Morning Has Broken 0


Morning Has Broken


Fern opened window, her routine check every morning after interrupted nights. Now, early morning, a breeze fluttered the curtains, rain hissed on the glass. She looked for the jogger but the road was empty, and the lane opposite, hung with dripping trees, led away into the grey mist. He wouldn’t come today.

Behind her George lay curled up on his left side, smoothed into the covers, almost invisible in the bed; a line snaked from his hand to the drip secured to a makeshift pole. The district nurse had come in on her way back from a new baby call.  She had washed him and settled him and inserted the drip.

“It’s just waiting now,” nurse had said, “it won’t be long, he’ll probably go today”

She went over to the bed, watching the level in the bag. Perhaps he would drift away as the solution fell, each drop taking away a memory, a sigh, a breath.  Perhaps he was gone already, the brain just doing its closing down rituals, on auto pilot. She wanted to interrupt it, call his name, touch his face with her hands, pull him to her, kiss him, a kiss of life? She remembered drowsy summer afternoons of their other, younger life, babies kissed into life in this very room when sunlight patterned the ceiling and the kissing went on forever. But he looked stern, as if he was watching for any unseemly action on her part, so she put her hand over his at the place where the line went in. She stroked his hand and waited.

Gradually morning noises filtered in from outside; the milk cart whined down the road, next door the dogs woofed and snuffled in the front garden waiting for their walk, a few houses away the old man came out of his gate and set off to get his paper, cars swished past on the wet tarmac, voices sounded with the eerie clarity of damp mornings.


“So I told him, I’m not waiting forever, I have to get on with my life…”
“That’s it, grab your chances I say.”

She went to the window again,  two women were walking down the road. They were young, clipping along in high heels and short skirts.  She didn’t know them, maybe they had moved in to one of the empty houses down the road. She had lost touch with things since George had been so ill.

“I don’t think he was ever really interested anyway, he never could remember my birthday.”

“Move on, he’s over.”

“You’re right, live now.”


Fern watched them until they rounded the corner. Then the road was empty. The lane opposite stretched back, it was clear now and she could see to the bend. Would he come now? Surely he would come now. She had watched for him so many mornings; he would come, he must come.


She opened the window wider. A dampness and stillness seemed to spread into the room, just the muted tick of the machine, and the slowing, intermittent breaths of the body on the bed witnessed the wait.

She sat next to George again, was she supposed to say something? Not a prayer, he wouldn’t allow that. But would he know? If he was right, no God, no hereafter, he wouldn’t know. If he was wrong, wouldn’t he need some intervention on his behalf?  Matching her breaths to his she brought up her mantra, allowing herself to slip into that meditative state which had given her strength so many times to endure his angry obduracy. Breath in, breath out … in, out, breath in, breath out, no more self,  reaching to where he was now. Did he know? Did he feel her with him now? He gave no sign.


The level in the bag had dropped right down. A memory, a sigh, a breath, a silence.


Fern walked to the window.  The sun was pulling the mist away.  A black bird called loud and clear. The taut, spandex clad figure appeared, on the green, squatting, bending, stretching, flexing, in the clear light. She watched him as she always did. She undid the clip on her bundled up pony tail and let her hair ripple down, matching each  rhythm of his body as she pulled her fingers through her long hair.


He had come, morning had broken.