I wrote for Finish That Thought today. I’ve been taking too many breaks lately, letting the urge to write slip away form me. This week, I’m trying to get back on the wagon (so to speak). I have editing of my next book to do, and I keep putting it off. I’m going to try to set some goals over the weekend, and I’ll post them here next week. I’m goal oriented, and when I track I do so much better. Plus, blogging! I haven’t been doing it after the A to Z Challenge nearly as much as I want to. I’m hoping with summer quickly descending on us and the absence of afternoon activities for the kids that I’ll be more productive. We shall see!
Cold Heart, Cold Mind
I had not felt this way for a long time, but then again it had been a while since I’d been back. Dad had cut the topiaries into animal shapes, and covered with snow, they reminded me of the scene from “The Shining,” so I kept a safe distance, hugging the side of the hedge as I walked to the door. My heart pounded in my chest like a million drummers in a band. The snow fell around me, and I shivered as I stood there trying to build up my nerve. I felt like a little kid again, lost and alone, not to mention freezing—Florida was so nice this time of year, I wish I’d never left.
If I stood there one more second, I might turn into an icicle, or worse yet I might freeze in one position snow-covered like the topiaries dotting Dad’s yard. I knew he needed me. My comfort. My presence, but the truth was I didn’t care about him anymore. Ever since he’d left Mom, I’d told myself he didn’t matter.
But then Janie had called six months ago and said Grace had died. Dad had dementia. She would arrange a nurse. Even nurses needed vacations, and Janie was out of pocket this week, in Disney World with her husband and three kids. I guess she deserved a vacation too.
I rubbed my hands together, they seemed frozen solid, and I wasn’t sure if the fist would form so I could knock on the door. The topiaries were so well trimmed. Was that part of Hanna’s job description or had Dad kept up with them, even in his confusion? Finally, I knocked.
Hanna came to the door, wearing a white nurse’s cap, like someone out of an old-timey movie. From behind, Dad wrapped his arms around her and squeezed.
“She’s a hottie, isn’t she?” Dad asked, as Hanna pushed his arm from her waist.
“Bill, I’ve told you a thousand times, I’m your nurse not your wife.”
“Where’d Grace get off to?”
I stood in the doorway, my eyelashes nearly frozen. Winter in Michigan was hell.
“You must be Christina. Thank God you’re here.”
Dad scooted around Hanna and screwed up his eyeballs as his mind whirled like a hamster on a wheel, trying to locate me in a sea of frothy memories.
“Tell my friends to come in too, Grace. They’re covered in snow,” he said, waving to the topiaries.
“They’re better off outside, Dad,” I said as Hanna scooted out of the way, and I stepped into the warmth of the house.
“Dad?” he asked.
“It’s Christina, your youngest daughter,” I said.
“I don’t have any children. Just ask Grace,” Dad said.
“She’s dead, Dad,” I said.
“It’s so nice to finally meet you Christina. I’m leaving in ten minutes. Let me show you where your dad’s meds are,” Hanna said.
Dad stared at the topiaries. The only friends he had, left out in the cold.