Chapter Forty Six

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Dear Diary,

We’re home, we’re finally home. Ah, Ellwood is such a beautiful place. As soon as we got here it felt like everything glowed with sunlight; the hills rolled and the trees swayed. The space felt endless like I could put out my arms and start swimming in it if I wanted to. I almost kissed the ground when we finally arrived here after a long flight and drive from the airport.

I saw every sheep, every field, every gate from the window of the van as we drove along the country roads from the airport feeling like I almost remembered each one individually. And the green, wow, I don’t think I ever noticed the green that much before. Luscious English green.

A chorus of birdsong greeted us as we entered the backyard. The first thing I did was check on my little world of plants. Mostly they were ok and still able to look up at me with their flowery heads. Some were a bit droopy but none were dead. Mabel, the next-door neighbor, did a good job of looking after them.

The first thing I did before going into the house was find the rusty old watering can, fill it with water and pour it in to the soil of the pots. I swear I saw some of the plants move ever so slightly as the water soaked in, as if they were saying hello.

The second thing I did was put the kettle on and make a nice cup of tea for myself, and one for Leo. He seemed as pleased as I was to be home. He jumped up onto the kitchen counter and we chatted away as I poured the tea. We left the kitchen door open to let the fresh air roll in. It smelt a different way here so fresh you could almost taste it.

We sat in the kitchen and then the living room, drinking tea, making bacon sandwiches, simply soaking in the fact that we were home. At one point Mabel popped round to see us, clearly pleased to have us back. She asked how the trip went. Now that was hard to answer.

I’m here now, in my bedroom, in my bed – ah, there can be no place nicer. I’m amongst my familiar things, my beautiful dressing table, my antique mirror.

It’s hard to believe that only a few days ago we were in a New York hospital, curled up by the bedside of Farley. When we got there, after the aquarium, we sat down at Farley’s bedside and soon enough both of us to fell fast asleep, our arms on the bed, still sat in the plastic chairs.

We must’ve slept for ages because it was black outside when we did finally open our eyes. I don’t know if we would have even woken up then if a young nurse, not that much older than we are, hadn’t nudged us awake and laid a tray on a table with two bowls of steaming soup in them.

‘We don’t usually give out free food but I’ve seen you two in here all day and I don’t want you to starve,’ she said.

‘Oh wow, thank you,’ I said, bleary eyed.

Leo smiled at her. She smiled back.

‘Just eat your soup guys, you gotta eat,’ she said.

‘How is he?’ I said.

‘He’s stable,’ she said. ‘No signs of worsening.’

‘Any signs of getting better?’ said Leo.

‘No, not yet,’ she said.

My heart sank a little. The nurse left the room. Leo passed a bowl of soup to me – I picked up the spoon and started to eat. It was tomato soup; warm, rich and hot. I ate every last drop. Leo did the same.

Once we had eaten we continued to sit by the bedside, quiet, just watching his face or sitting back in our chairs and looking around the room. There wasn’t much to look at. I mostly kept my eyes on Farley. To me he looked like an angel who had fallen from heaven and landed with too big a bang. I knew I loved him.

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