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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Short Story Saturday: "Angel" Part 5

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, & Part 4.

After one hitch Abigail's plan seems to be going smoothly. She gets through a session with Chad and even shows up in public to satisfy her uncle--who appears to be on her side.

Angel: Part 5
Abigail talks about her fiance. 

When I lay safely in my bed that night, I consider the memories that seem to bring me down. Without too much pain, I come to the logical conclusion that it centers on someone Father had flown with that day. Who?
I didn’t try to call Father when I saw the burning plane on TV. I didn’t scream “Father!” before I collapsed in the middle of the student center. According to Chad, the traumatic events of my father’s death worsened my illness, preventing me from healing.
But I can think about Father and remember him without falling apart. I loved my father, but it doesn’t make sense anymore that his death caused my overpowering grief.
The heat in my body seems intense. Every extremity aches and I feel surrounded by fog. I can hear the murmur of voices next to my bed. They’ve talked like I’m dead for days now. I think they expect me to be soon.
“The virus was probably latent in her system. The trauma of losing her fiancé and father has activated it in her brain.”
“Will she survive?”
I don’t hear the answer, only Mother’s stifled sobs. When her hands grip my arm, they feel like ice.
I sleep well, despite my troubling dreams. I think about “The trauma of losing my fiancé and father,” and can’t reconcile it in my mind. Culver didn’t propose until months after I “recovered” from the encephalitis. My sessions with Chad seem to confuse my fragile brain.
Chad meets me in Mother’s sitting room after breakfast.
“Good morning, Chad,” I say. I can fool Mother and Uncle Edgar easily. Chad seems much harder to deal with.
A faint smile crosses his lips. “Good morning, Abbey.”
He settles into a comfortable chair. “What do you want to talk about today? You seem more at peace with your father’s death since we spoke. Should we discuss your engagement?”
I think for a moment that I see anger cross Chad’s expression, but it disappears too quickly to tell.  I scowl. “I suppose.”
Chad’s eyes dance at my reaction. “You prefer to discuss your father more instead of the minor issue of your fiancé?”
I laugh at first. Hearing Chad joke seems to settle me. Then my brain catches on the word fiancé.
I’m plunging downward. The plane burning. I can hear his voice. “I can’t get to my phone. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you.” He won’t answer. He has to answer, but he won’t.
I gasp and blink, surprised that I gained control over the dark spiral. I look up and meet Chad’s eyes, his expression twisted into pain.
In a flash Chad jumps from his chair, kneeling next to me. I feel the warmth of his image over my arms, almost like his fingers touch my skin while he murmurs comforting, but unintelligible words.
“Chad,” I repeat, staring into his shimmering eyes. Things start crashing into place and the dizziness starts to engulf me.
“I’m sorry, Abs, I’m sorry.” Chad’s recitation reminds me of the sound of his voice on the phone. “I can’t get to my phone. Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you.”
For a moment when I look into Chad’s face, the fragile, disconnected world I’d existed in for ten long months stabilizes. 

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About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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