“What else happened?”
“Well, I don’t know if you remember, but your cousin Harold was a much bigger child. I swear he was twice the size of you. You’ve always been really slender. He used to push you about a bit.”
“How did I react?”
“You took it for a while and then of course you finally snapped. It wasn’t your fault.”
“Oh dear, yes I remember. What does he do now?”
“Harold’s at Oxford.”
“Might have guessed. He always was a nerd.”
“I feel too young to be a Dad, yet this whole thing seems so exciting. I know it will be hard, but it’s going to be a positive experience and it might stop me from being so selfish.”
“Selfish? Not you Oscar. You’re one of the most selfless people I know.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“No, it’s true. Who travelled all the way to London when I’d fallen in the garden? You went out of your way for me. You’ve always been there for Ava, despite her treating you like shit.”
“Jesus! You really think that?”
“It’s a fact Oscar. But don’t worry, we’ll sort something.” Oscar glanced at the clock.
“Mum, don’t miss your train.”
“I’d rather stay here with you and I would, if I didn’t have work tomorrow, or a rent to pay. Don’t you fret, we’ll see each other soon.” Janet gently stroked Oscar’s cheek, kissing his forehead.
“I promise that I’ll phone you as often as I can, or just drop me a text okay. I’ve enjoyed our chats. Bye Oscar, I love you.”
Oscar’s eyes filled with tears. “You- you really mean that?” Janet hugged Oscar.
“I do, with all my heart. Don’t get upset, but just know that I’m here for you from now on and ready to start making up for the past. This is a clean slate and a new chapter for us. Remember, I’m just a phone call away.”
“Bye Mum, I love you.”
“Missing you already Oscar.”
Oscar watched anxiously, as Janet walked down the corridor. She glanced over her shoulder at the weak young man with a pale face, lying in the hospital bed. She narrowed her eyes, holding back tears. Oscar smiled again , feeling a sense of calm. Things were going to be fine between them, he could feel it inside. He closed his exhausted eyes, drifting into a deep sleep.
Oscar stood alone, where was he? There was a baby howling. Oscar gazed at his bony limbs. Where was the Moses basket? It must be in the next room, could he make it? Where was Ava? He grabbed onto the door handle, his frail body racked with pain. Where was the baby? The prominent sound of running water came from the bathroom. He pushed back the door. Ava crouched over the bath, her arms elbow deep in the water. Oscar gasped as he saw the small, submerged body. Ava pushed the baby down, onto the hard bottom of the porcelain bath. Oscar grabbed Ava’s arms, pulling at them with all his might. She was so strong and he too weak.
“I wash my hands of you and this ugly baby! You’re too late!” She snarled. She let go. The baby floated to the surface of the water. Oscar grasped the tiny body, pulling her out of the water. Desperately he began CPR. She was too far gone, the evidence clear upon her mottled face. She was dead. Oscar had failed to save her.
Oscar’s gasped, letting out a cry, his brow drenched with sweat once more. He felt a delicate hand in his as he opened his hazy eyes. It was Daisy.
“Oscar? Can you hear me?”
“B-bad dream. What are you doing out of bed Daisy?”
“I’m not confined to my bed you know! You were really restless, George noticed it and told me to go over to you. I think I’m the only one not connected to some sort of device. Do you want me to get Milly?”
“No.” Oscar placed both hands over his face.
“Aw! Oscar, it’s okay. Don’t get yourself upset. Was the dream really that horrible?”
“Awful.” He sniffed.
“Do you get them often?”
“Just sometimes. That was the worst one I’ve had.”
“I can tell, you’re still shaking. Here have some water.”
“Daisy, you should be in bed.”
“No I shouldn’t. I’m fine, I needed to stretch my legs a bit, honest.” She held the water to Oscar’s lips while he drank.
“Much better thanks.”
“Okay. Shhh now, here dry your eyes. The 1st cycle of chemo is nasty. It messes with your emotions, it happened to me too! I couldn’t stop crying for about a week. I think you’ve worn yourself out, you were so restless, almost delirious! I’d get Milly or one of the other nurses, but they’re in another bay. I think it’s something quite serious, practically all the staff are in there.”
“Oh God! I hope the person’s okay.”
“So do I.”
To be continued…..