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Tinted Glass

Tom was getting dressed slowly. He had been in hospital for one whole week and Sunday was release day.

The hospital had kindly washed all of his clothes and they felt soft and inviting as he slipped them on. He reached for his watch on the bedside table, one of his best possessions, a Swatch, antique one, collector’s item. The bright watch ticked away merrily; wholly unreliable but it was good fun.

Tom sat on the edge of the bed struggling to unravel his socks when Annie's head appeared around the door.

“Hi, Tom," she said affectionately and pecked him on the cheek. “How are you feeling?"

“Fine now thanks. I just want to get home and then tomorrow we can start thinking about what we're going to do." Tom's voice trailed off.

Annie sat down on the edge of the bed.

“Hey Tom, it'll all be alright, I promise you. It feels good in a way, fresh start together. All sorts of things gain' to happen, I just want to get you home and let you unwind for a while. There's a game on tonight and I was going to make us both some real food. We can both cook if you are up to it. We've got a bit of money for a bit and well, if things get a little difficult then we can ask Ma and Pa for...”

Tom shot Annie a look.

“Okay, so maybe not. It's good to see you Tom, let's get off." The nurse put her head around the screen.

“Everything alright now Tom?"

“Fine thanks," Tom replied with a genial smile.

“Would you just sign this? It’s just the signing out register. We've already got your medical insurance details. There you go. Thank you. Now Annie, don't go letting this husband of yours get drunk too often, he's dangerous! See you round Tom but I hope not too soon."

“Yep, bye now and thanks for everything. I got this for you."

Tom gave the nurse a small box of chocolates, which he had asked Annie to provide.

“Why Tom, that's real sweet of you." “Okay, now take care."

Tom and Annie wandered gently out of the ward. “Bye Harvey."

“Yeah, take it easy Tom see you around."

“Harvey's been in here for a while, we got talking," said Tom smiling. "Annie I'm going to have to get a lawyer tomorrow, some things happened that I haven't been able to tell you about."

“What Tom? Why didn't you try to tell me before? "

“I did. But for one, I wasn't feeling' too good and for two, when I did, you and the nurse told me to be quiet."

Tom took Annie's hand, “Don’t worry for now."

The nurse Tom had left behind was making the bed up for the next patient. Stripping the bed, making the new one. - It was always a feeling of happiness and sadness. Happiness because someone had left the hospital. Sadness because you had got to know someone who was now out and you were unlikely to see them again properly, except to say hello to round Hertferd.

She took the vase off the windowsill and put some new flowers into it.

She looked down at the car park. A police car had just pulled up.

“Hello Mr. Busey,” said a low voice.

Annie looked at Tom, confused scared and surprised. She felt Tom's body stiffen. Annie looked at the police officer with the twinkling tooth.

“We are arresting you on suspicion of murder. You have the right to remain silent. ."

Tom was bundled into the back of the police car. Annie stood looking at Tom through the tinted glass. He could see she had started to cry but she couldn't see him.

“Not again, " Tom muttered.
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