Friday is a double hard day for us – double lessons and separate lessons. Brenda does hers, Doreen others and I have double maths, double history and double logistics. After a hard day like that you need a double dose of Brenda.
But no! No Brenda!
Where was she? Nowhere! We looked everywhere. All the girls in the school searched the school, the school grounds, the village; but it got dark.
No Brenda! I slept badly and so did Doreen.
The next morning came the bad news, she was in hospital in the big town.
A teacher took us to the hospital and there lay a body in the Intensive Care Unit. It was covered with tubes and bandages and plastic and more.
That was it! I said. If this is Brenda, then this was Brenda. There is no hope.
Oh no! Not true! A young doctor came into the room. She'll be alright, she's covered in bruises and we've fixed a few of her bones, but nothing really bad. It will just take some time. We'll keep her asleep for a few days, but she will be OK.
I was not certain. The only part of her that was not hidden was her left foot. I sucked her big toe, but she did not say oooooooo.
The doctor was right, after two weeks she did say oooooooo when I sucked her big toe. Was everybody happy – we cried.
Slowly she got better, she spoke to us, she said oooooooo more often.
Why was I dressed in black, with a black hat, on a country road the other side of the big town, on a wet and moonless night? You've gotta help me.
Brenda had all the help she needed – she was tied down with tubes in a hospital bed. We visited her twice a week. It was a long bus journey. It was the best that we could do.
It was hard for Doreen and me, worrying about Brenda and working hard at school, those important exams. Then there was the affair with Miss Cavendish. We had to pump as much tlc into Miss Cavendish and Brenda as we could. Miss Cavendish did help us prepare for the exams, but it was a big strain.
Just before the exams I broke down. How could I continue, but how could I be so selfish, how could I think about myself when Miss Cavendish needed so much control and Brenda was in hospital? Doreen put her arms around me. Doreen is such a treasure.
But it got worse.
Summer holidays – the surprise that comes every year.
Oh summer holidays – eight weeks to do what we wanted. No such luck! My parents wanted me to stay with them, Doreen's too, Brenda was moved to a convalescence home near her parents and Miss Cavendish went to a teachers' seminar on the other side of the planet.
I don't have to go. I can stay here and visit you.
No, no! You booked this months ago, you want to go, it is important for you.
Alright, I will do everything that you tell me to do.
The four of us were split up – real bad! We wrote, we telephoned, but it was a hard time. My mother said as usual that I was crazy and otherwise ignored me for four weeks. My father said as usual that I was crazy and otherwise ignored me for four weeks. I had some time to think.
One thing was certain, I was crazy about Doreen, Brenda and Miss Cavendish. No question. Our future was certain – together, but how? What would we do when we left school?
Why did everybody say that I was crazy? My parents, the other girls at school, even Doreen, Brenda and Miss Cavendish said so. Pause. I had to accept that I was crazy and that I would remain crazy.
Wonderful! Wonderful! Doreen back in my arms! The new school year had started. Miss Cavendish back in my arms. Just wonderful!
Wonderful present! After three days Brenda was given back to us. She was still very frail. Doreen, Miss Cavendish and I were given Brenda, yes, we had to look after her. She was to stay with Doreen and me.
There were only two beds in our lodgings, a third smaller bed was found for Brenda and placed in another room. This was not what we wanted – there were four of us. I had always wanted to sleep on Doreen but I'm far too heavy for that. Brenda sleeps on me and Miss Cavendish on Doreen.
We pushed Brenda around in a wheel chair for two weeks.
Can you walk now? How far can you walk?
I can walk a bit. I had to learn to walk again. It is a bit painful. I think I could walk as far as the school gates.
Do you see what Doreen has got in her hands?
Yes! It is a rope.
You do know what she is going to do with it? And you do know why?
Yes! I know that it is necessary.
Doreen is going to tie you on me with a knot that you can't reach. You are going to be tied on me this night, for the whole of the night, and every night. You are not going to walk in your sleep again.
Oh, you are so good to me. I am going to be with Doreen and Miss Cavendish and you, Chardonnay, for the rest of my life.
Brenda got better and Miss Cavendish was fully under control.
It would soon be time to release her, to give her back to herself. This may sound odd, but it was important to Doreen and me, it was important to Miss Cavendish. We wanted to pump Miss Cavendish full of tlc and to do this properly, we had to have full control of her. We even had to tell her when to go to the bathroom and comb her hair. But soon she would not need this, soon she would be able to control herself, not that the tlc would stop, no, no, no, tlc was a must, and as much as possible and even more.
It was time, time for a picnic. Miss Cavendish drove us to a lovely spot in the hills with a great view. A whole day for us, just wonderful. We formally gave Miss Cavendish back to herself. Brenda was fully fit again. The four of us had so much to celebrate.