Izzy and Jazz

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Chapter 3 - Hope

On day seven we got to go home. Mum had to be hooked up to the breathing machine 24/7, but they had found a mobile one so she was no longer stuck in the hospital. I was excited to see Jazz again, a neighbour had been looking after her but I knew she must have been miserable without us. As soon as we walked up to the front door Jazz greeted us with excited barks. I helped mum to her chair and then went outside to greet my puppy. I was immediately covered in slobber and dog hair, I grinned happily. I had missed my Jazz. Jazz finally got over her excitement and cautiously made her way over to mum. I signed the word for gentle, although Jazz already seemed to know. Mum said Jazz approached her slowly and simply laid her head on her lap so mum could gently pat her.

Over the next few days Jazz became extra protective of mum, barely leaving her side. I hardly did either, I was too afraid to go on long walks just in case something happened to mum. She was our rock, we needed her. The neighbours dropped off meals and I was thankful, cooking had always been one thing I couldn’t master. I’d always make a huge mess and burn a lot of it. But soon the meals stopped, and I was forced to muddle around in the kitchen attempting to put things together whilst mum gave directions. My meals were okay at best.

One evening, after a particularly messy pizza making endeavour the doorbell rang. Curious as to who would be visiting I answered the door. I could smell her instantly, ‘Hey stranger’ Eve said as I smiled from ear to ear. Eve had come to visit us! Jazz bounded over and sniffed the new comer curiously. Eve giggled and eagerly patted Jazz. When she started saying commands like ‘sit’ and ‘down’ I explained that Jazz was deaf, and that we used signs to communicate. Eve was incredulous, a blind girl and a deaf dog, the crazy duo she dubbed us. I grinned and told her, ‘Jazz is my best friend, we have lots of adventures.’ As we made our way to the lounge I hoped the house wasn’t as messy as I thought it was.

‘Do you have a house keeper?’ Eve inquired. I replied saying no, normally mum looked after the place and I helped where I could. ‘Wait, you’ve been doing everything yourself these last few days?!’ She asked shocked. I shrugged, I had no other options. We make do. When she saw the kitchen it must have been a pigsty because she immediately offered to clean up. Embarrassed I refused, ‘Mum will help me clean it when she’s feeling better’. But Eve was insistent and soon I was banished to the couch whilst she cleaned.

I sat down and patted Jazz, signing to her how bossy Eve was. Soon I was immersed in conversation with Jazz, talking about Eve and how we had met. I don’t know how much Jazz understood but she patiently sat there with me the whole time. After a while I heard Eve clear her throat and stopped mid-sentence. ‘How long had she been there?!’ I blushed and Eve laughed, ‘You two sure have your own little world don’t you?’ I smiled and patted Jazz, ‘Yeah she puts up with me and I love her’. Eve sat next to me, and offered me a glass of wine. Mum was fast asleep by this point. We sat in companionable silence while we drank our wine and I was suddenly aware of how close Eve was to me, I could smell the subtle scents of her shampoo. To break the silence I asked her if she made a habit of checking up on her patients. She responded, only the special ones. I felt myself blush again. Damn her. With a hint of teasing her voice she asked, ‘you don’t mind do you?’ I smiled ‘no, not at all’. Suddenly she took my hand and brought it to her face. Nervously I moved my fingers over her face, memorising the feel and form of her skin. I could tell she was beautiful, with her slight cheek bones, soft wrinkles around her eyes from smiling and lastly her soft, full lips. My fingers trembled when they touched her lips. ‘Thank you Eve’ I said ‘I have been wanting to do that since we met but I didn’t know how to broach the subject.’ Tracing someone’s face was the best way I had to visualize them, it meant a lot to me that she would let me visualize her.

Grinning I shyly finished my explorations and then softly grabbed her hands, bringing them to my face. She laughed, ‘my turn?’ ‘Yes, it’s only fair’ I said cheekily. It was weird for me to feel her fingers on my face. I had had little human contact over the years, keeping to myself a lot. I tensed a little when she got to my eyes, I knew they were scarred and mum said they were all blue and cloudy. I was self-conscious. Eve paused and asked if it was okay. I took a deep breath and told her to continue. Her fingers felt cool and silky on my skin, and they were very gentle as they brushed over my eyes. ‘You’re beautiful’ she whispered. I smiled shyly, ‘thank you, but I’m not, my face is scarred and broken, you don’t have to lie’. ‘I’m not lying’ she replied ‘sometimes broken things are beautiful, and you are Izzy, you are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met’. I blushed again and pulled back. ‘Thank you’. I turned my head away so she wouldn’t see the tears but it was too late, she pulled me into a hug and I was glad for the comfort. Nobody had ever called me beautiful before.

All too soon she had to get going, but she promised to be back to teach me how to make pasta bake, mums favourite. I was the happiest I’d been since mum first got sick, I was lucky to have someone like Eve. That night I lay awake patting Jazz and replaying that moment on the couch. I wasn’t sure what it meant, but I hoped there would be more moments like it soon. The next morning mum was shocked at how tidy the house was, ’did you find us a magical house cleaning pixie last night? ’She asked. I laughed, ‘no, just a magical nurse’. I told her how Eve had come and cleaned up, then promised to come and show me how to make pasta bake. ‘She’s a good sort that Eve’ mum said, ‘we were lucky to have had her as my nurse’. I agreed.

I only had to wait a couple of days before Eve returned. We moved mum to the lounge to wait while we worked our magic in the kitchen. As I headed into the kitchen I heard mum call Eve aside and say a few words to her, but later Eve said it was nothing important. I worried still. But there was pasta to be made! Eve insisted that we make the pasta from scratch. This was not a simple process. I’m pretty sure we coated the kitchen in a thin film of flour and Jazz was lucky enough to get plenty of dropped titbits. We had to roll out the pasta and I struggled with trying to get the rolling pin straight and making sure to get all the pasta. Eve offered to help, I gratefully accepted. However I didn’t expect this would mean that she would move behind me and place her hands on mine, so she could guide them. I could feel her presence with every fibre in my body. With her so close I struggled to focus on the pasta. But our hands worked well together and soon we had it all made, ready to be cooked. Eve did the cooking whilst set the table. I brought mum through and soon all three of us were chatting away and eating a delicious meal. Mum remarked how nice the pasta was, and I told her it was all Eve. Mum thanked her, for cooking the meal, cleaning up and going the extra mile. Eve told her it was nothing, we were her favourite patients. ‘Hey I’m no patient!’ I exclaimed. Eve laughed and said ‘no, you’re my student, and a very good one at that’. I was left blushing again.

After tucking mum into bed it was time for Eve to go. At the door I grabbed her hand, ‘thank you for everything’. ‘Shh’ she said ‘it’s no problem, I enjoyed it’. I grinned and squeezed her hand, ‘well you’re welcome here anytime’. She was silent, but hadn’t left yet. I wondered what she was thinking. Suddenly she leaned in and kissed me softly, I was taken aback, but soon my lips responded and sparks were flying all around my body. The kiss ended and she whispered softly, ‘goodnight’. I now had a new scene to replay in my mind.

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