Martha

Martha’s fluttering fingers trace a pattern on the table.
The waitress says, ‘Here you go Martha, this’ll do you good, and on a cold day like this.’
Martha says, ‘Thought I’d been bit. Went to the doctors and he said, you got Shingles Martha. And I say I’m in pain, and my legs are all mottled.’
Stroking Martha’s shoulder the waitress says, ‘Come on now, you eat that sandwich, it’s specially made for you. It’ll make you feel better.’
Martha’s hands tremble.
‘Don’t feel hungry these days, just haven’t got the appetite.’

The waitress pushes the plate towards Martha. ‘Try a little bit, eh?’
Martha looks at her, ‘You’re an angel, pet. A place in heaven for you.’
The waitress says, ‘Aye well, Heaven or Hell, can’t be any worse than this can it?’
Martha says, ‘Didn’t know whether to come out or stay in, just felt like sitting on the bed and that’s it. Didn’t know whether to come out or not.’

The plate is pushed a little closer. Martha’s fluttering fingers cease their silent activity. Her eyes close, head droops. The waitress tidies Martha’s sparse grey hair.