Roller Coaster 3

continued from 4/25 post

As Wendy’s sobs lessened, unbidden thoughts came to her. They came slowly at first, then rushed in on her in another wave of grief.

Would he be at her first soccer match in the fall? He hadn’t missed one since she started running up and down the field as a preschooler. What about graduation? He probably wouldn’t even see her graduate, or see her college dorm room. When she finally found her Prince Charming, who was going to walk her down the aisle?

“Oh, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” she cried out loud, wishing for a miracle, wishing that all of this was just a bad dream.

When Wendy couldn’t cry anymore, she blew her nose, took a deep breath, and put her keys into the ignition. The rain had lessened somewhat, but lightning still cut through the sky. She slowly pulled out of the lot and made her way home.

The drive was a complete blur, and before she knew it she was pulling into her driveway. Her mother’s car was conspicuously absent. Mom was probably at the hospital. She spent every spare moment there. Wendy opened the garage door and walked into the dark, dreary kitchen. Dishes were piled in the sink and the trash can was overflowing.

Wendy wasn’t hungry, but she opened the refrigerator anyway. Unable to find anything interesting there, she settled on a bag of flavored corn chips and ensconced herself in an afghan on the living room couch to watch TV. She felt vaguely guilty about not visiting her dad in the hospital, but she couldn’t bear to see him all sick and connected to tubes and wires. Part of her thought if she didn’t see him sick, it wasn’t real.

No matter what channel she turned to, there seemed to be a commercial or storyline about cancer or cancer treatment. “Maybe the doctor’s wrong,” she thought. “Maybe he misinterpreted the tests.” The thought began to eat at her, that maybe she was upset for no reason, that someone had made a mistake.

She picked up her cell phone and called her mother to explain her concerns. Her mother was only slightly patronizing. “No dear. It showed up on an X-ray, and other tests confirmed it. When I get home tonight we’ll talk some more. Dad’s coming home soon.”

“Why? Is he better?” asked Wendy.

“No, he just wants to be home. There’s nothing more they can do for him here,” answered her mom, more gently this time.

“How you can be so calm?” Wendy asked, her voice rising in anger. “Dad is dying and you don’t even care! We’re just going to bring him home and pretend everything’s okay? It’s not okay!”

There was a long pause. Then her mom spoke in a slow, pressured voice. “I know you’re upset, Wendy, but now is not the time. We’ll talk tonight.” There was silence. A glance at her phone confirmed that her mother had ended the call abruptly.

to be continued on “Fiction Fridays”


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