Her hand feels small in mine, the skin papery, made more so by the cold October air. The hospital has one of those automatic revolving doors that my mother hates. We step into one of the partitions together, and it spits us out in the lobby. A nurse with a too-bright smile greets us, and my mother gives her name, then the consultant's name.
We wait together silently, each of us immersed in a book. This is one of her great gifts to me. I was about five years old when she told me I didn't have to read aloud, that I could read silently and picture the story playing out in my head, and allow myself to be transported to another place, another time. So we both sit in the waiting area, present, yet absent.
The doctor's voice breaks into my thoughts. My mother and I stand up and he shakes my hand. In the office I give him today's blood pressure reading, because if he takes her blood pressure it will be high; when I take it, it is normal. He examines her eyes, fires drops into them that make her wince. He says that the problem he'd found before has cleared up on its own. You know, these things do often clear up on their own. Aren't you lucky? I smile so hard my face aches.
I take her hand as we step back into the revolving door, and her hand looks like Gran's hand looked. And I remember that Mum is the same age now that Gran was then. But her grip is firm, strong, and she is chatting to me, telling me about the story she'd been reading. And I am the luckiest girl in the world.
About the artwork:
Created as a collaboration between sisters Samantha and Diana Shaul, this is an illustrated piece of microfiction, presented as a page from a manuscript.
The story was written by Samantha and the text has been printed on the paper using a laser jet printer, adding an air of authenticity. The illustration was created by hand by Diana after the printing of the text. The artwork is signed by both sisters.
Media: Ink and graphite pencil
Surface: Accademia Fabriano per Artisti acid-free paper (200gsm)
Size: A4 (8.27"x 11.69"; 21cm x 29.7cm)
Copyright © 2009-2020 Diana Naomi April Shaul and Jacquie Samantha Shaul. All rights reserved.