A Chapter by Alice

A grey-faced woman appeared behind the desk, and Barry immediately got up to speak to her, crossly, and she spoke back in a voice that did not care. She gave him directions eventually and he came over to me and said that it was time to go.
We walked through the hospital together silently, and in Barry I detected a nervousness that had never been present before. Perhaps he disliked hospitals too. I remembered Dianne saying about the death of her husband, William. So Barry had lost a father already. I felt sorry for him, though I was still aware of my underlying dislike. We walked up to the ward together, and put alcohol on our hands, and Barry spoke to a doctor or two. Finally we were shown into a small room, and behind a pink curtain I knew would be Dianne.

I had expected something dreadful. When my grandmother had been in hospital (cancer - that's what she had and what she eventually died of) she had looked nothing like her normal self. There were some points, after her therapies, when my parents decided that it would be too upsetting for me to see her, and I had been taken away by another one of my relatives to get ice cream from the canteen downstairs. That ice cream had been wonderful; I had never had it since and I had felt guilty for enjoying it so much, as it was all linked up to cancer, and my grandmother dying. Sometimes I just stood in front of a gigantic window and looked out over the roofs of the city, as far as the eye could see. My grandmother had lived just outside London; she had gone into the city to get treatment. I loved the city of London, but again it made me feel somewhat guilty. I had gone there to see my grandmother, who would eventually die. She had spoken nonsense after her therapies, and not known where she was, and had started to cry sometimes, but never when I was there.

I had expected Dianne to be in a similar state, despite any reassurances I had been given. However, as soon as I pulled back the curtain she squealed, and I rushed over to greet her, and she gave me a hug like I was her favourite niece rather than I shop assistant. She was dressed in a big pink nightdress, and she was smiling a smile that covered the whole of her face.

'Lucie! It's so nice to see you!'

I was speechless, but I managed to say: 'Are you ok?'

'Oh yes, I'm fine - fine,' she smiled. 'I can't wait to get out of this place though. The doctors keep telling me to relax, but I can't stop thinking about the shop.'

I felt Barry standing awkwardly behind me, so I turned around and smiled: 'Barry brought me over from work. He's been making sure I'm ok every day. He's been a real help.'

The last part was a lie, but I wanted them to both believe it. The moment I had seen Dianne, the moment that I knew that she was happy and that she was not on the brink of death, that she was the same Dianne I had worked with ever day since the end of school, I had been flooded with an infectious happiness that I had to share with everyone. 

Barry stepped forward uneasily and said: 'Hi mum.'

I felt bad when he got little more than a wave before I was bombarded with questions about the shop and gossip about the doctors and a list of all of Dianne's visitors. I turned around and smiled at Barry to show him that everything was alright, but he had turned away to look out the window. I felt bad for disliking him so much before, and decided that, at heart, he was not that bad a person. He was just another ordinary person, like me and like Dianne, and like both of us he had wishes and ambitions, and unfortunately these did not correlate with what his mother had planned out for him. I decided that I would be nicer to him in the future. I thought that I was faultless, but truthfully, when I looked at it, wasn't I doing the exact same thing that he was doing? I had things that I wanted to do too, and they did not match up with what my parents wanted from me (though truthfully I could never be sure exactly what my parents wanted from me - it was always rather vague and I always seemed to disappoint them no matter what I did). Perhaps I had been too hard on him initially. The world was never a case of absolute right and absolute wrong. There were always reasons on both sides.

When I had given my presents and all of my cards (the two from the shop and my own card, which I had eventually decided to make by hand to eliminate any rivalry), and I had spoken to Dianne about everything that I could think of that might interest her (because, though I liked Dianne a lot, we didn't have a lot in common), I said goodbye to Dianne and myself and Barry decided to leave.

'She likes you a lot,' he said in the car on the way back. I could tell that he was not happy. I wished that there was some way that I could make things better, but I suddenly felt powerless, and all the happiness that had filled me only half an hour before was gone. I felt small and alone. Barry dropped me off outside my house.

'Perhaps you should drop in on Monday, to see how things are getting on?'

I didn't like him, and I had never imagined that I would be actually inviting him to visit, but I didn't want to abandon him. He smiled.

'Maybe I will.'

And he was gone, and I was standing alone in the middle of my grey street, looking at distant fields, and thinking.

© 2010 Alice

Author's Note

I made an attempt to turn Captain Capitalism into a human being in this chapter. I think I did ok.

My Review

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I agree! He is a human being! Your characters are very well done real. Just wonderful.

Posted 14 Years Ago

You did more than ok! I love how well-rounded and fully-fleshed your characters are. This was a sweet chapter. I liked it alot. C:

Posted 14 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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2 Reviews
Added on February 9, 2010
Last Updated on February 9, 2010



United Kingdom

I’m a prose writer, mainly one that works on novels and doesn’t finish them. I want to use this place like an online notebook. I’ll be posting as I write, which means a lot of this .. more..

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