Saturday, 22 September 2012

Excerpt from new thriller - My Grandfather's Eyes


I have had enough of this hospital waiting room. I have been here for hours and yet nothing has happened.  The nurse who deposited me here, with her tight bun and disinterested manner has not returned and I am left in the dark, not knowing and tired of surmising the fate of my husband. 


This place is claustrophobic and the inadequate chair has turned my legs to jelly. I feel as though I have been shut away in a giant glass box, like a creature in a medical experiment or at an exhibition, although of what I do not know. I get up carefully, like an old woman. I am thirty-two years old, not yet past my prime and yet no longer young.  I open the door and look towards the double doors that lead to the front entrance of the hospital, where there will be a coffee machine.  It is enough of a lure, although I don’t expect much. Anything is better than waiting here in this desolate forgotten corner.


The linoleum floor is thick and smooth, it muffles the sound of my footfalls so that when I swing the door open, I am hit by the echoing sound of people talking quietly in a large space.  I have been sitting on my own for too long and it is difficult to turn my thoughts outwards.  I stand for a moment and get my bearings, looking for a vending machine and somewhere to sit. I pull out my purse to look for some change.


I settle in a padded chair outside the hospital crèche.  The brightly coloured pictures are out of place without electric light and children’s voices. It is late and the building seems to sleep.  There are hospital staff chatting in murmurs.  I catch odd words. They are people with nothing to do, who should be doing something.  They eye me suspiciously and I ignore them.  I insert coins and push buttons and soon have a cup of hot liquid that gives off an aroma of chicken soup.  I sit and watch the receptionist who is talking to a woman in a white coat.  Her legs are muscular and her shoes practical.  She puts a hand in a pocket and takes out a pen, glancing in my direction.  Then she puts the pen back in her pocket. It is a strange place to work, I imagine.  You would always be dealing with pettiness or tragedy.  It would be depressing. Also, I decide that the atmosphere is wrong.  It is too officious.  It reminds me, inexplicably, of bad science fiction films.


I have a yearning to be entertained.  I want to watch people. I want them to be unpredictable.  I want Lizzy to walk in and throw her arms around me. None of this will happen.


The bad coffee is strong and hot.  It revives me a little and gives me a chance to review my situation.  Now I think about it, it seems that I have been foolish to wait.  There is so much I could have been sorting out at home to make things easier on myself later.  I wonder why I had wanted to stay and realise that there are two reasons:  firstly, it is easier not to go home, where other people will be arriving, and secondly, I have no idea what Richard has told the doctors. 


Until I can speak to him there is no point in making any plans.  That is why I have to stay.  I look for a telephone and dial my home number. I do not use my mobile phone.  I do not know why.   Instead, it plays dead in my pocket.  The large grey and black public phone rings twice and is answered. It is Lizzy.


Time advances slowly. I wade through a present thick and sticky with chaos and I wonder how to extricate myself from a growing sense of inertia.  I glance back at the telephone remembering the feel of the receiver in my hand and the sensation of the vibrations travelling down the line, miraculously translated into words.  I wish I had not called home.

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