Monday, August 17, 2009
Fran 8 (FICTION)
To everyone's surprise, and perhaps even dismay, Francisca stayed the two weeks at her parents' home, waiting for them to return from their vacation. In the beginning, she was angry. How could her mother just pick up and go when Francisca was, well...dying? But after a few days, the anger faded and a kind of calm began to envelope her. Being at home helped. Despite everything, this house held many fond childhood memories for her and she couldn't help but smile as she sat in the old rocking chair, recollecting the days of yore. Francisca even began to think that maybe things wouldn't be so bad after all. Well, in a kind of way, at least. She was sure that she was going to die, but maybe she could do it here, with Linda watching over her, holding her hand. Just maybe.
It was a Tuesday afternoon when Linda and Donald finally came home. Francisca was laying on the couch, half reading a book, half napping. There was a snapping of the door, followed by a large thud. Francisca thought maybe she was dreaming, but then she heard the unmistakable voice of her mother, both commanding and inquisitive. Donald was the first to enter the living room.
"Frannie! What a wonderful surprise! Come here, sweetheart; give Daddy a kiss." Pain seemed to cross his face for a minute, as he watched Francisca slowly rise from the couch and cross the room, but it was only a fleeting thought. After murmuring something about his trip, followed by a series of excuses, he smiled at Francisca and left the room, the smile fading from his face. He must know something, Francisca thought to herself.
Seconds later, Linda entered the room and immediately took over. "Well, it's really nice to see you, dear. I hear you've been taking advantage of our home in our absence. I really hope you haven't ruined anything. Oh, don't lean on that armrest so, dear, it really is so fragile. MARIE! When was the last time you said you dusted?"
Despite the pain and the humiliation, Francisca knew she had to get through this somehow, she had to get through to her mother. "How was Paris, Mom?"
"Oh, charming; simply charming, as always. Paris is so lovely at this time of year, if it wasn't for the flocks of tourists. But one does need to get away now and again, oui?"
"Mom, there is something important I need to speak to you about. This is the reason..."
"Oh, really, Fran, you really know how to find the right timing every time. I'm jetlagged and the house is falling apart. Must this conversation really take place now? Why don't we talk about whatever this has to do with in the morning? You've been lounging around her for 2 weeks; I suppose one more night won't make much of a difference." She began to walk out of the room, already examining the hallways and the dozen problems that existed there, when Francisca shouted:
"I'm dying, Mother. I'm dying! I might not be here tomorrow!"
There was a long pause and stillness. "You've already told me, Fran. So who is it this time? Mark? Paul? Alfred?"
"No, Mom, it's a disease, it's not a man. I'm sick, Mom, and I'm dying. I'm in pain every single time that I breath, and I don't have very much time left. I have nowhere to go, and no one to turn to. I'm dying, and I'm scared, and I'm alone! Please, Mom...help me..."
Linda stands in the doorway for a couple of minutes, without even turning to face her daughter, pretending not to hear the streams of tears running down her face, the sorrow and despair in her voice. She slowly gathers the resolve, and marches upstairs to the bathroom, not looking back for even a glimpse. As she closes the door, she feels herself melting into a knot of nothing on the floor, and she begins to sob uncontrollably. "My baby..." she whispers to herself, "my poor little baby...Why?"