Friday Fiction – Wouldn’t you love to go there?

Friday Fiction – Wouldn’t you love to go there?

“Wouldn’t you love to go there?” Donna says.

“Go where?” I answer.

“Blueberry Hill.”

Realist that I am, I chuckle. “Blueberry Hill isn’t a real place. It’s just a title somebody made
up for this song.”

Donna shrugs. “Believe what you want, but I know it’s real.”
~ ~ ~
These are good memories. I try to hang on to them, wriggling my toes beneath the mound of
bubbles and stretching my mind to recall what my favorite song had been. There is nothing. That
memory is gone, and now I can recall only the chugging sound of her suctioning machine.
A gentle rap on the door shakes me from my reverie.

Dick calls out, “Honey, are you all right?”

“I’m fine,” I answer, even though I am far from fine. I’m here and I want to be here, I need
to be here. But I’m angry with myself, because I can’t be in two places at once. I vacillate
between great sympathy for what Donna is going through and a swell of anger that reminds me
of how she ignored all the warning signs and allowed this to happen. Still, I say “I’m fine,”
because that’s what you do. When someone asks how you are, you say fine, regardless of
whether it’s true.

Dick says, “You’ve been in there an hour.”

“I’m unwinding,” I answer. “I’ll be out soon.”

“Okay,” he says. “As long as you’re all right.”

The sound of his footsteps tells me he is returning to the basketball game, and in a strange
way I am glad to be left alone with my misery. Misery is not something to be shared. Just as
Donna refused to share it with Don, I withhold it from Dick. Perhaps I do this because I know
the sad truth is no matter how much I am loved, my husband can do nothing about the horror of
this situation.

I have been in the tub so long the water has grown cold. It is no longer a comfort, so I pull
the plug and step onto the bathmat. A soft flow of air from the heater warms the room. It is a
sharp contrast to the frigid air in Donna’s apartment. Although she lives south of here her
building is poorly insulated, and the iciness of winter slides across the floor and settles in the air.
The apartment is always cold. It’s the kind of cold that goes through your skin and burrows into
your bones.

Even so, Donna doesn’t complain about her circumstances. Debi and I both asked her to
come and live with us, but she refused.

I like my independence is what she wrote on her notepad.

If an intruder broke through the thin glass of Donna’s apartment window she couldn’t cry
out for help. Without a voice, she can’t even do something as small as ordering a pizza, so how
can it be considered independence? I think the truth is my sister lives alone because she doesn’t
want to be a burden.

Perhaps if I were more insistent she’d change her mind.

I wonder if I accept her answer too readily because deep inside I am fearful of living with
oxygen tanks and suctioning machines? They carry the sound and smell of sickness, and once
experienced it is something that can never be forgotten.

Yes, they give life, but it comes packaged in heartache.

About the author

Bette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby's books are "Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances." - Midwest Book Review The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby's writing is, "A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures." Samantha from Reader's Favorite raves, "Crosby writes the type of book you can't stop thinking about long after you put it down." "Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write." It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include: TheRoyal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal, Reader's Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer's Choice Award.

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