CHAPTER 4 Midnight Meals

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copyright 2018 Chris Smith  All rights reserved.

"I wish I could touch the whisper of who you used to be."

@RantingsOfaGirl


Bro: Yeah. I know. I know. Just keep breathing.

Me: :)


"Why don't I take you home and get a few clothes so I can come back?" Dad said.

"Okay," I said.

I had no idea what time it was. I was drained. Emotionally fried was a better way to put it.

"We're trying to get a bed for her upstairs but right now all the beds are taken. If one opens up we'll move her upstairs," the E.R. nurse said.

"Okay. I can find out when I come back?" Dad asked.

"Yes. You can check in with the front desk," the E.R. nurse said.

Dad and I walked down the long hallway. I was physically filling up the space on this corner of planet Earth. But a part of me had checked out.

The fog crept in while we'd been inside the hospital, layering the crisp air outside with an eerie feeling. There was hue of mist highlighting the parking lot lights. The lot was pretty empty as we made our way across the pavement to the car. It was cold on the inside of my soul and nothing would warm me.

I was going through the motions of living. But I didn't feel alive. I had retreated. I wanted to understand. I needed to know why. But there were no answers. All we could do was wait and hope. Hope didn't feel good enough. There wasn't enough action involved in hoping.

We drove home in silence, both lost in our thoughts. I had nothing to say. Nothing to feel. My world was ripping open at the seams.

What else was there to do?

What does one do when the sky is falling?

I had seen it fall during the foreclosures. I wrote a book chronicling the aftermath (A Taste Of Destruction Book 1 is the juice worth the squeeze series). But this took it to a whole different level of destruction and it was unsettling.

The roads were quiet. It was an night devoid of rules. The type of night where anything can happen and often does. The car made its way towards home as we went through the motions of breathing.

When we arrived home I went to the back the house to turn the water pump on. Dad needed a shower before he headed back to the Hospital.

"Do you want me to fix you something to eat?" I asked.

"No. I'll grab something," Dad said.

"What are you going to grab?" I asked.

"I don't know," Dad said.

"No. I'm going to fix you something," I said.

"I want to get back to the Hospital," Dad said.

"Well, it will be ready by the time you finish your shower," I said with a defiant voice.

"Sweetheart."

"Honey-bun," I replied with a big smile.

He took one look at my face and gave up the fight. He knew the LOOK. It wouldn't end well for him. Not tonight. He would lose. For reals. He did not, absolutely not, agree. But he would, absolutely, surrender. He knew better.

I had too much of my Mom in me. There were equal parts of strong women on both sides of the family. The kind of women who just dug their heels in with total defiance. They were brutal-ball-breaking women in their own right and they didn't take any shit.

If I had to tie him up and force feed him, I would. He needed to survive this. I needed him to help me survive. We both needed each other. Otherwise there would be no way we'd help Mom. Eating was sort of a vital part to staying alive.

I pulled out the eggs, bread, sesame seeds, and mustard greens. Dinner would be an egg sandwich, a la me style. I needed to eat too. I'd get Dad out the door. Then make myself something.

I put butter in the heated pan and then sesame seeds on top of the butter. Then I put cut-up mustard greens on top of the sesame seeds. I could hear the shower running. The house was so quiet. My Mom was lying in a hospital room, alone, surrounded by strangers, hooked up to I.V.s, fighting to live.

The shower turned off, as I poured the eggs over the greens. I sprinkled a little thyme , salt, and pepper over the eggs. My stomach smelled the food and wanted some too. I was beyond exhausted. I had to wash the day off and attempt to find a fragment of peace.

"Are you ready?" I yelled.

"Yep," Dad said as he walked into the kitchen.

"Well it's almost done," I said.

"This is one of your special egg sandwiches huh?" Dad asked.

"Yep. It's good for you," I said.

I folded the egg to slide it on top of the waiting slice of bread. Dad was putting on his socks and shoes. I sliced the sandwich in half and put a napkin next to it.

"Thank you sweetheart," Dad said.

"You're welcome," I said.

He walked into the kitchen and hugged me. We lingered together in the embrace, both wishing for a different reality. But wishing wouldn't get us anywhere. We'd tried it before without much result.

We wished the foreclosures didn't happen. But it did. We worked our asses off to have it not happen, even reached out for help. They, in all their brilliant advice say, "Reach out for help when you need it." But what they don't tell you in the follow-up fine print is reaching out for help is a good way to have your ass pummeled into the ground. People have a funny way of kicking you when you're already down.

We'd have to face whatever was coming for us, the three of us. There was no one else to reach out for help. It was us against the world, just like always. If need be, we'd stand in on Mom's behalf, if she was too weak. We would be her weapons and her entire fucking army. We would stand guard.

"Do you know when you'll be back?" I asked.

"Probably tomorrow. I may come back to shower. Get a change of clothes," Dad said.

"Okay."

"Try to get some sleep. Enjoy your day tomorrow," Dad said.

"You too Daddy," I said.

"I'll call you with updates," Dad said.

"Okay. Take pictures too."

"Okay, I will. I'm outta here," Dad said.

"Tell Mom I love her," I said.

"Give the Old-Battle-Axe some love and don't let her scratch your eyes out," I thought.

"I will," Dad said as he closed the door.

I heard the car drive away. I was alone. It had been over a year since I'd been alone at home. My ears were ringing from the silence. I was at a loss as to what to do. Though the tum-tummers had its ideas. Food for one.

I leaned against the kitchen counter. I had been set adrift in an unknown sea. Dad was driving back to the Hospital. My phone said it was 11 p.m. We'd lost three hours in their world of sterility and good lighting. I needed food, a shower, to do my therapy, and sleep. But what I wanted to do was curl up in my bed and forget I was alive.

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