Word count 495
The Translucence of Love
by G. Ackman
As the November evening sun sent its shadows lengthening on the walls, Carla sighed and thought back over the day It had been a good one, actually. Her son, Alex, had been to see her and he snuck in two things that meant the world to her – her dachshund Brandy and a chocolate milkshake. The doctors had no real clue what a person needed. They only thought in terms of pharmaceuticals Those fifteen minutes with Brandy nestled in her arms did more for her than any of their chemical concoctions ever would. She missed those big brown eyes and long, soft ears. And the taste of that milkshake was pure heaven. This was going to be so hard on Alex. He had been her rock since his dad had left them fifty-two years ago. That had been a hard time. She was scared, alone, and so unsure of what to do. But her dad had flown out and helped her get herself back together, even paying for the divorce. And by no means had that been the last hard time she experienced. There had been many. Alex had been hit by a car when he was eleven and suffered massive head injuries. There had been two or three instances of unemployment and being nearly destitute. An emergency surgery. Each time she had relied on her dad. And he had always been there.
At least, he had been until thirty-two years ago when pancreatic cancer took him. The doctors had given him twelve weeks to live, but he died in the eleventh, her sitting by his side and holding his wrist as he took his last breath. After that, her hard times were handled without him. And there had been several. Another long bout of unemployment that saw her adding water to 99 cent shampoo to make it last longer. The dark time in her life when her grandson was killed in a car accident. The loss of four beloved dogs and her sister. Lonely hours of retirement. Each time she had wished she could pick up the phone and say, “hey, dad, what’s up?” and he would respond as he always used to – “the price of gas.”
The darkness settled more firmly around her shoulders. She was so tired and thought she could sleep now. She nestled her head into the pillow, feeling the cool cloth against her cheek. Just as she prepared to close her eyes, her attention was caught by a vague, shimmery translucence off to her right. She kept her eyes on it and it gradually coalesced into a shape she knew well. It was her dad, and the lineaments of his face warmed her heart. His words, “hi honey” brought back the sound of his voice to her memory. Oh, how she had missed that voice.
“I came to get you,” he said and held out his hand. She grasped his hand in hers and followed him from the room.