|Jo lay quietly in the bed in the Sanatorium. It was late, but she was unable to sleep. Her thoughts were swirling too quickly to allow her to rest. She wished she could get up and go for a walk. That might help her to sleep. She didn’t move, though. She’d promised Jack that she wouldn’t do anything which might make her worse and she suspected that getting up would come firmly into that category.|
As she lay there, watching the curtains drifting to and fro in the gentle breeze from the open window, she wondered what Jack was doing. She knew he was around, as he’d called in to see her for a few minutes just before his shift. She wished he were sitting with her, now. She was scared to allow herself to sleep for some reason and she needed to talk to him. She’d be able to relieve her fears and he’d be able to reassure her. In her current state, she knew that she’d just end up having a poor night’s sleep, or worse. She dreaded the nightmares returning again. They were the worst thing about being here. She was unable to do anything and so her imagination ran away with her and the nightmares returned.
The journey she had undertaken to get to Guernsey had been harrowing for all concerned and Jo had barely made it to safety. Indeed, if it hadn’t been for Jack and the others, she would not have made it at all. The thoughts came unbidden and she scarcely suppressed the sobs rising in her throat as she remembered the narrow escape they had all had. What if she had been caught? What would have happened to her? Would she have ever seen her friends again? Would she even still be alive?
The sobs came this time and Jo rolled onto her side to try and reach for some tissues. She succeeded in knocking most of the pile onto the floor as she attempted to see through her blinding tears. This just upset her even more and she gave up trying to keep quiet.
A passing nurse was attracted by the noise and she slipped into the room. What she saw sent her running for Dr Maynard.
Jack entered Jo’s room silently and wasn’t surprised by the urgency in the nurse’s voice. He crossed the room to where she lay.
“Jo? What’s wrong?” He heard her gulp and then begin to cough as she gasped for air. He passed her the remaining tissues from the bedside cabinet and went to the door to request more from the nurse. When he was sure Jo was finally getting some control over herself, he came to sit with her. He knew something had triggered the storm he’d just witnessed and he was determined to find out what it was.
“Why aren’t you asleep, Jo?” He spoke gently, almost conversationally.
“Can’t sleep. Too many thoughts.”
“Why don’t you tell me about them? It might help.” Jo began to talk, hesitantly at first, becoming more fluent as she poured her soul out to him. Jack listened quietly. He knew she needed to be free of worry if she was to be able to sleep for the rest of the night. He could see how tired she was, but she was obviously scared to sleep, the remembrance of what they’d endured too close to the surface to allow her the chance to relax into a natural sleep. When she finally ran down, he leaned back in the chair.
“You’re tired, Jo. You need to sleep and rest properly.”
“I daren’t sleep. The nightmares will return, I know they will.”
“I know. I’m going to give you something to help you. You can’t stay awake all night. I won’t be long.” He disappeared through the door, returning a few moments later with some tablets for her. “Take these, Jo.”
“No. I don’t want them.”
“You need them. You need to rest properly after what's just happened. You’ve just admitted you’re scared to sleep in case the nightmares return. If you take these, you won’t have to worry about nightmares. I promise I’ll stay with you till you’re asleep.”
“Are you sure? I don’t think I can deal with them if they happen again.”
“Of course. I’d stay longer if I could, Jo, but I’m on duty and I’m needed elsewhere. I’ll make sure I come early tomorrow and sit with you for a bit longer before I start work.” Jo reluctantly nodded and took the tablets he held out to her. Once she’d swallowed them and he’d replaced her water for her, he sat back down in the chair to wait for them to take hold. He desperately wanted to hold her hand to reassure her, but he knew he was on duty and he was determined to adhere to his rule of not touching her when he was working.
Jo’s eyes closed and she slept at last. Jack stayed where he was for a few more minutes before he got back to his feet. Stroking her hair gently away from her face, he watched her for another minute before leaving the room and going back to his office to write up his notes. He hoped Jo would be calmer again when she finally woke.