‘How long does a coma last?’ I ask.
‘Days, weeks, months?’ the nurse replies with a shrug, although her eyes are very kind.
‘But on average?’
She just smiles, unable to give me an answer.
Wendy’s life can be neatly divided into two: before and after.
Before her husband’s car accident, it was just the two of them. They never took the train at rush hour, and they avoided their noisy neighbour upstairs. Naveem devoted his spare time to vintage train models, and Wendy to re-reading the well-thumbed pages of her favourite books. It didn’t matter what others thought about their small, quiet life together – they were happy.
After the coma, Wendy barely recognises herself. When she’s not holding the love of her life’s hand, accompanied by the beep of the life-support machine, who is she? The nurse tells her to talk to Naveem – that he can still hear her – but she doesn’t have a single thing to say.
Suddenly Wendy can’t bear the silence. She needs something, anything, to talk to Naveem about. Suddenly she’s losing herself at fairgrounds packed with crowds and candyfloss, she’s at the airport, waiting for the whoosh of the planes as they take off, making friends with the neighbour she has spent over a decade avoiding.
Knowing that every breath her husband takes might be his last, Wendy has no choice but to try to carry on without him. Should she feel guilty about living while his life is on pause? And when – if – he wakes up, will he still love the woman she has become?
You have a happy marriage. You keep yourselves to yourselves. You love peace and quiet and than bad luck strikes. What do you do when something serious happens to your husband? You are totally lost and try to keep on living the way you did before.
But life as you knew it does not exist any more. You are forced to change and you often wonder how your husband would feel about it. What will happen when he comes home again? Will he accept the changes? Will he reject them? Maybe he will have changed too or maybe he will never regain consciousness …
No matter how long you know someone, share your life with them, people still manage to keep secrets. Sometimes you assume something to be true, but you could not have been more wrong …
This is a story about getting to know people better, standing up for yourself and seeing a different side of life.
There is a fair bit of humor in this story. I will keep in mind that there often is a big gap between what you think is true and the actual truth. Talking to each other is the only way to clear the air and avoid heartbreak. 4 stars
Thank you, Drew Davies and Bookouture
About the author
Drew Davies was born in London and grew up in Whanganui, New Zealand. He attended the Unitec School of Performing Arts in Auckland and won a Playmarket New Zealand Young Playwright of the Year award in 2000. After a brief stint on a kiwi soap, he has worked in Search for the past 15 years. Drew’s other claim to fame is that Stephen Fry once called him droll. Either that, or he got his name wrong. He now lives in Wanstead, London.