Suzan stared into the hospital room where her mother lay, and turning to the footsteps approaching.
" Doctor, how long before it's over ?" she questioned. " Well it's hard to say, it could be tomorrow, or next week, or even six months," replied Doctor Hardings. " Look at them," Suzan said looking back at the children, " they think she's just got a cold." " You haven't told them?" " I haven't found the right time yet." Suzan said as she stepped closer to the door.
" Mummy can I get drink/" Jenny asked her mother. " Sure sweety." She said looking down as she stroked her daughters hair. Jenny then hopped and skipped down the hospital hall to the water fountain. " I'd better leave you now I've got some rounds to do," the doctor said to Suzan as he placed his hand to her shoulder. " Thank you, for everything." Suzan smiled to the doctor held her head up high and entered her mother's hospital room.
" You were talking about me again weren't you." Suzan's mother asked as she raised an eyebrow. " No, not really." Suzan said taking hold of her mother's hand. " I may be old but I'm not deaf," said Estell. " You're not old grandma," Billy said as he climbed upon the bed. " Thank you dear." Estelle reaching out to touch Billy's cheek. " So how much did you hear." Suzan taking a breath and look to her mother hoping she didn't hear too much. " Enough to know I've got up to six months. " Where are you going in six months grandma ?" Jenny questioned as she came back into the room. " Far away dear, sort of like a holiday," Estell trying to explain. Billy looking puzzled asked " Will you be coming back ?" " No dear." Estell looked to Suzan and gave a half smile. " Can we come visit you ?" Jenny asked leaning onto the bed. " No dear, where I'm going it's just too far away." Estelle explained as she held onto her granddaughter's hand. " Come on you two it's time to go home and grandma need her rest." Suzan collected their things and kissed her mother on the cheek, Billy leaned forward and he too kissed his grandmother on the cheek. " Do we have to go, can't we stay just a little longer." Jenny asked with big puppy dog eyes and pushing her bottom lip out. " Honey, grandma needs her sleep if you want her to get better." Jenny shrugged her shoulders and gave Estelle a kiss and all three wished her a goodnight.
Estell ay there in total silence and the room partly lit by moonlight thinking of years past. Thinking of when she was a young woman just turning twenty and the one she loved. Her eyes grew heavy and with a smile she slowly drifted off to sleep.
" Isn't it beautiful." Estelle said holding John's hand looking over a field of wild blossoms. " Come on then."John said look as Etelle. " What ?" Estell was puzzled. " Lets run through them like we did when we were young." " Alright, I'll race you to the other side." Estelle said as she began to run gaining a head start. " Hey, wait up." John yelled. " For the counties best runner you sure are slow." Estelle hollered from halfway across the field. Butterflies danced on the breeze as both John and Estelle ran through the hundreds of wild purple flowers and with all the butterflies it was a sight to be seen as there was as many butterflies as there were flowers. Not looking where she was running Estelle tripped and fell at the same time letting out a scream. John stopped in his tracks looked around and then started running again. " Estelle; Estelle where are you ?"John frantically called. There was no answer, he kept running in the same direction as Estelle, and then he found her, she lay there motionless . John's eyes widened with fear, he took a deep breath and knelt beside her. He gently rolled Estelle onto her back, and wiped the dirt away from her face. As John looked up for any sign of help Estelle opened one of her eyes to see if he was looking, when she saw he wasn't she opened the other eye and said, " Gotcha," and then began to laugh. In shock John dropped Estelle back into the dirt and stood up. " What the hell do you think you're doing," he bellowed. " There's no need to start cussing, I was only having a bit of fun." Estelle said while laying there in the dirt. " Grow up," John said as he began to walk away. " John wait," Estelle yelled as she got off the ground. But John paid no attention and kept on walking. Estelle picked up a clump of grass and dirt and threw it hitting John in the back. He let out a bit of a yell and fell to the ground moaning. Estelle gasped for air and ran to John as fast as she could. " John I'm sorry," she yelled out as she reached him. He then turned over and started laughing. " Gotcha back," he said still laughing. He then sat up and kissed Estell on her soiled cheek. " John please, someone may be watching." Estelle pulled back and looked around. " We better get back or your father will be having fits."
John took Estelle's hand and they walked to the edge of the field to the beginning of the track. " Wait I want to get one last look at the field," Estelle said turning back to take in the beauty of the flowers. " It's beautiful isn't it," he said placing his arm around her shoulder. " It's a shame it it'll be gone when the snow falls." Estelle said as they looked across the rainbow coloured field.
As the dream went out of focus another voice entered. " Estelle, Estelle." The voice echoed. Estelle's eyes crept open and with the sharp sunlight cutting through the window she could see a man standing beside the bed. " John," she whispered. " Estelle it's me, Doctor Harding," he said as he wiped a tear from her cheek. " Yes, of course." Estell said as she looked away. " I'm here to give you a check over," the said as he went over her chart to study the overnight ob's. " Well am I still going to die," she asked looking out the window. " Estelle you're doing just fine," he answered, " the nurse will be in shortly to bath you." " Do you know when my daughter is coming back?" " I'm sure she'll be in around lunch time." He replied. The doctor left the room and left Estelle in her bed with a book. She felt so alone and longed to see her field of flowers that she once knew as a young girl. Time slowly crept on as she eagerly awaited for her family to visit. Tired from waiting she slowly drifted back to sleep and once again began to dream of the beauty of spring breaking through winter.
" Estelle honey," mother called, " When you've finished your chores you can take some fresh bread to Mrs Peters." " Mother is it ok if I go over to John's house for a while," Estelle asked trying to look as cute as possible. " Well; " her mother paused, " ok only if you're back by supper. " Don't worry I will," Estelle grabbed the loaf of bread and hopped and skipped out of the back door and down the garden path. Along the way she passed the field of wildflowers that grew near by. Estelle loved to stop and smell the wonderful aromas that would float on the summer breezes and see all the flowers sway like they were dancing, and the butterflies and bees that would hop from flower to flower, this always brought a smile to her face even when she was feeling down. Estelle gathered herself and continued on her way.
" Hello Mrs Peters, it's me Estelle." She waited for a moment and then ran around to the back of the house and called again. " Hello Mrs Peters I've brought some bread." " Over here dear." A voice came from behind the garden shed. " I'm in the strawberry patch." Estelle looked around and skipped down the path to the garden where Mrs Peters was waiting. " And how are you today Estelle?" " Just dandy Mrs peters." Estelle replied looking hungrily at the strawberries. " Mmmm the bread smells so good your mother really does a wonderful job, would like a piece." " Oh I couldn't, I've just eaten. But i could possibly squeeze in a strawberry though." Estelle said with her eyes still fixed on the patch. " Very well dear, help yourself." Estelle licked her lips and began to eat. " Try not to eat too many dear you might get a tummy ache." Warned Mrs Peters. " Don't worry I won't I'll just have three." " I'm going inside now so I'll see you later and please thank your mother for me," Mrs Peters said as she hobbled out of the garden. Estelle ate three big red juicy strawberries and then picked two extra for John. She knew Mrs Peters wouldn't mind as she knew Estelle would always take the two extra.
" Grandma, grandma, are you sleeping?" Jenny as she leaned over the edge of the hospital bed. " Jenny be quiet you'll wake the whole hospital," Billy said trying to pull his sister from the bed. " Come on you two sit on the chair and wait till grandma wakes up." Suzan took both children by the hand and sat them on the large armchair next to the bed. " Suzan are you there?" Estelle whispered as she slowly opened her eyes. " Yes mum." " Could you please help me sit up I can't see the children." Estelle asked as she struggled with the bed covers. Suzan motioned to the children, " Billy go to the other side and straighten the pillows while I hold grandma." " That's better, thank you dear." Estelle smiled to billy then gently touched him on the head for the kind gesture. " Now come and sit on the bed and tell me what you've both been up to."
" Yesterday when we got home we had chocolate sundaes," Jenny explaining as her eyes lit up, " grandma did you have chocolate sundaes when you were a little girl?" " Oh yes dear all the time, we even had fresh strawberries on top and sometimes sprinkled with nuts." " Now would you two like me to get you something from the canteen?" Suzan asked as she picked up her purse. " Oh yes please can I have an ice cream," Jenny asked. " And can I have a milkshake?" Billy added. " Sure. Would you like something mum?" " No thank you dear, I have everything I want right here," Estelle said looking at both the children. " Ok then I won't be long." Suzan then turned and left the room.
" Grandma, how much longer are you going to be in here?" Jenny asked as lay beside Estelle. " Not much longer, the doctors are doing everything they can so i can leave soon." " I don't like hospitals much, they smell funny and there's always sick people." Billy said as he looked around the room. " Why are you sick grandma?" Jenny asked as she sat up. " Well Jenny, I'm very old, and when you get old you get sicker much quicker," she explained as she stroked Jenny's hair.
" Here we go," Suzan entered the room, " Here's your milkshake and Jenny here's your ice cream." " Ooo thank you mummy," Jenny said with a grin that spread from ear to ear. " Thanks mum," Billy said, " would you like some grandma?" " Not this time dear, you have it." " Grandma, tell us about when you were a little girl," asking Jenny as she climbed onto the bed. " Yes please gran." Billy then too climbed onto the bed. " Very well." Estelle began to make herself comfortable. " Mum are you sure," Suzan touched her mother's hand. " I'm Sure. Now let me see:" Estelle began to set the scene and continued where her dream had ended.
After picking the strawberries for John Estelle placed them carefully in her pocket and quickly made her way to a small dirt track that lead to john's house. The day was beautiful, the sky a deep blue and not a cloud to be seen. Birds could be heard in the surrounding trees and the scent of honeysuckle drifted on the breeze. As Estelle skipped into John's front yard she took one last deep breath of the honeysuckle filled air before entering the house. " John," Estelle hollered as she knocked on the front door, " are you home? I have strawberries." Estelee could hear footsteps coming towards the front door so she took a few steps back. " Who is there?" a voice questioned from the otherside of the door. " It's me, Estelle. Is John home? I have strawberries for him from Mrs Peters and mum said I can play for a while." The front door opened and John's mother Mrs Cavanah stood there. " He's up in his room Estelle go right up." " Thank you Mrs cavanah." Estelle said with a bit of trouble and handed her a strawberry. Estelle dashed through the door and shot up the stairway to John's door. Without making a noise she crept into his room and gently placed her hands over his eyes. " Guess who?" She said trying her best to make her voice deeper.
" Hi Estelle," John said with a chuckle. " How did you know it was me," she said giving him a stern look placing her hands on her hips. " Well your hands are too small to be my dad's and your voice sounds nothing like my mother's," he explained. " Well I have some strawberries from Mrs Peters for you." Estelle pulled out the remainder of the strawberries from her pocket and presented them in her hand, John eyes grew bigger and in a moment's glance he ate them like it was the first time he had ever been fed.
The two children wondered down to the creek that lay at the bottom of John's parent's property to try and catch some tadpoles and frogs. Estelle wasn't a girlish type of girl, was more at home in the mud chasing frogs and lizards. Some hours had passed since they at the creek and with endless frogs and other creatures they hadn't noticed the time fly by.
" John, quick I've got one," Estelle shouted with joy. " Hold onto it," John yelled as he ran through the ankle deep mud. " Hurry John there's another one." John ran a little faster to try and catch up with the other frog that was trying desperately to escape their clutches. Without warning John lost his step, tripping and falling face first into the mud, sliding up to Estelle's feet. She laughed so hard she had dropped the frog and fell back into the mud, John sat to his knees and began laughing back. Estelle grabbed a fist full of mud and threw it as though she was throwing a baseball hitting John in the face knocking him on his back, the air was silent, only the sound of frogs jumping in the mud could be heard, then all of a sudden both children burst into laughter.
" Come on it's getting late, mother will be wondering where I am," Estelle said as she helped John out of the mud. The two children parted ways at the edge of the creek and started their walk home. Estelle desperately trying to scrape off the mud before she reached her destination.