The Call Of The City – Episode 38

daily serial the call of the city the people's friend

“He made it through surgery well.”

“Thank heaven.”

Meg sagged with relief as the consultant delivered the news with a tired smile.

It had been an agonising few hours, waiting to hear how Andrew had fared with his second heart surgery. Wondering what if, while awful scenarios played out in her mind.

Meg tried not to imagine the worst, but after hours of sitting alone, sipping lukewarm tea from a paper cup and watching the minutes tick by on the big clock, it was hard not to.

Nor to go over every decision ever made, wondering if it had been a right one. If they hadn’t bought such a behemoth of a house; if they’d taken more holidays; if she’d made healthier meals.

Perhaps they wouldn’t be here now. Perhaps Andrew wouldn’t be.

Meg knew it was pointless, yet she couldn’t keep herself from it, because what else could she do, when life had led her up to this moment?

“So the surgery was successful?” she asked the consultant now.

She was eager for more news, the best news, yet knew no-one would give it, no matter how successful the surgery was. Doctors didn’t deal in promises.

“At this point, I feel hopeful.” The consultant’s tone was cautious. “Of course, I can’t give any assurances till we see how Andrew responds over the next few days and weeks.”

“Right.” Meg was disappointed, though she’d expected this. “May I see him?”

“Yes, he’s just coming round now, and I’m sure he’d love to see you.”

Swallowing, Meg followed him to the room where Andrew had been taken after his surgery.

Though she’d told herself what to expect, it still jolted her to see Andrew lying so still in the bed, hooked up to different tubes and wires, his chest swathed with bandages.

His eyes fluttered open as she neared, but his gaze was unfocused and glazed, and soon his eyes closed again. Meg’s heart ached.

“Andrew, darling, it’s Meg. You’ve come through the op brilliantly. I’m so proud of you.”

Andrew’s eyes opened.


“Yes. It’s me.” She touched his hand gently, mindful of the IV cannula, the wires. “Well done. You’ve sailed through.”

Andrew’s mouth twitched in a lopsided smile.

“Always knew I would,” he rasped.

She let out a shaky laugh.

“Of course you did. Tough as an old boot.” She leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “I love you, you know.”

“I know.” He reached for her hand, his clasp loose and weak yet so welcome.

“Sorry to worry you, love.”

“Oh, Andrew.” Meg shook her head. “You’re worth every bit of worry. Every grey hair on my head, every wrinkle on my face. I wouldn’t change any of it, if it meant you being healthy and well again.”

She swallowed hard.

“Even if it didn’t. We’re in this together. For always.”

His eyes twinkled in that wonderfully familiar way.

“What wrinkles?”

She laughed even as she sniffed back tears. Andrew squeezed her hand once more. She could see he was getting tired, and in a few minutes he’d fallen back asleep.

Meg stood watching him, her heart aching with love and relief as well as that ever-present fear.

She’d been here before, and she’d thought then that she and Andrew were past the worst of it, that the hard part was over.

Yet in some ways that had been the beginning – the start of physiotherapy, and more surgery. The dwindling of Andrew’s strength and stamina, his opportunities and abilities.

It had been the beginning of the fear and frustration, wondering and waiting. How much more would there be ?

All Meg knew now was that it had been a long, arduous journey, and this was merely one more step.

With a sigh, she turned from Andrew’s bed. She needed to ring Kerry and Grace and let them know that their father was OK.

Then she needed to return here, because she had to make sure she was the first thing Andrew saw when he woke up again.

To be continued . . .