|The Irony of Grief
Author: cubye4 PM
A short story I wrote for a creative writing class a few months ago that I felt like sharing. The length limit was 3 double spaced pages, and this is what I came up with - He had taken everything, left her alone, left her with nothing. But Lea is willing to give her father one more chance. Does he deserve it?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Family - Words: 1,057 - Published: 01-13-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3091800
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Irony of Grief
Lea sits in the hospital waiting room, starting at the cold, hard tiles beneath her feet, her focus breaking only periodically to glance at the large clock on the wall. It moves slowly but consistently and she knows that she has only a couple hours left to make the call or she'll lose the opportunity. But she won't do it yet. No, she'll give her father one last chance, one last try.
Lea had been seven when her mom got sick, nine when her dad told her, ten when she understood what terminal meant, and twelve when her mother passed. It hadn't been the cancer that had killed her though, but the car accident, that stupid drunk driver speeding through the light that had taken Lea's mother even before her dwindling time, and had stolen Lea's little sister Stacy as well.
It didn't take long for Lea's dad to turn to the alcohol, suffocating himself with it so that all he could see was the loss. Keeping himself in that never ending stupor. Making him believe there was nothing left. Her father hiding behind those liquor bottles is what Lea remembers most distinctly about those days. His body slumped over the table after he had overdone it again. Her own hands searching the bare cupboards for something to eat because he had neglected to make her dinner. It was something he had forgotten a lot and something that Lea never had. So unbelievably insensitive, Lea had thought - still did think- of him to find some sort of morbid peace in the thing that had caused him to need it in the first place.
But Lea pulls herself out of those thoughts, tells herself it does no good to dwell on the past. She looks again towards the clock. Ten minutes gone. The landlord was waiting. Yet, she knows she can't do it yet, has to give him another chance.
But she had given him so many before, hadn't she? Even those nights, years ago, when he would look at her with that drunken glaze in his eyes, she hadn't given up on him. She would sit beside him, hold a glass of water to his lips, talk to him, beg him, try to get him to be her Dad again. Sometimes she'd cry. But he hadn't wanted her help. He would slap her hands away, shuffle to the couch and fall asleep, mumbling things like Go away and Leave me alone.
Does he deserve another chance? Lea thinks, her eyes on the clock, ticking away. A little more than an hour left. Yes, she answers herself. He should, he's your father.
And maybe that was true, would be true, but the drunkenness hadn't been the end of it, had it? No, he had gotten over that. He had traded his form of mind numbing comfort for her. Abigail, or Abby, as he had started to call her, only a week after they had met. On the day that would have been his sixteenth wedding anniversary. And while there was enough blame to go around, Lea had never felt ill towards Abigail. She had come in, seen him at his worst, seen him lying on the floor surrounded by broken glass, had picked him up and turned him around. She had gotten him to put down the bottle, to be something of Lea's father again. And so while Lea hadn't thrilled to get this new woman in her life, she couldn't be angry at her, she had done what she believed was best. There was only blame for Lea's father, who had decided to pull himself together for this new woman's sake instead of for his daughter's.
Again Lea tells herself to stop. To stop thinking about it, stop brooding over it. But she looks at the clock again - half an hour left now - and she can't stop thinking about it. Because it all falls on this, on her father, on his inability to see that she had been hurting just as badly as he was, that she had needed him and he hadn't been there.
There is a hand on her shoulder, light, practically meaningless, and Lea turns to see her father standing beside her. He has a stupid smile on his face, a smile that makes Lea want to burst into tears because she knows it's not for her. He's telling her to come follow him, to see for herself, telling her in that horribly, sickeningly thrilled voice that he had used when he called her to come to the hospital, three hours before. A voice filled with excitement, maybe love, something that Lea's sure is not because of her.
Lea's choice is made the second she walks into that hospital room. Because he's done it again, failed her again. She knows before he tells her. Knows the second he bends down to smile that long forgotten smile at the little girl Abby holds in her arms. Knows as she looks into the face of their new daughter.
And so Lea does not wait for him to say it. She walks back out, pulls out her phone, calls the landlord. Yes, she will sign the lease; yes she will take the apartment. She had had it planned for a while, had made the necessary arrangements two months ago when she had turned eighteen. She'd found the place, some suitable roommates. But she had waited before making it official, given him that final opportunity. But he's blown it, again.
Her father had once ungratefully thought he had lost everything, now he really would. He deserved it. After all, she had been the one to lose everything. And so Lea turns her back on him, like he had blindly done to her. Walks out and never looks back, because this last thing is too much.
Bad enough that he had replaced her mother, but now her sister too. They had named the baby Stacy.
What do you think? Always difficult to try and develop a whole story and believable characters in just 3 double spaced pages, but I felt like sharing. :) Thanks for reading!