Dear Readers. As I mentioned last week, I have the pleasure of presenting to you, via this blog, the work-in-progress of fellow Brussels-based writer Andrea Rees. It's an experiment by installments that I hope you will enjoy. Feel free to use the comments section, where Andrea will respond to questions and constructive feedback. This is the first part of chapter one....
The room was completely white. The walls, the cushions on the rocking chair, the dressing table, the bed, and of course, the blinds on the window. It wasn’t a stark, harsh hospital white but slightly softer. Still pure and clean but also happy. And somehow it made Jacq feel safe. In fact, this room was the only room right now that could put her at ease. And as she lay, curled up on the snow-like embroidered quilt, she wished she would never have to leave. Life had punched her hard, yet again. The first time, her pain had come out in a torrent of tears, this time her body was simply numb. It wasn’t that there wasn’t anything to shed, she just didn’t have the energy to let it go. And she had no idea how she would find the strength for what was to come next.
Simon stood in the doorway, one hand resting on the frame, the other hanging loose at his side. His eyes were fixed on his wife. “Jacqueline, are you okay?”
Jacq turned her head so she could face him. Very calmly, very slowly, as if she had known that he’d been there all along. “Yeah, I’m fine. I just like being here sometimes. Do you ever wish you could be a kid again?”
“No, never. I didn’t like being young. Always wanted to be older than I was. My friends were mostly older. But you know that. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine.” Her voice snapped.
Simon knew she was lying. She’d been lying about it for weeks. But every time he asked, she got short with him.
“Is lunch ready?” Her voice had become gentle again, but in a fake, sickly sort of way.
“You can tell my mother I’ll be there in a minute.” She turned her head towards the window.
Simon’s body remained still but his mind was debating – should he stay, wrap his arms around her, and insist on the truth? Or could he support her best by just leaving her alone?
“Please go.” She was still facing the window. Her words were little more than a whisper.
As Simon left the room, he pulled the door gently towards him. He knew they would be eating without her.
To be continued...