That’s what the doctor said. My father was slowly wasting away.
As I sat beside his hospital bed my hand unconsciously reached for his and I gave it a gentle squeeze.
“Hi, Dad,” I said as tears filled my eyes and a smile stretched across my face. He didn’t answer and I didn’t expect him to.
“You know what I was just thinking about? I was remembering when you taught me how to drive. Do you remember that? You took me to that empty parking lot behind the school and setup two trashcans so I could practice parallel parking.”
The words spilled out quickly as the tears streamed down my face. I was terrible at parallel parking and my father knew it. I thought I saw a faint smile spread across his face as I continued. Or maybe I just imagined that.
“I must have ran over those trashcans a dozen times, but you keep making me try again and again. I remember being so mad at you for laughing at my failed attempts.” The memory made me laugh aloud as I held his hand more tightly. “You told me I was taking the whole thing too seriously.”
And he was right. Less than a week later, after I had finally gotten the nerve to take my driver’s test, I parallel parked that damn car on my very first try. I was so excited to tell my father, but I could tell from the look on his face when I charged into the waiting room at the DMV that he already knew I had passed. He never doubted me.
I remembered jumping up and down excitedly waving my new license in front of him. He smiled and reached to tuck an unruly strand of hair behind my ear. “What did I tell you? You need to start believing in yourself, little lady. You are capable of so many great things. You just have to remember to believe in yourself.”
He always called me that. Little lady.
“I’m going to try harder, Dad,” I said in a strained voice while tightening my grip on his hand once again. “I’m going to try harder to not take life so seriously, and believe in myself they way you do and to stop doubting everything…”
My voice cracked and trailed off as I took quick, sharp intakes of breath, willing myself to pull it together. The room smelled like a mixture of medicine and Lysol and the soft wheezing from the ventilator was beginning to sound like loud screeching to my ears. The urge to flee this confining, white walled box was almost unbearable.
Finally, the tears stopped and I began to breathe more easily. I lower my lips and kissed his fragile, wrinkled hand.
I felt as though I too were wasting away with him.
This excerpt has been waiting for me to hit the publish key for a while. Again, my fiction is hard for me to share. I think it's because 1) it always feels incomplete, and 2) I love my characters so much. It's strange to feel protective of fictional characters...
Anyways, if you're interested, you can read the first excerpt I shared of this novel here.
I'm taking a few days off of blogging for the Memorial Day weekend. I hope all you lovelies have a great weekend and stay safe! I'll see you next Tuesday :)