The air was thick with the smell of damp hay. John scooped up all the muck and grime off the floor. Hard work but it distracted him from the pain he felt in his heart. His wife was close to surgery, the doctors said it was touch and go on whether she would make it. Her mother was with her and she blamed the situation on him, which only frustrated him further, he only wanted the best for his wife.
Most of the animals were in the barn today, it was too cold for them to be out. With his work done, he went over and stroked the bull Moosby's neck. The bovine moved and stamped his hoof in appreciation. Moosby's eyes darted to the side and he shied away. John searched the room, it was a mouse sitting in the middle of the floor staring at them.
John gripped the handle of his broom. Ready to shoo it away, but it seemed to beckon his with its little paw, curious, John followed it. The mouse went up to the second floor of the barn, where the bales of hay were kept. It stopped to look at him a few times, as if to check he was still following it.
Dodging a few spiderwebs and climbing over some hay bales John found himself in the corner. There was a shaft of morning little shining through a hole in the roof. One day he would have to fix that. The mouse was sitting on something white and dusty. He couldn't believe it, it was his wife's favourite pillowcase. It had gone missing a week before she was rushed to hospital.
John got out some of his breakfast nuts and berries and gave it to the mouse. It sat there chewing as John gently pulled the pillowcase away from it. With the pillowcase in hand he rushed to the farmhouse.
The washing machine and tumble dryer seemed to take forever. He had to get it to his wife, he knew it would comfort her.
When he reached the ward she was staying in he was shocked to discover that she wasn't there. In a panic he grabbed the nearest nurse.
“Oh, Mr. Johnson, didn't you know? She is in surgery, your mother-in-law said she would inform you.”
He would need to confront his mother-in-law later. “How is she?”
Just then his wife was wheeled in. She looked so tired, but he was so happy to see she was okay. He glared at his mother-in-law and she stared back. The nurse took in the situation.
“Come, Mr/s Arden, your daughter needs her husband.”
His mother-in-law began to protest but stopped when she saw the pillowcase with the rainbow design in his hand.
John sat down next to his wife and took her hand in his. It was warm, but unresponsive. The nurse's help he changed the pillowcase.
He felt a gentle squeeze and opened his eyes. Her other hand rested on the pillowcase. She looked very weak, but there was a smile on her face. It was all that he needed to see. It was going to be a long road, but everything was going to be just fine.