Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW (05/02/19)
- TITLE: Mrs Cookson
By Catherine Borg-Fenech
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Then suddenly she remembered: Her accident.
Her eyes shot open, she felt anxious. Where was she and when did she leave the hospital? She remembered falling and she remembered the ambulance. But this wasn’t where they had taken her.
“Knock knock,” a young woman opened the door, “Can I come in?”
Margaret tried to sit up.
“No, no, here, let me help”. The woman reached her bedside and gently lifted her into a comfortable position. She carried on talking while she rearranged the pillows. “I hope you had a good sleep. I popped in just before eight o’clock last night to see if you needed anything and you were already snoozing away”.
She stood up and smiled. It was a friendly, warm smile and Margaret couldn’t help but smile back.
“Now, what would you like to eat?”
Margaret cleared her throat. “I know my memory isn’t what it used to be, and I don’t want to sound rude, but…”
“You’re wondering who I am?” The woman looked a little hurt but the expression was brief. She smiled again and sat down in the chair next to the bed. “Mrs Cookson, do you remember what happened a few days ago?”
“Yes,” Margaret nodded, “I had a fall, outside my house, and a kind stranger called the ambulance but they didn’t bring me here”.
The lady took hold of her hand. “You did fall, yes. My husband helped you, do you remember? And you broke your wrist and sprained both ankles.”
Margaret rubbed her eyes with one hand and realised as she looked that her other arm was in plaster.
Confused, she looked at the young woman, her face kind yet still unfamiliar. “I was in hospital”, she said, “And I was told I couldn’t go home”.
“You can’t, Mrs Cookson. Not yet anyway. You need help because of your injuries and because you….” She didn’t seem to want to finish that sentence so continued with, “and the path at the front of your house is still too dangerous underfoot”.
“So, where am I?”
“My name is Rosie, Mrs Cookson, and this is my house. My husband and I offered to take care of you until you’re back on your feet. I’m a trained nurse”.
“Well, that’s very kind of you but, I couldn’t possibly impose”.
Rosie smiled again, “You’re not imposing. We want to do it. You knew my parents and I know they’d want me to as well”.
“Yes. Mr and Mrs Wright. My mum used to work for you when you had the shop and my dad, his name was Jimmy, he was best friends with….”
“Stephen”, Margaret whispered. “My boy!”
Tears filled her eyes as she recalled those days. The days of the green-grocers on Bank Street. The days of loyal customers and good friends. Of her husband and her son, both whom had sadly passed away. Right now, they were the only memories she really had.
“I’m sorry”, Rosie squeezed Margaret’s hand, “I didn’t mean to upset you!”
“No, it’s fine”, she replied softly, smiling through her tears. “Just memories, that’s all. But, I still don’t understand…”
“You’re very well thought of around here, Mrs Cookson. From people of all generations. When word spread about your fall, everybody wanted to help”.
“What, little old me?” she laughed. “I’m sure I haven’t done anything special!”
“But that’s just the point, you have! All the kind words spoken, all the visits to the housebound, the shopping trips, the phone calls, and all the little treats you send for the children of the neighbourhood. It all adds up and it all matters. You matter, Mrs Cookson, you matter a lot!”
Margaret, who couldn’t at the moment remember any of this, was very moved. And as Rosie continued to talk about the things that her neighbours and friends were doing for her, from her shopping to painting her fence to fixing up the broken pavement in front of her house, it was all she could do to stop the tears from falling.
“Thank you, Rosie!” she whispered. “It’s very nice to meet you”.
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