can clearly see you're a fan of the NHS management team :).

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Your paper-chasers probably get kick-backs from the agencies for hiring NHS-trained nursing staff, and it saves them paying the nurses' pensions. It also saves room on their computers for surfing the net to find porno sites.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi alancaster, so.... you've met my furry little friend :). Isn't he cute? As for the NHS, I hope those paper chasers think twice before handing out p45s. If they do, it will only cost us all more in the long run, when they start bringing the same people back as agency staff, but for a lot more money. Thank you very much for stopping by and for liking this, much appreciated.

      Best wishes to you.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      This is good writing. Are you sure you're in the right business? (The NHS can get along all right on its own, besides the Admin boys have cooked the figures again and will be calling out more of the P45's).

      Are you another hopeful in this big, wkd city?

      PS: Great buskers! He's got whiskers (good job this cat sitting next to me hasn't seen him yet. Maybe he should be a real cool mouse, give him some shades, man)!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Irish, thank you so much for reading this, so glad you enjoyed it and yes, I'm thinking about the next chapter. Best wishes to you.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Gypsy, I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it, thanks for sharing. My very best to you.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Wow - you are a wonderful story teller and writer. I hope this has another chapter to it!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Amazing story. Voted up. Love the video and took me through the streets of London Town. Passing this on.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Billy, you are a prince!!!.. :) It's a bit long, so many thanks for reading. For the Joy of it, you will have to return for the next installment. Take care now, best to you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Any story that has "Baker Street" in it is a fine story in my opinion. :) Loved this story....come on, what's going to happen? Is Joy THE ONE???

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