Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: JOY (12/07/17)
TITLE: The Locum Vet
By Jacky Julyan
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Hilda’s first marriage to Dan at the tender age of twenty had been fraught with much unhappiness. This bitter time only became sweet when she gave birth to Peter her one and only son, but soon after, her husband Dan left her for a younger woman and Hilda struggled on as a single parent until she married Ted. Peter was a teenager by this time and never accepted Ted so after graduating from University left home with no word of his whereabouts. Hilda had not seen or heard from him in twenty years.
Hilda’s only comfort now was Sophie, her white persian cat. She was a delicate cat with gorgeous blue eyes and a nose exquisitely soft and pink. Hilda absolutely adored Sophie but underneath there was always this fear that she would lose her.
Hilda reached out and turned off the alarm then called out to Sophie. As usual her cat would come bounding up the stairs, loudly purring, and jump with effortless grace onto her owner’s bed. But today as Hilda called out, there was not a sound of either feet nor purring.
Panicking, Hilda quickly got out of bed, plunged her feet into cold slippers and hurried downstairs. As soon as she entered into the kitchen she immediately saw Sophie curled up in her usual corner unnaturally still and her breathing laboured and fast. With great haste Hilda ran straight to the telephone in the hallway and called the vets. Since it was an emergency, the receptionist told her she would have to see the locum vet, but she was not to worry because he was a nice man with lots of experience.
Deep with anxiety, holding Sophie securely wrapped in a blanket, Hilda waited patiently for her name to be called out.
‘You can take Sophie in now, come I’ll show you the way’
She followed the veterinary nurse into the examination room and there stood the locum vet. Hilda noticed that he was a very tall man, his once jet black hair was now peppered with many silver hairs. He was leaning over some paperwork and writing furiously.
‘I won’t be a minute, I’ve just got to check this’’ he said,
Then clipping his pen to his white overcoat pocket he lifted his handsome face ready to attend to his next patient. As he turned he found himself staring into a familiar face one he had not seen in twenty years. Time stopped as the same hazel coloured eyes, eyes identical in shape and colour scrutinized one another. Eyes wide with shock.
Mother and son both stood motionless and continued to stare at one another. No words were spoken as their eyes drank in every mark and wrinkle, comparing, memories of the past now merging into present reality. Guilt washed over Peter, his heart torn, his mind in torment of all the times he had planned to write or visit but never had.
In his anguish he silently mouthed ‘mum’ ….
Hilda whispered …..‘Peter?’ ….
Then Hilda looking down upon Sophie cried ‘ ….I.... I can’t lose her, please I can’t lose her too’.
Peter began in earnest to examine Sophie and soon found a large piece of glass protruding from her back paw which had become seriously infected. Over the next few days Peter oversaw Sophie’s operation and aftercare both night and day as though it was his own mother’s life. Peter paid for all the treatment both now and in the future. Peter grasped this moment and never missed a chance to come over to see his mum with the latest news on Sophie.
It was a week before Christmas and Peter decided to stay with his Mum until Sophie was completely recovered. The adored cat of this family slept peacefully by the kitchen fire. Snow had begun to fall and Christmas carols sang out from the radio
‘Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King …..
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