What Pegman Saw – Be strong for me

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt includes Amarillo, Texas. I struggled with this one, and the link between prompt and story is opaque. Amarillo is the location of the USA’s Strategic Helium Reserve. The major contemporary use for helium is in MRI scanners, which uses 20% of global production.

WPS - Be strong for me 180609

Juniper Trail – Manic Exploration.com  © Chris Katie Google Maps

Be strong for me

“You’re a cancer survivor,” insisted James fiercely. Stella gave him a fleeting smile and squeezed his hand.

“Jim, whatever they find with this scan, just accept it will you? Please? For my sake.”

Once more she was wheeled into the little room, once more laid down in the restricted space of the MRI scanner. ‘What a good job I’m not claustrophobic,’ she thought.

The scan started and she winced. The machine made a noise like an unsilenced motorcycle engine, and it sawed through her attempts to think coherently.

Stella knew Jim would come to hear the results, but she wished he wouldn’t. He wasn’t prepared for bad news.

And it was bad; the worst.

“But surely there’s some experimental treatment? Stella’s a survivor!” Jim was outraged.

The consultant just shook his head.

“Jim, let it be,” said Stella, gently.

Jim looked at her, about to expostulate. He looked – then wept.

24 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – Be strong for me

  1. What a heartbreaking situation for both of them. It sounds like Jim is going to find it hard to learn how to be a survivor. Thanks for explaining the connection to the location – I would have been racking my brain otherwise!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh
      Thank you for reading and commenting. As someone in her late sixties I’m becoming increasingly aware of my own mortality – and the mortality of my partner. It’s tough for the survivor.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading and commenting. You’re right that it’s tragic for both of them. What I hoped to show was the way the support they give each other is strained by the bad news of Stella’s impending death, but that it flexes so that each can both give and receive strength.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m weeping, too, Penny. Such bad news and she’s accepted it so graciously. Really strikes a chord with what’s happening to a dear friend at the moment. And when I’ve had an MRI (quite recently as it so happens – along with every other scan under the sun) they used headphones so I didn’t hear that noice… but the swishing sound still got to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kelvin
      Thank you for reading, and for your open and generous comments. I’m sorry your health has been cause for concern recently. I was sad to hear you were in hospital. I hope things have changed for the better now, although I guess from your blog post that you’ve still a fair way to go for full recovery.
      Good luck, my friend.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Penny, my body is still a fair ways away from catching up with my mind, sadly. I may need surgery soon, too. Anything to numb this pain. But I am getting better, slowly, steadily. I think. I hope. I have missed your thoughtful comments and lovely prose.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kelvin
      Thank you for letting me know how you are. I hope you continue to improve, and that the doctors manage to do something about the pain. I missed your exciting vision of the world while you were off-line in hospital!
      Take care!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  3. And sadly, even if a sufferer survives so much, the disease can take them in the end. It’s so unfair to survive so much yet succumb. You captured that sense of the two of them so well – that sometimes it’s harder to see those you love dying than it is to die. Well done Penny

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful comments. When you are very close the pain of news like this is multiplied for both, because the sufferer grieves for the pain she knows the survivor will feel. Perhaps couples should prepare together for death, so as to reach acceptance of survival for one of them? I wonder.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s such a hard, painful thing to do. I’ve seen some couples try to prepare together – and another who basically tried to ignore the awful truth and pretend that life could continue as normal. Which of course, it couldn’t. It depends on your personality I suppose. Some of us just aren’t strong enough to cope with that truth. Very good story

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Penny,

    Such an emotional tale and so well told. Jim’s response at the end was the best one. Men are such fixers and then grown angry when they can’t fix something. Once in a mental health situation I was going through my husband would rage and fume when his solutions didn’t work and I couldn’t just “snap out it.” But the time I remember best is the night he pulled me onto his lap and cried with me.
    Again, wonderfully touching story.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you especially for being so warm and open and sharing your own experiences. My eyes were moist when I read about your husband holding you and crying with you. What a loving way of showing his support!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful story. The concept that being a survivor is better than being someone who is enduring an illnesss or condition seems to be rooted deep in our culture of peak health. The same kind of wellmeaning desires for cure swirl around autism and disability ingeneral at least in my experience

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Andrea
    Thank you for reading, and for your thoughtful comment. Cures for all sorts of illnesses are becoming more available, and people demand them – and so they should. But – and I think this is the point you’re making in your comment – there are still conditions where the best approach is loving acceptance. Not resignation, but an embracing of the possibilities of the individual without any feeling that they fall short in some way.
    With very best wishes
    Penny

    Like

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