Roller Coaster Part 2

Continued from 4/18 post…

With alarm, Wendy noticed the two boys walking her direction. She could not be seen like this, almost out of control. Despite the downpour she began walking toward the parking lot. As soon as she passed the front gate, she broke into a jog, then a run. She began sprinting toward the “A9” mounted on a pole that designated her parking area. She didn’t see other people, or cars, as tears blurred her vision and mixed in with the rain, washing over her face.

She jammed the key into the lock, swung open the door to her red Corolla, and sat quickly, slamming the door. She swallowed and blinked, trying to regain control, but then crumpled. The sobs came out loudly now, and she pounded her steering wheel.

“Why daddy, why?” she screamed. She had called in sick at work that day, not able to face anyone. She tried to escape the inner turmoil by going to the park, but it had caught up with her.

The cancer was supposed to be gone. When he was diagnosed the first time, both her parents made light of it. “Daddy’s just sick. He has to have an operation to take out the stuff that’s making him sick, and he’ll be all better.” She was a child then, and didn’t know the gravity of the diagnosis. After all, he did get better. He had been in remission for eight years now.

Then he started coughing. He would cough and cough, even through the night. Wendy remembered walking in on him after a coughing fit, rinsing blood down the sink. She had been alarmed. “Dad! You have to see a doctor! This could be serious!” When he acted unconcerned, she screamed at him for being selfish and slammed the bathroom door on him.

When her dad finally made it to the doctor, the doctor admitted him directly to the hospital with a severe case of pneumonia. Yesterday, her mother had come home from visiting at the hospital, looking worn and haggard. “What’s wrong?” Wendy had asked, as a knot began to form in her stomach.

Wendy’s mom had sat beside her on the couch. “It’s your dad, sweetheart. He… the doctor said the cancer’s back. It’s in his lungs.” Her mom broke down, then, and tried to go on, but couldn’t.

Wendy frowned. “So they’ll do surgery, right, Mom? Or maybe some chemo or radiation? He’ll be fine, right? Just like last time.”

Something in her mother’s face told her he wasn’t going to be fine. After a deep breath, her mother spoke again. “It’s spread. It’s… maybe four months. That’s all the doctor says he has left.”

Wendy hadn’t slept well last night. When she did, she had horrible dreams of wandering through a dark labyrinth, looking for a way out, her cries for help echoing back mockingly at her.

To be continued next week…

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