• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 08

A North Facing Room

From spring into summer, when the sun shines high, the shadow of the garden pond ripples across the ceiling. She can't fathom the physics of it but she watches until her eyes grow heavy like her legs.

Her room is small. From her bed she is lucky to be able to see a slice of sky. A delicious slice of sky with whipped cloud. On a windy day she watches the clouds racing. There really is so much to see.

She had asked the nurse if there was a south facing room so she could feel the sunlight slide across her legs, warming her bones on a chilly day. He said maybe, if one becomes available. For now, he moves her bedside lamp so that it shines on her face like the sun. Closing her eyes she can be anywhere: sunbathing in a Cornish cove; sipping wine at a pavement café.

Each day she whistles Claude from his cage.

Mr Bennett from the pet shop had picked a beautiful sweet creature for her: a pink and grey lovebird. He said its partner had died and Claude needed company. Mr Bennett stops by once a week to feed and clean the bird. He always wears a suit. They only speak if she wants to; he knows some days she has no energy for conversation.

Claude chatters and flutters and traps the last of the autumn sun's rays in his feathers. While she sleeps, he lies on her chest to keep her heart warm.

Amidst the ornate cages bursting with colour and feathers, Mr Bennett thinks of her. The first frost pattern is etched on the glass of his shop window and he knows she won't last the winter in her north facing room.