“Mrs. Destrayer?”

“Miss. I’m Miss Destrayer. I’ll never be a Mrs. again thanks to my ex husband.”

The short ageing and balding doctor in the white coat with the stethoscope hanging over the lapels of his coat looked at Miss. Destrayer with question and confusion. He probably should have remembered what title the woman preferred to go by, especially since he’d made the mistake before, but in his defence she was not his patient and he had other things on his mind. He also did not need the reminder that Miss. Destrayer was a bitter old widow.

“I’m sorry Miss. Destrayer.” Dr. Canto started again. “We believe your son is waking up.”

“He’s awake?”

“No Miss, I said we believe he’s waking up. The signs are there, we are monitoring him and what we have seen this morning is more than we’ve seen for the past few weeks.”

“When will he wake up then?”

“Miss. I can not answer that, but I can assure you that we are doing everything we can and we are monitoring him closely. You can go into his room if you like but may I request that you give the doctors and nurses the distance they need.”

There was a nod of agreement that meant very little and the two parted ways, the doctor happy the less he had to speak to the bitter woman and the woman happy not to be told what to do by another man.

Penelope Destrayer walked into her son’s hospital room, the same room she’d been walking into multiple times a day since his accident nearly three months earlier. How he had fallen off the three storey office building in the northern suburbs was still under investigation and no one seemed forth coming with any information. What he was even doing there in the wee hours of that fateful Sunday morning was equally as mysterious. Penelope herself had no answers for the police when they asked her the important questions, she no more knew what her son was up in his daily life than she knew how to solve a quadratic equation.

The truth was Penelope had given up on men since her ex-husband had gotten sick, too sick for her to be interested in helping. Jasper Pincolt actually died in hospital, the same hospital her son lay in, seventeen years earlier. Penelope was actually glad he died because she had no desire to spend the years of her forties looking after an invalid who needed constant help just to exist.

Before Penelope knew that Jasper was actually dying not only did she leave him in the care of hospital, citing that she had a teenage son to raise and no ability to look after the sick man but she also filed for divorce and changed back to her maiden name. It wasn’t until the divorce was finalised that she realised how dire their situation was. There was no money, no assets and by the time the estate was split, with her able to take everything from the dying man, there wasn’t even enough money to remain living in the house they had been paying off for more than fifteen years.

The divorce hit Penelope harder than she expected it too, she’d expected to walk away with a son, a house, some money and age still on her side enough to find a man to replace Jasper. She wasn’t looking for love, just a man to provide for her and her son who up to that point seemed to side with her. Suddenly Penelope found herself working long hours in a cafe for minimum wage just to keep a roof over their head. There was no time for a personal life and no time to find the man she wished to replace Jasper with, her entire life was working to put the food on the table and sleeping enough to recover for her next shift. She aged quickly, became an angry woman and began to resent Jasper for getting sick. That resentment nestled firmly and by the time she was sitting at her son’s hospital bedside she’d given up all hope of finding someone to pay her way and in return blamed Jasper for the situation she had created, a blame that seeped into all men.

There was only one man in the world who wasn’t like her ex husband and that was her son, she’d raised him to be the man she wanted in a husband. Not only did she raise him with the intention of making him a husband like she would never get she also raised him to look after his mother. If Penelope couldn’t have a husband look after her into her twilight years she was damn sure going to make sure her son knew how to do it, it was the least he could do after she raised him like she did.

Thirty two years ago, without the agreement of her husband, she named her first and only son Sigurd Jasper Pincolt. The first name made up of Sigr meaning victory and Urd, meaning guardian which she’d found in a book of Norse mythology. It wasn’t until she divorced Jasper and began to train her own son to be her guardian into her later life that she began to realise the true power behind giving the name she had.

However there was several things that Penelope didn’t allow for with all the training and twisting of a young Sigurd’s mind. The first thing was that for every minute she spent educating him Sigurd spent just as many minutes educating himself. But perhaps the biggest thing that Penelope didn’t allow for was that Sigurd would become a free thinker, someone who didn’t believe everything he was told and someone who’d stand up for what he did believe.

She was sure it was that belief and free thinking that landed him in a coma, if only he could wake up and remember none of it so that her dream of retirement could again be fulfilled.

But could Sigurd’s plan finally be the same as his mother?