the carer

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
a glimpse into the life of a seemingly ordinary woman reveals her peculiar domestic arrangements.

Submitted: February 10, 2019

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Submitted: February 10, 2019

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The Carer by Petula Mitchell. Monica stepped outside into the sunny back garden with a large basket of wet laundry in her arms. She negotiated the back doorstep by instinct, having done it so many hundreds of times. The pegs were in a box on the wall next to the rotary dryer. Her late father had made the box, and as he had been gone for some considerable time now, the box was warped and peeling. She pegged up the clothes in order. Mothers nightgowns, her own skirts, blouses and tops. The towels went on a separate side and finally the 'smalls'. As she worked methodically through her laundry the next door neighbour stepped outside. Linda was still in her dressing gown and when Monica looked up she could see Linda lighting a cigarette. She hoped the prevailing wind would not bring the acrid fumes across her laundry. “Morning Monica. How's your mother today?” Linda called. Linda's voice was gravelly from the smoking and she gave a loud cough after finishing her sentence. “About the same thanks Linda. I thought you had given up smoking when you were expectiing" Linda had five children, the youngest of which was only a month old. Linda's partner was Jamaica and a committed family man. At least, he seemed committed to keep producing more family at a steady rate. “I tried Monica, but really, with all these fucking kids doin' my head in and another night of getting up and down with the baby.....it's only the coffee and fags keeping me sane” Monica winced at the swearing. The back doors were open and the children could hear . Linda was a good hearted woman and worked hard caring for her kids, but her language could be appalling. Monica did not swear. Neither did she smoke or drink. Linda continued with her soliloquy on family life. “I tell you Monica, we just got back to sleep at four o' clock when India woke up saying she was hungry. I told her to go straight back to bed as no sane person had coco pops at four in the morning. Jimmy ended up making her a bit of toast and bringing her in our bed to eat it. Got fucking crumbs everywhere. Like laying on fucking sand now it is. I can't be arsed to change the bed again this week. I shall just hoover it” Monica smiled and winced at the same time. She couldn't help thinking that a bit less fucking in the first place wouldn't have put Linda in such a stressful situation. There may fewer children causing mayhem. The laundry was now neatly hung up to minimise the amount of ironing. She picked up the empty laundry basket. “Well, I must press on now Linda. Mother will want her coffee and biscuits shortly” “Say hi to her for me. I miss chatting to her over the fence. Such a shame. Strokes are total fuckers aren't they?” “They certainly are” replied Monica as she escaped back in to the house away from the smoke and bad language. It was peaceful indoors, calm and ordered. Monica had her routine and liked to stick to it. Time to prepare coffee for herself and Mother. The caffetiere sat on the worktop ready with a rich smelling Columbian blend of coffee waiting for the hot water to be added. Chocolate biscuits, just two, on a plate. To take the whole packet upstairs could lead to gluttony. A snow white tea towel covered the tray and a small posy of sweet peas from the garden nestled next to the cups. Monica tucked the newspaper under her arm and carried it all upstairs. Mothers room was all white with dark wood furniture. It was dominated by a large antique bed with a white satin bedspread. Mother sat propped up on her pillows and made no response as Monica entered the room. “Here we go mum. Coffee time! I can read you the paper too if you want. Just because you can't get out there it doesn't mean you shouldn't know what's going on in the world does it? Let's see, what do they have to say today. It's mainly about the referendum, in or out of Europe. I did your postal vote mum. I put you down as a remain. I know you wouldn't want to remain really but I think those of us that do will appreciate your sacrifice. Football, flaming football everywhere. Just when you think the season has ended they find another tournament to blather on about. The FTSE has fallen again. Good job I sold your shares last year. They would only be worth half as much now. Bought a nice new suite and carpet for downstairs with some of the money. Shame you can't come down and sit on it. Talking of money, I think it's pension day today. I must go in to town in a bit. There's a few things we need. That's the last two chocolate biscuits!” Monica downed the last of the coffee and finished up the biscuits. She gathered up the tray and the paper, bade her mother goodbye and headed back towards the stairs. Mother still sat unmoving in the antique bed staring out through unseeing eyes as she had done for the previous two years. A massive stroke had disabled the once outspoken woman and she only had one good arm afterwards. The care package that had been promised never materialised so Monica had been left to cope. She lost her job and her partner while trying to juggle the demands of the old lady. So Mother could summon help Monica had left a bell on the bedside table. She rang it incessantly, day and night until Monica could take no more. The bell was removed. Then the old lady resorted to screaming, as normal speech had been robbed from her. Finally Monica snapped. After making the gargantuan effort it took to hoist Mother in to her weekly bath one Friday she could take no more. She watched unfeeling as the old lady slipped under the water and the bubbles came out of her nose and mouth. The one good arm flailed in fruitless protest as what was left of her life ebbed away. Disposing of the body was not an issue for Monica. When working, she had been a valued member of the team at the undertakers. Monica was an expert in embalming and knew where to get hold of the necessary items and chemicals. You could get anything on line. It was convenient that mother had passed away in the bath tub too. It made it so much easier to drain away the body fluids, even if it was a strain on Monica s' back. She preserved the body, arranged her hair, dressed her in a white nightgown and after the whole process was complete put her back to bed. Mother was still there, but was now silent and obedient. For Monica it was the perfect solution. Out on the landing, Monica looked out of the window. She saw Jimmy from next door heading off on his bicycle. He was a tall handsome man with skin the same rich dark colour as the Columbian coffee she was so fond of. What he was doing with Linda she could not work out. He waved and she smiled and waved back. She watched as his Lycra clad legs pedalled away into the distance. The sun was still shining. It was shopping day. Monica resumed her routine. The End.


© Copyright 2019 Petula Mitchell . All rights reserved.

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