The two women stomped back down the path. Puzzlement battled with annoyance but by the time they’d parked the car and found seats on the train into Central station, the irritation had pretty much turned back to worry. “It’s not like her, is it?” Lucy said. “I can’t remember the last time she went away. To go without saying anything is weird.”
Suzanne left another message for Ginny, pleading for a callback or at the very least a text. She slid the handset back into her bag. “I wonder if she didn’t tell us because she didn’t want us to worry. I’ve been thinking, maybe she’s gone into hospital. She’s not been very well for a while now. I mean more than usual. I wonder if there’s something else wrong and she didn’t want to say.”
“Nah, she’d have told us, surely. I mean she has nobody to visit or anything if she doesn’t have us. Mind you, she is always going on about how she hates being such a burden, no matter how often we tell her not to be so daft.”
“Tell you what. How about if I have a word with Eileen at the surgery?” Suzanne said.
“Well, she won’t be able to tell you anything. What about patient confidentiality.”
“Oh come on, this is Eileen. You know what she’s like. She’ll make a fuss and then tell us by dropping big hints. You know she likes to feel superior. I’ll pop in when we get back.”
“Go on then. I can’t think of anything else to do and to be honest I’m upset, but I’m worried as well.”
They did their best to enjoy the trip. Lunch at the wonderful Italian restaurant in the old Corn Exchange and a mooch around the shops but it wasn’t what it should have been. Now and then one or other of them would come up with another suggestion, another idea about what had happened. It didn’t help and once she dropped Lucy back at her house, Suzanne drove straight around to the GP surgery.
It used to be that the waiting room would be full but now there was only the receptionist behind the counter. Suzanne organised a repeat prescription, made small talk for a while, and then raised the subject of Ginny. As expected Eileen screwed up her mouth and raised her eyebrows. She shook her head and tutted. After making a display of being forced into doing something she didn’t want to she leaned closer to the perspex screen. “She’s been in a lot lately. We know she’s not well but, just between us, she seems to be making excuses to come in. It’s very difficult” here she introduced a sad and weary expression. “I mean, appointments are as valuable as gold right now. Still, we try to understand.”
“What was she coming in with.”
“Oh, I don’t know that. I can’t access her notes to that extent and you know I would never break that confidence. It’s sacred, that is.”
“Oh, well it’s a shame. We’re really worried about her. But if you can’t, you can’t.” Suzanne turned away. She hesitated as long as possible, picking up her bag and fastening her jacket but Eileen wasn’t going to budge. She had found that Ginny had been in more often but that was all. She turned back to the counter. ”Eileen, I respect your stance I do. It’s admirable. But, I don’t suppose you could just tell me when she was last in?”
The receptionist made an exhibition of looking around, though it was obvious there was no one there. “A week ago exactly. Now, I’m sorry I can’t tell you any more.”
“Thanks, for that.”
It hadn’t helped had it? Okay, they knew Ginny was around a week ago – so what.