A Car for John

This is fiction, written for The Speakeasy at Yeah Write.

Submissions for this week must be under 1000 words and must begin with the following line: Blowing bubbles in milk always feels good.

In addition, your submission must reference the photo prompt, which is this image:

This is my submission. It’s called “A Car for John”

Blowing bubbles in milk always feels good.  That is what the nurse told me about John.

“Oh, he just loves doing that,” the nurse explains.  “Its like the highlight of his day.  He has this cute smile while doing that, like he is going to get in some kind of trouble.  The staff all knows what he does with his milk.”

Another nurse walks into the room.  “Time to change that diaper John.”  She turns to me and ask “that’s ok with you Mrs Bellamy?’

“Sure,” I reply.

It’s hard to believe he is here.  You never expect this to happen to anyone in your family.

“Nurse, I am going to step outside for a few minutes.  I want to get something in my car.”

I lean over and kiss John on the forehead.

“Thanks for coming,” he says again.

“I’ll be right back, I promise.”

I turned and walk out into the hall.  I think to myself  how guilty I feel even leaving him for a few minutes.  I walk through the hall and out the door.  It’s a beautiful day out.  The sun is shining brightly as I across the parking lot.  I hear a bird singing in a tree nearby.  As I get to my car, I lean against it listening to the mockingbird’s beautiful songs.  It is from my time with John that I learned about birds. I learned a lot from him.  I turn and unlock the car door, grab my laptop and kleenex.  I close the door and walk away.  The mockingbird’s song slowly fades as I reach the front door.  The song is still in my head as I arrive in his room.  It has eased my mind some. 

“Hi” he says excitedly.

My heart aches to see him in that bed.  He’s not supposed to be in here.  It’s not supposed to be like this.  My eyes start to tear up as I look at him.

“Hi,”  I say back to him as I reach his bed.

Now I am alone with him.  It’s the first time we are together without a doctor or nurse here.  Just the two us.  What do I say?  This is my first visit since he was brought here last week.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I’m your daughter, Irene.  I came from Florida to see you.”

“Did you bring my hotwheel car and street matt with you?

“I did not Dad, I am sorry.”

His face turns quickly from happiness to sadness.  He begins to cry.  What do I do?  This is my father?  He is just like a child.  He has no idea who I am.  I get up quickly and walk out the room to look for the nurses station.  I find the nurse who was in his room when I arrived.

“He’s crying,” I say to her.

“Oh Mrs. Bellamy, he will be fine.”

“Fine.  You call that fine?”

“Mrs. Bellamy, your father is in stage six of Alzheimer’s,”  she explains.  “I know it’s hard, but he is still your father.  This is normal behavior for someone at his stage of the disease.  He will be well taken care of here.”

My father, leader of men.  Well respected in the community.  Church going.  Great family man.  Now asking me for a hot wheels car.

I collect myself and head back into his room.  He barely even looks my way and says nothing.  I can’t bear to look at him in this condition.

“Goodbye Dad, I must go now.  I’m sorry, so very sorry.”

“It’s ok Irene, I understand.”

My heart pounds in my chest.  Is that him?  Tears of guilt are now flowing down my cheeks.  He knows me.  He knows I am here. 

He looks over at me and with a big grin says, “You are beautiful!  Who are you?

I kiss his forehead again.  “Dad, I am beautiful because of you.  It doesn’t matter who I am.  Just know that I love you.  Goodbye.”

“Goodbye Irene.”

As I exit the facility towards my car I still hear the mockingbird singing.  He mimics the songs of others birds.  Songs that are not his.  Yet, he is still sings so beautifully.  Does he even have his own song?  Even if he doesn’t, he still is a mockingbird.  I suppose my father is like that now.  He is singing different songs but none of them his.  But he is still my father.  I’ll never hear him sing his own song again. 

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22 thoughts on “A Car for John

  1. Thank you for taking the prompt and photo combo to such an interesting and creative place. At first, I thought the narrator and John were husbands, but the story revealed a female adult child and her father. It shifted the story for me, but it still carried emotional weight. Well done.

    • Thank you. When I saw the title and read where others were going with it, I wanted something different. I intended on making the reader believe the character was orginally different then the end result. TY for your kind words. My first post here. Very scarey!

  2. Hi, Shoo. Heartbreaking to consider. So many of us will one day have to deal with this. I love the mockingbird metaphor. Nicely presented, great emotion and it makes us think.

  3. Imagining seeing my father like that through your piece was really hard. No matter our relationships with our parents they are always supposed to be older and wiser somehow. You portrayed this well.

  4. A sad, emotional story that mirrors life, especially now with longer life expectancies, and so many of us baby boomers having to care for our aged parents, or sometimes, watch them regress as illness takes over.
    I thought john was her son, because she referred to him by his first name, and then immediately following, the nurse talks about bubbles & milk. I then made the assumption that it was a child. Great story!

    • I wanted people to think it was her son with the bubbles line we had to open up with. Seniors really kind of get left behind in my opinion. You make valid points about longer life expectancies and baby boomers. Glad you enjoyed it.

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