by Penny Rogers
Lou’s phone was ringing as her visitor walked in and sat down. She raised an immaculate eyebrow ‘You have time, answer it.’
‘It’s only Mum. I’ll call back.’
The visitor got straight to the point. ‘We have to finalise this. What about next Monday? I’ll give you time to talk to your mother’.
Lou looked at her phone ‘Hmm, not really, Monday’s my day for quality time with my friend. We have coffee, go shopping - that sort of thing.’ Lou started to tell her visitor that Angie always came with her to the hospital, but the woman cut in
‘All right, Tuesday.’
Lou shook her head. ‘Absolutely IM.POS.SIBLE. That’s my day for me time. I get up late, chill, do my nails.’ This was Lou’s favourite day of the week. She didn’t get dressed all day and had a pizza delivery. ‘I ‘spose I could ring mum then, but she might be at yoga or something. She’s always too busy for me.’
The visitor sighed, wondering why Lou hadn’t answered her mother’s call just a few minutes earlier, but she had a busy day ahead and needed to move on. Lou had to stop going on about wasting time, making up time, losing time and how much time was worth. None of it made any sense to the smart woman on the sofa. ‘So, it’ll have to be Wednesday,’ she said, trying to keep the irritation out of her voice.
‘That’s possible,’ Lou hesitated ‘but I keep Wednesdays for catching-up time. Doing stuff I can’t fit in during the rest of the week.’
The visitor wanted to ask about the difference between me time and catching-up time. But the possibility of a coherent answer seemed remote, so to hide her exasperation she looked at her bag, a black Gucci, smart and timeless just like its owner. ‘Well Thursday then.’
'Deffo not’ Lou was adamant. ‘That’s my day for exercise time. I’m going to the gym, my consultant told me to exercise’. The visitor’s eyes flickered towards her handbag.
Last chance to choose then Lou. Friday? And make sure you’ve made time to talk to your mother by then.’ She stressed the words ‘made time’, but Lou didn’t notice.
Lou shook her head. ‘Gotta get ready for Saturday.’
She didn’t see the visitor open the elegant bag and take out an exquisite pair of golden scissors. Lou was vaguely aware of the visitor reaching above her head and with the scissors snipping her life line, the shining thread extinguished in a nanosecond.
Lou’s phone jangled, breaking the silence in the room. The visitor felt no sense of either triumph or sadness as she carefully replaced the scissors in her bag. The phone rang on. She walked soundlessly across the laminate floor. Death had many more people to visit; life time was all they had. She consulted her list. The next one was barely two hours old; that appointment shouldn’t take too long.
About the author
This story was published in 2019 in my collection Enjoying the Ride. To date I have raised £500 for Versus Arthritis (formerly Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care) through the sale of this book. If anyone would like a copy for £5 (plus £2 p and p UK) please email me penny49 at uwclub dot net.