The Call Of The City – Episode 50

Allison Hay © Meg joins her sister and daughter in New York Illustration by Sailesh Thakrar

“Juliet is out of surgery.”

Meg rose from the hard plastic chair. It had been six hours since she’d said goodbye to her sister in the pre-operating room.

She’d kissed her cheek and told her that she loved her, all the while trying not to cry.

Juliet had looked so small and scared on the stretcher, dressed only in a thin hospital gown.

Meg’s heart had ached, just looking at her.

“How did it go?” she asked, her heart thudding and her stomach roiling.

What if the tumour hadn’t been able to be removed? What if it had, but the rest of her brain was affected?

“Quite well,” the surgeon said carefully. “We were able to remove the tumour fairly cleanly.

“It remains to be seen how Juliet responds when she awakens, and also if chemotherapy will keep it from returning.”

“Right.” That sounded only a little positive, but Meg would take what she could get.

She knew from Andrew’s experience that doctors couldn’t make any promises. No-one could.

You had to take what you were given and make the best of it, while being thankful for what you had.

“When will she wake up?”

“In the next half-hour or so. You can come to the recovery room, if you like.”

“Thank you.”

With her heart still thudding, Meg followed the surgeon to a small room where they’d put Juliet until they could move her to the neurosurgery ward.

Meg’s breath caught in her throat as she saw her sister lying so silent and still in the hospital bed, tubes and wires all around her, a thick white bandage on her poor head.

“Oh, Juliet.”

Tears rose to her eyes and she blinked them back.

Her sister had made it through the surgery. That was the important thing.

She sat next to her and gently held her hand. Her fingers felt frail, her skin cool to the touch.

Juliet didn’t stir.

As she sat, waiting for her sister to wake up, Meg let memories claim her.

Not the usual angry ones of the two of them fighting; Juliet storming out of the house; Meg letting her go.

She thought of earlier, happier times. The nights they’d stayed up late, gossiping and giggling in their shared bedroom.

The time in school when Meg had been bullied, and Juliet, though two years younger, stood up to her bullies, small and fierce.

The birthdays and Christmases, the shared laughter and tears; a lifetime together that had been swept away in one moment of anger and fear.

Now Meg wanted to reclaim it. They were sisters and always would be. Nothing would change that.

“Meg?” Juliet’s eyes fluttered open.

“Yes, Juliet. I’m here.” Meg squeezed her hand.

Some hours later, having watched her sister be transferred to the neurosurgery ward, Meg returned to Juliet’s apartment for a night’s sleep before going back to the hospital in the morning.

She felt exhausted, emotionally and physically, but also happy and thankful. So thankful.

She’d already texted everyone to say Juliet was doing well. Grace had texted back to say she was out with Lewis and would be back later. The text ended with smiling emojis.

Things must have resolved themselves, Meg thought wryly as she let herself into the flat. Another change in life.

To be continued…

Allison Hay

I joined the "My Weekly" team thirteen years ago and, more recently, "The People's Friend". I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazines. I manage the digital content for the brands, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters.