The summer air breezed through the secluded park area, far from the daily lives of Poplar residents. Away from the store owners selling their merchandise and the grocers filled with self-grown to imported goods. Worlds away from the duties of Nonnatus House and the maternity clinic.
Today focused on the quality time of family and to kick off the first week of summer for the children. Timothy and Angela enjoyed it immensely as they familiarized themselves with the neighborhood children. While their parents relished in the sequestered area, in the heart of the park. Patrick and Shelagh fully enjoyed their children’s company, but preferred to take a break from all the fun. Instead, they chose the comfort of silence with each other in the surrounding greenery.
The breeze swirled around as they laid, spooned in appropriate comfort, but too much that it warranted the word mushy from Timothy. The area was just the excuse for Patrick to be alone with his lovely wife, who at first persisted against such open contact outside the security of their home. However, Patrick was persuasive enough to dispel Shelagh’s worries and embarrassment over the subject.
“Are you sleeping, my love?”
“Hmm, no. I’m just comfortable lying here, not tired at all.”
“I see, but I’m sure I heard snoring that wasn’t due to the wind nor me.”
“Patrick, don’t be ridiculous and I’ll have you know, you’re the one that snores.”
“That may be true, but I wouldn’t fault you if you slept. After all, you resisted quite a bit in my initial offer to lay in my arms.” He shifted just a little and caught sight of her side profile as she grazed above with closed eyelids. ‘God, she’s beautiful’ he thought.
“Well, I guess you’re a good salesman. Perhaps the occupation of doctor should be changed then?” A broad smile crept on her face as she continued in her position, resisting his eye as she initiated their playful banter.
“Perhaps,” he sat up a little and grasped her chin so she was finally facing him. “Maybe I should, but I’ll wager you a kiss instead. In order to see if I’m that persuasive as you say.”
Shelagh’s breathing became heavy out of fear in being caught by onlookers and the excitement it brought her. They rarely displayed signs of affection in public, even after being married for three years.
Her eyes drifted to his lips and unconsciously licked hers in anticipation. “I suppose, but we’ll have to see how good you can kiss.”
“I’m counting on it,” as his lips descended upon hers, gently caressing until he felt her tongue brushed against his bottom lip. He eagerly welcomed her in as her taste sent him on fire while their kiss continued to deepen. Their bodies were screaming for more contact, which he solved by laying on top of her, tactful in not crushing her smaller frame as he heightened their experience.
Reluctantly they pulled away for the need of oxygen and to tame their desires before things went beyond the realm of appropriateness. Both their faces were flushed from the kiss, especially Shelagh’s cheeks tinging with a red hue, a sight that never disappointed Patrick.
“Well, Mrs. Turner I think your cheeks say it all. I’m a future salesman in the making.”
“Maybe one day you’ll make the change, but I prefer Doctor Turner, especially right now.”
“I can live with that,” as he ran his thumb over her cheeks and lips. Relishing in how bold his wife was becoming, how she still surprised him. Patrick laid there, thinking how far they both had come, despite all the challenges throughout the years. He thought back to a time when only daydreams were a window to her. When he could never have touched her the way he did now, such thoughts initiated the shift in conversation.
“Shelagh, I don’t say this enough, but I love you. Timothy, Angela, and you are my world. A piece I couldn’t live without. There are many things that remind me of you and our experiences. The scar on your palm, hyacinths, the colour purple that you’re fond of and more. But even then I don’t think I could do you justice. No analogy could my love.”
“Oh Patrick, you know I feel the same way. Many things have happened, but we continued on together. There is so much love that I can’t put an amount on it. I can’t even count the things that remind me of you on my fingers. Even before when I was,” but at that moment she stopped with downcast eyes and a sheepish smile across her features.
“What is it Shelagh?”
Shelagh’s misplaced embarrassment intrigued Patrick and he didn’t want to pass up the opportunity in knowing her thoughts. They revealed new facts about her and newfound attributes to love.
“Patrick it’s too embarrassing, don’t make me bring it up.”
“Now Shelagh, you have peaked my curiosity and didn’t we say we would always tell each other everything?”
“You’re enjoying this aren’t you?”
“My lady, I would never. Now, what were you going to say?”
“Well, like you said, I too had similar thoughts. But instead of items, I started to associate colours with you. I thought about what colours would suit you best,” her words were rushed as she fumbled with his shirt. A nervous tic Shelagh had picked up on, but Patrick wasn’t going to let his wife off that easily.
“Really? What sorts of colours? When did you have time to think of them?”
“Well you see, it was before I left the Order,” with that she avoided his eyes completely as Shelagh became lost in thoughts of the past.
The start of the day was uneventful for the nun of ten years as she continued to sterilize the already cleaned medical instruments. A task absentmindedly performed while she thought back to a conversation she heard mere minutes ago.
Sister Evangelina and Sister Julienne were in another hushed debate over the use of gas and air. It was noticed by everyone the disenfranchised opinion Sister Evangelina held for the wonderful pain relief gas and air provided for the mothers of East End. But Sister Evangelina stuck with her opinion on the practicality of roughing it and the relief milk of magnesia brought.
“This whole business of gas and air needs to stop. If Doctor Turner steps into another threshold with that contraption, it’ll only undermine our work Sister.”
“I can see where practicality comes into question, but the relief is quite remarkable. Perhaps a compromise can be made for those at the maternity clinic to receive such luxury.”
“Agreed. That machine needs to stay put there instead of us having to deal with it and all of Doctor Turner’s ideas. It best be stopped or I believe a discussion needs to be in order.”
“Sister Evangelina, I think we both know where these excursions are coming from. We must remember to be mindful of his loss and to pray for resolution. We must also pray for the Lord’s intervention and not our own.”
“Very well. I’ll make sure to say nothing out of sorts, especially in front of the nurses.”
While their conservation came to a close, the Sisters failed to realize Sister Bernadette’s presence next door and its impact on the nun.
‘Poor Doctor Turner’ thought Sister Bernadette, it had been over a year since the death of his wife. Sister Bernadette remembered the weeks building up to her death and witnessed it from afar. In her ten years at Nonnatus, her relationship with Doctor Turner was strictly professional and felt inappropriate to offer anything more than condolences. But every now and then, she found herself drawn to him, watching at a distance.
‘He seemed so blue’ she thought. It was the same with her father when her mother had died, the same disposition and colour. The Order had taught Sister Bernadette to relinquish the life before, yet she couldn’t help but draw parallels to past life experiences; the sadness of a parent lost forever.
Everything about Doctor Turner seemed blue and there were times when he would share snippets of his life with her. She didn’t know if he was aware of his actions, but it mostly happened when they were alone, especially after a tough pregnancy. He shared his inner thoughts with her, on how Timothy’s laughs and smiles never reached his eyes these days. He could remember when Timothy was younger and shared the most glorious laughs with his mother. After divulging such facts he would apologize and move on to another task, leaving her confused.
Sister Bernadette felt out of sorts when it came to her feelings for Doctor Tuner, but excused it as nothing. Just an inclination to help out, the empathy in knowing his situation, and thought that everything about him was blue; his choice in suits, his spoken thoughts, and his gloomy face.
She knew her time should be spent in pray with the Order, in the health of Poplar, but she couldn’t stop herself from thinking about him; the times in which he changed colour.
The next one was the shade of grey that was the smoke that followed after he lit a cigarette. His smoke that she would happily be enveloped in if it meant she would be closer to him. Along with the way the sun’s light would hit his dark floppy hair, which revealed a grey tint to it, yet she never thought it made him look old and rather liked it.
‘Were his dreams grey too?’ She had experienced a lot more feelings than she would have liked after a recent encounter with Doctor Turner. It was due to that kiss, which was viewed as a simple scar to most, but it held great depth to her. She felt guilty and her dreams since were grey in loneliness, knowing that those lips would never be felt upon her own.
The choice to leave the Order was made, Sister Bernadette was left behind as Shelagh took her place. A decision made for herself and for Patrick, to live a life together and not in impropriety. However, Patrick still held a great concern from his past within, which he rarely spoke of.
‘What if one day she found out how torn up I am. What if my buried memories of the war are revealed’ thought Patrick. Such thoughts occurred the day before his wedding and the coming days of the adoption interview. He had worked hard to forget, but there were times when he couldn’t, nothing like that could be erased from memory. He had pushed it aside for so long, only to have them resurface again and the events that followed…
Three years ago things were completely different, two years ago they were just settling in, and even a year ago the pair had shared new experiences. Now in the present, Shelagh kept surprising Patrick, especially by her bashful glow.
“Go on Mrs. Turner, you were saying.”
“Oh, I must have lost myself for a moment, didn’t I?”
“You certainly did my love,” playfulness resurfacing as Shelagh found her words again.
“You really are enjoying this far too much Patrick.”
“Well, I’m enjoying the view,” as he dropped a light kiss on her lips, waiting to hear her explanation.
“Now go on. What about your feelings and the habit?”
“As you know, we never really discussed my feelings or yours for each other before. We just knew, didn’t we?
“Yes we did,” showcasing a broad smile at the mention of their shared journey.
“Yes and all the while as I donned the habit. There were times that I took notice of you, but I had convinced myself it was out of concern. But I couldn’t stop and thought, ‘what could I say to him, how could I help, and why does he look conflicted?’ Then I started designating colours to you.”
“Yes. You see, when I was little, my mum came up with a way in knowing how I felt. We made a game of it, I would tell her a colour and she would guess how I was feeling. Then in the religious life, your past is usually forgotten, but I didn’t want to fully forget my mother. Her way in understanding others emotions and while in the Order I wanted to understand yours.”
“Can you remember them now?”
“Hmm, let’s see. There was the colour blue,” while she laid a kiss on his cheek, “the colour green, which is similar to your car,” then kissed his other cheek, “and grey.” The last kiss that landed on his nose.
“But those aren’t you anymore Patrick.”
“Really, what am I now?”
While the question was posed, they had changed their bodies’ positions. Propriety in their public display of affection was forsaken as Patrick propped himself on one elbow. Running his hand along her side; brushing against her clavicle, trailing down her breast, and the hem of her dress.
“Now? Patrick, you’re everything. We’ve come so far and you’re like a saturated sunlight. When all the colours come together they produce the colour white, which is what you are to me, you’re my light.”
With that Patrick and Shelagh laid among the grass, absorbed in their love for one another and the knowledge that their love then and now still radiated.
I finally got this one-shot up! I know it is petty lengthy, but for so long I have wanted to finish this song inspired story. I hope it made sense, it was inspired by “Colors” sung by Halsey and look forward to chapter six of “Suddenly, I Knew” (I hope to have it up soon)!