The Mockingbird of the Hospital

Submitted into Contest #94 in response to: End your story with someone finally conceding to another’s point of view.... view prompt

24 comments

Funny Friendship Inspirational

Note: This story is dedicated to an amazing person on here named Abigail Cross. Or as I like to call her, Abbie. As many of us have heard, she's gonna be leaving Reedsy soon, and I’d like to see this as a ‘see you later’ gift for her. I guess it’s time to get on with the story then.

And one more thing...the italicized words are meant to be sung. Look at my comment below to find the links to these songs if you don’t know them already. 😉




A spoonful of sugar… Now you finish it, dear!”

Keeps the medicine away,” a nurse “sings” in a grumpy and dispirited tone.

“But you didn’t sing it correctly. It’s supposed to be like this.” The bedridden old lady takes a deep breath, preparing for the next verse to demonstrate.

“Yeah, yeah just take your medicine and fish oil. It’ll help you get out of here sooner. And the sooner the better, so it can be quiet in this hospital ward again.” At the word ‘quiet’ the old nurse places her finger to her lips.

The patient in bed nods her head fiercely, like a little child. She zips her lips, locks the lock, and puts the key in an imaginary pocket on her thin white hospital shirt.

The lady had Alzheimer’s and the only thing she remembered was the lyrics to the “Mary Poppins” songs. Her attention span didn’t last long either and she was practically the human version of Dory from “Finding Nemo.”

Forgetting that her mouth was zipped, she blurts out, “Oh, oh! I think you’ll like this one then. Sing with me! Let’s go fly a kite, up to--,”

“What happened to your lips being shut?” The nurse intervenes with a bothered look on her face.

The young lady’s face changes from joy to utmost terror. At present, her facial expression is that of a puppy after they’ve been caught red-handed from attacking a couch pillow.

“I’m so sorry Nanna! Please, please don’t leave me.” Her voice is high strung and her eyes widen in fear at the thought of her Nanna abandoning her.

The nurse grunts, obviously used to this behavior, and purses her lips together in a thin line. “Remember, mouth stays shut.”

The lady in bed nods and, with her lips tightly closed, begins to hum the tune of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”

“Oh brother,” the nurse says.

Knowing that silencing the chirping bird is an impossible task, the old nurse exits the hospital room and waddles over to her small office next door. Her office isn’t much and only grants her access to the bare necessities.

Apparently, those include a desk, chair, lamp, metal cabinets, a Microsoft computer, and a window to let it fresh air. There's also a small succulent in a modern glass shaped sphere on her desk. One of her nurse friends gifted her that on her last birthday.

The nurse walks towards the metal drawers in a vigorous search for a particular file. The hospital kept records of their patients online and on paper because of the possibility of technology failing. The old nurse knew this but preferred to use the handwritten files to keep record of her patients.

She rummages through them until one catches her eye. The patient’s name reads Charlotte Lynden in her own wispy cursive handwriting. On this finding, the nurse returns to her desk.

A small, colorful picture of a cheerful woman in her late 60s is fastened on with a paperclip at the top right corner. She’s wearing a light baby blue summer dress and smiles up at the nurse. There’s even dimples on both her cheeks.

The woman’s vibrant blue eyes stand out most from the picture. Whenever the nurse moves the picture the eyes seem to follow her, reminding her of the “Mona Lisa.” It was eerily creepy. Loud singing resonates through the halls of the nursing home, disrupting the nurse’s scanning of the photo.

“Oh great. She’s at it again,” the nurse says wryly to herself. She’s secretly delighted at the noise, however, since she found pleasure in silencing her few patients that boarded in ward number nine.

Exerting the little power she possessed and helping others were the two main reasons why she liked being a nurse. She was very content with her chosen profession.

A certain lady who had Alzheimer’s enjoyed more than anything to spread her love of singing with others. Though the nurse often expressed how much she detested the songs, she appreciated the music. She never admitted that to anyone, of course. Life as a nurse grew dull and boring and the silence frequently “attacked her poor nerves.”

On entering the ward, the nurse isn’t too surprised to see the bedridden patients listening to the directions of a lady she knew very well. Today, she’s coaching them on the lyrics to another “Mary Poppins” song.

“Ok, let’s take it from the top people!” The all too familiar woman says, clapping her hands together like a director would to rally the people on-set. When she notices the nurse standing at the door with her hands on her hips, her entire face glows.

“I’m so glad you came, Nanna! We’re just about to rehearse our ‘Chim, Chim, Cher-ee’ song again. Be a dear and watch as our audience? Oh, and won’t you come closer? I promise I won’t bite.” She says while patting her hand invitingly on her hospital bed.

Not wanting to disappoint the sweet woman, the nurse walks down the aisle of beds and waits for the performance to begin.

“Well, go on Charlotte!” The nurse says when she catches a glimpse of uncertainty in the woman’s blue eyes. After that comment, the show begins.

With a flick of a button on the radio, instrumental music from the chosen song blares out through the speakers. When that’s on, Charlotte counts the singers in with a hearty, “Five, six, seven, eight!”

“Chim chimney, chim chimney, chim chim cher-ee!

A sweep is as lucky

As lucky can be.

Chim chimney, chim chimney, chim chim cher-oo!

Good luck will rub off when I shakes ‘ands with you,

Or blow me a kiss and that’s luck--”

A sharp knock raps on the door, abruptly ending Charlotte and her chorus mid-song. The nurse hastily gestures for the said lady to turn off the radio. Once done so, the person who knocked peeks her head through the door.

“Miss Anna, a word?”

“Of course Tina. (The nurse then turns her attention to the patients.) I’m sorry, but I’ll have to leave everyone for a minute. Keep on making this wonderful music!” Anna, the nurse, gets up to leave but Charlotte grabs her hand and pulls her back to the bed like an anchor.

“You’ll be back, though right?” Charlotte says with pure sorrow, her eyes slightly misting over.

“Yes dear, and until then keep rehearsing. I want a show when I get back!”

“Oh, ok Nanna! Don’t worry. We’ll keep practicing, right people?” Her chorus murmurs in agreements.

“Excellent!” Anna says.

The nurse makes her way toward the entrance of the room and once the door is closed, Tina begins speaking.

“One of your patients will be moved to another ward where a specialist will treat her, ma’am. This could be her only chance to restore her memory.”

The nurse listens carefully with both eyebrows furrowed. There was a special place in her heart for each and every one of her patients and parting with one of them (even with the short distance between them) would be difficult.

“Which patient will be transferred?” Anna asks, though she’s certain she knows the answer.

“Why, our very own Charlotte Lynden! You must be very happy about it since you always complain about Miss Charlotte’s racket, what with her singing and all.”

“I didn’t know she would be moving so soon. It’s only been six months since she got here last November. Is anything wrong?”

Tina’s a bit alarmed at Anna’s concerned tone since she’d expected her response to be more enthusiastic.

“No, everything’s fine with her. A space opened up for a specialist to see her and, well, you wanted to get Charlotte off your hands so we thought the opportunity was perfect.”

“I see. When will they move her?”

“Later today at six o’clock, I believe. Just after their dinner but before their bedtime. The timing couldn’t be better!” Tina exclaims.

Before Anna has time to reply Tina adds, “Here, you’ll need to fill out these papers. Please do so before she leaves or else the spot for the specialist will be taken.” Tina hands a clipboard with a couple sheets on paper on it to Anna.

“Thank you for your time Miss Anna,” Tina calls as she begins walking down the corridor to return to her appointed ward. Anna returns to her office in a frenzy, feeling quite dumbstruck by the news.

Her Charlotte...leaving...tonight! It was too much for the old nurse to bear but it was to be done. If there was the slightest chance to recover her memory, she would take it. The sacrifice she had to make for that chance to happen: hushed and lonesome days.

A gentle rap sounds on glass panes which causes Anna to glance at the window that was struck. A pair of jubilant crystal blue eyes peers up at the nurse which makes the uptight old woman’s heart melt like gold.

When the nurse enters the peaceful room, everyone starts to whisper. Anna’s face was grim and attempted to conceal her despondent mood with a half-smile. Everyone knew that something was up except for Charlotte who believed the fake smile. It was impossible for her to look past what she saw with her own two eyes which led to her being so gullible.

“I’m so happy you’re back, Nanna! What took you so long? Nevermind that, actually. While you were gone, we all came up with an idea that would involve you.”

“And what idea is that?”

Charlotte slyly looks around at her comrades, asking without words whether it’s alright to disclose the information to the nurse. Nods fill the balmy room.

“Will you sing with us?”

All the nurse heard was ‘will you sing with me?’ She didn’t want her reputation as a stern nurse to become broken but this might be the last time she would see, and hear, Charlotte again. Well, that might be an exaggeration but you get the point.

“Please?” Charlotte urges.

Anna stares into her ocean-like eyes. Until this day, Anna says that it was those eyes that made her do it.

A soft sigh and then, “Anything for you darling, but just this once.” And from that day forward, a smile replaced the nurse’s frequent frowns.

May 22, 2021 03:51

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24 comments

Emma Bates
05:40 May 30, 2021

This was wonderful. It made me happy also kind of sad-ish, though I don't know why. I fell in love with the character of Charlotte and her big ocean eyes. When I read the title I knew I was in for a treat right away! I liked the happy ending too :))

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Valerie June
04:42 May 31, 2021

Glad you enjoyed this one; it was fun to write. :) That's exactly how I wanted readers to feel! I try to balance out my sad and happy endings. It all depends on my mood, really.

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Malcolm S
15:31 May 28, 2021

🧚

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Valerie June
05:48 May 29, 2021

Yay, there's more of our species still out there! Not all hope is lost.

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12:22 May 28, 2021

I really love this. The connection to music, the happy ending, and the dedication to Abbie (gonna miss her) all tied together nicely. Yes, I include the intros as a part of the story. I'm weird. :)

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Valerie June
05:48 May 29, 2021

Aw, thanks for reading Em. By adding the songs it also incorporated cheerfulness to a naturally dark place. I don't think including the introduction to stories is weird at all! I'm gonna miss our Abbie, too. <3

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12:16 May 29, 2021

Just saw Mary Poppins, now I have the music in my head.

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Valerie June
16:33 May 29, 2021

Haha, oh no! I always get Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Chim, Chim, Cher-ee stuck in my head.

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18:53 May 30, 2021

Yes!

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Hey Jose! Or Valerie! I really loved this sweet story so much! It really melted my heart <33 Bien trabajo chica!

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Valerie June
20:58 Jul 17, 2021

Hola Varsha! Aw, thank you for stopping by. I remember this story well. Muchas gracias. :)

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Hola! Of course! :)) No problema! How are u btw?

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Valerie June
18:15 Jul 25, 2021

I'm doing pretty well! My summer's been all good so far too. What about you?

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Hey! Sorry for the late reply. my summer feels fast, its already august, can't believe it!

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Valerie June
02:36 Aug 11, 2021

It's fine! My reply was late, too. For sure! Hope the coming school year won't be too hard on you.

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lkjhgfdfthjhgfghjhgfdftyujkhgvf great goodbye story. I kinda felt like I could relate to the sadness in a way, cause saying goodbye is harder than hard. I liked the cheerfulness you still wrote with. The Marry-Poppins songs were a nice touch lol. Great job tho! L.W.

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Valerie June
06:29 May 23, 2021

I decided to give everyone a happier ending with this story. My last ones have been too sad and tragic, even for my liking (and that's saying something!) I enjoyed tugging hearts with this one. My mom read the "Marry Poppins" books as bedtime stories to me when I was little. It reminds me of her. :)

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yeah XD. You write what you feel in some cases lol. that's really cool :)

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Valerie June
03:57 May 22, 2021

We’ll all miss you Abbie! You’re a great writer and an even better friend Remember, “If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.” --Paulo Coelho. Oh, and this one! “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” —Dr. Seuss. Now I’m on roll. 😂 “How lucky I am to have someone that makes saying goodbye so hard.” —Winne the Pooh Thank you for everything and may God bless you, amiga. ❤️ Here are the links to the songs as promised: A Spoonful of Sugar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L4qauTiCY4 L...

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omg tysm <3 ima cry ToT this is so amazing im gonna miss oyu so muchhhhh <33

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Valerie June
06:25 May 23, 2021

The feeling is mutual. :,) <33333

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"And from that day forward, a smile replaced the nurse’s frequent frowns." Wonderful Job on this soft-hearted story Valerie, it was beautiful. I loved the lyrics you threaded through it, I find it always adds something amazing to stories when you use references to music or books. Your characters were really well written and overall this story has a heart of gold. Lovely job. ~Alainna

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