|Towards the end of May, Jo was told she could have six hours time up. She was progressing well, now, and hadn’t looked back since she had started using the dining room for her meals. The weather was improving, and Jo longed to be able to go outside once more. It wasn’t possible, though, as she was still in the small hospital wing, which had no outside space. Jem was busy converting an old building into a Sanatorium, which he hoped would be ready by the end of June. |
When her sister came to visit, one afternoon, she brought news that the school was to re-open at the beginning of September. Jo was interested to know who would be returning. It distracted her from her illness and her sister was glad to see flashes of the old Jo starting to appear as they discussed it. Madge knew her sister would never be as carefree and happy as she had once been. She had been through too much for that. When Madge reluctantly left at the end of visiting hours, it was in the knowledge that her sister was finally coming to terms with her life and was preparing to move on.
When Jack came to see Jo one afternoon in late June, he had news for her.
“It’s good news, Jo. You can have eight hours time up, now.”
“Yes, really.” Jack smiled at her. He was just as pleased as she was. “I have more news, though.”
“What is it?”
“The new Sanatorium is ready, at last. You’re being transferred there in a couple of days.”
“Does that mean I get to sit outside, then?”
“Yes, there’s plenty of space for that.” Jo just smiled in reply to this and Jack continued on his way.
Two days later saw Jo being put into an ambulance for the short journey to the new Sanatorium. Jack accompanied her, and escorted her to her new room, before he left her to continue with the transfers. Jo looked around the bright and airy room. It was simply furnished, and had a small balcony. She went to sit outside, once Jack had left, taking the chance to finally see a view of the island, however small it was.
She was still there when Jack came back. He had finished his shift and brought a chair out with him, placing it by her side. He sank into it, taking her hand in his, and just enjoyed being able to sit in a companionable silence with her. He finally broke the silence when she shivered.
“Maybe it’s time to go back inside, Jo.” Jo just nodded, and he gently hauled her to her feet, before picking the chair up and following her indoors. Once he had replaced the chair, he came over to where she was standing and drew her into a hug. It was the first time he had done so in a year. Jo hugged him back, leaning her head into his chest. He dropped a kiss onto her hair.
“I’d best get going, now. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Goodnight, Jack. And thank you.” Jack just smiled at her, then turned and left for home.
Five minutes after Jack had left, a nurse came to collect Jo and show her to the dining room. Once she had finished, she was accompanied back to her room, where she climbed into bed and fell asleep.
The next morning, after breakfast, a nurse offered Jo the chance to sit out in the gardens. Jo accepted and quickly gathered some things together to take with her. She couldn’t wait to spend some time outside. She was taken to a small shelter, which overlooked a nearby bay and, once she was comfortable and warmly wrapped, was left alone. The island was completely different to the Sonnalpe, and she spent most of the morning taking in the scenery.
Jack found her there, just before he was due to start his shift. Jo smiled at him as he came to sit next to her.
“Happy?” he asked her. Jo nodded. She had been starting to feel a little claustrophobic in the room in the hospital wing. The fresh air had cleared her brain and she felt as if she could do so much more than she was allowed. He stayed a short while longer, chatting happily, before he reluctantly got to his feet.
“I’d better go and take over. I’ll see you later.” He kissed her head and left her. Jo watched him go, wistfully. She wanted to be able to spend more time with him. She enjoyed the few snatched minutes, but it wasn’t the same. She wanted to be able to be alone with him without any restraints on his time. However, she knew this was impossible until she left the Sanatorium and was back at home.