Copyright by Lynn Bridge
6″ x 6″ x 1″
The story starring Harry is in full swing, and Harry’s dementia is his constant companion. But, Harry is still able to make a big discovery about his life; we are heading there in this story!
(story copyright by Lynn Bridge)
Harry took the mixing paddle out of the can and laid it on the workbench. He surveyed the tools hanging on the wall over the workbench and located a paintbrush, which he removed and dipped into the can.
As he smoothed the paint onto the door of the closest cabinet, he marveled at the transforming power it had upon the surface. As he worked, the knotted, stained wood surface yielded to an intense, vibrant finish. He was amazed at the potency of the color, and he painted faster, dipping the brush and slapping the paint onto the cabinets with his shaking hand.
After a few minutes of reckless painting, he tripped over his wheelbarrow lying on its side in the gloom. Realizing that he shouldn’t take the wheelbarrow with him to Happy Village, he thought about leaving it with the house for the boys down the street.
The bottom was rusty, and there were holes through the metal in several places, so he decided to spruce it up a bit by painting it to match the cabinets. Besides, he reasoned, the boys would give him a better price for the house if he left them with all the conveniences.
Harry paused in his task long enough to look for another container for his paint. The gallon can was getting heavy and it was streaming with paint anyway; he’d never be able to get the lid back on.
He found some glass jars under the workbench and emptied the can into three of them, unaware that the color was spilling onto the garage floor as he poured. He screwed the rusty lids onto a couple of the jars, thinking about how far-sighted he’d been to save the jars long after their original contents were used up. He picked up the remaining open jar of paint and returned to his work.
As he enthusiastically applied paint to the wheelbarrow, Harry noticed that some of the color had splashed over onto a bicycle, which had been propped up in the corner for several years. The bike was a ten-speed; it had belonged to his daughter when she was a nursing student at the university downtown.
He remembered how he’d worried every time she left the house riding the bike. He was always concerned about the crazy drivers who might run over her, or the maniac dope-fiends looking for an easy victim. He hadn’t counted on a killer coming from within his daughter’s own body.
Harry recalled the phone call on that Wednesday morning so many years ago. The doctor was calling from the hospital in Washington, D.C. where his daughter had been admitted the night before for an early morning lung biopsy.
Becky, who was now a nurse in the hospital’s psychiatric unit, had assured them that it would be a routine procedure; that there was no need for them to come so far to be with her; that this was just one more test to try to determine the cause of her chronic cough. It really would be nothing to worry over since she was not a smoker and did not abuse her body in any other way.
The doctor was now phoning to tell Harry and Mabel that their 30-year-old daughter was in critical condition; that she had gone into cardiac arrest on the operating table; that she suffered from a massive tumor; that she probably wouldn’t make it.
(to be continued…)