‘Sorry it’s taking so long to handover. The hospital’s busy today.’
‘I can see.’
‘Still pain free?’
‘A little discomfort, but nothing I can’t handle.’
‘Good. Anyway. Shouldn’t be much longer. I expect your husband will be here soon.’
‘I hate to worry him.’
‘He seems to be coping pretty well.’
‘He’s used to me now.’
Molly rearranges the carrier bag of medication and things on her lap, then settles back again.
‘This is so unexpected,’ she says. ‘And so unfair. I go swimming with my daughter twice a week. Forty lengths! An Olympic-sized pool! You’d think after all that I’d be a bit healthier.’
‘Twice a week’s impressive.’
‘I think Katie gets a bit frustrated with me, though. She could probably do twice as many lengths in half the time, but she humours me.’
‘How old’s Katie, then?’
Molly is only sixty-five. I quickly do the maths – but she pre-empts me with a generous smile.
‘I had Katie when I was seventeen,’ she says. ‘I told your colleague all about it on the way in. I know, I know. Young and stupid. But these things happen - in our case, about six months after we got married. Seventeen’s too young, really, but it worked out for the best. I’ve even got a great-grandchild now, which doesn’t sound right at all, but there you are.’
We get the signal from Rae, and move towards a cubicle.
‘Thanks for all you’ve done,’ she says.
Afterwards, whilst we’re tidying up the back of the ambulance, I tell Rae about my chat with Molly.
‘It’s amazing to think she had a child when she was seventeen, and here they are now, forty-eight years later. I mean, what are the chances of staying married for so long after a start like that?’
‘What do you mean, they didn’t?’
Rae starts folding a blanket.
‘You missed the best part. They got divorced just after the daughter was born, lost touch, she brought Katie up on her own for a while and then eventually re-married. They only got back together again last year.’
She drops the folded blanket onto the trolley. ‘Like you say – what are the chances?’