Tell Me A Story
I walk out of the bathroom, a wet flannel in my hand fixing the band of my boxers as I sit down.
Mae rolls over, a thin trail of blood escapes from her neck and rolls down settling in the groove made by her shoulder blade.
I hand her the flannel which she takes, leaning on her back, looking up at the ceiling as she dabs her neck gently.
Her body is sprawled slightly on the silk sheets creases outlining her body shape, folding and bulging in all the right places.
The curtains have been drawn shielding the room from the moonlight that would stream in. Mae had lit her candles. A definite fire hazard. But I do enjoy the soft orange glows that light up the room ever so slightly.
“Tell me, Mae.” She looks at me, her eyes are half-lidded. “Why did you need the money so desperately?”
It is hard in the poor lighting, but Mae seems to grimace as though the mere mention of her past is physical pain.
I was sitting in the empty design & technology room. Everyone had gone for lunch with friends, but I found it better to just eat on my own and finish work.
College was just a pit stop for me-- two years that I had to endure then I could go on. Go somewhere else, be someone else. It didn’t help that I was not from the area, and my accent was clearly not Scottish.
I looked up to see Miss Crew by the door, she had her hands in her burnt orange trousers her laptop stuck under her arm.
Miss Crew came up to me, settling down on one of the wooden stools opposite me. She placed the laptop on the table before clasping her light brown hands together.
“Have you checked your phone recently, Mae?”
I frowned at her, before pulling my bag up off the floor and placed it on the table.
“No,” I replied, I took out my phone. As the screen brightened, I was bombarded with messages-- calls from unknown numbers, over a dozen from my mother. I looked up at Miss Crew.
“Your mother, she’s had an accident at work. Fell down some stairs it would seem. She’s at the hospital, and she’s been trying to reach you.”
Before Miss Crew had finished, I was already on my feet. My pencils had been shoved in my bag alongside my sketchbook, and my jacket flung over my shoulder.
“Thank you,” I didn’t give her time to reply as I headed out the door.
Raigmore Hospital was like any hospital-- large and confusing. Even more so if you needed to get somewhere in a hurry.
When I asked for my mother at first, they weren’t sure where she had gone. In fact, for the longest while, they couldn’t find her on their records. It was only after an hour that they informed me that she had just come out of surgery and was waiting for me in the post-surgery room.
As I rushed along the corridor, my palms sweaty eyeing the numbers on the room. 12, 13, 14, 15. Number 16 the room she was in. Suddenly my head heart and a cold breeze ran through me, striking my chest and causing my vision to blur.
What state could she be in? What if she’s on life support? I was not yet 18 and couldn’t live on my own, I’d have to move back to London to live with a family member till I was officially an adult.
The door opened, and a tall man walked out dressed in purple scrubs, his hands were wrapped around the metal clipboard. I was sure he could hear my hammering heart as he lifted his head from his board and right at me.
“You must be Mae.”
I swallowed a large lump, almost choking in the process and nodded my head.
“Your mother has had a nasty fall. She injured her spine. Unfortunately, the damage caused her to lose all feeling and movement from the waist down.”
I wanted to collapse, throw up and scream all at the same time, but all I could do was stand there like a gaping fish-- eyes wide as my brain reprocessed the information.
My mother was a dancer, how could she possibly do that in a wheelchair. How could she work full stop in a wheelchair?
I slumped to the floor the weight of everything suddenly crushing me. I brought my legs to my chest, resting my head on my knees.
“Mae....” A gentle hand rested on my shoulder, and I looked up at the doctor. “Your mother can still lead a good life. But she needs all the support she can get. We have many councillors and groups who can support you and your mother during this difficult time.”
I nodded my head somehow managing to get to my feet, I wiped my face realising the stain of tears that coated it. I hardened my heart, refusing to let another vibration coarse through it. All of a sudden, I had become the breadwinner, this pit stop felt more like the end of the line.
“Thank you, doctor, I’ll see my mother now.”
He nodded his head as a reply heading off behind me to continue with his job. I opened the door slightly, steeping in. My mother was on her back, her head turned away from me. I could hear the sniffles from my position.
Immediately I rushed over to her wrapping my arms around her.
“I’m so sorry, mum, I’m so sorry this has happened to you.”
Her arms wrapped around mine, cradling me as we both cried into the night.
“The university paid my mother well after the accident, but she couldn’t continue working in the same job. She couldn’t dance, so they didn’t expect her to be good at teaching it either.”
I watched Mae sigh, this story seemed to spur on repressed emotions in her almost forcing her to shrink into herself.
“What did you do?” I asked quietly as though any louder might shatter her fragile state.
“She stopped working altogether. The settlement lasted us another year by the time it had run out I had finished college somehow, and found a job in Glasgow as a bartender.”
“Did you enjoy it?”
“It had its ups and downs, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have gotten involved with FW and Magenta.”
Mae covered her mouth as she yawned, stretching out her naked figure on the bed. I stood up covering her in the sheet.
I shut the door behind me, heading to my bedroom. I sat at the desk, bringing my laptop towards me. I flipped it open typing the name ‘Mae Geoffries’ into the search bar.
As to be expected, she had no social footprint. FolkWhore made sure their employees couldn’t be traced by clients; only their assigned character would have a background, and I hadn’t asked one of Mae. Despite this that didn’t mean others didn’t keep track of her. There were only two news reports one from the Inverness Courier another from the Scottish Daily news.
The first was about her mother’s injury and like Mae had told me her mother was a dance teacher. The picture depicted a young Miss Geoffries, and it was clear that the long hair ran in the family. She was on a billboard for the swan lake. This was perhaps in her prime. Besides the large photo was a smaller one. One of Miss Geoffries in a wheelchair smiling as she sat outside the university.
The other was of a crime, it was a lot less informed than the first newspaper. I was only able to get blurry pictures off google images of the paper. I couldn’t make out the date, and thus my search ended. I sat back, staring at the black screen sighing heavily.
A.N. Some more insight into Mae’s earlier life. I wonder what that other news report was about? Let me know what you think, and most importantly thanks for reading.