Friday, May 15, 2009

Roller Coaster 5

Continued from 5/8 post…

Wendy ate her breakfast. She didn’t realize she was so hungry. When had she eaten last? She grabbed the remote and turned on the TV, flipping the channels to Tom and Jerry.

For a moment, lost in the silliness of a clever mouse and a persistent cat, Wendy felt like a child again. She daydreamed about Saturday mornings with her dad when she was little. He would tear her away from the cartoons, and she would feign kicking and screaming as he’d take her outside and push her on the swings, or teach her to ride a bike, or walk to the park. He would never let her sit in front of the television on a golden Saturday like today.

Slowly, reluctantly, she willed herself out of her chair and into her room to change her clothes. She put on a T-shirt her dad had bought her on a business trip. Feeling adventurous, she bypassed the car keys and wheeled out her bicycle. It had been gathering dust since she got her license last spring.

Wendy started pedaling down the road. The sun felt good on her face and shoulders. A light breeze tousled her hair. She began to ride faster. She wasn’t sure where she wanted to go. She started toward the park. It was a perfect day.

She came to the last intersection before the park and stopped at the stop sign. A broad expanse of grass was to her left, where a few teenage boys were tossing around a football. To her right, a blue sign pointed in the opposite direction. The hospital was about a mile away.

Wendy’s heart pounded, and her head began to hurt. Suddenly she was aware of a car pulling up behind her. Without thinking, she turned and rode in the direction of the hospital. She tried to think about what she was going to say. She just knew couldn’t avoid him anymore. She didn’t really want to. She really missed him, and was sorry their last interaction was an angry one.

Not wanting to leave her bike outside unattended, she walked it right into the hospital. She walked up to the elderly lady at the information desk. “Um, I’m trying to find my dad,” Wendy muttered, avoiding eye contact. The lady looked disapprovingly over her reading glasses at the disrespectful teenager brash enough to bring a bicycle inside the hospital.

“Name?” she asked haughtily.

“Wendy Rogers.”

“Your dad’s name?” She added a note of contempt.

“Oh, sorry.” Wendy felt so stupid. “Jim. Jim Rogers.”

“406. Take the east elevator.” The snooty lady gave her a scrap of paper with the room number written on it.

Wendy walked her bike down the hall, ignoring the looks from passersby. When she arrived at the elevator, she knew her bike would not fit. She spotted an EXIT sign and discovered a stairway. She hesitated for a moment, then began to wrestle her bike up three flights of stairs.

To be continued on Fiction Fridays.

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