An excerpt taken from a chapter of my new book of short stories ” Things I Did When No One Was Watching.”
The Butterfly Messenger
I had to go and check the meter box outside as I didn’t want a parking ticket. Just as I stood up she began getting out of her chair, I slowly turned and went over to help her up, and asked her if she needed the bathroom, “no I’m fine really, I want to walk and stretch my legs a bit.” She walked slowly with me down the corridor. I felt as if I had known this lady for years. There was no awkwardness, and our conversation flowed. I had made a new friend. We had almost reached the double doors and it seemed as if hours had gone by. I asked her if she wanted me to walk her back to her wheelchair, “I’m not the least bit tired right now and I don’t get a chance these days to talk to anyone much, only when my family visits.” I suddenly remembered the reason I had got up, from my chair. I didn’t care about the meter box nor getting a parking ticket. We continued to talk about life, and I wanted to hear more about hers. We spoke of her children, and how times had changed so much. The words I remember her saying, was how her life had been so wonderful, and she would not have done a thing to change it if she had her time over. She mentioned how lovely and fresh I looked, and asked me if I was a tennis player. I felt both saddened and humbled.
I hadn’t noticed that mum had already begun walking down the corridor towards the doors where we both stood. It was time for us to leave, I glanced down at her wrist and noticed a clear plastic medical band with her name on it, and read the word “hospice” along side it. I didn’t know what to say to her. I knew that I would never see her again. This person who had just shared a part of her life with me and I would never be in this same place again talking to her as I had just done. She knew this too. We looked at each other and we hugged. I felt I wanted to go with her to wherever it was she would go eventually. Time was like quicksand the feeling of hopelessness for her not able to put my hand out to save her, from her fate. Oh how I wanted to with all my might. Her mortal time had run out.