22 comments

Jun 21, 2020

Fiction Sad Romance

The Police called to tell me what had just happened to you. My phone clattered to the pavement as I sank to my knees, the humdrum sounds of the busy street fading into oblivion. A foggy greyness hovering at the outside edges of my vision grew darker and thicker, and then there was only blackness! And silence!

“Stand back, give her some room!”

“Should we call an ambulance?”

“Here! Lay her head on this,”

“Shouldn’t you loosen her scarf? She might choke.”

The jumble of voices sounded tinny and faraway as I swam back to consciousness. Struggling to open my eyes, I found myself lying in the standard recovery position, surrounded by a small crowd of concerned faces. I had apparently only blacked out for about thirty seconds, but it was enough to numb the edges of my shocked senses. Just enough to enable me to answer all their well-meaning questions, but not quite enough to prevent one of them ushering me directly to the nearest café for a cup of hot sweet tea.

“For the shock,” he said.

He has become a pillar of strength to me over these last four years, has that man. Even without knowing the slightest thing about me that day, Bill insisted on driving me to the hospital and waiting there with me throughout the blur of that first devastating afternoon, patting my hand and forcing me to drink even more cups of disgustingly sweet weak tea from the vending machine as I waited for news of you.

When they finally wheeled you out of the operating theatre and I was allowed to see you, the greyness threatened to engulf me again.

Your poor head was completely swathed in bandages so I couldn’t even see your eyes.

Narrow transparent tubes helping you to breathe!

A long drip connected to your stiffly bandaged arm!

So many tiny wires and snaking tubes linking so many parts of you up to a multitude of mysterious machines.

Electronic beeps! Mechanical breaths! Flashing lights! Clinical smells!

It was four years ago that you had your terrible accident.

The doctors told me that you would never regain consciousness, but I refused to believe them. I wouldn’t leave your bedside, be it day or night. I wouldn’t! I couldn’t! I replayed that morning’s conversation over in my head again and again. I replayed the first time I ever saw your face. I replayed our first kiss. I talked to you. I cried. I dried my tears and I hoped. I prayed to a God I didn’t believe in. I cried again.

I remember Brenda from the morning shift was my favourite of the nurses tending to you. She was so gentle when she had to move you, and spoke to you all the while. It was she who eventually managed to persuade me to go home for a change of clothes and to rest. Brenda told Bill, who used to come and sit with me in the afternoons, to take me in his car. Brenda has gone now. She was replaced by Margaret, and Margaret’s replacement has since been replaced. I’m afraid I don’t know your new nurse’s name.

Bill is still here. I don’t really know why he still comes after all this time. I think he’s lonely. He tells me I need looking after. I suppose I do. I can’t even seem to shop or cook for myself properly anymore, let alone look after that apartment of ours. I feel like I’m rattling around in an empty tin box when I’m there all by myself. He sometimes persuades me to go out for a walk in the park with him. He has a little dog you know, a Jack Russell terrier. You would have loved Bobby. He’s exactly your kind of dog, full of energy and always off rummaging in the undergrowth, getting up to Jack Russell terrier-type tricks. He’s black and white and all grey around the muzzle because of his age. He’s very old, a bit like his master, I suppose. I think you would have got on with Bill too. You both have the same sense of humour. That’s probably why I like him. Our little strolls in the park with Bobby have helped me. The first time I agreed to go, I went along just to humour him. It was my way of thanking him for his time. I wouldn’t leave your bedside for over twenty minutes though. I realize now that it was those tiny breaths of fresh air which helped me to retain a grasp on my sanity, to regain my will to stay alive.

This morning I had my regular weekly chat and update with Dr Slater, the latest medic assigned to your case. A most straightforward and knowledgeable young man, we get along very well. Even though he’s very busy, he always takes the time to answer any questions I have about you. He has been looking after you for the past last nine months. Today he seemed solemn as he led me into his office.

“I’m afraid your husband’s condition is deteriorating,” he said.

As he continued, telling me all about how they could continue to keep you breathing and assuring me that you were not in any pain, his voice grew distant and I could see only you in my mind. But the ‘you’ I saw was the real ‘you’, the fun-loving, energetic man I married forty-six years ago. You are the love of my life. You always have been, ever since the day we met, and you always will be. Through my tears, I saw your face and I heard your voice; I knew what you wanted me to do for you, what only I could do. I understood what Dr Slater was telling me, even though I don’t think he ever actually uttered the words out loud. So that’s when I gave my permission for him to help you leave me forever. That’s why I’m saying my final goodbye to you now, my love.

Yesterday was my seventy-first birthday, and during our little daily walk in the park, Bill told me he loved me. I wept then, and I sit here crying again now. He will never ever replace you, my love, but I believe you would have approved of him. I have told him I do not love him, but that we can be companions. I do not think I have very much time left here in this world, so please wish me well. I will miss you, and I know in my heart that we will be reunited before too long.

Until then my love, Goodbye.

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22 comments

Josh C
01:18 Jun 28, 2020

Very nice, if a little tragic. That's a very interesting use of the second person prompt idea, I hadn't really thought of that. I think I need to be more interpretive with the prompts. I sort of wonder if it would be better to have the reader, (the second person) be the one saying goodbye? I wonder if forcing that decision to say goodbye be 'your' choice as the reader would add to the emotional impact? The first person would be the one deteriorating...Not worth a complete re-write, just a thought.

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Shirley Medhurst
17:59 Jun 28, 2020

hmmm interesting idea, thank you - I'll have a think about that.... although I suspect it might be a little difficult to portray

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Amith Shaju
12:48 Jul 07, 2020

That was heart touching! I loved the narrative style. Pulled me in.

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Shirley Medhurst
06:44 Jul 08, 2020

Many thanks Joseph

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Mini Kohli
04:31 Jul 01, 2020

Very well crafted! It drew me in completely making me believe it’s happening to me. Well articulated for 2nd person narration.

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Shirley Medhurst
16:16 Jul 01, 2020

Thank you very much Mini

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Arvi Krish
03:58 Jul 01, 2020

A very touching, sad story. You really pulled me into the sad situation. Really nice!

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Shirley Medhurst
16:17 Jul 01, 2020

thank you for reading, pleased you liked it

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Kathleen March
22:46 Jun 30, 2020

I know well the "just say it" to let a loved one go peacefully, because I did it with my mother. I will never get over that. This is very poignant, but is not too heavy on sentiment. I like Bill. I almost wonder if the story could stop after the word "companions"?

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Shirley Medhurst
16:25 Jul 01, 2020

Oh I'm sorry to hear that Kathleen. True, it is a very touching and controversial subject - one that I also feel strongly about. Thank you very much for your suggestion about the ending, I think you could possibly be right as nothing much happens after that (I did want her to ask for his approval though....)

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Kathleen March
16:28 Jul 01, 2020

I almost think the approval is understood, by the way she talks to him. It's your story, of course! I like both the wife and Bill. It is a very realistic scenario.

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Shirley Medhurst
16:40 Jul 01, 2020

Thanks again... I've re-read & tend to agree with you

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T.C Morgan
00:08 Jun 30, 2020

Wow.. so deep. Really interesting spin on the prompt, it’s so deeply emotional and perfect for 2nd pov. Fantastic story!!

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Shirley Medhurst
08:19 Jun 30, 2020

Thank you so much, really pleased you liked it

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14:48 Jun 29, 2020

Wow...such a touching and sad story! Loved it Shirley! Keep writing! :)))

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Shirley Medhurst
08:31 Jun 30, 2020

Many thanks for your kind words Harshini

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08:42 Jun 30, 2020

You're welcome Shirley!😊

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A O
04:29 Jun 28, 2020

So horribly sad, but lovely.

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Shirley Medhurst
08:31 Jun 30, 2020

Thank you for taking the time to read, much appreciated

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Kelechi Nwokoma
16:01 Jun 27, 2020

Awwwnn.. This is so touching. A beautiful tragedy, actually. I the protagonist's relationship with the reader. It shows a deep and committed love. I also love how you described the dog, too, because I love dogs. This is incredibly great and I love it. 'Until then, my love, goodbye.' That was the perfect ending for this love story. Keep it up!

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Kelechi Nwokoma
16:01 Jun 27, 2020

Awwwnn.. This is so touching. A beautiful tragedy, actually. I adore the protagonist's relationship with the reader. It shows a deep and committed love. I also love how you described the dog, too, because I love dogs. This is incredibly great and I love it. 'Until then, my love, goodbye.' That was the perfect ending for this love story. Keep it up!

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Shirley Medhurst
22:56 Jun 27, 2020

Thanks for taking the time to read, Kelechi, glad you enjoyed it... Speak soon

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