The House On The Hill 3/5

By Drum Digital
13 February 2014

Gabisa had lost interest in life but then hope surfaced...

IN THE morning the nurses bustled around the young woman’s bed. Such a bad thing, they said. A horrible car accident and she was seven months pregnant with twins. But so good that the babies seemed unhurtand the mother would probably be fine.

A broken arm and some bad cuts to her head. They’d know for sure when she woke up.

Gabisa listened to their chatter and kept her eyes closed until a hand patted her shoulder. A nurse stood beside her.

“Come, Gogo. It’s time for breakfast. Let me help you sit up.”

Gabisa turned away. “I’m not hungry, thank you.”

“But you must eat. The doctor says your leg is not healing quickly because you’re not eating.”

She helped Gabisa up and propped pillows behind her back. “See. There’s nice Maltabella porridge and scrambled eggs on toast.”

Under the watchful eye of the nurse Gabisa took a few mouthfuls of warm porridge. It tasted like soft cardboard.

As soon as the nurse left the ward she put the spoon down and slid back against the pillows.

In the bed beside her the young woman lay still, eyes closed. Her chest rose and fell slowly with each breath she took.

In the morning light, Gabisa could see the dome of her belly under the sheets. Seven months pregnant. But they’d said the babies were alright.

At visiting time that afternoon the young man was the first to arrive. He looked tired and anxious as he made his way to the young woman’s side.

He pulled up a chair and sat down beside the bed.

Gabisa closed her eyes. She didn’t want to see, didn’t want to hear and most of all, she didn’t want to be reminded of what they had – and she’d lost. The hour dragged on.

More visitors arrived for the other patients and the ward soon filled with cheerful chatter.

After supper, Gabisa pushed away her untouched plate and pretended to be asleep. It wasn’t difficult; she felt weak and tired. Maybe tonight, she thought, my soul can just slip away and be with Nathi. No more loneliness, no more days filled with too many hours and most of all, no more listening to the silence of the house on the hill. Yes, she could see herself with Nathi, sitting together in a garden, the scent of frangipani wrapping itself around them.

The dream was so real she could smell the flowers. She sniffed. Yes, there it was.

Frangipani, along with the sugary sweetness of honeysuckle and wild rose. Gabisa opened her eyes and almost gasped in shock. Nathi stood beside the young woman’s bed. He held a bunch of flowers in his hands. Wait. No. It wasn’t Nathi, but for a moment there she could have sworn it was him.

-by Gail Dore

To be continued...

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