I noticed again the dusty dying fly on the windowsill. It was still there, giving the occasional weak, barely audible buzz. I removed my brown court shoe, raised it over my head and brought it down with hammer force on the insect. I only hoped my family would have the courage to do the same for me when the time came.
'You look extremely pale, Jetta. Are you alright?' Marilyn said as I slid into the passenger seat and pulled the seat belt around me.
'Not really. I was pleased when you offered to drive today.'
Sensing she was about to ask more, I held up my hand. 'I'll tell you all about it later, promise. Over coffee.'
Marilyn, I decided, would be the first person I would tell. She was not prone to emotional outbursts and never made mountains out of molehills. Some considered her cold and detached. In truth she was level-headed and considerate. And in the few years I had known her, she'd become my most trusted friend.
The overgrown hedges and wild cow parsely made the single track lanes out of Hampton Stoke narrower than usual. The forecast was for yet another hot sunny day with isolated showers, and I lowered my window several inches, enough to let in a warm breeze. I was beginning to feel calmer. Less shaky. Less nauseous. Within 10 minutes we were on the A36 heading west towards Bath. Thank goodness my late morning appointment meant we avoided the rush hour. Driving, Marilyn and I had long since agreed, was no longer a pleasure.
Once in Bath, we lapsed into a comfortable silence; Marilyn followed the signs to the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, whilst I tried to concentrate on the everyday things that were my life. Jetta Fellowes' life. Eighty years young, I was a regular contributor to the Hampton Stoke parish magazine, organised charity coffee mornings, sent letters of protest and occasional praise to newspapers, politicians and potential reformers. I enjoyed social gatherings, the company of friends,

Back to page 1
2
Go to page 3