Saturday, December 29, 2007

Feb ’87 – O’ Grade English Composition

At The Hospital

Mary picked her bunch of roses off the table and smiled to herself. She really must stop being so stupid. It was only a hospital she was going to, after all, and she had no need to be afraid. She wasn’t even the patient.

She closed the door of her flat and checked that it was locked then started off down the stairs. At the bottom, she checked her appearance in the mirror next to the unused coatstand. Then she opened the main door and stepped outside where a cool breeze seemed to calm her nerves a little. When she arrived at the bus stop she was almost looking forward to seeing her mother. The bus drew up and she got on. Just her luck, she didn’t have any change, only a tenner. Then she discovered that there were no seats left, so she had to stand squashed between a man with B.O. and a large, very busty woman, who coughed and wheezed all the way to the hospital. Mary got off the bus and realised that her pretty, sweet-smelling flowers were squashed and broken.

“Damn,” she muttered under her breath and walked around the corner. There was the hospital, looming large and unnervingly white against the grey of the nearby houses. Her veneer of confidence was shattered in an instant, and she felt her knees go to jelly as she reached the door. She pushed it open and felt physically sick when the waft of disinfectant came to her nose.

Steeling herself, she stepped inside and started to walk up the corridor. It was very quiet, and she heard the echo of her heels clicking up to the flower shop. There she bought another bunch of roses and a few carnations. Those were her mother’s favourite flowers and always had been.

After leaving the flower shop she called at the reception desk and waited ‘til the nurse came to her assistance.

“Can I help you?”, the nurse smiled, and Mary thought what a stupid question. Of course she wanted help. She wouldn’t be there if she didn’t!

“Yes, I’m looking for Mrs Taylor. Could you tell me what ward she’s in, please?”

“Certainly. She’s in Ward 24a.”

“Um… could you tell me where that is, please?”

The nurse smiled at Mary’s stupidity.

“Yes. You go straight ahead for a bit then turn second left, first right and it’s the 4th door on the left.”

“Right… Um, thanks… Bye.” Mary went straight ahead – then got totally lost. Was it first left, second right or second left, first right? Eventually she found the right ward and settled herself down in a chair next to her mother’s bed.

“Hello, mum. How are you feeling today?”

“Fine, dear. My neck’s playing me up again though.”

“Sorry to hear that. By the way, I got a letter from Mrs Smith today. She’s coming in to this hospital as well, and she’ll be in this ward beside you.”

“Oh, what’s happened to her then?”

“I don’t know, she wouldn’t say in the letter.” Mary was starting to feel queasy again. Hospitals and graveyards always made her feel funny, and she supposed that the one was a natural progression from the other. “Listen mum, I really must go.”

“Oh dear, must you? I do so look forward to your visits. The hours pass so slowly in here, and I get so bored on my own.”

Mary couldn’t help but feel sorry for her, so she decided to relent and stay ‘til the end of visiting time, however much it hurt.

“Okay, mum… I’ll stay with you for a little while. Just a little while, though. You know how much I hate hospitals. If only Susie hadn’t had to go to hospital, she wouldn’t be dead now.”

Susie had been Mary’s best friend. She was involved in a car crash when she was 18 and had been taken to the hospital with a broken back. By sheer incompetence on the part of the doctors, she had died.

“Don’t be silly, dear. That was only an accident. It could have happened to anyone.”


“Ssh, dear. You’re shouting.”

“I’m sorry, mum. But it’s true.”

Just at that moment a doctor passed by.

“Doctor, could you come here, please?”

“Certainly, Mrs Taylor. What can I do for you?”

Mary’s mother whispered to the doctor and he smiled, then took Mary by the elbow and led her out of the ward.

“Wh – Where are you taking me?”

“To meet someone special.”

“Who?” Mary was puzzled and started to struggle.

The doctor led her into another ward and up to a little girl of about 10 years old.

“What’s wrong with her then?” asked Mary.

“She has a broken back. Isn’t that right, Katy?”

Katy replied very shyly, “Yes.”

The doctor went out quietly and left Mary and Katy talking.

About a quarter of an hour later Mary came into her mother’s ward again and told her mother all that Katy had told her.

“She made me see that the hospital doctors that treated Susie were unfortunate cases who couldn’t help her in time. You are in very good hands here, mum, and I have no need to worry about you at all. You’ll be just fine.”

Mary’s mum smiled.

“I really must go now and make my tea,” said Mary.

“Bye, darling. See you tomorrow?”

“You bet, mum.”

Mary walked out of the hospital as though she was walking on air. She was looking forward to seeing her mother the next day… and Katy too.

1 comment:

AllyBally said...

Teacher’s comments:

“Good opening. Very descriptive”
“Why was the nurse “stupid”?”
“The doctors themselves were unfortunate?”
“Good story. Vivid descriptions and crisp, lively dialogue. At times I thought it was a little too cynical – the bit about Mary and the nurse thinking each other were stupid”


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