Authors: Robert Bryndza
Tags: #Love, #Book Club, #British, #iPhone, #Women's Fiction, #Comedy, #Diary Format, #Chicklit
Thursday 5th March 14:30
We got to Whitechapel at eight this morning. There is nothing more depressing than a shabby Victorian-era hospital on a cold grey day. I knew when we saw Ethel, that we were making the right decision. When we arrived at Intensive care, she was dressed in a fresh gown. A Nurse had just finished bathing her. He was a nice chap but he had very bony fingers. Ethel hates bony fingers, they give her the creeps.
The fluorescent light fizzed and the rhythmic sound of the Ventilator sucked air in and out of her lungs. Her fringe had been combed off her forehead, which she would have hated, and without her teeth, her scowl was sunken and diminished.
“I think we should all like say something, before we do this,” said Rosencrantz. We took it in turns. Rosencrantz went first and told her he loved her. He said that he would endeavour to sleep with Rupert Everett, as he promised her he would.
“I always thought you would live like long enough for me to like tell you all about it,” he said. There were raised eyebrows from everyone. Tony went next, and promised her coffin would be of the best quality.
“We’ve got a marvellous selection in at the moment, Cherry, Maple, Oak, all with lovely brass features. Goodbye.” Meryl went next. She was crying so much she could barely speak, so she just kissed Ethel on the cheek. Then it was my turn.
“Ethel,” I said. “Goodbye. I know we have had our differences but I hate that this has happened to you…and in case you can hear, they asked me to press the switch. I didn’t volunteer.” I took her comb and combed her fringe back over her forehead, just how she always wore it.
Daniel went last, and if I’m honest, he did go on a bit, giving a long lament that she will never get to see him realise his full potential. I half expected Ethel to open one eye and croak,
“Pull yerself together you big girl’s blouse.”
The Consultant was getting twitchy, as this had gone on for some time. He gave me a nod, and I walked over to switch off the life support. I was confronted by a confusing array of plugs. The hospital hadn’t said
what I had to do, and I didn’t feel like I could ask. I took a deep breath and pressed a switch. A pedestal fan by the bed sprang to life and swirled all Ethel’s Get Well cards off the bedside cabinet. The second switch turned on the television and the opening credits of This Morning boomed out.
“Excuse me,” said Meryl to the Consultant as if she were lost in Sainsbury’s, “Could you direct my Sister-in-Law to the correct plug?”
I felt an inappropriate laugh rise up in my chest, which burst out. They all exchanged scandalised glances.
Apologising, I took a deep breath and pressed the correct switch. The Ventilator filled her lungs one last time and slowly wheezed to a stop.
“Her chest is still rising!” said Rosencrantz.
“This is sometimes normal,” said the Consultant kindly. “Many patients do carry on breathing for a few minutes.”
“So right now she’s, like dying?” said Rosencrantz. We all looked at Ethel. She had a serene scowl on her face. Meryl gave a deep sob so Tony and me took her out, Rosencrantz and Daniel followed. We had no interest in seeing what little colour Ethel had left drain from her face. We went down to the Cafeteria, ordered coffee, and sat staring into space. I don’t know how long we had been there when the Consultant appeared at our table.
“It seems Mrs. Pinchard is breathing unaided with a stronger pulse,” he said. “Now, this is an awkward time, it could go either way, but she has shown stronger life signs in the last hour. Much stronger than we’d expected.”
We are still at the Hospital. Ethel has now been breathing unaided for four hours. Meryl is in on the phone trying to get in touch with the Steakhouse we had booked for a memorial lunch. Tony had put down a deposit of fifty pounds. He is pacing up and down saying,
“I know this is an emotional time, but fifty pounds is fifty pounds.”
Friday 6th March 11:09
Ethel has now been breathing by herself for twenty-four hours. The thought of arranging a funeral had been bad enough, but now we are trying to prepare for what Ethel will be like if she wakes up. She could have serious brain damage.
When we got back last night, I went outside with Daniel to share a cigarette. We both squeezed onto the shed step at the end of the garden and looked out across London. It was clear and we could see for miles. Daniel pulled me into his coat.
“I’d like to try again,” he said exhaling smoke into the glowing sky. “I love you, and the thought of losing you like I nearly did Mum is just awful.”
“You’re going away,” I said.
“Not forever,” he said looking into my eyes. “I want to make it right. I’m sorry. I love you.”
He kissed me. We slept together again, properly, in our bed. Why is high emotion such an aphrodisiac?
Friday 6th March 17:33
Marika can be so blunt sometimes. She phoned this morning to say my emails have become very ‘Mills and Boon.’ She said she is deeply sorry about Ethel, but that I am sleepwalking back to Daniel, who is exploiting the situation to make himself feel better, and win me back. I hung up on her.
Ethel, it seems, is tougher than we thought. At 3pm, she opened her eyes and told Meryl that she looked like she was retaining water, ‘gallons of it.’ At 3.15pm, the doctors ran tests to check for brain damage. She could not remember the Prime Minister’s name, but she did know who the current landlady is in Coronation Street. They are calling it an unprecedented recovery.
Saturday 7th March 10:14
would be supportive of my decision. What about when you and Marika have gone back to people who, in your case, were blatantly not right for you?
Gus the married Banker? He dumped you three times and you had to pretend you were reading the Gas meter when his wife caught you in their downstairs cupboard. And Marika wasted two years with John the PE teacher who destroyed her confidence and had her at his beck and call.
Despite this, I always supported you. This is my marriage of twenty years. Family is family, you love them unconditionally.
Now I have to go. That dick head Tony has started a row about something with Rosencrantz.
Saturday 7th March 12:05
Wherever you went, you can come home. Meryl and Tony have gone.
Saturday 7th March 12:12
In your haste to depart, you left your Carmen rollers.
Saturday 7th March 13:23
Rosencrantz, where are you? Meryl and Tony have gone. I am sorry Tony got so nasty with you, the arrogant greasy bastard. They both vanished upstairs after you stormed out. An hour later, Meryl knocked on the living room door and they came in all packed and dressed in their cycling gear.
“I think we’re going to leave,” said Meryl frostily and they walked out with their Lycra shorts whistling, slamming the front door.
They’ll be back; we’re a free place to stay when they come to London. Do you think you will be home soon? Your Dad wants to play us some songs from Whistle Up The Wind
It’s ages since we all sat round the piano together.
Saturday 7th March 15:01
Oh god! Oh god! Oh shit! I have just sent the email I was meant to send you, slagging off Meryl
Meryl by mistake! Damn this email invention. In the olden days (pre-1994) if you mistakenly addressed mail you had so many ways of backing out at the last minute; not writing the envelope, not licking the stamp, not going to the postbox. Where are you?
Saturday 7th March 15:54
This just arrived from your Aunt. She thinks Tony won the argument.
You sent me an email by mistake, was it destined for Rosencrantz maybe? Not wanting to pry, I have deleted it unread. However; my eyes could not help but pick out the word ‘bastard’. Why are you sending this to your
? Surely as a ‘Writer,’ you could afford to put your point across more elegantly?
We made it back on the Tandem in two hours fourteen minutes and twelve seconds. We did have the wind in our backs, and Tony is always a better cyclist after winning an argument.
I will be popping down to see Mum in the week. Don’t worry. I won’t be staying. I will get the train.
P.S - RE the Carmen rollers, I can think of several places you could put them. You take that big house for granted! Nevertheless, if they are really in your way, send them on and I will reimburse you for the postage.
Saturday 7th March 16:30
I’m pleased to hear you made it back on the Tandem in record time. Has Tony calmed down after his row with Rosencrantz? It was a very trivial argument, don’t you think? I dug out one of my
and looked up the house system at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Houses are Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and
, not Silvikrin as Tony insisted.
Rosencrantz was right, Silvikrin is a brand of hair shampoo designed to nourish, condition and pump up volume. Maybe whilst you are waiting for me to send your Carmen rollers you could try it. It could help you achieve the volume your hair lacks.
Keep me posted with what you find out about Nursing Homes. I hope that what Mrs. Braun said about getting the Local Authority to blacklist Ethel was just in the heat of the moment.
Monday 9th March 10:43
Who is this ‘friend’ you are staying with? You’ll be back tomorrow to say goodbye to Dad, won’t you? I’m arranging a trip out to see him when his show is in Los Angeles at Easter, if you would like to come?
I have always asked you not to take sides. Please can you respect that now? Your Dad loves you very much. I’m not trying to play happy families, and I have not forgotten what has happened. It just wouldn’t hurt to spend some time together, the three of us. Fancy joining us for a walk around Regent’s Park later?
Wednesday 11th March 23:44
How was the flight? I miss you already. The last few days were so idyllic, just talking and spending time together. Your Mum was moved out of Intensive care today, earlier than they had thought, and begins physiotherapy next week. So far, it’s just me coming to Los Angeles for Easter.
Chris and Marika are ignoring me, so is your son.
Love Coco xxxx
Thursday 12th March 18:01
Who did you bring home last night? In future, it would be nice to be introduced, and it would be polite to be asked
you have overnight guests. I heard your bed going like the clappers. For my own peace of mind I am going to assume you, and whoever, were jumping up and down on it to the music you were playing. I know you have your iPhone on, so please when you get this call/email.
Thursday 12th March 20:13
I have just spoken to Rosencrantz. He would like to come to Los Angeles at Easter and he wants to bring his new
. I asked him why I haven’t been introduced. He said they haven’t reached the ‘parental introductions’ stage. I said it seemed serious as they are at the jumping up and down on beds stage. The chap is called Christian, and it seems he is a man of means. He is willing to pay his own airfare.
I think it’s all happening rather fast. I have demanded I be introduced to him on Saturday night.
Thursday 12th March 23:13
Is five days too quick to get into a serious relationship?
Thursday 12th March 23:17
I am not talking about Daniel and me. I was talking about Rosencrantz. Now I know your
opinion on us getting back together…
Also, how much longer is Marika going to keep ignoring me? I am not stupid; I know what I am doing. Daniel has apologised. We are taking it slowly, but we are most definitely back together.
Friday 13th March 14:02
I am sorry. You were right. You were so right.
I was awake all night after we came off the phone. I’m sorry. I can’t do this. You need too much from me, but I need to get out there and achieve things, and I can’t do it with you. Next to you, I am nothing. You are an incredible, generous, vibrant, amazing woman and you will always be my best friend. I am sorry.
We can make this quick and painless. I have found a link to an online divorce site www.zippydivorces.com it will be cheaper than going through normal Solicitors and arguing over how to separate everything.
He’s telling me in an
How could I be so stupid! Oh and now I’m ‘vibrant’ what the F does that mean?
Friday 13th March 15:44
Spoke to Daniel. He didn’t answer his phone until the tenth attempt. He was shocked at how angry I was, he had expected some tearful heap. He tried to convince me that the online divorce option was the best. I told him I am not separating anything.
“Well, you have to,” he said, with harshness in his voice. “Otherwise, I’ll cut you off. How much money do you have? A couple of hundred?” He wants half the house. I asked him what has changed. He said it was him and not me. The emotion of nearly losing Ethel made him ‘rash and vulnerable.’ Marika came straight over from work.