A Short Story of Mrs G

 review

I’m linking up my first short story with the lovely Vic and her Prose for Thought – go and have a look at some great poets and writers!

A Short Story of Mrs G

Teratoma. So it has a name.  Mrs G swallows a cough and reaches for an empty plastic mug in front of her.  Next to it, the water jug is empty too, with white deposit settled at the bottom.  She squeezes the mug in her hand.  Crack.  It is mid – June and the heat manifests itself in the sweat stains on her best “Sunday church” blouse.

“We need further tests.  Most cases are benign but this tumour is growing fast.  We will test the tissue and take it from there.”  The doctor takes off his glasses and starts polishing them with a hanky he fishes out of nowhere.  “Any questions?”


“No. Thank you.” Mrs G stands up and shakes the doctor’s dry hand and he wipes it on his trousers as soon as she turns round.  She walks back into the waiting room and sits down on the nearest chair; the sharp light gives her a headache and she covers her face for a minute, dropping her handbag on the mustard yellow floor.

Last night she had a dream.  A monster was eating its way through her tissues and bones while she was shrinking bit by bit, every day, until there was nothing left of her, but a few scraps of flesh on the floor.  The monster reminded Mrs G of her neighbours’ teenage son.  A fan of one of those noisy bands of beardy angry men.  Long wiry and scarce hair, sharp nails never attended to with a pair of scissors and those teeth.  Crooked, rusty and ten in total.

The sour smell of the waiting room brings back a picture of her mother scrubbing carpets with a cloth soaked in water and vinegar.  Silent, swaying back and forth on all fours until she restored the faded colours back to their former glory.

That day, mid-June, aged 12 and 3 days, Mrs G was brushing the carpets until her knuckles stung from blood and vinegar while her silent mother overlooked the work from her coffin.  A few more minutes and the first guests would start pouring in and her father would get drunk and rowdy.

Just two weeks before, Mrs G walked her mother to the bus stop.  Mum wearing her best Sunday blouse and skirt (all browns and yellows) kissed Mrs G on the forehead.  “Now be a good girl.  Won’t be long at the doctor’s.”

“Next one.”  The receptionist does not look up from her gossip magazine. A sudden snatch of sorrow fills Mrs G’s chest and she struggles to breathe.

“Are you all right dear?” Long fingers clasp around her wrist.  “Would you like me to call anyone?”  The grasp loosens a bit, Mrs G shrugs and shakes her head.  An old man, with bags under his sunken eyes, clears his throat and lets go of her arm.

Mrs G picks up her bag and flattens her hair.  No one to call because no one is waiting for her at the table, apart from Oscar, the deaf obese dachshund who spends his days spilling off his cushion while guarding the fridge.  It has been just the two of them since Mr G left 10 years ago.  Just like that. One sunny morning in June he surprised her with a kiss.

“Nipping out to get some cigs. Won’t be long.”

Images of police tape, angry youths and screeching tyres kept her up all night.  At dawn, when she tired of sitting in the dark with Oscar on her lap, she found a note in Mr G’s wobbly handwriting on her pillow.

The receptionist looks up from behind her desk and stretches her arms, jingling golden bracelets.  Mrs G rummages in her handbag and straightens a scrap of paper.  A nosy neighbour gave it to her a few months ago.  Mr G’s new address.  He let himself go.  No children.  No other woman.

Don’t let Cancer win screams an old poster, dangling by one corner from a wooden frame.

The old man stumbles towards her, his mouth dribbling.  The receptionist bares a golden tooth.  Mrs G closes her hand.

She runs towards the flashing Exit sign.

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