Isla woke to the smell of eggs and bacon wafting under her door. For a split second, she thought she was at home on the farm, but as she opened her eyes, she found herself in a room she’d never been in before. Sitting up with a jerk, she looked frantically around her. Where was she? With her heart beating loudly in her chest, adrenalin coursed through her system, breaking the spell of sleep. As her brain connected the dots, she remembered where she was, and her body fell back down into bed. Revisiting the previous day’s events, she reminded herself that she was at the B&B. Karabo was in hospital and William was actually a real person with feelings. He wasn’t a complete social misfit with arrogant and destructive tendencies; or maybe he was all of those and a person too. It was hard to tell.
By the time Isla was up and dressed, Anathi had already gone ahead to the hospital. William joined Isla for breakfast, also in a set of new clothes. ‘You also got clothes from Anathi?’ asked Isla. ‘Yup, she got my size and everything right. Incredible,’ stated William in admiration. Isla smiled in agreement, ‘she’s impressive, that’s for sure.’
Breakfast was eaten in silence, except for the occasional request to pass the milk. Isla had to admit that she had never really spent this much time with William and didn’t know what to say to him. She knew that he didn’t do idle chit chat and gossip, so that would be a wasted attempt. It was easier to sit in awkward silence than try and engage him.
Once at the hospital, William struggled to keep up with Isla as she raced through the hospital passages to Karabo’s ward. Tapping her foot impatiently in the lift, Isla was clearly desperate to see her friend. When they arrived in the women’s ward, they found Karabo sitting up, her suspended arm hanging in the air in a sling. She was talking to Anathi in a low voice as they entered.
Karabo looked sad. Her usual glowing skin looked dull, and her big eyes were watery and puffy. Seeing her best friend in this state was more than Isla could bear, and she began to whimper before running to Karabo, sobbing. Karabo’s initial shock at Isla’s outpouring of emotion triggered her own reaction, and she also began to cry. Anathi leaned over Karabo and kissed her forehead, ‘Don’t cry my angel. It will heal.’
William stood still and swallowed slowly, shuffling from foot to foot, unsure of where to look or go.
‘Is she dead?’ came a croaky voice from behind a curtain, further along the ward.
‘What?’ William barked, turning to see who had spoken.
‘I said, is she dead? You’re all crying so much I thought she’d maybe died?’ came the voice of an old woman.
‘No, she’s not dead. But she won’t be able to play sport for a long time, and her sport is very important to her,’ explained Anathi.
‘Well, that’s not so bad dearies. Everything heals you know. Not if you’re dead of course. But everything else does!’ sang the voice back. William shook his head and Isla and Karabo wiped their eyes as Anathi mouthed ‘Crazy old lady!’ and they all began giggling behind their hands. As their smiles faded, the reality of Karabo’s situation returned.
Isla looked at Karabo. ‘I’m so sorry about this Karabz,’ she moaned.
‘It’s just an arm Isla. Just an arm that’s going to heal and will be better for next season. That’s all,’ confirmed Karabo, sitting straighter and lifting her chin up towards her mother.
William edged closer to Karabo’s bed. ‘Hey,’ he said to Karabo gently, a shy smile emerging below his bright green eyes.
‘William. You’re still here!’ said Karabo, her face lighting up immediately.
‘How come he makes you smile, and I make you cry?’ asked Isla, hands on her hips, as she noticed the instant change in Karabo’s demeanor.
‘You’re not half as good looking as me Isla darling,’ stated William, grinning at her mischievously with eyes sparkling, making Karabo laugh out loud.
Question: Why does Karabo end up crying?