Roller Coaster 7

Continued from 5/29 post…

Wendy felt the tears fill her eyes. She hurriedly looked away and blinked, regaining composure. When she turned back, she was looking right into Jason’s eyes. The mischievous glint was gone, and instead she saw deep blue eyes, filled with concern and compassion… for her? She didn’t understand how a stranger could care so much.

“I… I’m not,” she finally blurted out. “I’m not ready for this. I don’t want to let go.” A sob welled up deep within her, and she felt weak in the knees. Without a word, he drew her into a brief hug, holding her for just a moment as the tears began to fall, then gently pushing her to arms length.

“It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to cry. No one expects you to be strong all the time.” He spoke the truth, but she wasn’t ready to hear it.

Wendy murmured a hurried “excuse me” and brushed past him. She swiped angrily at the tears, trying to find a place to hide. Just past the elevators she spotted a door with a restroom symbol. She burst in, thankful it was designed for one person. She locked the door behind her, then slowly slumped to the floor. She buried her face in her hands. How could she break down like that?

She let the tears flow freely now, wishing for an escape, for a way to fix everything. After a few minutes, she decided she’d enjoyed the pity party long enough, and stood up to wash her face. Her eye makeup had smeared, and red blotches had appeared around her eyes. She took a few deep breaths, and slowly opened the door.

As Wendy headed down the hall, she could see the back of Jason, standing at the nurse’s station, laughing with another aide. She walked quickly with her head down, making a beeline for her father’s room.

Her dad was sleeping again. “Mom, I’m heading home,” she whispered, as if her small voice would wake the snoring giant.

“He’s coming home tomorrow, Wendy.” Her mom seemed excited about the news, and Wendy didn’t know why. She shrugged and gave a half-hearted wave, and left the room.

When she headed down toward the lounge, Jason was there, wheeling her bicycle toward her. “Take care,” he said, his eyes catching her own once again. She managed a weak smile and a nod, then walked her bike toward the stairway.

To be continued on Fiction Fridays…


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