Katelyn rushes through the dark messy apartment, trying to get ready for work. She woke up to find the electric company turned off the power this morning, despite the payment arrangements she’d made.
“My boss’s going to kill me if I’m late again.” She thinks, sliding
her feet into a pair of tennis shoes. Bolting down the stairs, she
runs into the landlord.
“I want my rent money today!” He orders.
“I’ll give it to you on Friday.”
“All of it?”
“Yes, I promise.” She says, trying to get by him.
“You realize you’re two and a half months behind, right?”
“I can’t be that far behind on rent.”
“According to my calculations you are. So you own me seven hundred and fifty dollars.”
“I won’t be able to come up with all of it at once.”
“You have two choices. Either pay up, or move out.” Storming into his apartment, he slams the door.
“Maybe my boss will give me a loan.” She thinks rushing down the street towards the dinner. The only thing she liked about the apartment was that she lived a few blocks from her work. The place it’s self was a dump. The heat seldom worked, the water smelled like rotten eggs and the cockroaches were the size of mice. She tried finding a better place, but it’s all she can afford on her salary. She even tried to get a better paying job, but without a diploma, waitress work’s the best she can do.
“Look who finally decided to show up for work.” The boss announces as she walks into the cafe.
“Sorry for being so late. My electricity got shut off so the alarm didn’t wake me.”
“Every day you have an excuse for either showing up late, or not show up at all. Well, I’m done with the excuses. You’re fired!”
“Fired, no you can’t fire me! I’m one of your best workers.”
“I need someone who’ll be here on time every day they’re scheduled.”
“I promise it’ll never happen again.”
“I’ve heard that before too. You can pick up the last check on Friday.”
“Please give me one more chance, please.”
“I’ve given you a lot of chances, but you’ve disappointed me every time.”
“I’ll work really hard, pull double shifts, please let me stay.” Ignoring the begging, he walks back toward the kitchen.
“I said, let me stay!” She yells, throwing a stack of dishes on the floor. He turns towards her.
“Get out of my restaurant before I call the cops!” He orders.
“Fine, I didn’t want to work in a bug invested restaurant anyhow!” She screams walking into the hot morning sun. Reaching in her pocket she pulls out the rest of her money. It wasn’t much, just a few dollars and change, but she hoped it’d be enough for a taste of something. Through the years she’s found certain street drugs dulls the constant chattering in her head. The psychiatrist warned her about self-medicating, how she thinks it helps, but actually worsens the condition. After listening to a long boring lecture about the harmful effects of street drugs, she left his office in dire need of some. Stepping into the alley, she felt an arm wrap around her neck.
“Let me go, moron.” She yells, elbowing him in the stomach, the arm wrapped tighter against her neck. Hit me again and I’ll kill you. The tall, thick man warns, dragging the young women towards the van.
“I told you I’d find a good looking blond, boys.” Smiling, he throws her in the vehicle and closes the door.
With both children out of the home and Stan at the office all day, Madeline had plenty of time for art. Seeing how much she enjoyed painting, he had a studio built on the side of the house for her. This spacious room where she spends most of the day. Seeing as it’s getting late, she started cleaning up, when the phone rings. Getting a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach, she quickly answers it.
“This is Malinda from Cox Hospital. Katelyn was in a terrible car accident.”
“Accident? Oh my god is she alright?”
“I’m afraid not, they’re performing emergency surgery on her now.”
“I’m on my way.” Hanging up the phone, she hears her husband walk in the house. She runs to the front door to meet him
“Oh Stan, Katelyn’s been in an accident.”
“It’s either drug, or alcohol related.” He states, hanging his coat in the closet.
“Aren’t you going to the hospital?”
“Why, so she can swindle us out of more money?”
“You don’t understand they’re doing emergency surgery on her now!”
“Yea, well, we have a business dinner in half an hour.”
“How can you think of such a thing when our child’s having an operation?”
“I disowned her the night she nearly killed Katie, remember?”
“That was 10 years ago.”
“I don’t care the little bitch’s wrecked our lives when she’s younger and I’ll be damned if she’ll ruin my chance for a promotion too!”
“You can go to your fancy meeting, I’m going to see our child!” She yells, grabbing a coat out of the closet.
“No, you’re having supper with me, so start getting ready! He orders, pushing his wife towards the front room.
“I will see my daughter!” She screams pushing him out of the way.
“If you go see her instead of joining me for dinner, you might as well not bother coming home.”
“I chose you over her once. I’ll never do it again!” She yells slamming the door behind her. The night Katie’s rushed to the emergency room, Katelyn was taken to juvenile hall. After several suicide attempts, they thought she’d be better suited in a psychiatric hospital. She remained there until they thought their patient’s no longer a threat to herself, or others. With nowhere else to go, the teenager wandered the streets, begging for handouts. If she’s real lucky she’d find an empty cot at the local shelter, or be sent to the psychiatric hospital for evaluation. The vicious cycle continued for four years, until one night the police found lying under six inches of snow, nearly dead.
Madeline promised god If he let her live, she’ll never abandon the child again. Since then she’s helped her daughter move to different apartments and find several different jobs. She often had to sell her paintings to pay for Katelyn’s rent and utilities. Since the eldest child’s, unable to keep a job for more than a couple of months, Madeline’s hired a lawyer to help her get benefits. A process that’s taken well over a year.
“Oh Stan you know I love you with all my heart, but I have to go, to make good on my promise. I do hope you’ll forgive me someday.” She blubbers tearfully, pulling out of the driveway.
Madeline’s sitting in the waiting room anxiously waiting for some news. It’s been two hours and no one’s told her a thing. She stopped a few of the nurses to ask if there’s any updates. Each one informed her that the doctor’s still working on Katelyn and he’ll be out to talk to her when he’s finished. Seeing a door open, she looks up to see her youngest girl running toward her.
“Oh mom, how is she?”
“Your sister’s still in surgery. I’m so glad you’re here, Katie.” She bawls, grabbing her daughter’s hand.
“Do you know what happened to her?”
“The policeman told me the black van she’s riding in flipped. I guess the driver tried to outrun the cops, lost control and wrecked.”
“She could have been killed.”
“The driver and two passengers were. The officer said if she hadn’t been tied down, she’d died too.” She cries
“They were raping her. Those monsters raped my little girl when they wrecked.” She sobs.
“It’s alright, mom, she’s strong, she’ll pull through this.”
“I’ve been such a terrible mom, just awful.” She bawls.
“That’s not true, you’ve done the best you can.”
“I hope she knows I love her.” She blubbers.
“I’m sure she does.”
“Mrs. Howard?” Both of the girls look up to see a surgeon standing by them.
“We’re able to stop the bleeding and repair the damage to her internal organs.”
“So my girl’s OK?”
“As far as the internal bleeding goes, yes, but we’ve had to resuscitate her twice. So I’d like to keep her in ICU a few days, until we feel she’s stable.”
“Can we go see her?”
“You can go see her for a few minutes, but only a few minutes. She’s been through a lot tonight and needs plenty of rest.”
“Yes, I understand. She says, jumping up from the chair.” The doctor takes them through a maze of long hallways, before they finally reach their destination.
“Go to the far end, she’s on the right.” He informs them, pointing down the hallway. He starts to turn toward the entrance way, Madeline grabs a hold of his arm.
“Thank you for saving my child.” She cries, hugging him tightly. Katie could tell by the look on his face that the surgeon didn’t appreciate her mother’s kind gesture.
“It’s OK mom, Katelyn’s alright.” She says, trying to pull her away from the surgeon.
“Yea, and it’s all because of this saint right here.” She bawls hugging him tighter.
“She loves to hug.” The daughter tries to explain.
“Come on mom lets go see sis.”
“Thank you.” She replies, finally letting go. The doctor rushes out, before she could hug him again. Madeline runs to the bedside and grabs her daughter’s hand.
“I’m so glad you’re OK.” She cries.
“Hi, sis.” Katie begins. Slowly opening her eyes, Katelyn looks at her mother. Then turns her head towards her sister.
“Your sister came to see you.”
“Get out! Get out now Katie!”
“Surely you didn’t mean that!” Her mother questions.
“I said get her out of here!” Shocked by her sister’s outburst, she tearfully starts backing away. She’d just reached the foot of the bed when an alarm started sounding. The nurses rushed to the bedside.
“You two need to leave.” One of the nurses informs them.
“What’s happening to my baby?”
“She’s going into cardiac arrest.” The nurse replies, pushing the mother out in the hallway.
“No! Don’t die on me Katelyn! Please, you can’t die!” She cries.