Well it’s the first day of June, officially the summer is here! And that means that our competition has finally ended. I did receive two sneaky last minute entries yesterday, one at pretty much the eleventh hour! So, here’s the first of the flash fiction pieces, an emotional and poignant tale by Claudia Bessonart. If you want to play catch up on the previous entries, you can do so here:-
Laura’s Promise by Claudia Bessonart
I took the lift to the familiar 3rd floor. The doors opened, I walked down the corridor and entered room 106.
There she lay in the foetal position in the hospital bed. The sadness engulfed my entire being.
‘Mum?’ Panic rose in my throat, I tried to control myself.
I automatically went to the curtains to close them.
She raised her hand. The purple lesions were now almost covering her entire hand now.
‘No, please, don’t close them’.
‘Oh Sorry mum’… I opened the curtains.
‘Laura, come.. I need to tell you some…’, she couldn’t finish her sentence.
‘I’m here, what’s the matter?’.
I sat on the bed beside her. There was plenty of room. She was skeletal now, the white sheets covering her tiny body. The grey hat her granddaughter Meg had bought for her, covered her naked head. My God she was beautiful.
The beads of perspiration glistened on her forehead.
Her small deep blue eyes penetrated my soul.
‘Remember… he is not to be at my funeral, promise me.’
‘I promise you he won’t be there. Stop talking like that mum’.
‘It will be difficult’.
‘Don’t worry mum’.
Dan arrived a few minutes later. He kissed my mother and held my hand. He spoke gently to her. ‘Everyone is thinking of you Aggie. Would you believe Luke started walking? She smiled softly.
She reached for my face, I leaned forward and held the hand which cupped my face.
‘Dan, take care of my baby’.
‘of course Ag’. Dan was upset, he couldn’t finish his words. He muttered something, squeezed my hand and left the room.
Evie arrived a few minutes later. She sat beside me on the bed and placed her hand on top of mine, covering mum’s…
We studied each other’s faces.
Mum winced with the pain.
I ran out to get the nurse. Evie followed. ‘Sarah, she is bad again, she is in pain. Can you help?’
Sarah and another nurse went in to the room. As they closed the door over, I could see they were lifting her up to change the sheets.
Neither Evie nor I uttered a word.
When Sarah reappeared, Evie spoke. Her eyes filled with tears. ‘We need to speak to Dr. Feagan, where is he? I mean she is seriously bad in there? They are changing the sheets again in there. She can’t go on like this, surely?
I put my arm around her. ‘Sarah, do you know what time is he coming in to us at’?
‘He is with another patient, but he will be here in about two hours. Aggie is sleeping now. Better to go and get a cup of tea downstairs. There is nothing you can do now. She is exhausted’.
Dr. Feagan arrived 5 hours later. We had been waiting all day going in and out to the room. She was asleep most of the day. Dan had left to sort out things at home.
‘Is Padraic coming in Evie’. ‘There is no Padraic. I don’t want to talk about him’…
He was handsome, Dr. Feagan. A tall man with broad shoulders. He had an American accent. We followed the nurses instructions and entered the office downstairs.
‘Hi girls, I am so sorry that you had to wait all day for me. There is no easy way of saying this…As you know, Aggie has deteriorated rapidly in the last 24 hours. Quite dramatically in fact. The disease has taken over her body’…
Evie asked ‘what about the treatment?’. I whispered to let Dr. Feagan continue.
‘Well she is very weak from the treatment. In fact, if it was me who was here last week, I would not have recommended another bout of treatment. But as I say, I was not here and Dr. Ardan seemed to think it would benefit your mother’
Was he insinuating what I thought? Evie and I looked at each other in disbelief.
‘Your mother is dying. We are talking about a few days girls. I am very sorry’.
The words just hung in the room. The blood drained from my body.
‘We have now put her on morphine to make her comfortable’
Oh my God. Mum. Oh sweet Jesus, NO. Days??’ Evie was hysterical. I jumped up to go to her and she had was leaning with her head against the wall. I put my hand on her shoulder.
Is there anybody we can call for you girls?
‘No thank you’
‘What about Mr. Clifford?’.
‘No’ I snapped. That won’t be necessary’. Evie was about to object, but realised now was not the time for this.
‘I am very sorry girls I really am. We will keep her comfortable in the meantime, but there is nothing we can do now. The disease has reached its peak and has taken over her body’.
Evie marched out of the room in hysterics.
Dr. Feagan looked at me ‘this is never easy you know, to tell families about their loved ones. Can I just say though Laura, Mr. Clifford has a right’…
‘A right? What about my mother’s right? I have to go and find my sister.
I left the room and ran out to find Evie. I couldn’t breathe. I needed to find Evie and phone Dan. Oh God, what were we going to do? Tears streamed down my eyes, I was shaking like a leaf now.
I ran passed Sarah whom I could hear was calling me back. I ignored her. I needed to get outside for a moment.
I took the stairs. I was taking two steps at a time.
I didn’t see him coming and banged straight into him.
Oh Lord, this was all I needed. The cheek of him to even enter the hospital after everything he did to her…
Claudia lives in Dublin with her husband and 4 children.
She works in a school and loves her job!
She tells her best friend every Christmas that she needs to write a book that is in her head, but still hasn’t got round to it.
She recently took up kick boxing and enjoys life.