Friday Fiction – Wouldn’t you love to go there?
“Wouldn’t you love to go there?” Donna says.
“Go where?” I answer.
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
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
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.