It Still Hurts

60560468_10218794236148546_1202719953891885056_n

The hospital is dark, only the dimmest of lights flickering. That ever-present hospital smell floats around her like an ominous mist. Walking slowly down the corridor, her right boot squeaks, the sound seemingly amplified in the stillness around her. Glancing down at the offending boot, she takes notice of her clothes, as though she was not previously aware of such things. Her black jeans, tucked into her black boots, feel tighter than she remembers them being. A stark contrast to the baggy summer top under her open plaid shirt that is hanging off her frame.

Walking past the nurse’s station, she glances to her left, the bay is eerily silent. All but one of the eight beds shrouded in darkness, the lone occupant seemingly asleep with an almost translucent light surrounding her. Slowly approaching the bed, she notices how strange it is to see the lady, not in a hospital gown, but her own clothes. Taking in the appearance of the familiar navy trousers and that white shirt with its blue flowered pattern brings a feeling of sentimentality. Leaning down over the bed, she kisses her forehead, tears in her eyes as she pulls a chair forward from behind her.

Bright blue eyes open and meet her misty ones, “You look like my Sophie. But older.” Her voice is so soft and unsure, it breaks her heart.

“It’s okay, you’re just dreaming.” She reaches over for the hand resting on the bed.

“I’m dying.”

She nods slowly, “yes.”

“I worry about you. How you’ll be.”

“I know. I’m fine. I miss you, I always will but there are times where I feel you with me and it is such a strong feeling that I can’t even attempt to brush it off as me just being hopeful.”

“I’ll always be with you, sweetheart.”

“You know, at some point, you told mum that she shouldn’t worry about me because you knew I would be okay…”

“I know you will be.”

“I never thought I would be.”

“We raised you to be. You’re a fighter, whether you want to be or not.”

“It still hurts. I always miss you.”

The grip on her hand tightens, thin fingers wrapping around her palm, “and I you. Always.”

Her head drops to their clasped hands, tears leaking freely from her eyes. She feels a hand in her hair, comforting in a way that is almost foreign to her now, “I love you.”

“I love you too, sweetheart. So much.”

She raises her head, sight blurry as she lays a soft kiss to the hand she holds. A cold hand reaches out and places some fallen hairs back behind her ear, “Tell me about your life now.”

“I’m a social worker. I work with children with similar problems to the ones I had.”

A content smile and a knowing look is her response, a slow nod of the head that she reads as approval, “Married?”

She shakes her head quickly, “No. I couldn’t get past the idea of not being able to walk down the aisle with you and grandad there.”

“We’ll be there. Maybe not physically, but we will be there. It isn’t something either of us would ever miss, sweetheart. Please, don’t let that stop you if you have someone special in your life.”

“Visiting hours are over in 10 minutes, ladies.” A strong voice surprises them from the hallway.

“I think that’s your cue.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s okay. Go. Go back to your life.”

“Love you.”

“I love you too.”

Standing up, leaning over one last time to place a kiss on her forehead, she starts to walk backwards. She keeps eye contact for as long as she can before she’s no longer in her sight, turning to walk back down the silent corridor.

 

 

I was wanting to work on my tenses – and also on writing something that hurts… this is what happened (Part 1 of 2)

Tell Me

60560468_10218794236148546_1202719953891885056_n

Standing at the bus stop, there’s a strange hue in the air that has her tilting her head and reaching up to clean her glasses. Glasses clean and hue still present, she wanders down the street with curious intent. Turning the corner, she is approached by a couple she recognises, a couple who have been long since gone. A friendly, knowing smile and a polite tip of a hat while he passes her a newspaper is their only greeting. She follows them with her eyes as they move by her and continue on down the street, her eyes only glancing down to the newspaper once they are out of sight.

“Tuesday 8thJuly 2008”

She stands motionless for several moments, blinking at the date. Her eyes move once more to the street in front of her, feet propelling her forward. Looking around and taking in the house in front of her, she comes to the conclusion that this is all just a vivid dream.

The house is in darkness as she stumbles in through the back door. Walking through the kitchen to push open the living room door, her head peaks around it, unsure of what she may be walking in to. The room is full of people, people she recognises. Her aunts, cousins and grandfather are all asleep on various chairs and sofas, in what looks to be the most uncomfortable positions. ’Oh’, she thinks, ‘I know why I’m here.’

Quietly walking through the living room, she hovers near the staircase. The red patterned carpet causes her to become sentimental and tears spring to her eyes. A hand is suddenly loosely around her wrist and she fights back a yelp of surprise, turning to see her grandfather’s bright eyes. “It’s okay”, she tells him, “It’s okay.” His hand leaves her wrist as he nods, a very slight incline granting her his permission to proceed. Her feet start to move her forwards, climbing the stairs much slower than she can ever recall climbing them.

As she enters into the bedroom, her eyes automatically glance to the mirror, startled eyes meet with the warm blue ones reflected back at her from across the room. Making her way into the room and turning to face the figure in the bed, she pauses. Her mind repeating the words she had not so long ago spoken to her grandfather. ‘It’s okay. It’s okay.’

“It’s okay,” the lady’s voice is light and hopeful, comforting in a way that has her feeling emotions she has long since forgotten the strength of. She moves forward, stepping into the light, slowly lowering herself onto the chair at the side of the bed.

She looks up, making eye contact with the lady, her Nanna. Eyes misty, she sees the deep intake of breath and the almost whispered words, “There you are.”

Sitting in the chair, hands in her lap, unsure of what to say in this situation. Wanting nothing more but to reach out and gather her Nanna into her arms, she instead sits motionless. Her Nanna lays there, swallowed up by the huge double bed, an all-knowing glint in her eyes as she smiles and tells her, “I’ve been waiting.” A frail hand reaches over to a pale sweaty one. As soon as contact is made, the tears start silently falling, “I…”.

Taking a deep breath, she starts again, “I got better. I fought hard and worked even harder and I did it.”

“Tell me, sweetheart.”

“I’m a social worker, Nan. I help people who are feeling like how I was feeling all those years.”

“And you’re okay?”

She smiles sadly, “I am…”

“…but? What is it, sweetheart?”

“Losing you. You took a part of me with you. I’m like a jigsaw with permanently missing pieces.”

“Sweetheart. There is nothing in this world that would make me leave you permanently. You’re my Sophie, our bond is much too strong, not even death itself could break it. I will always be with you, somehow. Please, know that.”

“I do know that. I feel it. I’ve always felt it.” She smiles with wet eyes, wanting nothing more than to stay, “I have to go now, don’t I?”

“You do. So do I soon.”

Bringing her hand to her lips, she leaves a kiss on her thin skin before leaning over to place a kiss on her forehead, “Nanny” her voice cracks, “I love you.”

“I love you too, poppet,” and with a final squeeze, she lets her hand go.

She rises, walks to the door, their eyes meeting once more in the mirror before she turns and heads back down the stairs. Her movements are quicker now, a little panicked as she can hear voices, her family are awake. Looking into the living room, she sees nothing but vacant space, the voices travelling through from the kitchen. Walking quickly, she aims to reach the front door without alerting anyone of her presence. As she steps outside and pulls the door shut, she notices a car pull up. Her feet start to move towards it, as though they have their own motivation. As the door opens, a young girl steps out, a terrified look in her eyes. They stand and look at one another for a few seconds, before she moves closer, lays one hand on her younger self’s shoulder before heading back down the street.

Walking back towards the bus stop, she sits down on the seat underneath the shelter. She places her head in her hands and takes a breath, energy suddenly drained. The feeling of another presence is sudden and startling, as she jerks her head up, she is met with stunningly familiar, bright blue eyes, “Mummy, what’s wrong?”

She smiles, content, “It’s okay. Are you ready to go?”

 

 

I was wanting to work on my tenses – and also on writing something that hurts… this is what happened (Part 2 of 2)

 

 

 

One Day

You always told me, “One day…”
Trying in vain to prepare me for these days.

In the early days, I notice your hat is still there – I make a mental note to ask if I can keep it,
But then in the blink of an eye – it is gone.

I take your collection of ties without waiting for a better time,
Folding them up neatly in a bag.

I think of the sadness in your eyes whenever you spoke of a family who was long since gone,
Always preparing me for, “One day…”

I never expected ‘one day’ would feel like this,
Never imagined I would understand so accurately that sadness I saw within you.

Weeks later, we are standing outside our house,
We are all here, waiting.

Liz announces the arrival of the hearse with a deafening, “He’s here.”
Nic and I lose composure, eyes dropping immediately to our feet.

I sit in the funeral car, with your daughters – the magnitude of that moment hits hard,
I am the only grandchild in the car and I wonder, does that not speak volumes?

The house is empty,
I am showing prospective buyers around.

They want to change everything – strip it bare and start anew,
I want to drag them out but instead, I just remove myself.

“One day, I won’t be here anymore. You’ll be telling your grandchildren about me like I am telling you about mine.”

 

Foresight

She walks slowly through the streets, hands holding on tightly to the handles in front of her. Her smile is tight and her knuckles white as they grip strongly. The paths are easy to navigate, the space is open and encourages her to keep pushing forwards.

“Stop here!” Ron points to a spot just slightly to the right of where they are walking.

Sophie wheels him over, making sure to put the brakes down on the wheelchair. She moves from behind him, lowering into an uncomfortable crouch beside the chair. Turning to look at Ron, she finds herself taking in everything that she can. His eyes, the colour of his hair, the aftershave she can smell. This feels like foresight, like knowing this moment is one that she will remember when she reminisces in years to come.

The ocean looks like it goes on forever, the beach below inviting them with its warm colours. Ron’s eyes move rapidly as he soaks it all in, the soft wind moving strands of hair from their previously perfect placement. He moves his head to look towards Sophie, smiling in such a familiar way that it jolts her.

“Grandad?” There is such wonderment in her voice as she speaks in a soft, hopeful tone.

He raises his hand to her cheek, “Do you remember coming here when you were little?”

“Yes.” Sophie nods, teary-eyed. She leans over him, arms wrapping around his frame as she buries her head briefly in his shirt. When she pulls back, he smiles his smile and she offers him one of her own.

“You look tired, Sophie.”

“I’m alright. It’s just the sea air.” She lies smoothly. He nods in response and takes her hand as he looks off towards to ocean.

 

Original work by ‘Just Me’.