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Monday, 15 July 2013

Joan.




Its 2am and I’m picking up an elderly lady from the hospital to take her home to a nearby town, she is quiet and thoughtful, you sense that some people should be alone with their thoughts. A few minutes go by; the night is especially dark as it is a new moon. I hear the start of a little choke that precedes a cry, something I hear a lot. The already low volume of the radio is silenced as I switch it off.  I ask if she is ok as gently as I could. “My husband, he passed away tonight” I just listen.  “We were married for sixty one years and I have never been alone, never slept alone and never been in our house alone in all that time.” We sit outside her house for quite a while, I hold her hand and she makes eye contact with me for the first time and sees me being a bit tearful and I apologise for my silliness, eventually she plucks up courage to go into her own house. I told her I will be with her till all the lights are on. I end up making ‘that’ call to her daughter and she is on her way. I leave. I do not belong there. The house is now full of activity; neighbours are knocking, even at this silly hour of the morning. Its 3.30am she isn’t alone and I drive away, I forgot to get paid again, but it doesn’t really matter. Not really. I finished my shift soon after, got to my own car and find it smashed up by vandals. I had a bit of a cry.