Silence, p.19

Silence, page 19

 part  #1 of  Silence Series



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The rest of the week passed in a haze of Cole, Cole and more Cole. We spent practically every minute together, hanging out and messing around. Our unofficial relationship was getting stronger. I could feel myself falling hard, and I was terrified and excited.

  I couldn’t help thinking that something would go wrong.

  On Thursday morning, I sat on my bed, panicking about a stupid doctor’s appointment I had no idea how to get out of. Mum still hadn’t told me, so I assumed she was just going to spring it on me while we were shopping.

  If we were even going shopping at all. That could be a lie too.

  As I gazed out of the window anxiously, my phone beeped, making me jump. It was a text message from Cole. ‘Good luck today. Let me know if you want me to come. X’

  Cole was the last person I wanted there, but the sentiment warmed my heart.

  “Oakley, are you ready to go?” Mum called up the stairs. My eyes narrowed at the sound of her voice, and I instantly felt guilty. She shouldn’t lie to me, but she was just worried. She’d been worrying for years.

  Summoning up the courage, I got off the bed and walked downstairs slowly. Dad sat in front of the TV, watching some construction show. He owned a building company, but it wasn’t as big as he wanted. That always bothered him, and he was forever stressing over how to become more successful.

  I didn’t measure success by money and possessions. To me, success was all about family. In my eyes, Dad lost the ability for success a long time ago.

  “Okay, honey,” Mum started, blowing out a deep breath. “I need to tell you something and I need you to know that I’m only doing it because I love you so much.”

  I nodded for her to continue, knowing exactly what she was about to say.

  “We’re going to a doctor’s appointment.” She held her hand up. “Before you get angry, please remember I’m only ever trying to do what’s best for you.”

  Her eyes welled up with tears, making me feel sick. I hated when she was upset.

  “Please, please, will you just go in there with me?” She swiped away a tear that rolled down her cheek.

  Do it for her, Oakley, you disappointing her in every other way.

  I kept my eyes firmly fixed on the floor and nodded. “Thank you,” she whispered.

  Although I’d agreed and felt horrible for making her upset, I was fuming. If my own mum couldn’t love me the way I was what hope was there for anyone else? Cole and Jasper didn’t care in the sense that they didn’t try to change me. Dad counted on me staying mute.

  I needed my mum.

  We left the house and got in the car. She was ashamed for how she’d sprung it on me because she couldn’t look at me. The closer we got to the doctor’s surgery the less I could breathe.

  It’ll be okay.

  No, it won’t. It’ll rip your whole world apart.

  They won’t believe you over him.

  It’ll kill your Mum, you know it will.

  I closed my eyes and begged it to stop. It would be okay because I would never tell. I can keep a secret.

  My stomach rolled as we parked outside the surgery.

  “I’ll be with you the whole time, love. You have nothing to be afraid of.”

  But she wasn’t with me when it was happening, and I had a lot to be afraid of. Mum had no idea how much she didn’t want to know.

  I got out of the car and followed her to the front desk where she gave the nurse my name. Wrapping my arms around myself, I kept my head down and stuck close to Mum.

  “Okay, if you’d like to take a seat, the doctor will be with you shortly,” the greying woman behind the reception desk told us.

  Mum smiled. “Thank you.”

  This wasn’t our normal doctor’s surgery. It was in the same complex but in a completely different building. This one was overly white and smelt too clinical. I knew we were seeing a specialist and not just an ordinary doctor.

  This specialist could just know. He or she could look at me and just know.

  “Oakley Farrell?” A deep, gruff voice called.

  I gulped and looked up. A plump man wearing black trousers and a smart black-and-white stripe shirt looked around the group of patients waiting in the seating area. Mum stood up first and caught his attention. He gave her a smile and gestured for us to follow him.

  He’s going to find out. He’ll tell everyone and you’ll lose everything.

  My palms started to sweat as we walked along the short corridor and into a small room. I was shaking and desperately trying to breathe.

  Mum shook his hand and sat down in one of the blue fabric chairs. I slumped down beside her, my mind going a million miles an hour.

  She’ll never forgive you.

  Cole will think you’re disgusting.

  You’ll take Jasper’s dad away from him.

  “Well, what can we do for you then, Oakley?”

  I stared at him blankly. Did he expect me to answer?

  Mum squeezed my hand and started explain on my behalf. “Oakley stopped talking when she was just five years old. At first we thought it was a joke. And then we thought it could be due to a choked incident, that maybe it’d damaged her throat somehow. We thought she could be afraid it would hurt too much if she spoke…”

  As Mum reeled off a list of their theories, I found myself gradually shutting out her voice. I wanted to vanish. Suddenly, I felt my hand being squeezed.

  “I don’t know what to do anymore.” Mum sniffed and tightened her grip of my hand again.

  The doctor nodded. “Hmm, I see. Well, fear of talking due to previous injury is possible. However, this has been going on for years, so that seems unlikely.”

  He leant forwards, resting his forearms on his mahogany desk.

  “Oakley, would it be okay with you if I examined your throat?”

  My heart stopped. I could feel the panic rising. I tried to breathe, but my lungs felt like they were being crushed in a vice.

  No, no, no!

  I didn’t want any examinations. If they rule out anything medical, they’ll know it’s not because I can’t talk. I couldn’t have Mum turning all her attention at why I wouldn’t talk.

  “What kind of examination? What would that involve doing?” Mum questioned.

  “Nothing too bad, I can assure you,” he said lightly. “For today I’ll just look down her throat and see if I can see anything, scarring for instance. If there is nothing visibly wrong, and I suspect there won’t be, I’d like to perform a laryngoscopy. The procedure is usually performed under local anaesthetic, but we can do general if needed,” he explained, looking at me.

  No chance.

  “We’ll pass the laryngoscope down her throat which will send pictures to a monitor. The procedure itself will take around twenty to thirty minutes.”

  My body turned cold from the inside out. Bile raced up my throat, and I swallowed hard. There was no way I was letting him even look inside my mouth, let alone stick a camera down my throat. I started breathing heavily as my eyes prickled with tears.

  “Sweetheart,” Mum said soothingly.

  He’s going to find out. Watch your world crumble around you in five, four, three…

  Shaking my head, I leapt up and ran out of the room, sprinting to the surgery’s exit.

  It’s all over now. I’ll never let anyone know.

  I reached the car and sobbed, slumping to the ground. Tears rolled down my cheeks, and I gasped for breath.

  “Oakley,” Mum shouted frantically. Within seconds, she was crouching down in front of me. “Honey, please don’t cry. It won’t hurt. Please, let him do the procedure, please?” She sobbed and stroked my hair. I could barely breathe. I was so worked up I felt like I was going to pass out again.

  “Calm down, it’s okay. It doesn’t have to be today. You get in the car, and I’ll go speak to the doctor quickly. We can look into the procedure a little more and then decide. Get in the car, baby, it’s okay.”

  That was the best I was going t
o get so I nodded, even though I had no intention of ever going back.

  “Here.” She handed me the car keys and helped me up. With shaking hands, I managed to unlock the car and stumble in.

  Deep breaths. Count backwards from ten. No one knows a thing.

  By the time Mum came back, I’d calmed down. She couldn’t make me do anything.

  “Home?” she asked softly.

  I nodded, staring out of the window as I hugged my legs to my chest.

  I’ll never go back there.



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