by Cathy Wynne
A prologue written for a book I intend to write.....eventually!
|As Jenny walked along the pebble path, pebbles glistening in the late evening light, she wondered how much further the sea was. All that could be seen was the sun, twinkling, longing to hibernate below the surface of the horizon. Soon enough though the path became sandy and she began her descent to the shore. In the evening light the sea looked so motionless, precious, a deep turquoise with barely a ripple stirring its almost solid shimmering surface. She longed to sit there at the water’s edge gazing at its wondrous beauty all night until the sun slipped sleepily beneath the sea and the moon rose above, guarding it and her with its presence.
She could only wonder why he couldn’t be sat beside her that very moment, their hands’ entwined so naturally, it was as if they became one. Months’ had passed yet still the wound remained, her heart irreparably torn by her loss. She could never have imagined how hard her life would be without him. The love he’d shown her during their time together had been unlike anything she’d ever known, sweet, pure, passionate, all the things she’d read about in books’ but had thought would never happen in reality. She’d never feared for anything except losing him. She’d often said this to him and his reply had always been the same.
“You’ll never lose me Jenny; we’re destined to be together until we’re old, grey and senile!”
She reflected with a smile the mischievous wink that had inevitably followed this statement. For a while she continued to sit and gaze, lost in these thoughts.
By now the sun had disappeared and the sea had slowly turned as black as the night sky. The temperature had also dropped and, realising the flimsy cotton dress was totally inadequate against the now cold breeze, she decided to make her way back up to her beach house. As she walked she thought again for the millionth time about the last time she saw Darren.
She’d woken early, disrupted from a dreamless sleep by the clatter of the letterbox, signaling the arrival of the post. Sitting up, stretching lazily, she’d looked out the window. She’d been greeted by nothing but a misty covering around the leafless trees’ the mist slightly yellowed in appearance by the early morning sun’s golden red rays’ trying to shine their way through. She remembered thinking just how starkly beautiful yet desolate it had looked. Making her way downstairs she’d been just in time for Darren’s departure for work. As she’d kissed him goodbye she’d gotten this sudden chill, like her sub-conscious knew something she didn’t. Putting it down to her usual needless worrying, she’d cast it to the back of her mind, instead going out into the garden to collect firewood for the hearth so she could keep warm while reading the post.
As the phone began ringing two hours later however, the chill had returned, jolting her senses. It seemed to have taken her forever to stumble to the phone her mouth and throat going dry as she’d retrieved it.
“Hallo, may I speak with a Mrs. Jennifer Talbert please?”
“This is D.S. Woods calling from Hattington Police Station. I’m afraid there was an incident this morning involving your husband. He was rather badly hurt trying to stop two youths’ mugging a young mother. I’m so sorry I know this must be an incredible shock.”
For a moment she’d not been able to speak, shock enveloping her like the morning mist. Finally, after a long pause, she’d managed to ask, “Where is he now? I have to see him.”
“Of course he’s at St John’s County Hospital, I will meet you in the hospital lobby. So sorry again Mrs. Talbert.”
“Not at all. Thank you you’ve been very kind. See you in a little while,” she’d replied before replacing the phone.
For a few seconds she’d stood still, unable to move, numbness creeping over her. Then the numbing shock had given way to anger and pain as the reality of what she’d just heard began to sink in and she’d promptly lost control. Picking up the phone she’d hurled it at the wall screaming. She’d then dropped to the floor sobbing so hard she’d felt as if her body would shatter. Eventually the sobs had subsided long enough for her to find the car keys and start the journey to the hospital. It hadn’t been long before the tears had started anew and to this day she still wondered how she’d made it without driving into a tree.
On arrival she’d been met by D.S. Woods who’d proceeded to shed more light on the incident that had occurred earlier that day. The more she’d heard the more she’d realised just how delicate her husband’s condition must be.
On entering the centre of town that morning he’d noticed two young men accosting a young woman and her child demanding her to hand over any money and possessions she had on her. Upon hearing the exchange, Darren had immediately rushed to her aid pulling one of the young men off her. Too late he had noticed one of the young men carrying a knife. Within seconds, having been stabbed four times, he was on the ground. The young woman he’d attempted to save had immediately dialed 999.
“As yet we’ve not managed to apprehend the youths’ responsible but luckily the young woman was able to give a detailed description of them both. Won’t be long before we catch them I shouldn’t wonder.”
By now she’d been shaking with rage. “I wouldn’t necessarily say my husband lying in a hospital bed close to death was lucky, would you?” she’d hissed.
“I’m terribly sorry Mrs. Talbert if you felt that’s what I implied. Believe me we all want to lock up the scumbags’ who did this.”
“I know, I know. I’m sorry, it’s just hard to see an upside to any of this,” she’d said, her voice breaking
It had been at this moment that she’d seen the doctor walking down the corridor towards them.
“Hello Mrs. Talbert my name is Doctor Campbell. I presume D.S. Woods has talked you over the details of the incident?”
“Yes he has. How is he? When can I see him?” More tears had begun to course down her cheeks.
“Well I’m afraid your husband’s condition is critical. As you know, he was stabbed four times, once in the chest and three times in his abdominal region. One of the abdominal wounds’ penetrated his spleen causing some internal bleeding. The wound to his chest punctured one of his lungs’. The damage internally was extensive. He has been in surgery for four hours’ and has not long been released to I.C.U. so the next twenty four hours will be extremely critical. However he is, for now, stable. You can come with me to see him now but I should warn you that he is unconscious and will be for the next day at least.”
Walking into the ward, still trying to piece together the enormity of what Doctor Campbell had told her, she’d found herself beside the bed where her husband had lain. She’d barely been able to recognize him, his beautiful eyes sunken and hollow, his skin the same greyish white pallor as the walls’ around her. Choking back more tears, she’d longed to hold him, willed him to wake up, to do anything other than lying there motionless.
Suddenly the heart monitor’s steady beeping had stopped and a continuous beep had ensued indicating his heart had stopped. Before she’d known what was happening she’d been asked to leave and wait outside while the flurrying crew of Nurses’ and Doctors’ had moved in to resuscitate him.
Still dazed from the day’s events’ she’d complied. Waiting in nervous anticipation for what had seemed like hours she had eventually been greeted by the grim face of Doctor Campbell. The room started to spin. She’d known what was coming.
“Mrs. Talbert we did everything we could. We think after his lung had been punctured a clot formed causing cerebral haemorrhaging. There was no way we could have foreseen this to prevent it. We are all deeply sorry for your loss.”
Snapping back to the present, Jenny, having run a bath to warm herself after her walk, realized although she still felt the unbearable pain she’d been feeling the last three months’, the grief and loneliness, that from this there was a blessing that perhaps could make the rest of her life happy. For lying within her was the one part of her beloved husband that she’d not lost. As she lay in the bath, stroking her belly, for the first time in three months’ she smiled.