Image © Mara Eastern (Used with permission)
Weave a tale in which you experience an emergency call to go to a friend/family member’s aid and getting there is by coach/bus
The phone rang at three minutes after midnight. My eldest daughter sounded frantic as she told me about the call from the hospital that Aunty Clovis was about to breathe her last.
Normally I would have hung up after complaining bitterly about being woken at such an ungodly hour.
Aunty Clovis was our family’s eccentric relative. A single woman and a woman of considerable means. Aunty Clovis was loaded and the only family member who was.
My daughter made it clear I had to get the hospital ahead of my sister Betty as we all knew Betty was a vulture in disguise capable of manipulating the dying Aunty Clovis into signing over everything to her.
In a flash I was out of bed and into my jeans.
I grabbed my car keys just as the thought hit me. My car was in for repairs. Damn!!
The last bus was at twelve thirty and I had three minutes to get to the bus stop.
Out the door and down the steps out onto the street just as the last bus trundled around the corner.
Once on board I estimated it would take at this time of night twenty minutes to get to the hospital.
There was no one else on the bus; after all most sensible people were home tucked into their beds.
The driver nodded to me as I swiped my travel card and off we went. The first traffic light was red and coincidentally so was every one after that.
Then the driver stopped at the all night bakery to pick up his breakfast, had a very long chat with the baker before we set off again.
Then it was a stop at the newsagent to collect his paper, another chat and we moved off again.
As we made our way through the sleeping town I thought about Aunty Clovis. She owned a string of hotels up and down the coast. She’d journey from one to the other during the course of the year telling us she needed to check up on the thieving managers, as she liked to call them.
As a kid Aunty Clovis had been this loud and charismatic character, my dad’s youngest sister. She’d come to visit a few times and it was the only time I ever saw dad sitting on the front veranda with anyone. My Aunt liked to be outside and would drag dad out to the veranda and there regale him and us kids with her tales of adventure. As a young woman Clovis had travelled the world and had a million and one stories. Dad would always say after she left that she romanticised the past to her benefit. As far as I was concerned she was the most interesting person in my life and I hung off all her stories.
I was awakened from my memories by the bus pulling up at the hospital stop.
I jumped off and made my way into the hospital. In her room I found my sister Betty, tears on her cheeks looking decidedly upset.
Seems Aunty Clovis had breathed her last as I made my way in. My eldest was there handing Betty tissues.
Betty looked at me and said without saying it that our Aunt was now gone.
For the next ten minutes she told me how important our Aunt was to her.
My sister had an ability to bung it on, make out she knew the meaning of sincerity when we all knew she was the most self-centred woman on the planet.
I sat and listened, nodded where I should have and replied with an appropriate ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
In the end she took a deep breath and asked me if Aunty Clovis had a will.
I shrugged indifference and stared at the face of the now dead Aunt. After a time of silence, Betty left saying she’d call to discuss the funeral. I stayed for a while with my Aunt before I realised I’d have to walk home as my daughter had left to go home to her kids.
At the hospital bus stop sat the bus I’d come on. The driver opened the doors as I approached, invited me in saying he figured I’d need a lift home.