Saturday, April 27, 2013

almost there

Ellen is sitting on a chair just outside the en suite bathroom, leaning over to the right. She has pain in her left hip from where she slipped over an hour ago, landing heavily on her bottom.
‘Osteoporosis,’ she says. ‘ I just know I’ve done something.’
Her daughter-in-law Stephanie is waiting by the bedroom door hugging an armful of coats.
‘We’re getting to be regulars,’ she says. ‘We had another nice crew out last week. For Ellen’s diabetes.’
Even though she’s thirty years younger, Stephanie looks more tired than Ellen.
‘I’ve phoned Richard,’ she says, waving her mobile in the air then dropping it into her bag. ‘He says he’ll meet us up there.’


‘I came down this way for work twenty years ago and never went back,’ says Stephanie. ‘Funny – the places you end up. Left one long-distance relationship, then a few weeks after I got here, went straight into another. Mind you, we’ve been together ever since. Two grown up boys. Lovely house. And now Ellen’s moved in.’
Ellen smiles at her from the trolley, then winces a little as she adjusts her position.
‘Okay?’ says Stephanie. ‘All right?’ She reaches over and pats her on the arm. ‘Almost there.’
She settles back in her chair again, and rearranges the coats on her lap.
‘The boys have all grown up now,’ she says. ‘They’ve gone their own way, done their own thing. Mark’s training to be an engineer. John’s travelling a bit before his law degree. So they’ve both turned out all right. I suppose I could’ve gone to university but it just never really happened, if you know what I mean? Maybe I should’ve done something? Then who knows where I might’ve ended up? Some far flung place. I might’ve met someone else. Had a whole other life.’
She stops, like someone who’d been rummaging through a box of photos and unexpectedly caught themselves on something sharp. In an effort to cover it, she leans forward again and touches Ellen on the hand.
‘But you know what Richard’s like,’ she says.
Ellen nods.
‘Almost there,’ says Stephanie again. And settles back with the coats.


jacksofbuxton said...

One particular Saturday evening,many moons ago,I was feeling knackered after work.But I thought I'd walk up to my local pub in the Vale of Evesham for just a couple of drinks.Nothing fancy.Before I've got there a car pulls up alongside me with the wife of a friend of mine at the wheel.She had an old university friend come down for the weekend,and where did I recommend she take her out for a drink that evening.

Well,to cut a long story short,the friend that had come down to visit?reader I married her.

Amazing to think sometimes how life could turn out on the things we do and don't do.

Spence Kennedy said...

Just goes to show you should always follow your instincts (and go down the pub). It is funny to think about the ramifications of those casual decisions, though. How the whole course of your life can change. A work mate fixed me up on a blind date with a friend of his. Can't say I was too keen, but I went along anyway - and now here we are, fifteen years later, two kids &c &c. Very glad I went!