I FIXED a smile. It felt lean. "Well, I guess, at least you're getting the right treatment now."
My words sounded glib to me, too easily said, too little felt. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my sister. She was a far better person than I.
When I was eight, she spent weeks painting my bedroom wall for no other reason than to delight her little brother. Slowly a glorious Smaug emerged, gloating over his gold-pile, to guard my sleep for many years.
Ginny could spend months shopping for presents for upcoming birthdays; she agonised over every little choice. For Christmas lunch she made her own crackers, selected the toys and wrote the riddles and the jokes and cut out the crepe paper crowns, just for the joy it brought.
If the situations were reversed, Ginny would know what to say.
But my thoughts were too thick, too thickly coiled to properly empathise. Even then, as I felt for the next piece of small talk, my mind strayed to the things I wanted to do later.
After a while I asked, "How are your room-mates?"
A spark came to Ginny's eyes and she indicated I should come closer. "They all seem pretty nice," she said lowering her voice, "but you should have seen this one lady. I’m telling you, Ruuuuffff. She'd fallen out of a car, drunk, and then - get this - been run over.”
My mouth dropped.
“I know, and that’s not even the funny thing. After they set her up in the room - "
“Cleaned off the tire marks, that sort of thing - ”
“Yeah, well she spent all afternoon making these loud calls to her rellys. Everybody on the ward could hear, and it wasn't like she was saying, 'I've been in a car accident, I'm in hospital but I'm okay'. The first thing out of her mouth was, 'bring me my booze and my fags, and a fucken feed.' In that order."
"You'd think, what with being run-over and all, you would have had enough to drink for one day."
"I know, right?"
We had a good chuckle over 'some' people.
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