To the hospital. We stop in the coffee shop, opened 1991, and the lino on the floor is a bit scuffed, it could do with replacement. I do not like hospitals. The place is too crowded. Striking tattoos on that man.
-When does visiting time start?
-We can go up any time you like.
I do not say, then why have we stopped for coffee?
Could my hands get warm? I could offer healing for comfort.
B is semi-reclined, her hair neatly brushed back, looking lively enough. The flower pattern on her nightdress and the pattern on the bedspread are pretty. Out of the window, there is not a cloud in the sky. I hug her, and say what I wanted to say: as she introduced me to the Sibyls, I might not have transitioned without her. Then I hold her hand. Yesterday, she was sleepy, but today she is better. I meet her daughter, F.
I had to come, to say goodbye, but having said that I don’t know what else to say. She is comfortable enough on the morphine. She was sitting up for a bit this morning: I saw the slippers, and say I thought that was a good sign. I told my Macbeth joke. And that story about the lion. What can you say? The cancer has metastasised. I went there to see her for the last time. F goes out for a walk in the sunshine, and brings her back a choc-ice. The hand-holding is the most important thing. In comes a “housekeeper”- she is going off shift, and she tells us this is her twentieth wedding anniversary, and they are going out for dinner tonight. F tells us the staff are all lovely like that.
She is mostly comfortable on the morphine. She tells us she had a very bad night last night, but actually F later tells us that that bad night was over a week ago. She just remembers it. So F has to remind her of the good things- wasn’t it lovely to see Clare today?
B is getting a bit sleepy, so we leave. F comes out with us, and tells us the cancer, originally in the bladder, has spread to both kidneys and one lung. Suddenly we have a lot to talk about. She tells me how feminine and attractive I look, which I think is a trans reference- though she did not say “for a tranny”, she said “not like me”. I said I think she looks lovely.
B’s other daughter is back in the US. She keeps referring to her “dad”, which irritates us. I suppose she has a right to use the word.
On our way home we stop at the model shop: radio-controlled cars, planes and boats, £60-£120. Lovely things, and I would like to have a play, but not to use them more than once. Here is a helicopter the size of your hand. Dave would like one steady enough to hold a camera, as his hobby is archaeology, and it is useful to get aerial photographs.