Its the final prompt of the terrific and mightily popular Do Something Yummy (99 posts, 110,000 tweeters reached, last week alone, don'cha know) and this weeks prompt is "Survival".
So, this was a toughy for me- I'm extremely lucky and have never had cancer- neither have my kids,or my partner. That's why mine is a bit of a round the houses write up via the prompt.
I stand in the cold, in the queue, outside the cafe. I finger the change in my pocket, the crisp blue notes and the heavier coins, through the knit of my favourite pair of gloves. The cold is biting today, the bus is late. The old ladies nag about drivers and cost of ticket and its always late. I move my feet in my boots, which feel like lead, to keep myself warm.
An old lady turns to me-"Do you have one of those walkie talkies love?" she asks. Baffled, I ask if she means my phone. Yes, I say, I have a mobile. "Can't ring the bus driver, tell him to hurry up?" I make to explain they don't work that way, but the bus comes round the corner.
I hesitate as the bus sputters and groans. I wait until last, wanting to turn round and go home. The voice inside tells me to go home, to run, to hide under the duvet, where it is warm, cocoon like. The sensible me pulls my heavy foot on the bus, pays my fare and sits down.
Next, I flood my ears with the radio on my phone. Grin that the old lady thinks it's a walkie talkie. Remembers where I'm going and stops. So loud that I will be deaf when I reach my destination, but I don't care- if I can't hear the outside world, I'm not aware of it, just the happy, smiley cheesy world of the announcer. Like sunshine, yellow, rather than slate grey like outside the windows and where I'm going.
It takes so long, trundles slowly through back streets. Its almost like the bus feels that I don't want to be sat here.
At the second to last stop, the bus fills up with kids, bunking school, or not. I've lost track of days, it might be the holidays, it may not. I hardly care. The Walkie Talkie Lady moves and sits beside me. She doesn't look like she trusts the kids. They're probably harmless.
Its nearing, I don't have to look out the window, my body knows. My heart thumps, my chest tightens.
The bus stops and I make to get off, but my feet just don't want to move. I force myself to step off the bus and thank the driver. I walk in the entrance, through the sterile smell and squeaky floors. I know the path so well, I can make out where the marks are in the lino and where the best coffee bar is.
Turn the corner, I stop, walk back and hide in the loo. I can't breathe. Yes I can. I force myself to breath in and out, count to ten. Wash my face with water. Its cold but I'm sweating. I feel like hands are grabbing my throat, choking me and tears well up.
I ring the bell for my door. I walk in, clean my hands, hang my coat. Its so hot in here. Noise, noise everywhere. People smile. I walk through the other door, the cot is there.
He is in it, sleeping, peacefully.
The Nurse tells me the news is good- bring in his car seat tomorrow and outdoor clothes. He can go home tomorrow.
Relief. I smile, its such a relief. I laugh and smile and grab my baby, hugging him close.
He is mine and he is coming home.
He has survived.
And I have too.