Chapter 21 - Batter My Heart

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∞ 21 ∞


The reassuring thought of the sale of the flat was on Valentin's mind as the sun came up and she checked Lysander and gave him his antibiotic injection. Poor Lysander had grown even feebler; he was still very bloated and hardly eating, or drinking. It was an awful thing to see. Even in his suffering, he tried to move his head to give Valentina an affectionate little headbutt. She would try to take him away from there if--when he got better. She didn't know where, but somewhere safe and without awful memories... Mimi would understand.

On his last visit, the vet had told her of the possibility that Lysander's normal feed was irritating his compromised digestive tract. So she was going to go into town to search for the ingredients to make him a nutritious porridge someone in America had e-mailed her the recipe for. She also needed to get a special sort of fermented hay for him and some fresh straw, so she went down to pull the trailer out.

For some weird reason the trailer was left on the other side of the small ravine and its little stream and that ran through the edge of her small plot. There wasn't a bridge and it was too steep to drive Jerremee's jeep across to get it, so she needed to try and pull it across. She wasn't a tiny woman, but she was far too small to be attempting such a thing on her own. She knew it, but she didn't have a choice. She had let Lysander down enough already... As it wasn't a very big trailer, it might have been just manageable at the shallow points of the ravine – if it hadn't rained all night and most of the week prior. The ground was as slippery as an ice rink. In the end, she got it across, mostly on willpower, but it took her an hour and a half and she put both of her shoulders out again, wrenching and pulling. Slipping in the stream, she smashed her knee against a rock. Exhausted, muddy and bruised, she rolled the trailer up to the carport, only to remember then that Jerremee's Jeep wasn't working! And the bizarre thing was, it wasn't as if it had stopped working recently; it had been nearly a year! Her brain was that jumbled and crammed full of stuff to worry about, for some lunatic reason she had simply forgotten. She would have to take the Mercedes and put the straw in the passenger seat.

The only thing that Valentina owned of any real monetary value, apart from the two properties (both in disrepair and fast becoming more like liabilities than assets) was the little classic sports car (also in disrepair). Because it was a classic car it was expensive to run and always seemed to have a mechanical problem, but she loved it. It reminded her of a time when things were very different for her. The little car was quickly turning to junk however – like her life and everything else she owned since making the mistakes that had so dramatically changed the path of her life. It had initially received a small dent on the right wing, after Jerremee had borrowed it for a few months (leaving her stranded on the farm) and it quickly went downhill from there. The high-pitched whirring sound it had recently developed had become constant and MUCH louder and now there was also something underneath that sounded like it was scraping on the ground as she drove. Apart from the mud and straw plastered all over it, the paintwork was perpetually covered in bird droppings, because there was no place in the carport with the busted Jeep on one side and a busted, greasy, old digger that Jerremee bought 'as a favour' to a well-off local builder parked on the other side.

She could feel her resentment rising and shook the bad feeling off. Resenting this person had taken over her life – she tried not to let it, but especially at times when everything was falling apart and she was suffering (and the animals were suffering and she was powerless to make it better) and everything seemed to have his evil, smeary little handprints on it, it was hard not to resent. It was poisoning her life; she knew it was, but she couldn't get out of its grip.

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