Well, the last three weeks have been like something out of Dante’s Inferno. I must have lost a stone, rushing around like a headless chicken. I know that Peggy is suffering and I know that ‘twas no picnic going under the knife at her age, but honestly, if anyone ever deserves one good puc in the kisser to drive a bit of sense into her, it’s that woman. She’s put years on myself and on her other friends, Bridie and Marilyn and Dolores, rushing in to the hospital, looking after her house, bringing up night dresses and underwear, shampoos and towels and bringing back the dirty clothes to wash and dry, before taking them all back up to the hospital again for her ladyship to use – like blue arsed flies, meeting ourselves coming back. We were only saying the other night, that we wouldn’t be one bit surprised, if we were all to end up inside in the hospital with the stress and tension, that the woman is after causing the lot of us..
How did she end up in the hospital? I suppose you could say the whole thing goes back months, when that stray, ginger cat took up residence at the Brennans, who live on the other side of Peggy. Well, from the minute she set eyes on him, she hadn’t a good word to say and when he began to come into her back garden, sunning himself and digging up her flower beds, open warfare was declared. Honestly, I’m convinced the fecker was doing it on purpose to annoy her. The minute she sat down with a cup of tea, that’s when he’d stalk across the grass as if he owned the place, taking good care to look up at the window where Peggy was, just in case, she didn’t happen to notice him. Of course, the minute she sees him, she’s up off the chair like someone on Red Bull and out after him, screaming and waving the sweeping brush. Well, that was all well and good until one Saturday evening three weeks ago when she spies him coming across the garden. This time though, he’d gone too far because what had he inside in his mouth but a bird, a robin. Now Peggy had made a right pet of that little robin and was feeding him from her hand for months, so when she seems him hanging out of the cat’s mouth, as dead as a doornail, she loses the plot entirely.
I was inside having a cup of tea with her when it happened. Suddenly, she leaps up out of the chair, starts screaming ‘you foxy little bastard, you’ and takes off out the back door and legs it across the grass after the tom, who’s still holding on to the poor dead robin, for nothing else only pure devilment. I stand up inside the window, with my mouth open, as the cat jumps over the wall and then, well, what does my óinseach of a woman do, but takes a flying leap at the same wall, as the disappearing tom. Well, I actually thought I was seeing things. Imagine, a woman nearly eighty years of age with a bad knee, attempting to clear a two foot wall as if she was a race horse. For Christ’s sake! Ah, are you mad, shure of course, she doesn’t manage to go over it, for feck’s sake, aren’t I just after telling you, that the woman is nearly eighty years of age with a bad knee! No, what happens is the next few seconds seem to pass in slow motion- I see her taking a half jump and then she’s whacking up against the wall, before falling sideways and rolling over and over on the stony path, before coming to a dead stop.
For a second, I can’t move and she obviously has lost the power of speech, because there’s this eerie silence. Then, the screaming starts, like she’s being squeezed between two gorillas. When I hear the racket, I come to my senses and race out the back door, my heart in my mouth, to see is the fecking eejit of a woman only after killing herself or what?
When I reach her, she’s seriously scary-looking, she has this ghastly grey pallor and beads of sweat are pouring down her face but worse, her left leg is flung out in front of her and her ankle is bent kinda backwards at a seriously, unnatural looking angle. Now, I’m no nurse but even I can see that the situation is bad, very bad. I think it’s possible she might even lose the leg, maybe. By this time, half the village is scrambling into the garden to see what in the name of Christ is the matter with Peggy? Is she dying or what, they want to know? Of course, if she is, no one wants to miss it so by the time I’m dialling 999, the whole fecking place is like a madhouse and my heart is palpitating with terror and shock . By the time the ambulance races down the village street, all sirens blaring, I don’t know if it will be Peggy or myself who’ll be the first into it, so I don’t.
To be continued