Mind Loves Misery’s Menagerie’s Wordle #218 gives the following words and asks that at least 10 of the words in a story or poem. I used them all except hypocrite and Schrodinger’s Cat.
Volute- a spiral or twisted formation or object.
Miss Platform had been a caretaker to patients with special needs since the age of twenty-two, fresh out of nursing school. Growing up, she’d had to take care of her older sister, Jeanine, who was born with a voluted spine. Jeanine had to lay on a special framework twenty hours a day. The framework had a small engine that rotated the framework like a gyroscope to keep her circulation going, her pain at a minimum, and her bedsores at a minimum.
For four hours a day, Miss Platform, then known as only Hanna, learned to be quietly efficient in moving Jeanine to the tub for bathing, then dressing her for their daily outdoor walk. The wheelchair was motorized but Hanna had to steer it. They would go down by the river and Hanna would throw popcorn to the ducks. Jeanine was captivated by watching families laughing and running in the park. It was the only time Jeanine felt alive and a part of something other than her painful, consuming condition.
Jeanine, despite the jarring agony of being moved during these four hours each day, would not swap it for anything, as riding what she had dubbed the Doomsday Machine twenty hours a day was a torture she needed to detach her mind from in order to remain sane. Spending those hours closely with her beloved sister meant everything to her. Those four hours a day gave her a reason to go on.
Hanna never knew what it was like to have a carefree childhood. Her mother had died giving birth to her, and her grandmother was a woman of no nonsense. Duty was unquestioned and Hanna loved Jeanine. She never begrudged sacrificing her childhood to the care of her big sister as her mind never strayed to such perspectives.
The fall after Hanna’s 18th birthday, Jeanine knew it was time for Hanna to say her parting goodbyes to her family. Fear and dread entered Jeanine’s heart, as she knew their grandmother would not be able to take care of her like Hanna did and that the walks to the park would be ending. Jeanine also understood that Hanna needed a life of her own and that she’d given her love and care beyond any worth she felt for herself and her broken body. Hanna needed to go to nursing school in the big city.
Jeanine began asking to see the neighbor lady, Mrs. Smith, more regularly and they spent several afternoons together, talking about this and that. Mrs. Smith was a friendly and competent woman who had known the girls since they were infants and had helped the grandma out over the years with them.
Hanna had never entertained thoughts of leaving Jeanine and her grandmother. Jeanine depended on her. Jeanine had other plans to effect the necessary dislodgement of her cherished little sister, who was now a young woman who needed a life beyond this one.
One cold winter day, down at the river during their walk, Jeanine pretended to see a duck struggling just out of sight under the ledge near the dark ice-encrusted water. Jeanine said, “See! Right there! Bring me closer and I’ll show you!” Hanna pushed the wheelchair closer and closer to the edge until the very tread of the wheels was hanging out over the water. As Hanna was bent over, straining to see the poor duck, Jeanine used every fiber of her being to lunge forward, which tipped her body into the deep icy water. Hanna screamed as she saw Jeanine tumbling but was unable to gain a grip on her as she fell in.
Nearby park walkers, including a fit looking gentleman, came running. The gentleman leaped in, head first, and miraculously was able to bring Jeanine to the surface. The assembled crowd pulled her inert but still breathing body out and laid her on a jacket someone threw down. They massaged her limbs and covered her while waiting for the ambulance someone had called for. Soon paramedics had her loaded into their vehicle and Hanna rode next to her sister, going towards the hospital.
In the warm ambulance, Jeanine regained consciousness. Looking up from the gurney, she smiled at Hanna and said, “It’s time for you to go. Talk with Mrs. Smith, she will help with everything. Know I’m with you always, my dear dear sister.” Jeanine closed her eyes, which never opened again.
Hanna became Miss Platform four years later. Miss Platform’s reputation as the best caretaker for others’ loved ones, now 30 years later, continues to this day.