Wednesday, 23 January 2019

It Should have been, and feels like it was, yesterday.

Anyone for....?

It was the middle of January and the city had still not taken down the Christmas decorations; silver and gold lights shone brightly through the deep winter gloom between the shopping centre and the take-away.

Jack was distracted by their cheer and so turned his head to look; he didn’t see the truck pulling out of the side turning between the dry cleaners and the bank.

Most of the people in the queue at the bus stop heard the crash; Jack didn’t. The last thing he remembered was the imagined sound of Angels singing Whilst Shepherd Watched.

Fear not said he.

For mighty dread……

He was in the hospital for four weeks, most of the time falling unexpectedly into deep sleep that he was unable to prevent. 

There was a nurse on the word, Maria, a little older than Jack and she took a shine to him. Her work in the hospital was part time, most evenings she worked as a barmaid in a pub on the high street. She was used to men noticing her so she was surprised that Jack didn’t. If she saw that he was asleep when she came along the ward she would go to his bedside, lean close and gentle blow on his closed eyes.

Then he did.

Not only did he notice her but he started to force himself to stay awake so he would see more of her, which was strange because the thing that excited him most about her was her leaning close and breathing on his face.

And she never did if he was awake, she just smiled and carried on along the ward.

He tried faking it, pretending to be asleep when he heard her steps along the corridor, but she seemed to know.

She valued honesty.

One day Maria did not come.

Jack waited all afternoon before finally falling asleep, but when he woke at the end of the afternoon shift it was clear she had not passed.

He asked the Sister where she was when the evening tea was served.

“She’s moved away”, she informed him. “Got divorced and took off.”

It was time for Jack to get better and leave the hospital.

So he did.

  formerly published in The Archives.

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