We arrived at the Clinic, for what now really was the very last time. I did not see the consultant but we were given the blood test by the nurse.
The result would not be ready for some hours, she said, and gave us a time at which to come back so that they could tell us whether or not it was good news.
I asked them to phone us at home and leave the message on our answerphone, because I did not want to go back. R was quite happy about this but the nurse looked a little surprised; however, she agreed to do so, and we finally escaped out of the door and down the steps for the very last time. Out into the world, with only a little plaster inside my elbow to end the saga.
We went to the National Gallery, and saw the painting of the horse, Whistlejacket, by George Stubbs : http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/cgi-bin/WebObjects.dll/CollectionPublisher.woa/wa/work?workNumber=NG6569 and the Ambassadors by Hans Holbein : http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/cgi-bin/WebObjects.dll/CollectionPublisher.woa/wa/work?workNumber=ng1314 – R found a jigsaw puzzle of this, and a poster of Whistlejacket. He thought that it would be nice to have them both, and we duly bought them, but I knew that every time we looked at the picture or did the jigsaw puzzle my mind would travel back in time to this day, and the misery that I was doing my best to hide.
We came home with them on the train in the darkness of a winter’s afternoon, and picked up the car. We scraped the ice off the windows and made the short ride home. We had to park in the hedge opposite the house; our four cottages had no driveways and a layby opposite for four vehicles, one each, but our neighbours had three vehicles (his, hers and his work van), another neighbour did not drive, a third had his car and work van and his wife’s car, so as we were last home we had to park behind one of the vans alongside the road in the hedge.
We crossed the road, holding hands, and walked down the path. I turned the key in the lock and we went in.
The light on the answerphone was flashing.