Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Time to Fly By Ella Carmichael

Anything worthwhile entails sacrifice. That’s the message Bethany’s parents instilled in her from the beginning. Time and again, they reiterated the need to forgo. Forgo leisure, forgo boyfriends. Forgo the rough and tumble of everyday existence, and stay glued to the books.

Although happily married themselves, they even went so far as to suggest that their daughter’s marriage and future family should be deferred until she was well established. Possibly even with her own thriving business.

It never seemed to occur to the Andrews that the inevitable result of a life dedicated purely to study and work is a dearth of interpersonal skills. As Bethany smoothed back her mother’s hair and gently bathed her face with a soft cloth dipped in warm water, she smiled at the notion of a lover. She had left it too late.

Yes, she had risen to the dizzying heights of her profession. She was one of the few female professors of pharmacology in the country. Her published works had inspired many young women to embrace the profession, and she was often invited to appear on news shows when the latest developments in medicine were under discussion. Bethany was an undisputed expert on all matters of a pharmacological nature, and a force with which to be reckoned.

Despite her bailiwick, Bethany had been unable to save her father from the massive cardiac arrest that claimed him in his sixties. Neither had she been able to save her mother from a stroke that left her locked inside her own body.

Nancy Andrews was aware of everything that occurred around her, yet could neither move, speak, nor fend for herself. She was trapped inside eight stone of pink and white flesh that might last many years. Nancy’s body was proving to be unexpectedly strong, and Bethany was inclined to believe her mother had close to ten years left on the clock.

‘I received an offer today, Mother,’ Bethany lifted Nancy’s hand as she spoke and gently rubbed it. ‘The most successful pharmaceutical corporation on the West Coast wants me as their R&D director. It’s an amazing opportunity. Of course, it’s very difficult for me to make that leap with you being so poorly.’

Nancy fixed her eyes on her only daughter, and wondered if she was about to be abandoned for the bright lights and beaches of California. She desperately wanted to protest the sudden change, but was unable to move, never mind speak. She felt panic rise inside her at the prospect of being left behind.

Bethany produced a syringe from her briefcase and held it up so that Nancy could clearly see it. ‘You mustn’t worry, Mother,’ she said calmly. ‘This won’t hurt a bit, and it will end your suffering. I can’t bear to see you like this.’ She leaned across and kissed Nancy’s forehead. ‘I’m sure you understand,’ she whispered. ‘The time has come for me to truly fly, and you’re holding me back. Thank you for this magnificent sacrifice. I love you.’

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