My eyes open to blinding bright lights, a drip is attached to my arm, the bed hard beneath my body, the room smelling oddly of antiseptic….wait, what am I doing in a hospital room? I close my eyes, trying to remember how I ended up in here. But the last thing I remember is standing at the end of the runway as we do Azure’s last show of the tour. I was posing in a gorgeous dress, a single subject to the blinding flashes of the many cameras, waiting for me. I started having one of my ‘moments’, I suppose you’d call them. Only it was worse than they’ve ever been before. Everything was blurry and it felt as though the room was spinning, my eyes started to go black and I could feel myself falling.
Now I’m waking up in a hospital room. What on Earth was wrong with me? For the first time I noticed the body that was sitting forlornly in the hard plastic chair beside my bed. Their hair was falling out, sticking out at odd angles as though they kept running their fingers through it and it was badly in need of a wash. Bags sat heavily under her eyes, her forehead wrinkled with the lines of worry, her clothes creased as though she’d spent the last couple of nights sleeping in that very chair. Although she looked like a wreck I knew exactly who it was.
“Aunty Reagan, what’s the matter? You look terrible,” I asked although the words stopped and started as I tried to get my dry throat to co-operate.
“Oh, Pippa, you’ve had Gracey and I so worried. You’ve spent the last couple of days in an induced coma, with drugs and fluids and nutrients being pumped into your body to try and restore it,” she said quietly.
“Try and restore my body? But why?”
“Yes, because in your rapid weight lose you put too much pressure on your body and it began to refuse to operate, causing you to have vertigo attacks because I’m assuming that the one you had at the show wasn’t your first one?”
“No, it wasn’t. But I had to lose the weight. The comments became too much for me to bear and I did the only thing I could think of that would fix it.”
“Oh, sweetie, why didn’t you tell anyone?”
“Because I didn’t want to bother anyone. I figured everything would be fine after I lost the weight but it wasn’t because everyone kept pushing me to lose even more, so that’s what I did. I wanted to show girls that your body image didn’t matter instead I showed them how I wasn’t strong enough to deal with it,” I said with a sigh.
“Hey you were willing to give it a try, that’s more than some people.”
“Why did you chase me down when I went to Mirrindirra and make me do modelling?”
“In your parent’s will it said to keep you away from agriculture as long as I could because it would only bring you heartbreak and struggles. You lost your younger sister out at your property in the Hunter Valley. The day you came and spent with me had been changed to a sleep over because your parents had to rush home due to some sort of problem. But one of the bridges they had to cross collapsed and they both died instantly, I’d just gotten the phone call to say they had died when you came in asking about them,” she said, tears streaming down her face.
“Oh,” it was the only word I could manage to say. “How did my sister die? I don’t even remember her.”
“I’m not surprised that you don’t. She died when you were about five, I think. She was about nine years older than you and died when she hit a pothole while driving around one of the old cars at your property and it flipped, she got trapped inside and she’d lost a lot of blood by the time someone came across her. She was rushed to hospital in a helicopter but died on the way there,” her voice breaking throughout her recount.
“Oh, that’s so sad,” I whispered, tears forming in my own eyes. “I wish I could have gotten to properly know her. What was her name?”
“Kasey-Leigh,” Aunty Reagan replied immediately.
“Do you have a photo of her anywhere?”
“Hmmm, I might have one of her back at the apartment. Do you still want to go to Mirrindirra now?”
“Okay. Yes I do, a lot. I always knew there were a lot of dangers relating to Ag but it’s never once stopped me from wanting to work in that industry. I mean, by the sounds of it, I have the country coursing through my veins.”