Oscar’s phone buzzed once more upon his bedside table.

“Hey Mum.”

“Hi. Oscar just so you know I’m on my way.”

“On your way? What!”

“I’m on the train, travelling from London Euston to Chester and then obviously I’ll go from Chester to Clatterbridge.”

“Are you serious? You’re coming to see me?”

“Stop sounding so surprised, I’m allowed to see my own son aren’t I?”

“Mum, you know how much I’ve been dying to see you for months! Bringing Ava to London was a mistake.”

“No, no. It was a bit of a wake up call I think.”


Yes, for me it was. Anyway, I’m just over an hour away from Chester. When’s visiting time?”

“I don’t think this unit has visiting times as such, I think people can come and go as they please.”


“Where are you going to stay? You could stay at mine but…”

“No, no. I managed to get a B&B  in Clatterbridge. I’ve just booked a couple of nights.”

“How much did that cost you?”

“What does that matter, it was cheap. I’m earning now and I have another job.”

“That’s great. Where do you work? The other job I mean.”

I work Monday to Thursday in a residential home 7am-4pm  and I’m doing a bit of home care for someone, under a separate agency whenever I’m needed. That job pays better.”

“That’s good. How much?”

“It pays the bills and I’m happy. I’m not needed for home care this week, so I’m free for a few days.”

“I can’t wait to see you Mum. I’m just on the first floor, ask at reception and they’ll tell you where I am. I love you.”

“Bye Oscar, see you in a few hours.”

He gazed in his bedside mirror at his stubbly chin, shaking his head at himself for forgetting his razor. Surely they would have disposable ones on the ward. He caught the attention of the male care assistant walking past.

“Excuse me, do you happen to have disposable razors?”

“Yes, no problem. We keep them in the sluice, I’ll go and get you some. Do you need shaving foam?”

“Erm, yes please.”

The HCA returned with a cardboard bowl filled with a small amount of warm water, dry wipes, a razor and shaving foam.

Here you go Oscar.”

“Thanks so much.”

Oscar dipped the dry wipes in the warm water, wetting his chin and lathered his chin with the thick shaving foam. Cautiously he shaved his chin, taking extra care not to cut himself. He rinsed the razor, so that he might get a cleaner shave. Happy with his efforts, he rinsed and wiped his chin using the corner of the wipe to blot the blood from the small cut.

“Are you all finished?”

“Yes, thanks.”

“Okay, I’ll just take those away from you.

Oscar nodded, using  the small amount of water in his glass to brush his teeth, spitting out the toothpaste in the cardboard bowl he’d used for shaving and lay his head against the pillows.


Oscar felt a cool hand resting upon his forehead, jumping as he opened his eyes.

“W-wha-?” It was Janet. She gently placed his hand in hers.

“Mum! How was your journey?”

Very smooth. Sorry I scared you.”

“That’s good then. It’s my fault for being half asleep the majority of the time!”

“Oscar, I- I don’t even know what to say. You’ve changed so much, I-I barely recognised you for a split second.”

“So glad you’re here Mum.”

“You’ve lost more weight haven’t you? And of course…”

“I know, you can say it, my hair.”

“How much have you lost?”

“Weight or hair?”


“Just over a stone in weight and the majority of my hair now..”

“God! Still, it’s not your fault, some of the unfortunate side effects of Cancer.”

“Try telling Ava that.”

“Why? What did she say?”

“Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that. I’d rather not talk about her at the moment.”

“Have you spoken to her since coming in here?”

“Very briefly.”


“I don’t think she was very impressed that I refused to tell her which ward I was on.”

“Wait, you didn’t tell her you were going into hospital?”

“She knew I would have to go in soon.”

“That’s a foolish thing to do!”


“Did she not come to the appointments with you?”

“I asked her not to. She was getting abdominal tightening through stress.”

“Oh dear. Were they genuine?”

“I just don’t know any more Mum. There’s more to her than well,  meets they eye.”

“I see.”

“Please can we not talk about Ava at the moment.”

“Okay Oscar, that’s fine by me.”

To be continued….


12 thoughts on “Planchette- Part 115

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