The woman sat. As the piercing beeps grew louder and louder and the doctors and nurses rushed in - she sat. She didn't speak, she didn't cry, she didn't laugh and she didn't try to help. She just sat.
As the minutes turned into hours and the hours into days, the nurses worried - the bed was needed; after all it was only a public hospital. They'd offered care, consolidation, coffee and counselling, but nothing seemed to get her to move. 'What do you say?' They wondered. How do you say "Look I'm sorry, I know your husbands just died but we really need the bed so - if you could please go home and sit there instead that would be great?" You can't.
And so time went by with the woman sitting there, having no visitors, eating very little and saying even less. The truth was, she thought, what's the point? In standing up? In walking out? In going home? She had just as many people out there as she had in this place with her - no one.
And so she sat, starring into space for what seemed like an eternity. Watching the old man who'd shared a room with her husband. Watching him, get progressively better, until he realised that no one was coming to visit and then getting worse and worse and worse again until the stench of stale urine no longer filled the room, because he was gone. Gone where he beloved Ruthill had gone. Gone where she wanted to go.
And where that was? She had no idea which was probably the thing that troubled her most. They'd done everything together.
She cast her mind back to when they married and came out here so long ago. Knowing no one, they had such...