Ruby has a premonition
|Word count 1057
Thanksgiving this year seemed too much like hard work for Ruby, her head pounded, a migraine in the offing, she thought.. Normally she enjoyed cooking the special meal, having the family around the table together, but somehow her heart simply wasn’t in it, everyone and everything seemed to irritate her. She’d decided her mother-in-law Freda was getting impossible the older she became. Her veiled criticisms and passive aggressive manner was getting under Ruby’s skin.
“How long did you cook the turkey for dear?” Freda inquired, her make up caked in her many wrinkles.
Ruby thought this may have been a trick question and avoided answering.
Freda poked at her turkey breast meat and Ruby waited, her blood pressure rising, for the inevitable comparisons to other years when Thanksgiving had been at Freda’s. I’ve been married to her son for over thirty years, I should be used to the old bag by now. Ruby felt shocked at her less than charitable thoughts.
The kids, Penny and Frank, although they were both grown ups still left everything to Ruby, no one offered to bring anything, they just rocked up and sat down as if they were at a restaurant. I’ve raised a family of ingrates.
“It’s the tradition Mum, no one can do Thanksgiving like you,” Penny whined when Ruby dare suggest they had the celebration at her and Tony’s next year.
“Are you stressed Mum, maybe you should see a doctor?” Frank suggested, looking at his mother with concern on his face.
Ruby walked into the kitchen, surveying the stacks of dirty dishes and remnants of the meal and sighed as she wrapped a red apron around her waist and began to clean up.
“You okay in here?” Robert called out as he passed the door on his way to the bathroom, carrying his newspaper. He saw Ruby’s red face, perspiration gleaming on her forehead and tears running slowly down her plump cheeks. “What’s wrong, honey.”
Ruby turned to her husband and burst into tears, “Oh, Robert, I feel as if I’m going crazy, everything and everyone is getting on my nerves. I keep having this dream too, every night, it’s as if I’m being warned something bad will happen.”
“Perhaps Frank is right, maybe you do need to see a doctor, make an appointment tomorrow. Come on stop crying, I’ll give you a hand,” he said giving her a hug and wiping her eyes on a tea towel.
The next day Ruby drove to see their family doctor in his rooms at the local mall. Finding parking was difficult, she had a completely out of character altercation over a parking space, refusing to give way. “I was here first,” she screamed at the other driver, her hair coming loose sticking to her sweating face as she forced her way into the space. Making her way into the shopping mall it dismayed her to see the large holiday crowds.Distracted mothers dragged reluctant children, couples walked slowly hand in hand seeming oblivious of her dire need to get past them, obstructing her path as if on purpose.
An overwhelming feeling of dread overcame her. Stepping out of the way of a crowd of noisy teenagers, Ruby felt as if they were taunting her, deliberately refusing to let her through. They pushed their way past, laughing loudly, forcing her back against a wall.
Without warning the wall seemed to give way, and she found herself on the other side of a door, staggering to regain her balance. The heavy door banged loudly behind her leaving her totally disoriented in a corridor by herself. Shocked by the sudden silence, she turned to open the door but saw there was no handle on that side and the sign said ‘No Exit’. Realising there was no way out, a jolt of intense panic swept through her body.
Admonishing herself for being so silly Ruby started to walk to the end of the corridor, rationalising it must lead to outside.
Glancing at her watch, and noticing she had only ten minutes to get to her appointment with Dr. James, she became confused, unsure where in the centre she would exit. The lights were dim and flickered as she hastily made her way down the long narrow space. She passed two doors, neither giving a clue as to where they may lead. Ruby continued to walk, the lights behind her went out one by one, causing her to to run in panic afraid of being left alone in the darkness. It was then she saw a shadowy figure of a tall man; he seemed to wait as if he were expecting her.
Her heart rate began to beat faster, the pounding loud in her ears, unable to move, she was trapped between the unknown figure and the pitch darkness behind her. Sweat poured from her body, her mouth became so dry she found she couldn’t utter a sound as her mouth opened wide to scream. At last she dropped to the floor.
“Ma’am, are you okay?”
Ruby heard the voice, but daren’t open her eyes afraid of what she might see.
“Call an ambulance.” She heard someone say, as she lay unmoving on the cold concrete floor.
“Mum, Mum,” Ruby heard her daughter’s voice. Unable to open her eyes Ruby listened, she could hear a Christmas Carol playing quietly. Someone was brushing her hair. “There you are, all pretty for Christmas Day.”
Ruby tried to speak, finding it impossible, she at last forced open her eyes. The brightness made her quickly close them again, but she’d seen her family surrounding her bed.
“She’s coming around, get the doctor!”
“Hi Darling, welcome back, Merry Christmas,” Robert whispered, kissing his wife’s dry cracked lips.
Opening her eyes again, she stared around at the white walls; get-well cards and flowers filled the room. A real Christmas tree stood in the corner, the smell of pine needles filling the air with the scent of the festive season.
“How long?” She murmured.
“The day after Thanksgiving, you were on the way to the doctors and had a massive brain aneurysm, it’s a miracle you survived, if you hadn’t had a feeling something was wrong you would have died,” Robert’s voice shook with emotion, “but the doctors say you’ll make a full recovery.”
Ruby’s eyes filled with tears as she looked at her relieved family, spending their Christmas Day in a hospital room. Even having Freda there couldn’t spoil this happy day.