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Posts Tagged ‘Coral’

Yvette and Pip: New Year’s Eve (1996)

In Coral, Dino Turci, Karen Fenn, Marco Turci, Pip, Rose, Sue, Vi, Yvette on May 30, 2006 at 1:36 pm

‘There’s a bit of a sing-a-long in the dining room tonight, I’m afraid,’ Yvette said. ‘Vi’s been practising Tipperary all afternoon. You’ve probably heard.’

Pip had. That and what a friend we have in Jesus. Songs he had never expected to learn.

He gave one long, slow blink.

‘Wouldn’t be so bad if she could remember the bloody words,’ Yvette said, then she laughed. It was the kind of laugh that meant no harm.

Yvette fussed with the newspapers. She picked them off the bed section by section, folding them neatly, putting them in a pile.

The papers had been there since ten o’clock when Coral had put them down, told Pip she would be back in a moment. Just need to powder my nose is what she said.

Pip didn’t mind that Coral had never come back. Coral’s voice grated and she stumbled across commas, took no notice of full stops.

It would be good when Rose came back from Queensland and started doing the newspapers again. Rose had a voice which was soft and light and you could tell that she was thinking while she read.

Pip couldn’t remember how long Rose had been gone. People didn’t write that kind of thing on his calendar. They had asterisked Christmas and highlighted new year’s eve. Mum had been through and written all the important birthdays in red. But no one had written Rose back into one of the squares.

‘We’re not supposed to leave you in in your rooms tonight,’ Yvette said. She folded the newspaper into neat sections. ‘We’re supposed to make you all join in. Because of New Year’s Eve.’ She folded the final piece of newspaper back into place, then looked up and as far into Pip’s eyes as she could. ‘So it might be a bit late before I get back. It might be eight or so before I can see you again. Is that OK?’

Yvette nodded before she looked away. She took a few steps towards the door and put the folded newspaper on the chair by the door. ‘Yeah, anything’s better than another bloody sing-a-long, I reckon.’ Yvette closed her eyes and took a deep, but silent breath before she turned to face Pip again.

There was nothing like New Year’s Eve for turning lonely into lonelier.

She took the few steps across the room so that she could be closer to him. She bent down so she was looking directly at him. Her knees clicked loudly as she squatted.

It means you’ll get arthritis. That’s what Karen Fenn had said when they were still at school. Yvette could still see the way Karen Fenn flicked her ponytail as she spoke. She could see the blue eyeliner Karen Fenn had used every day and no teachers asked her to take it off. She could see the short skirts and the even tan. Karen Fenn was allowed to put colours through her hair.

Yvette ran the fingers on both her hands through her hair, pulled her hair back from her face and off the back of her neck. She should have worn it up today. She should have made an effort. Even if she had to work it was still New Year’s Eve.

‘D’you remember Karen Fenn?’ Yvette asked. ‘Tall she was. Married Marco Turci. That’s Dino Turci’s brother.’ She looked at Pip then shook her head. ‘Before your time I s’pose. She moved away years ago.’ She smiled at him. ‘She had lovely long fingers and her nails never seemed to break.’

Karen Fenn wouldn’t be working in an Old Folks Home on New Year’s Eve, Yvette thought. Karen Fenn wouldn’t care about the triple time and she wouldn’t offer to do the shift because she knew she wouldn’t have anything else to do anyway and you were better at work than you were down the pub where everyone else would be kissing the love of their lives.

Yvette let her hands and her hair fall. She wished she didn’t still think about Karen Fenn. As if Karen Fenn ever thought about her.

‘You’ve already had enough of sing-a-longs, haven’t you, mate?’ Yvette asked Pip. She put her hand on his. His skin was softer than it had ever been.

She pulled her hand away, then stood up, crossing her arms over her chest.

At moments like this she always used to say I know, love, I know. She used to say that to him a lot. I know. But she just nodded at him now.

Yvette smiled at him then stood up. ‘I might turn that off,’ she said. She flicked her head at the television. There were too many nurses and too many visitors left the television on. ‘It makes a racket, doesn’t it? And there’s nothing on the bloody thing.’ She reached up to the television and turned it off. ‘There’s no company in a television,’ Yvette said.

It was something she would have left as a thought in any other room.

‘You look nice today,’ Yvette said. She squinted as she looked more closely at him. ‘Is that shirt new?’ She stopped talking, nodded and smiled. ‘Thought so. That blue really suits you.’ She squinted.

‘Oh, hello,’ Yvette said. ‘Look who’s here.’ She stood up, wiped the palms of her hands down her uniform. It was looking bloody grubby now, wasn’t it?

She should have done the washing last night. You couldn’t wear a uniform two days in a row.

‘Is it still hot out there?’ Yvette asked.

Sue nodded. ‘Scorching. Gauge at our place says forty one. And that’s in the shade.’

‘Better off in here, aren’t I?’ Yvette said and she was sorry as soon as she said the words. It was a stupid thing to say in front of him. In front of his mother.

Apologising would make it worse.

‘I’ll leave you two in peace for a while, shall I?’

Pip blinked. Once for yes. Then blinked again.

Which must have been a mistake or maybe she’d seen it wrong.

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