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فصل 08

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  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
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CHAPTER EIGHT

Hopeless

It was Sunday again. And raining. A miserable, wet, British Sunday, the sky grey above the roofs of the sad, grey houses.

Jan hadn’t slept well. All night long she had been arguing with herself about what she planned to do. She tried to be logical and to look at the facts clearly, without emotion. Fact one: her mother was now unable to look after herself. Her condition was getting worse fast. Fact two: neither Kate, her sister, nor Cindy, her daughter, was willing to look after her. Fact three: she herself now had the chance of a proper job with a good salary. If she stayed at home to look after her mother, that chance would be lost. And she would probably never get another chance. Fact four: if her mother took too much of her medicine ‘by accident’, she wouldn’t suffer, and the ‘problem’ would be solved.

But however logical her arguments were, there was a voice in her head that kept whispering the word ‘murderer’. She had tossed and turned in her bed all through the night, but she had found no way out of her problem. Every way she turned, she met a solid wall. She felt trapped.

‘She’s your mother. How could you do it?’ the voice said.

‘But why should I be the one to suffer?’ she asked herself. ‘After all, she’s so far gone now that she doesn’t get any pleasure out of life. Most of the time she doesn’t even know where she is. It’s as if she’s sitting in the dark prison of forgetting. She can’t make sense of her life. What’s the point? Surely, I’d be saving her from her misery?’

Then the other voice would attack her again. ‘How could you possibly even think of killing your mother? Once it’s done, you won’t be able to undo it, you know. You’ll be sorry for it for the rest of your life.’

‘But I can’t make her well again either. No-one can undo her condition. What’s the point of making her suffer like this?’

The arguments went round and round in her head until she felt physically sick. She felt like a wasp trapped in a jam jar. Finally, in the late afternoon, she decided. Her mother was upstairs having her afternoon sleep. Jan made a cup of tea. She put the bottle of pills on the tray with the tea things. Then she took it up to her mother.

Sarah swallowed her usual two pills without noticing them, with her cup of tea. Jan had decided to give her two more pills a few minutes later. Then two more. Then two more… Sarah was so forgetful that she wouldn’t remember taking the first pills. No-one would suspect Jan. When the police came, they would find the empty pill bottle. It would look like an accident.

Jan opened the bottle and took out two more pills.

‘Here you are, Mum. Time for your pills,’ she said nervously. And, in her head, she asked to be forgiven for what she was about to do. But before she could give the pills to Sarah, the phone began to ring downstairs. She waited, but the phone went on ringing and ringing. With the pills still in her hand, she ran downstairs to answer it.

‘Hello, Mum? It’s Cindy.’

‘Oh, Cindy. Erm… I… erm… er… What is it?’ said Jan.

‘Mum… are you OK? Your voice sounds all shaky and strange. Is anything wrong? How’s Gran?’

‘She’s… erm… fine. I’m just giving her tea. Why are you calling anyway?’

‘Listen, Mum, I’ve been thinking about what you said. I know how much this job means to you, so I’ve decided to try and help you out after call. I’ll look after Gran for you, at least for a time, till we can find something better. But I hope you can help me too sometimes. I can’t face being with her twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.’

‘Cindy, you’ve saved my life!’ said Jan. (‘And your grandmother’s too,’ she thought.) ‘Of course I’ll help you whenever I can. Oh my God! I think I’m going to cry. Look, I’ll call you back later, OK? I just need to do something.’

She ran back upstairs. Sarah was still sipping her tea. Jan put the pills back in the bottle, put the top back on tightly, and put it safely in her pocket.

‘More tea, Mum?’ she asked.

‘Yes please, dear. Was that your father on the phone?’

‘No, Mum. It was Cindy. She’ll be coming to look after you tomorrow.’

‘Oh, will she? Is she that small lady with the dark skin? I liked her even if she is a foreigner. She had a lovely smile.’

‘No, Mum. But you like Cindy too.’

‘Oh, do I? I don’t think I know her.’

‘Yes, you do. But don’t worry about it.’

‘What about my pills?’ asked Sarah. ‘Have I taken my pills?’

‘Yes, Mum,’ said Jan with relief. ‘You’ve already taken them.’

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