One day down, six to go!
Welcome to day 2!
Day 2’s words are: Motivation, Bed, Brain, Dessert and Alpaca
Again, have a think about how you would link them together.
Here we go!
Helga Harper’s fingers danced above the wool she was weaving. Her creation jostled slightly with the collision of her knitting needles. In the background, a talk show radio host was asking his interviewee whether she thought that the future of book publishing was headed for solely digital bases. This was Helga’s happy place.
When Helga turned seventy-five, she promised herself she would always be in bed by 9.30pm at the latest—she deserved it. But now the digital clock on the oven was blinking 23.19 and Helga was still clacking her needles and watching a grass green sweater slowly take shape beneath her fingertips. She yawned and paused momentarily to rub her eyes. She couldn’t go to bed without George beside her again.
She was finding it difficult to find the motivation to do anything, at the moment. She was in a time loop—breakfast, hospital, either skip lunch or get a cafeteria lunch, go home at about six, have dinner, knit, sleep for a couple of hours. She could feel her brain power diminishing with every sleepless night she endured. It was a torturous cycle she didn’t know whether she was going to get out of.
George was admitted to hospital with a failing kidney—his only one. He gave the other to his and Helga’s daughter, Meg, when she was eleven. Those hospital visits were torture, too. The only thing that would make Meg relax around all the hospital equipment was the purple alpaca wool blanket Helga knitted for Meg when she was born.
This stint in hospital, for George, had been two weeks long already. The doctors, who undoubtedly had been practicing their solemn faces in the mirror, had told him that he needed a new kidney or the stay would become a permanent one.
At this news, Helga burst into wracking sobs and had to hold the back of the hospital chair to keep from crumpling to the floor. Meg lunged toward her mother and assisted in keeping her upright.
‘How long if you can’t find a kidney?’ George ignored his inconsolable wife.The radio host closed his show and wished his listeners a good night. He introduced a string of hits starting with an 80s classic—Simple Minds, or something.
Helga set down her knitting and made her way to the kitchen. Everything in her kitchen was ordered to perfection. All of her plastic containers and glass jars were labelled, and filled and all of her pots and pans were hung above the counter. Her friends always mused that she would injure her back whilst reaching for the pots above her head, but Helga loved them there.
She leant down and pulled out her crockery drawer. Carefully she lifted out a small cake plate. Jenny from next door had hand delivered a choc-mint mud cake this evening after Helga had returned from the hospital. It took all of Helga’s self-control to resist grabbing a fork and eating the entire thing the minute that Jenny had left. Instead, she compromised with herself: a (large) piece after dinner for dessert.
The cake lifter slid easily under the cake and she flopped the piece onto its side on the cake plate and put the rest in the fridge.
‘It’s choc-mint. George’s favourite, right?’
As soon as Helga resumed her position in her arm chair, she began shovelling the cake into her mouth. It was a rate that would induce indigestion and a feeling of sickness even in the sweetest of teeth. She didn’t know why she had to consume it so quickly. She just needed to.
George always said she ate too quickly. It wasn’t uncommon for a dinnertime to result in her plate being empty and George’s still being half-full. Her love of food always outweighed the potential of being thin.
The difference that two weeks can make to someone’s life is staggering. Two weeks ago, Helga had George by her side, healthy (or so she thought). Now he was looking pale, and had very little energy. In two weeks’ time, he could either be on the way to recovering, or … well, that’s what the doctors said, anyway. If only they could find a donor.
Helga couldn’t bear to think of George alone in a stiff hospital bed, with barely any covers over his slowly diminishing frame. No matter how hard the nurses try to make you feel comfortable during your hospital stay, you never actually feel comfortable—no matter your affliction.
Helga yawned as she set her plate aside and once again picked up her knitting. Her body was becoming achy, her eyes kept sliding shut. At some points, it was possible that she was knitting whilst she slept. Yet she still couldn’t bring herself to relent to the pressure of going to bed.
The radio had also given up trying. Every song was back to back. They were all sounding the same to Helga. When the clock on the oven clicked over to 2.57, Helga finally put down her knitting. She slowly shuffled toward her bedroom, flicking lights on and off as she went.
As soon as her head hit her pillow, a sharp ringing cut through her ears. After 30 seconds or so, it promptly desisted and she reluctantly fell into a deep and uninterrupted sleep.