Phyllis is alone when she falls.
The floor was hard, cold, unforgiving. Phyllis groaned quietly, exhausted by hours of screaming for help.
Vulnerable in her nakedness, but aware that she needed help desperately, the thought of someone seeing her without clothes and lying in a puddle of her own urine was too much to bear.
She rolled painfully on to her back, and lay looking at the cracks on the bathroom ceiling, berating herself for her stupidity.
She’d known the tiles were slippery and was usually careful getting out of the bath, but tonight she’d heard the phone, rushed to answer it, and fell hard. The crack had been audible; she knew that she’d done some serious damage.
Her husband John had been dead for over five years, and Phyllis still felt anger and betrayal towards him for dying, leaving her alone.
She tried once more to get up off the freezing floor; the pain causing her to gasp and fall back.
She stared at the green floor tiles, only inches from her face and remembered the day she and John selected them, over fifty years ago. They’d been modern then, and Phyllis had been so proud of her new home.
Delirious now with the pain, she imagined she saw that young bride, her handsome husband carrying her effortlessly across the threshold.
She closed her eyes and for a while she was no longer on the icy wet floor of the bathroom, but back in happier times when the children were all at home.
She remembered the day when their first child was born. John had got lost in the fog on the way to the hospital, Phyllis so scared they wouldn’t get there in time, but they’d just made it. John’s face, so full of love, when he saw his daughter for the first time, would stay in Phyllis’ memory for ever.
She moved painfully as she recalled both the happy, and the sad times in this old house. There had never been enough money, but always more than enough love.
She could see her safety alarm on the closed lid of the pink toilet. Her daughter had arranged for her to get it. Sandra would angry at her, for taking it off, but Phyllis didn’t like to get it wet, although her daughter told her often enough it was waterproof.
She stopped shivering, no longer feeling the cold, just a terrible thirst.
The phone continued to ring somewhere in the distance.
Her breathing was shallow, her eyes closed. She smiled in her dreams. She could see a bright light in the distance and hear her children laughing.
John was shouting something. She walked closer to the light, she could feel its warmth. He was always forgetting his wallet, maybe he needed her to get it for him. He called with a sense of urgency.
She stepped up to the light and grabbed his hand.