Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Pin Drop

You could hear a pin drop.

Then they both walked out the door

Looking across the room Sarah said, “Well, that’s just not something you hear every day.”

Earlier in the morning, around 9am the couple had arrived, not late but not early either. In order to make the trip both had gotten out of bed at 3am, quickly showered, dressed, and grabbed plastic bags filled with bacon and egg Sarah prepared before they went to sleep the prior evening. Bella (Bell), Sarah’s Mother never liked coffee, not even the smell of it so Sarah brewed some coffee the evening before, let it cool and poured the beverage into a thermos just before they walked out the door. Her plan was to eat the food and enjoy the coffee during the trip; Bell grabbed a bag that had some bread in it, along with two bottles of water and a small container of milk. The bag of bacon and egg contained enough for both ladies.

The trip would be a long, mundane drive in a 1982 Ford Mustang convertible which would be considered a gamble to “arrive alive” by most anyone that caught a glimpse of the car. But Bell’s husband Roberto bought the Ford for the family when Sarah was in her 20s and the car had survived for more than 25-years with only a few problems; most being normal wear-and-tear issues like oil changes, tire alignment, and air conditioning maintenance. Bell had always considered the vehicle’s survival a reflection of Roberto being a good judge of vehicles, with his good judgment being a characteristic that attracted her in the first days of their young love affair. But no matter what the car’s age or appearance it was the only reliable vehicle either of the two ladies owned. The auto would have to suffice for this adventure.

As the two drove away from Sarah’s home the vehicle left a small trail of smoke. There was obviously an oil leak and it was probably just a matter of time before the Ford met his demise. Bella looked back and noticing the smoke unfortunately reminded her of just how dangerous it can be to travel such a distance in an antique automobile. She said another short prayer. She then gazed across the seat at her daughter and whispered to God, “Let us travel on the wings of angels.”

Sarah reached over to the dashboard and turned the radio on, the base tones in the rhythmic ‘bum-bummed, bum-bummed’ music pulsed in against their skin. In an almost synchronistic manner the two tapped fingers with the beat of the music, the younger woman silently raised and lowered her shoulders as the music momentarily led her away from the reality of the trip.

Time slowly passed and the sun continued to rise, glaring into their eyes. As noon approached the stellar light took a position directly above the road and the temperature inside the vehicle began to rise. Both ladies pulled out cool liquids, sipping slowly while the vehicle’s air conditioner hummed and they continued the day’s trek.

The trip required 2 planned refueling stops along the way and Bell had made plans to check out the convenience stores at each stop. The stores were really gas stations, but Bell did not get out of the house often so ‘convenience stories” would make for an exciting change of pace. When the ladies stopped at the first gas pump she quickly ran inside and practically demanded conversation from the clerk who was watching the money register. Belle enjoyed sipping soda and eating peanuts; Sarah even noticed her Mother lighting a cigarette for a gentlemen who fumbled in his pocket looking for a lighter while she asked him questions like, “Are you from around here?”, “Where are you headed?”, and “What are your plans for the future?”

Driving across the flat ground of the country-side gave the impression that the state roads never-ended. The low, mundane rumble of the tires rolling across the asphalt was such a sound that almost anyone would fall victim to the hypnotic noise. Sarah was not immune to this effect, several times her head snapped back to an acceptable alertness while she guided the vehicle back to the center of the road. She knew that each minute behind the vehicle’s steering wheel was a gamble with both of their lives.

“Mom…”, Bella did not answer. Sarah looked across the seat and noticed that her Mother was asleep.

“Mom…” she repeated. With this call of ‘Mom’ she nudged Bella in the forearm.


Her Mother looked up and asked, “How long was I asleep?”

“I don’t know.  But I do know that if we don’t stop and let me rest for a moment the two of us will be claiming our eternal rest.”

They looked at each other, nodded in the affirmative like a couple bobble-head dogs in the rear window of an automobile, and one said, “OK, keep an eye peeled for another service station, I mean a convenience store.”

The humming of the tires continued but both ladies were more attentive as each road-sign and mile-marker was reviewed for a hint of what might appear in the distant horizon.

After fifteen-minutes and a half-dozen roadside exit signs Sarah veered the vehicle off the main thoroughfare and onto a service side-road. She stopped on the shoulder of the road, looked both ways and elected to proceed toward the only fueling station insight.

In what appeared to be a planned exist of the Mustang Bella sprung out of her seat and headed toward the store entry (and its lone employee). The station attendee was a female and Sarah knew her Mother would have a thousand questions for the young lady.

While Bell settled into a chair next to a coffee machine inside the store Sarah locked the vehicle, walked across the parking lot, stepped inside the store and headed toward the restroom. While maneuvering around a couple display cases she allowed herself another look back at Bell and the station attendant, shook her head and passed through the restroom door. After a few minutes of personal time Sarah walked back in Bell’s direction, found a lone chair, sat down and realized just how nice it was to not be vibrating or holding an accelerator pedal down.

A few minutes turned into 15 minutes and while enjoying a moment of relaxation Sarah realized that the asphalt rumble had been replaced by another one, the Bella rumble. It was at that moment Sarah noticed she was surrounded by store stock; cans of peas, beans, soup and soda.  She pulled a couple cases of peas over in front of her chair, kicked her heels up on the boxes and leaned back in the chair.

Moments later Bella asked her, “Do you really think I’ve got cancer?”

“Mom, why do you ask such silly questions? Just because Glenda talks about it all the time doesn’t mean that is why you’re tired.”

Then a moment later Bell pulled out an x-ray image of something that she explained was a breast and that she believed the little spot was cancer. In fact she told Sarah that the store clerk thought it was cancer and the older gentlemen who bought two packs of cigarettes a couple minutes earlier agreed that it was cancer.

“It has to be cancer” Bell said. Of course Sarah had no idea what it really was but she wasn’t going to agree with her Mother just because she was anxious about the trip to the doctor. Every time Bell had a sore throat she self-diagnosed and the problem was never as bad as her Mother’s imagination. Then Sarah thought. “Where the heck did she get the x-rays any way?”

At that moment Bell yelled across the room, “Sarah! Sarah! Wake up!” and then she shook Sarah who immediately woke up. She took a minute to compose herself and then realized that the entire conversation with her Mother was a dream…

….And she thought to herself, “What if it is cancer?”


Author’s Comments

If you have been following my Twitter account or read some of my comments here on the blog you are aware that I committed to writing a story in sort of a medicinal format for one of my followers (she has now become a friend that follows along). She has been dealing with a cancer issue, her Mother’s cancer. During many long days the two have attended doctor’s appointments and chemotherapy treatments. Her support system is sometimes stretched thin, her children are grown and living elsewhere and her husband does not have the pleasure of leaving work for all of the appointments.

Similar to Sarah and Bella in my story there is doubt, anxiousness and worry while drudging through each day. This story is the beginning of a new storyline, some character development and the concern of whether cancer is the problem.

Please let me know what you think and post any comments you may have, whether they are directed toward me and the story or you would like to comment on an experience you, a friend or family member have encountered.

Also, if you’ve been following my tweets I also have encountered a cancer experience while writing this post. Since starting this blog post my Dad has been diagnosed with cancer, stage 3, 6-9 months to live. There were previous health issues and the physicians have conducted some test and have developed new concerns which required new test.

Also, he got sick Friday and was admitted to the hospital. In a gala of clinical care one doctor found it necessary to share the results of one test and notified my parents of the outcome.  Due to some complications this case is not treatable with surgery; the physician notified him that he would be working with him to provide the best, ‘quality of life’ care t hat he could manage. Of course this has hit the family like a weight of bricks. If you would like to read another blog concerning this subject and my first post check-out this link ( This is a new blog I’ve started and anticipate including my observations and thoughts as things develop. Unfortunately many of you have dealt with this disease in some form or fashion which might make it hard for some of you to follow the next blog posts, but I appreciate your support of this blog, even if you can not stand to read the other one.

Another point, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the United States. Ladies please take care of yourself and have the appropriate tests. Gentlemen always care for your ladies, but give a little more effort during the month of October and ensure they get an appointment for the examination.  ;-)

As always, I am thankful for the time you spend reading my posts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Interim (10/5/10)

Writing update; I worked 3 hours this evening on my next blog post. I had planned for the entry to be ready and edited Monday morning but some things developed that caused me to cancel my scheduled writing period.  But with great effort I am working to complete this project and have a post ready for my faithful readers Tuesday evening before midnight. If you are checking in for a post please be sure to come back in on me, it’s currently midnight Tuesday morning (00.01).