miercuri, 20 iulie 2011
Fragment 2. - Madame Linda
'Have I ever told you how I ended up living here?'
Madame Linda was in a good mood that morning. Usually she doesn't talk to anybody, not until she has breakfast and tea. She sits there, alone, looking through the window. I can't imagine what she has to stare at, the view hasn't changed for the last fifteen years. Yes, maybe the trees have grown older, thicker and their shade has become darker, but there are still the same trees...
I turned and faced her. 'You haven't.' Then I waited. Would she tell me? Would I have to ask her? She was not looking as if she was thinking of ways to start the story. We all knew that she was not like all of us, just old and sick, we knew there was more to Madame Linda, but no one ever got to hear her story. No one was interested in it, after fifteen years, because no one really believed that she would ever tell it. And then she just hit me with this question. And why would she pick me, from all the people living here? We were not good friends and I was ten years younger than her. Not to mention I was 'in the wrong gang', as Mister Johnson used to say, 'don't befriend the nurses, they are in the opposite gang', he used to say. He is dead now. But that doesn't get me down, as I know that he's in a better place.
'Do you want me to tell you?' madame Linda asked, awaking me from my daydreaming.
'If you wish...'
'I just need you to do me a favour.'
'OK', I said reluctantly, knowing that this favour could be anything, from a sip of cold water to a key to help her escape.
'I need a cigarette', she said quietly, with to much emphasis on 'need'. My eyes widened as her lips, curled upwards, told me that there still was a spoiled child inside Madame Linda, one that wouldn't speak unless she received what she demanded.
'You know that it is against the rules, in here...' I said, standing up.
'I know, I know', she said dismissively, 'now go get me one!'
I walked towards the building. As soon as the wind touched me with its spring fresh breeze, an idea crossed my mind. What if this one little cigarette would get me fired? But a burning red little devil on my shoulder whispered in my ear. 'What if this one little cigarette would make her speak?!' I had to try it...
I reached into my purse and looked for my cigarettes. I took one out and put it into my pocket. Then I rushed back into the garden.
On my way back I bumped into Madame Tania, the householder.
'What's the rush?' she asked me, gazing over her tiny glasses.
'Nothing, I just need some fresh air...'
'You'll get some fresh air when you'll finish your duties. Now, please, if you would be so sweet to check on Mr. Edward, he needs assistance with his aerobic classes.'
'Where are you going, the sport hall is in the other side.'
'Oh, he was in the garden just a minute ago. I'll go there first and if he's still out I'll help him to the hall.'
Was it obvious I was lying? Did she just let me go because she didn't want to bother arguing with me? I don't know. I rushed into the garden to find... an empty bench. All the other benches, lining up in a semi circle, had people sitting, but Madame Linda was nowhere to be found. I had to ask around but apparently no one had seen her all morning. That was strange, as I remember seeing the same old people just five minutes ago, while sharing the same bench with Madame Linda. I burst into laughing as I remembered that I actually believed what a bunch of old crazy people were saying to me. I decided to look for Madame Linda, when I saw Madame Tania and two other nurses that I did not know coming in my direction.
'Stay right there, Linda.' Madame Tania almost shouted.
Was she talking to me? I stopped and watch them approaching.
'Hi, Linda. I thought you were going to help...'
'Look, she holds it in her hand', said one of the nurses, pointing towards my cigarette. She snatched it and looked at it closely. 'It's mine, I told you!'
Madame Tania took in a deep breath and looked at me questionably. 'Where did you got this cigarette, Linda?'
'From my purse, in the office.'
'That was my purse!' said the nurse.
'How many time should I say this to you, Linda, patients have no business in the office. Not even the patients who do voluntary work around here...'
picture from: http://www.impactphotos.com/Preview/PreviewPage.aspx?id=1267451&licenseType=RM&from=search&back=1267451&orntn=1