Green Fields on a Dusty Road – Page 9 contd.

The skin on her forehead creased as her thoughts centred on the nosy parkers who were eagerly awaiting the moment to find out who’s to be carried out on the stretcher.

Always worried about the neighbours – she contemplated what could be going through their minds. Would they be considering which plants to steal from her garden once they see that she’s the one being whisked off to hospital?

Her concerns about the crowd are waylaid, as a greater anxiety crawled menacingly into her train of thoughts – what was going to happen to her two young sons? She shuddered inwardly – she could see the future as clearly as if it had already happened.

Her eyebrows raised and the creases on her forehead grew into furrows as she scrutinised the doctor’s features trying to discern if her condition was not too serious – a faint hope residing as his features remained unchanged.

She could hear the murmuring of the crowd gathered around the ambulance outside – nosy people. She pictured their gloating should she have to be carried out.

She’d always had this paranoid thing about neighbours. The exception of course was her next-door neighbour Mrs McDuff who’d looked in this morning, as she’d been doing the last few months since Richard, her husband, had been travelling the country as BBC sports reporter. Only the occasional letter and some money and constant changing of locations gave signs of Richard’s existence.

She looked at Mrs McDuff hovering behind the doctor – her fingers nursing her mouth –   her worried look showing deep concern. Used to making sweeping judgements herself, she feared the worse.

The doctor’s voice sounded as though it was coming from a great distance:

‘I’m very sorry, Mrs McCall, but we’ll have to get you to hospital immediately if you don’t want to lose your bairn.’

‘What about my boys?’ She cried, feebly.

‘Don’t you worry about them, Mrs McCall, we’ll find someone to look after them,’ he said, reassuringly.

The strain and blood loss were too much for Mrs McCall – she lost consciousness, to wake up later in the ambulance, on her way to hospital.

It was weeks before she was released, and only because her sisters, Euphemia and Margaret, travelled by blue bus all the way from Greenock on the West coast, via Glasgow Central to Dundee, to fetch her and take her to the sanctuary of her family home.

In the meantime, Jimmy’s brother Jack aged three and a half and Jimmy aged one and a half, had been put into foster care with different foster parents.