Chapter 8 Help

Written by: Suraya Dewing

When she finished her dinner, she stormed into the lounge, grabbed his tray and took it to the kitchen. She stacked the dishwasher, crossly clattering dishes against each other and then went to her room to read. Unable to concentrate, she went to her window and looked out over the darkening garden. The sun slipped slowly over the horizon and the shadows grew longer. She lay on the bed, locked her hands behind her head and stared at the ceiling. Something had to change.

The decision galvanised her.

She charged down the stairs. Stephen was sitting in his wheelchair and looked up sharply at the sound of her thumping voice.

“Stephen,” she ventured. “Has anyone been in my room?”

He spoke quickly, far too quickly. “No, you’ve already asked that and I’ve answered, no.” His voice rose defensively.

She turned to leave then spun around and planted her feet, hands on hips.

“Can you walk, Stephen?” she demanded.

Frowning, he looked up from the television programme as if she had interrupted the most important thing in the world. His prominent jaw set as he glared at her.

“Why would I pretend I can’t?” He spread his hands out over his legs. “Do I look as if I could?”

The challenge silenced her. She sucked in a deep, ragged breath, withdrew her accusation with a muttered, “sorry,” and left the room, profoundly troubled.

She was looking out the kitchen window when the sound of rubber squeaking on the vinyl floor made her spin around.

“Do you think it is fun being stuck in this thing all day?” he demanded, his voice high-pitched and reproachful.

Resentment washed over her.

“You keep telling me your accident was my fault.” She gulped and decided now she had started she may as well keep going. “You constantly demand things and I think you could do a lot more to help yourself.” Anger now filled her face and sparked from her eyes. “Here I am trying to figure out what to do with my life and all you do is get in the way with your constant complaining.” She blew out a loud blast of air. “It’s driving me up the wall.”

He blinked and leaned away from her, his chin dimpling defiantly. “I’m not stopping you doing anything you want.”

“Really?” She scornfully scoffed. “If I’m one minute late with your dinner you tell me all about it, not to mention all the other stuff…your endless washing for example.” She held a finger up. “And that woman is always here. Doesn’t she have other clients?”

He laughed out loud. “I guess I’m special.”

Miranda had left for the day, but since she started a month ago she had punctually arrived at ten and  stayed later than the arranged two o'clock.

Her eyes narrowed. “Is there something going on between you?”

He cocked his head. “Would that be a problem, Angelica?”

“No, actually I’d be pleased for you. What annoys me is that she is meant to be here to help with cleaning and…” she looked around, “…there doesn’t seem to be much happening. I still do the washing, hang it out and fold it. I thought that was part of her job.”