I’ve absolutely no idea how this will pan out, just a totally random idea that came into my head…and that’s how my last story started out, so I figured I’d run with it and see whether it gets into my head in the same way.
To the brash sounds of the latest guitar riff blaring from her phone, McKenzie Sumner awoke with something of a jolt, fumbling through still tired eyes as she tried in vain to silence the alarm for the third time that morning, before tossing it back onto her nightstand in frustration.
“Hey Siri” she mumbled gruffly “Snooze”, before laying back down and snuggling under the thick duvet that held the warmth in and shielded her from the start of her day, savouring a rare opportunity to lie in far longer than she should.
“Kenz, that’s the third time I’ve heard that damned song now! That means it’s now half an hour after you should have been up and getting ready for college.”
With a very melodramatic groan, McKenzie flipped back the covers and swung her legs around out of the bed, rubbing her eyes and running her hands through her bedhead as she did so…had anybody been watching, they’d have sworn they were watching the actions of a toddler, not a 19 year old.
“I’m up Mum, I’m up! Honestly, I NEVER get a chance to lie in, and the one time I do it’s just nag, nag, nag. Pffffft!”
The girl was frustrated at her disturbed slumber, but even that couldn’t cloud the otherwise perfect start to her day and, despite the teenage attitude showing through her return was still jovial. She knew all she needed was a hot shower and a strong coffee, and then she’d be smiling. Turning towards her desk with a stretch, grabbing once more at her flyaway frizz, she caught a glimpse in the mirror and couldn’t help chuckling. She’d always been the same since she was little, never a morning person, and the reflection which looked back at her made that very clear.
“Oi, less of the lip young lady.” The older woman replied from the landing, but with an unexpected twinkle to her own voice. Kenzie was right, it WAS very rare that she got to enjoy a lie in, and that in itself already meant the morning was off to a better start than 99% of their days. “Bathroom’s all yours, I’ll go and put the kettle on shall I? Coffee, I take it?”
Stretching again and struggling to stifle a yawn, Mckenzie was pleased her mum hadn’t taken the hump at her drowsy snipe.
“hraaaaaaaaarrhh….Ooh yeah, please Mum, thanks! Sorry, I’ll go and wake myself up properly and then I’ll be down. That extra snooze was lovely, I wish I could do that every morning”.
Having made two mugs of steaming coffee, sugar in Kenzie’s, Leslie Sumner popped a couple of rounds of toast in for each of them, and then took her place at the kitchen table, rolling her eyes a little as she heard the heavy rock music blasting out from the bathroom above and her daughter’s enthusiastic, if tuneless, attempts to harmonise with the band. At least she was finally out of her pit, and it really was good to hear her in a good mood at the start of the day for a change.
“Hey sweetie, you sound a bit more jolly now, haha”
“Yeah, sorry, you know I hate waking up. Well, usually at any rate. And when I can, I want to enjoy every moment of sleep. I was having an awesome dream…well, at least I think I was, I can never remember them! Pfft!”
The pair smiled at each other, nothing more needing to be said, as they sipped at their coffee, fortifying themselves for the day ahead.
Breakfast finished, and pots washed, Leslie busied herself gathering the papers she needed for her day at work whilst McKenzie took a few minutes to apply her makeup, and get her hair ‘just right’, pleased to see that the reflection looking back at her was now much more glamorous student than drowsy pre-teen as it had appeared earlier. “Phew, what a difference a shower, a coffee and a bit of lippy makes!” She giggled.
“You ready to go Kenz? I’ll drop you off on the ring road if you like, save you the bus ride to college, I’m heading that way anyway - but I’m leaving now.”
“Thanks Mum, Comiiiiiiinnnnnngggggggg”.
McKenzie’s buoyant mood stayed with her throughout the day, something her friends and even tutors picked up on. Like any teen, she’d always had a tendency to be a bit moody and sullen at times, and often over-tired was something the staff had picked up on, but they attributed this to late nights playing video games or chatting with friends of social media - she wasn’t the first, and certainly wouldn’t be the last, to try and burn the candle at both ends through college.
She’d text her Mum at lunchtime, hoping for a lift home too but realising she was probably pushing her luck, and wasn’t in the least bit surprised to be told to make her own arrangements as it would be a late finish for Leslie, they had a lot of work on at the moment which wasn’t a bad thing, but put significant pressure on her work/life balance. Kenzie was secretly hoping that it may lead to a couple of weekend shifts for her as it had done over the summer, as she could use the extra cash, but she’d talk to her Mum about that over dinner and see if she could make herself useful in some way.
“See you tomorrow Chyna” she called to her friend as she made a dash for the bus, determined not to land herself with an hour-long wait for the next one, or even worse an hour-long walk home. “Don’t forget to send me that video over”.
“Ah yeah, catch ya in the morning Kenz, and will do, you’ll love it!”
McKenzie often arrived home before her mum these days, and quite enjoyed having the house to herself for a while. She could crank up her music, and usually took the opportunity to lounge around doing very little, typically exhausted by that point after an early morning and a long day studying. Academia didn’t come easy to her, but she had her mum’s work ethic and always threw everything she had at every task she was set. Today was different though, a rare day where she arrived home still full of beans, she didn’t just blast her tunes enough to annoy the neighbours, she also busted a few moves and even set to preparing a tasty dinner for when her Mum got home.
As the pasta sauce bubbled away merrily on the hob, a ting from her pocket alerted Kenzie to an incoming message, the video she’d been waiting for from Chyna. Deciding she’d been productive enough, and revelling in the fact she didn’t have the normal, rather gloomy post-college chores to take care of today, she grabbed herself a tall glass of ice cold juice and then flopped on the sofa, pausing just a moment to stop the music…well, a couple of moments, as it was one of her favourite songs…before firing up the video and giggling away for a solid 10 minutes. Chyna was right, it was right up her street, and she immediately shared it in her socials and in her group chats, looking forward to the reaction.
After a short time, the young girl found herself fidgeting distractedly, realising that without her usual trip upstairs upon arriving home, she’d not paid the bathroom a visit either, and she really should, especially after all that juice! Hurrying off to relieve herself, she was sat on the loo flicking absentmindedly through Instagram on her phone when she heard a key in the door swiftly followed by the call of Lesley’s voice from the hallway.
“Oooh, something smells delicious! Hey Kenz, good day?”
“Oh, Hi Mum!” McKenzie hollered back “Yeah, great thanks. Dinner’s nearly done, I’ll be right down.”
With a flush, and a quick adjustment of her clothes, she bounced back down the stairs and wrapped her surprised Mum up in a big bear hug, nearly knocking her flying as she tried to hang up her coat.
“Blimey, you really are full of the joys of spring today aren’t you?! Thanks for sorting dinner, love, it’s been a long day and I can’t wait to put my feet up for a bit.”
Grabbing the pile of mail from the hall table, Lesley made her way through to the kitchen to sort through the bills and circulars, whilst her daughter plated up their feast, even adding a couple of small glasses of white wine on the side, a real mid-week treat indeed!
“Thanks sweetie, this looks amazing! And you made it all yourself? I’m impressed” Lesley crowed, licking her lips at the feast which was set down before her, before casting a knowing eye sidelong at the drinks “Are you sure that’s a great idea though? I mean, boy do I need it, but…well, you know…”
“Muuuuuuuum! Honestly, I’m 19 years old! And anyway, last night…” Kenzie rolled her eyes at her Mum’s comments, but deep down she knew that she was right, it probably wasn’t the best idea, but she just wanted to finish her great day on a high, feel like a grownup for a change, and it was nice to be able to share a glass with her Mum. Besides, maybe it’d help soften her up a bit for a chat about work, she hated not having a lot of money for herself when so many of her friends had jobs now.
“McKenzie Sumner, less of your lip please young lady. If you’re old enough to have a drink with your old Mum, then you’re old enough to speak to her like an adult, too, thank you very much. And yes, I guess that does mean you’re old enough to deal with the consequences of your own actions and choices too, so enjoy it but don’t you be all mardy tomorrow morning.”
Suitably chided, McKenzie turned her focus to the pasta dish she’d prepared, pleasantly surprised by her own culinary skills and thinking to herself that if a career in law doesn’t work out then maybe she could become a chef instead. It really was delicious! The wine, too, although her reprimand had taken the shine off that just slightly, but she was determined not to let anything spoil her perfect day.
Lesley was enjoying dinner just as much as her daughter, the pasta delicious and the fact she’d not had to lift a finger made it taste even more so, washed down with a glass of wine which she’d been fancying all day, and which quickly took the edge off her niggly temper and made her wish she’d not had a dig at Kenzie - she knew the girl struggled so much at times with everything, and if she decided to make the most of a rare ‘good’ day then good for her.
Pushing her clean plate away with a contented sigh, she caught the girls eye and made a point of apologising, as she’d always taught her to do. “Sorry for snapping love, and thanks for taking care of things today. As you’ve cooked, don’t worry about loading the dishwasher, I’ll sort it once I’ve finished going through the post”
As expected, the vast majority of the mail was wither junk, or bills. When was it ever anything else? Lesley sorted them out, checking over the bills to make sure nothing was amiss and putting them to one side to be filed, before tearing up the junk mail to toss in the recycling bag. The last envelope, she noticed, was addressed not to her or “The Occupier”, but to Miss M L Sumner, and was official looking manilla with a franked postmark and the Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust logo emblazoned alongside.
“Kenz, love, did you not look at the post? There’s a doctors one here for you”
McKenzie was once more distracted by her phone, catching up with a group chat argument that had been taking place as she ate, and just gave a dismissive shrug “You open it, Mum, it’ll only be a reminder about the flu jab or something.” Before returning to her friends disagreement, deciding which side she should join.
Lesley slit the envelope open and pulled out the letter, carefully unfurling and noting the NHS trust letter head along with the “Urology” department details.
“Dear Miss Sumner,
Your General Practitioner, Dr Sandeep Ghara has made a referral to the department, and an appointment has been made for you to attend the Enuresis clinic at Liverpool Royal Hospital, Prescot Street, Liverpool on Tuesday 14th November at 3pm.
Please bring a urine sample, your CCBBS charts and details of any medication you are currently taking when you attend.
Your appointment is with the consultant urologist, Mr Jason Mohammed, and should take no longer than 1 hour.
Kind Regards, “
Having read through the letter, she passed it across the table to her daughter, waving it slightly to catch her attention and motioning for the girl to take her earphones out.
“Have a read, Kenz, it’s from the hospital. It looks like they’ve referred you back to the Urology department now you’ve moved on from CCBBS, but who knows why - I’m sure it was Mr Mohammed you saw last time, wasn’t it?”
McKenzie’s face clouded at the mention of the hospital, and the consultant who she’d last seen when she was 16, evidently she was wrong about nothing spoiling her mood. She took the paper with a little trepidation, and quickly scanned over it taking in the detail with frustration at having to go back, again when they’d not been able to do anything to help her previously, but at the same time with a slight relief that whilst it would be mortifying to sit there and go over everything for what felt like the millionth time, at least there was no mention of having to attend with a full bladder this time, something which had ended badly and really, really embarrassingly back when she was still in school.
“Yeah, that’s him. I wonder what he wants? They did so many tests last time, and the time before, and…well, for the past 10 bloody years, and they’ve never been able to get to the bottom of it! Argh! I mean, if he can do something to help then that’s great, but if it’s just another waste of everybody’s time then I’m going to discharge myself and I won’t be going back!”
With that, and before her Mum could say a word, Kenzie snatched up her phone and stomped out of the room, needing time and space to process things. Lesley didn’t follow, instead topping up her glass with a deep sigh, and wishing once again that she could do something to take her little girl’s troubles away.