The house is way too quiet. I tip toe out to the kitchen, the lights are on, but the place is empty. I race to Paige’s room. Her bed covers are scrunched up, but there is no Paige beneath them. I can feel my heart racing, as I make my way to Aunt Kathy and Uncle Peter’s room. Their bedroom door is open, but there is no one in the room. In sheer panic I yell out “Hello?” There is no answer and I feel as though my heart has jumped up and lodged itself in my throat. “Paige? Aunt Kathy? Uncle Peter? ANYONE?”
The side door to the garage slowly opens and Uncle Peter steps in. He jumps when he sees me “Oh, Abby you scared the daylights out of me. I didn’t realise it was time to get up yet.”
“I scared you? I thought the zombie apocalypse had hit and I was the only human left on the planet!” I wipe my brow for added effect and Uncle Peter chuckles.
“So melodramatic.” He holds the back of his hand up to his forehead and pretends to faint, leaving a big smear of grease across his face. I laugh and shake my head.
“Where’s Paige and Aunt Kathy?”
“Paige got really sick last night and Aunt Kathy had to take her to the hospital.” I instantly feel the blood drain from my face.
“Will she be okay?” I suddenly feel light headed and I need to sit down. I make my way over to the stools at the breakfast counter and plonk myself into one.
“I’m sure she will be fine.” Uncle Peter makes pancakes for breakfast, trying to lift my mood a little, but it doesn’t work. I think back to our adventures in Indonesia, getting massages, eating gourmet meals, seeing tigers and monkey’s and elephants and walking on the bottom of the ocean. While we were off having fun, poor Paige was getting sick and probably dying. The thought of Paige dying hits me like a sledgehammer to the gut.
I ask Uncle Peter if he thinks Paige will die and he says he doesn’t, but I’m not so convinced. I know what adults are like, they tell you what you want to hear, thinking it will make you feel better, when in reality you can see right through them.
Getting ready for school is such a drain. All I want to do is go and see Paige and make sure she’s okay. I picture her big brown eyes looking all scared as doctors poke and prod at her and make her swallow horrible tasting medicines.
“Paige will be fine, you don’t need to worry, Aunt Kathy is with her and you know she will look after Paige. We can go and visit her after school if you want.” Uncle Peter hands me my lunch and school bag as we head out the door, telling Bindi to stay put, much to her disappointment.
Uncle Peter takes me to school on the back of his motorcycle, which is absolutely thrilling. I grip on to the metal bar at the back of the bike and focus on leaning into the corners as we whizz along. Even though I have a full face helmet on my head, I can still feel the wind whipping against me and my hair is flying about like streamers in a storm. I am focussing on moving with the bike so much, that I manage to push all my fears for Paige to the back of my mind.
When I get to school, all the kids turn their heads, as the loud rumble of the motorbike echoes through the air. I have a face splitting grin, as I take off the helmet and hand it to Uncle Peter. It’s not very often I get to ride on the motorbike, but every time I do it’s just as awesome as the first time.
The day goes by pretty slowly and the only real excitement is telling my friends about the Kids in Business. They’re all really excited and want to help, which is really encouraging. Paige isn’t far from my thoughts though and I can’t really focus on much else, which unfortunately doesn’t go unnoticed by Mrs. Hollands. Teachers seriously have a beacon for stray brain waves I reckon. Like having an imagination is as forbidden as a swear word.
“Miss Abigail, is there something you would like to share with the class?”
Uh.. Should there be? I scan the other kids in the room, looking for a hint on what I’m supposed to do. Did she just ask a question I’m meant to answer, or is this one of those clever little traps, where you’re supposed to say nothing? I decide to play it safe. “Not at this point in time, I don’t think so.” I use my most grown up voice, sounding like a telephone marketer trying to make a sale. Mrs Hollands nods her head slightly.
“Right, well back to work then please.” How did she know I was thinking about how to make a rainbow, so I could make one for Paige and not thinking about the sums and numbers on the page in front me? I hadn’t even moved my head.
By the time the siren sounded for the end of the day, my brain was so fuzzy it felt like a bath bomb had exploded in my brain. I raced out to Uncle Peter, who had brought the car, as it had started raining and we made our way to the hospital where Aunt Kathy was still with Paige. On the way there I spot a massive rainbow filling the sky. I smile, hoping Paige is able to see it from her hospital bed.
We walk into the room where Paige is staying. I expect to see her lying down, looking sick and feeling horrible, instead she is sitting up in bed watching television, eating jelly from a small plastic cup.
“Addy, Uncle Peder,” she still has her nasally voice, but she smiles at us and Aunt Kathy gets out of her chair to give Uncle Peter and I a hug. A nurse comes in right behind us and gives Paige some medicine and I screw up my face, knowing this is going to be horrible.
“Yummy,” Paige downs her medicine in one big gulp and even asks if she can have some more.
“Eeeew, it’s medicine Paige.” I think she may have lost her mind.
“Yeah bud it’s a nice one.”
I look at the nurse in horror. “She’s gone crazy hasn’t she?” The nurse chuckles and tells me that the medicine Paige is on is really nice and tastes more like lollies than medicine. I’m not so sure I believe her, but decide to let it go.
A doctor comes in and tells us that Paige has to stay in the hospital for the night, as she has a respiratory infection, which makes it hard for her to breathe. He promises us that Paige is fine and that he will take good care of her. Uncle Peter has already brought lots of stuff in for Paige, including some games and colouring books, to keep her occupied. We all give Paige a big hug and well wishes before we leave. For a moment I feel bad about leaving her there, but she smiles and opens up one of her colouring books and starts colouring in, looking perfectly content and I know deep down that she’s going to be okay.