The Hospital Bed
A small group of family members had gathered round his bed. Now and
again one of them would whisper something but they were mainly silent, just
watching the small form lying beneath the crisp, white sheets. The chiselled
features were still evident. The self-assurance remained. But although the
spirit was willing, the flesh was exhausted. A life, lived to the full, was
taking its toll.
There were those who argued that he had been presented with all the advantages life could offer. True, he had been born in 'the big house' and that had been an excellent start in life. The double barrelled surname opened many doors that might have remained firmly shut to others. But only the most mean spirited person would have argued that he had not made the most of every opportunity that had been presented to him.
Now everything ached: every healed bone, every torn muscle. If he'd had the energy, or the inclination he could have mapped his adventures injury by injury. But he was much too weary for such nostalgia.
The sound of children singing drifted into the room. Was he conscious? He had no idea. The song, always the same song, had seemed to follow him wherever he went since that awful day. It didn't matter whether he was awake or not, the song was always there. He half opened one eye. Faint, familiar figures leaned forwards expectantly. What were they expecting him to do? Hadn't he done enough already? He breathed out slowly and closed his eye. And still the words of the song ran through his mind.
The group, gathered round the bed, looked at one another. Moist eyes glistened as they gazed fondly at the broken hero.
"Do you remember..."began one of the well wishes, but of course they did. They all remembered. The whole country remembered. How could they forget?