Fee heard Charlie’s yell from upstairs. She was putting away clothes in Char’s bedroom. After putting the last of her tops and undies in drawers she followed the sound of whimpering.
‘What’s the matter Char?’
‘Mum!’ Char was holding out her hand, blood pooled in her palm.
At sixteen, Char was almost a woman. But in moments like this, she was still Fee’s little girl. Her eyes wide and glassy, the fear bright, almost sparkling. Fee went to her, held the hand reached out towards her.
‘I was cutting carrots. The knife slipped.’
‘OK,’ said Fee. She reached for a tea towel to soak up the blood before rustling in the cupboard above the fridge for the first aid kit. ‘It’ll be OK, Char. Hold this in place,’ she said, wrapping the cloth around her hand. ‘Let’s mop up the blood, and then I’ll see how deep it is.’
‘Mum, it really hurts.’
‘Well, yes. Knife wounds normally do.’ Fee frowned while looking for bandages in the kit. ‘Doesn’t make it OK to use blasphemy, though, Char.’
‘I’m sorry Mum.’
‘Your grandparents would turn in their grave, you know.’ As Fee dabbed away the blood, she wondered why she cared so much. It wasn’t as if she went to church. Or believed in a god. She pursed her lips; looked at the cut. It was deep.
‘Is it bad, Mum?’
‘I’ve seen worse.’ Except she hadn’t. ‘Might need stitches though Char. I’ll grab my purse and we’ll get you to hospital.’
This brought tears to Charlie. Fee inwardly groaned, then caught herself; she forgot sometimes how emotional 16 year old girls could be. The hormones, the drama, the excitement for life, the yearning to be grown up. Fee held Char’s face in her hand, lifted her chin upwards. Char’s eyes met hers, and Fee smiled.
‘You’ll be alright. But we should get moving.’
Char nodded. ‘Alright, let’s go.’
Fee found the car keys on the sideboard, and together they left the house and commenced the forty minute drive to the local hospital.