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Page 5

Janice Florence

I have to get out of here. But I can’t till I get my compensation so I can pay a bond on my own flat. And get some decent physio. Why do I take so much notice of her? She is like this to everyone. I’d love to tell her to get stuffed. But sometimes she is so kind.

Her treasures around the room, textures and colours of her familiar things gradually soothed her. The twilight bird song in the park opposite calmed her and distracted her from imaginary cutting remarks she could deliver to shock Bronnie into eternal, silent submission.

“Rose, dinner’s ready.” Chris, the peacemaker, knocked at her door.

The kitchen was light and warm from the cooking. The food was arranged on the table. She was lulled by the comfort of this familiar scene.

Bronnie leaned towards her across the table. “Have you heard about your compensation?”

“No, I should have heard by now. I know you want my room for when Jessica comes back from Paris. I’m sorry. I hope it will be soon.” She felt floods of tears welling up. Perhaps, if she let them gush out, maybe she would be folded in an embrace of comfort and reconciliation. But she was cagey about this intermittent kindness. It could be purely a desire to get rid of her.

“You’ve got to keep on their backs. Be at them every day.”

“I know.” Get off my back, thought Rose. “It’s frustrating trying to get anything out of the bureaucracy.”

Chris looked sympathetic. “Why don’t you go to the Ombudsman? We have his number somewhere, don’t we Bronnie?”

Bronnie looked blank. “What about the land in the mountains? You could commute to work every day.”

Dismissed, Rose went to her room to read.

A week later the letter came. Her money was granted. Her treatment would be paid for. She found a flat, half afraid something would block her longed-for escape. Friends came to help pack. When the day finally dawned, they arrived with trailers, vans and roof racks and carried away a double bed, collapsible shelves, two chairs, a clothing rack and thirty boxes.

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