The Inn On Bluebell Lane — Episode 10

“Gwen Davies?”

Gwen looked up from the magazine she’d been staring at blankly for the last 20 minutes to catch the nurse’s smile.

“That’s me.”

She rose, smoothing her skirt, trying to still the nerves that fluttered in her tummy.

Her GP had assured this was little more than routine. Sort of.

“Come this way, please,” the nurse said, and Gwen followed her to a consulting room.

The procedure, she’d been told, was not too invasive and would only take twenty minutes. She’d be home within the hour.

Gwen reminded herself of all this as she perched on the edge of the examining couch. In an hour, she could put this all behind her. Hopefully.

Several minutes ticked by as Gwen tried to keep calm. She wasn’t normally a nervous person. Seth, her husband, had used to call her unflappable.

“My unflappable Gwen,” he’d say with an affectionate smile. “What would I do without her?”

The memory made Gwen’s eyes sting.

Goodness, she wasn’t usually so emotional, either.

Seth had been gone for 20 years now, although sometimes it felt like the blink of an eye, and she’d fight a wave of surprise that he wasn’t lying next to her when she woke up.

But mainly she’d just got on with things – the house, the B&B, the grandchildren and chickens and a vegetable garden and village life.

So much to keep her busy and be thankful for.

Perhaps it was having Matthew back, and now having this . . . concern that made Gwen feel as if life had become very precious, and fragile, like a bubble that could pop from just the lightest touch.

“Gwen?” A woman with smiling eyes poked her head around the door.

“I’m Anne Jamison, and I’m going to be doing your biopsy today.”

Gwen swallowed hard as she nodded.

Anne looked at her notes.

“I believe you’ve been briefed on the procedure?”

“Yes . . .”

“It’s a needle biopsy, and it should take around twenty minutes. I’ll numb the area with a local anaesthetic before I take the sample.

“Depending on how it goes, I might need to put in a single paper stitch, but likely no more than that.

“You can go back to work right away, but I always advise patients to take it easy for the rest of the day, just because.”

The smile she gave Gwen was full of kindness and humour.

“Be kind to yourself.”

“OK,” Gwen murmured. She wasn’t sure how.

“Right. Let’s get started, shall we? I’ll have you sign this consent form and we’ll be on our way.”

As good as her word, 20 minutes later it was all over.

Gwen had a paper stitch, a slightly tingly numb area near her shoulder, and a promise that she’d have the results of the biopsy in a week or two.

She couldn’t help but think that second week would go very slowly, if that were the case.

Still, she tried to remain optimistic as she drove back to Llandrigg.

When she’d found the lump a month ago, her GP had advised a biopsy “to be on the safe side”.

She hadn’t said the dreaded C-word right away, but of course they were both thinking it.

“Even if it is cancer,” she told Gwen at the end of the visit, after Gwen had a little wobble, “it’s very treatable. Breast cancer has a terrific five-year survival rate – five out of six women.”

Yes, Gwen had thought, but somebody had to be that lonely one out of six, and in any case her GP was only talking about five years.

What about after that?

Gwen was only sixty-seven. No spring chicken, certainly, but she’d hoped to have more than five years left.

She pushed those thoughts to the back of her mind as she turned down the lane towards Bluebell Farm. Just a precaution, her doctor had said.

And in any case, she’d know what was going on in one – or two – weeks.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.