Sunday, 19 June 2022

'Trumpeting' by Adele Evershed

Maura woke up at three am like she had for the last week, as if an invisible alarm was triggering her whole system. And just like the previous seven nights, when she batted her eyes open, she could make out a lumpy shadow growing out of the corner of her bedroom. Stan slumbered next to her, gently rumbling from both ends, totally oblivious to his wife’s night terrors.

Maura felt for her stack of Tums balanced like a cairn on the edge of her night table. Slowly

sucking one, she looked at the shadowy presence for the first time. It seemed to vibrate gently,

and then what looked like a wing unfurled to fill the space between it and Maura’s bed. The lump

in Maura’s chest glowed like red-hot coal and her scalp tingled as if her hair was being inexpertly

highlighted. She took a thick, ragged intake of breath. This last week had left her feeling charred

like a piece of stewing steak—burnt on the outside, raw, and bleeding underneath.

‘What do you want from me?’ she asked shakily, ‘Don’t I have enough to worry about without

you and your nightly visits?’ The entire shape started to sway towards Maura, and she felt a

soothing, warm breath as the elephant stroked her cheek. This proved too much; Maura could no longer keep her grief caged. A loud trumpeting woke Stan.

‘Oh love, whatever is it? Did you have a nightmare?’ he said as he took her into his arms and

wiped her cheeks with the back of his hand. ‘No, but we have to talk,’ Maura hiccupped as she

spoke, ‘Last week, I got the results of my mammogram…

The elephant in the room turned and melted into the dark.

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