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,