Day 125 – Folie à Deux – Part 5 – Catherine

Some days I hate this project. This was one of those days. Sorry for the complete lack of emotion in this one. It was all just words on a page.

Word count: 1623

“You might feel a little sting here,” the nurse said as she jabbed the needle into the artery of Catherine’s forearm.

Catherine was at the doctor’s getting blood taken. It had been a few days since she had woken up in the sick bay at school and she had already passed out several times since. Catherine was really starting to worry now. Convinced that it was not stress related, she had asked her mum to make her an appointment with the doctor. All sorts of fears were going through her mind. Was it serious, could it kill her – had they caught it in time? Catherine had never been seriously ill in all her life – she was a colds and mild flu type of girl. Her immune system was quite strong and before now she would have never labelled herself a hypochondriac.

“When should I get the results back?” Catherine asked.

“About this time next week, I would imagine,” she taped a cotton wool bud to the bleeding hole.

“Is… could it be something serious?”

“I can’t really say, I’m sorry. Your doctor will discuss the results with you later.”

“Alright, thanks,” Catherine rolled down her sleeve and collecting her belongings.

Catherine quickly made an appointment with the doctor for the following week. It would be after her first exam. She gulped. Everything was happening so quickly. It felt only a few weeks ago that Christmas had just passed and all these exams, revision and leaving school felt so far ahead in the future. She took the bus back to school – her mum couldn’t take much more time off work – and met up with Jenny just after lunch.

“How did it go?” Jenny asked, giving her a big hug.

“It was alright – Doctor didn’t really say much. She was understanding, kept on trying to say that stress comes out in different ways. The took some blood, going to go back next week and get results.”

“Aww, darling, I’m sorry you couldn’t get any definite answers.”

“That’s alright, I mean I wasn’t expecting them to know right away… but it’s horrible not knowing what it could be.”

They walked along the corridor. Catherine was grateful that Tom wasn’t there: she relished the occasions where she just had her best friend to herself.

“Well,” Jenny took Catherine’s arm and they walked in tandem together, “I have some fantastic news for you.”

“What? Exams are cancelled?”

“Better than that…”

“What?”

“Went online at lunch – found out that a certain band have a certain new song which could only mean a certain new album is going to be released soon!”

“Red Limbo?”

Jenny grinned and nodded, “Yeah!”

“But it’s been years since their last stuff!”

“I know!”

“This is fantastic. I can’t wait!”

“Well I’m glad to see someone is enthusiastic to come to my class,” Mr Johnson the English teacher beamed at them from his desk.

They looked awkwardly at him for a second, semi believing that he actually thought they might be happy to come to his class. They shuffled into the room and took a seat the back, Mr Johnson still smiling broadly at them.

“Don’t be silly, I know you’re joking. We’re doing Hamlet! Everyone hates Shakespeare until they hit forty and realise what it was all about!”

Jenny giggled at Catherine, “He gets odder and odder each term…”

But Catherine was not really paying attention. She had seen some words on the chalkboard and though at first or even second glance they meant nothing to her, they seemed to speak to her. For the life of her she could not comprehend what they meant, but she remembered them. A line Hamlet said. Why did it make the back of her mind swim with intrigue?

“David Whittaker, please stop texting I can see your phone from here,” Mr Johnson droned.

Catherine’s ears pricked at the mention of Dave’s name. She looked to her right and saw him stuffing his phone inside his pocket. She smiled.

“Thank you! Now, To be or Not to Be is certainly not going to be the question for your exam…. So, what is?”

Catherine liked Mr Johnson. He was one of those inspirational teachers who seemed to carry knowledge in their back pocket as if they were boiled sweets. In all the years that she had been taught by him, he had never spoken down to her or the class. He knew that people chewed gum and that some of them had their phones out and were texting – but he always made sure never to forget about what he was teaching. Even the most ignorant and less intelligent members of her year could be brought round to paying complete attention at times. He had a way with words, a way with people. Catherine just liked him. Jenny – and quite a lot of her classmates – just thought he was bonkers.

The rest of the day went quite smoothly. Catherine was distracted enough with last minute revision guides, potential questions, ideas, ways to answer questions that she had quite forgotten about her half hour trip to the doctors. The school bell rung after what only seemed like a few minutes. Catherine was hurriedly writing down a few last minute notes as everyone was packing up.

“Catherine,” Mr Watson said over the clanging of chairs, tables and scuffling of bags and jackets, “Can I have a word with you just before you go?”

They were in physics. Jenny had packed already and had been waiting for her by the door, but gave her a quick wave goodbye when she heard Mr Watson – signifying that Tom would be waiting for her at the gates and that she’d see Catherine tomorrow.

Mr Watson didn’t speak next until the classroom had completely emptied.

He walked over to the door and closed it.

Catherine was starting to pack up her things.

“Catherine, I’ve heard it from the head that you’ve been feeling not quite yourself lately. I understand that you collapsed the other day?”

Catherine nodded, feeling quite embarrassed that she was the talk of the staff room.

“Look, sir, I’m alright – I don’t need any special help or anything. I’m coping well. It’s not stress.”

“Okay, well. You know that I’m here if you need any extra help or if you feel that you’re not coping. All of your teachers are here for you.”

“Thanks, sir.”

“The last year of school is always the worst. I’ve seen many students not want to leave…”

“No, sir – I definitely want to leave. I’ve been ready for months.”

Catherine had. The last few months had been irritable and difficult. The cravings for independence and something different were almost too sore to bear.

“Do you know which uni you’ll be going to?”

Catherine thought briefly before replying. This was a question that she had been asked pretty much every day for the last six months. The interrogation came not just from her parents either; it was her grandparents, her uncles, aunts, neighbours and odd relatives that had come out from the woodwork to act as Gestapo in disguise. Though despite this being a regular topic at home, she still had no idea if she even wanted to go to uni. It had been months since she had been accepted unconditionally to all the universities she had applied to, but she had not yet decided.

“To be honest, sir, I’m not sure I want to go to uni,” she admitted.

Mr Watson looked surprised, “But didn’t you get unconditional offers from all the ones you applied for?”

“Yes, but I just can’t help thinking… is there more to life than studying?”

Jenny was gone by the time Catherine reached the school gates. Even though she was a bit miffed, this was nothing unexpected. The last few months were hard enough as it was without her best friend being inseparable to her boyfriend. She missed the hours they used to spend together every evening after school, just hanging out – copying each other’s homework. Having fun.

“Hey,” a very familiar voice called to her.

Catherine stopped and was quite surprised to realise that she might have walked right passed her sister without knowing she was even there if she had not called her name.

“What are you doing here?”

“Mum sent me, sorry. She wanted to make sure you didn’t collapse on any roads.”

“Heh. I’ll be alright.”

Vicky didn’t really get Catherine’s standoff-ishness and walked closer to her.

“I don’t need a bodyguard.”

“Hey, Cathy -”

“Don’t call me that!”

“Jeez. I’m sorry. I’m just trying to be your big sister.”

Catherine started walking, Vicky followed. They walked disjointedly together, in an uncomfortable silence. The streets ahead were full of Catherine’s classmates, walking home in groups of friends; chatting, laughing. Vicky followed her like a stalker.

It wasn’t until they had reached the corner shop near where they lived that Vicky next spoke.

“I’m sorry that we haven’t spoken much since I went to uni.”

Catherine was filled with anger, “Much?”

“Okay, not at all.”

“Can we not talk about this now?”

“Why not? I’m trying to make it up to you… I haven’t been there for you and maybe I should have.”

They stopped at a set of traffic lights.

“Who were you speaking to the other day?”

“What are you on about?” Vicky played dumb, but her expression betrayed her bad lie.

Catherine snarled, “Forget it, Vicky. Just give up your little student princess act right now!”

Filled with resentment, Catherine threw her sister a looked of hatred and stepped out into the road. All she heard were horns and tires gripping the road as the breaks were slammed on. Vicky screamed, Catherine almost threw up her own heart….

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~ by S.G. Mark on February 9, 2012.

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