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by linzy bruno 
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Kendal started picking up the empty pizza boxes in the living room. ‘I wonder where dad was tonight. I can’t believe he missed Jason’s party….....I can’t believe mom and I had to get the neighbors to take us to get the pizza and soda and stuff all because our dad’s never around anymore. It’s hard only having one car in the fam. I wish I could get a car;’ her mind wandered as she worked.
“I think I’ve got it all picked in here, mom,” she called out, when she thought she’d picked up the last disposable cup. ‘Kid brothers,’ she thought, her irksome half smile transforming into her proud smile. “I have to admit; I can’t believe Jason A. Crenshaw is a high school graduate!”
“I can’t believe it’s midnight already,” said her mother, walking toward her, yawning and scooping up the last three cups.
“Oh did I say that out loud, that I can’t believe Jase is a high school graduate?”
“Yeah you were muttering something like that,” her mom replied, throwing the still half full cups into a trash bag.
“Well all I meant to say was you should go to bed, already, I got this. I know how tired you’ve been lately.”
“Well, alright thanks sweetie,” her mom replied, heading for the stairs.
“No prob mom, but ya know I still can’t believe my baby brother…” Kendal said, causing her mother to stop dead in her tracks.
“No me either… But what’s even more amazing is the way you still refer to him as you baby brother… You two are only a year apart,” she said, with a giggle that only seemed to further stress her already tired-looking face.
“Ha ha, yeah I know, but it tickles me! Anyway, I always felt a lot older than him,” Kendal replied, tossing her alabaster hair over her shoulder.
“Well that’s probably because you have that motherly thing with Jason… You have always looked out for him.”
“Yeah maybe…” Kendal replied, beginning to stretch and yawn. “Come on mom; it’s clean enough down here. Let’s both go up to bed,” she said, just as she nearly bumped into Jason.
“Hey, sis… Thanks for helping me throw a great party; now all I have to do is figure out what I’m gonna do with the rest of my life,” he said, his eyes suddenly shifting from Kendal’s eyes to the floor.
“Don’t sweat it so much; you’ll figure it out.”

‘I know she’s right,’ Jason thought, ‘but do I stay here in the city or move to a less congested city? I always wanted to leave Philly, but should I leave Pennsylvania?..… Well tomorrow Kendal and I are taking the bus into town to go car shopping, so with my own wheels I can live wherever I want… and I’ll have plenty of time to decide.’ he thought as he fell asleep, then woke up, then fell back to sleep.
Then around nine o’clock the next morning; Kendal stood at the bottom of the stairs screaming: “LET'S GO JASON,” as loudly as she could.
“Let me just grab my hat,” he hollered back, as he ran out of his bedroom.
As they rode to the used car lot, Jason stared out the windows at the rows of brick townhouses that seemed to never end. ‘Where do I want to live?’
“Whatcha thinkin’ bout?” Kendal suddenly asked.
“Oh… let me see… what I’m gonna have for LUNCH!” he snapped.
“Sor-r-r-y!” Kendal replied.
“Well, whadaya think I’m thinkin bout? I’m trying to decide what to do now that school’s over… plus I didn’t sleep very well… I musta worked every job known t o man in every city in Pennsylvania last night in my dreams… very disturbing.”
“Oh… you’re just thinking too much. Just get any ol’ job right now; live home and enroll in college like me.”
“Maybe someday, but I’m not ready quite yet for college! You are right about me staying home for now… good thing I was such a little miser as a kid of I wouldn’t have been able to save a couple grand for my first car! Not spending my birthday money every year and not spending all of my allowance on candy and the movies like most of my friends did really pay off!”
“Yeah;, you were always a saver.”
“Yeah; now I just have to decide what kind of job I wanna try and get.”
“Well, don’t get gross, but what do you like to do?”
“Play hockey.”
“Yeah, right, if only.”
“I know, I’m just kidding… let me think,” he said, tapping his chin with his index finger…” I know I don’t want to sit at a desk all day!”
“Well, you can always work with dad in his furniture store.”
“Oh no, I don’t like that idea; it would be a nice change to take orders from someone else for a while. Maybe I could wait tables?”

“That’s a good idea…. You’d make tips and probably do alright…. Oh, but at first they’ll have you bus tables; I’m sure.”
“That’s cool, I wouldn’t mind that… you know, just to start,” said Jason, as the bus stopped near the used car lot. Jason walked around the lot only once. He had his car picked out in about five minutes and a few hours later he hopped into his new 2004 Toyota Camry. He smiled and waved to his big sister as he drove off the lot and into a whole new phase of his young life.
After a brief period of celebrating with all of his friends; Jason landed himself a job as a busboy at Marra’s Italian restaurant, one of Philly’s finest. ‘Now I really feel like celebrating,’ he thought when he got the news. “Hey mom, I wanna have a few friends over tonight… like five or six of my…”
“As long as you aren’t pigs, not too noisy, and absolutely no drinking or anything… it’s fine with me, I’ll be in bed,” she replied with her near smile; the one she reserves for those unusual occasions she feels the need to warn her children of impending doom.
“You mean we can’t have soda to wash our pizza down?” Jason said with his most adorable smile. “I promise there won’t be any booze or anything. I just wanna hang out with my friends and have a little pizza and soda,” he said, kissing her cheek. “SWEET thanks Mama,” he said in his silliest voice.
“It’s ok, I trust you,” his mother replied.
Soon there were seven eighteen year olds knocking on the Crenshaw’s door. Jason was having the time of his life until his best friend Ryan mentioned something that wiped his smile off his face for the rest of the night.
“Too bad about your dad’s business,” said Ryan.
“What?” Jason replied, feeling a muscle pull in his neck as he suddenly turned to look Ryan in the eye.
“Well, I saw him walking around down town and he told me he’s losing money left and right.”
“Sometimes he goes into town to grab lunch or run errands and if he were losing money, don’t you think I’d be the first to know?”
“Oh… well I’m sure things will get better soon. Your dad thinks it’s just a slump; business will pick up again.”
“Yeah… I guess,” Jason replied, turning away from his friends and putting his hand over his face for a moment. “Well, it’s getting late; come on we have to clean this mess up. I promised my mom,” he said, turning around.
As he picked up the rest of the garbage; Jason kept thinking about what Ryan had told him about his father. ‘Is it possible Dad could be losing the business or his mind or both? Maybe I shouldn’t have taken that job at Marra’s and just worked for him. Maybe he needs me!’
“Hey, Jase….....” Tyler said, breaking his chain of thought. “I was just thinking; maybe I’ll go to work with your dad, I mean for him….... I think I would like that kind of work.”
“That’s nice and all, but I don’t expect you to change your life around for me or my father.”

“No, really, I’m serious, let me ask him… I really want to work in a furniture store; I think it would be fun!” Tyler persisted.
“Well… if you really do want to then go for it,” Jason replied. ‘Well, I guess I can stop feeling guilty now,’ he thought, as his company started heading for the door.
Then in the morning he went right back to thinking about it; as he drove in his new car to his first day on his new job. ‘This thing about my dad is still bugging me; my life is SO good right now, why does something like this have to happen to screw it up? No…….I have to focus on what I have to do; busing tables should be easy and I’ll be SO busy, the time will fly by…..I’ll have money……well……unless I have to start helping with bills…..but then in a couple of weeks I’ll get promoted to server and get those sweet tips!......Yeah, everything will work out,’ he thought.
He arrived at Marra’s Restaurant at exactly 8:50. ‘I’m a good ten minutes early so they’ll take me for a for real employee,’ he thought. He washed his hands and was tying an apron around his waist; just when he noticed a gray haired man approaching him.
“Hi….Jason?” the man inquired.
“That’s me,” Jason said, smiling and sticking out his hand.
“Good ta meecha kid. I’ll be your supervisor,” he said, shaking Jason’s hand. “Follow me.”
Jason followed the man into the kitchen. “What’ll I call you sir?” he asked, when he finally got his attention.
“Oh…..you can just call me boss…..no only kiddin’……call me Joe.”
“Okay Joe, what’ll do first?” Jason asked, trying to make sure his enthusiasm showed on his face.
“Just push this cart from table to table and clear off everything except the centerpieces; then make sure to clean all the crumbs off the tablecloth,” he said, pointing to the cart to his right.
“Okay Joe, I’ll get right to it,” Jason said, starting to push the empty cart toward the dining room.
“Hang on kid, first you have to stock the cart with a couple basins for the dirty dishes and stuff,” Joe said, gently grabbing Jason’s shoulder, “then you can start.” ‘Wow, that kid’s gonna be great!’ he mumbled, as he walked back to his office.
Jason worked quietly and steadily until Joe tapped him on the shoulder to tell him to take a break. “You’re doin a GREAT job kid; keep it up!”
“Thanks,” Jason replied, reaching for a clean towel to wipe his neck. He continued smiling and working until he finally punched the clock at 5:10 p.m. He was still sweaty and reeking of meatballs as he walked through the swinging kitchen doors of his home and greeted his mother. “Hey mom, what’s ta eat?” he asked, kissing the air in her direction.
“Hey sweetie; how was your first day?” she asked, smiling like crazy and throwing her arms around his sticky neck.
“Great……not very exciting…..I’ve got Italian music stuck in my head…..but I can get into it. Everyone’s real nice and the best part is I get to eat all the best Italian food I can handle. I ate a few hours ago, but now I’m ready for somma momma’s good eats,” he said, making circular motions over his stomach with one hand and looking under pot covers with the other.

“I guess all that hard work does work up your appetite, huh?” said his mother, gazing at him, with her big green eyes.
“Yup…..hey, how’s your appetite been? I noticed you hardly eat at all lately.”
“Yeah, my appetite isn’t what it used to be…..Well, Kendal’s going with me to my doctor appointment next week;”just then Jason’s phone rang interrupting her.
“Hello…..oh Tyler……well did you ask yet?” he inquired, being as vague as possible to keep he mother from knowing what he was talking about.
“Yeah, I asked him…..but I think you oughta talk to em’ yourself Jase…….he acted really strange when I saw him just now.”
“Whadaya mean strange?” Jason tried to say in a whisper.
“Well, he looked everywhere but at me when I asked him about a job. He even stuttered and I think I saw him shaking; somethins not right, I’m tellin ya,” said Tyler.
“Okay, talk to ya later,” Jason replied, with a worried look he couldn’t hide from his mother.
“Is something wrong with Tyler?” she asked.
“No mom……he was just telling me about some problems he’s having with some girl. Hey, ah….you know mom, you don’t look so good to me; I’m sure glad you’re going to see your doc next week,” Jason said, as he walked into the living room.
A few days later; Mrs. Chrenshaw spent the whole morning in bed, getting up only once to go to the bathroom. Kendal started making noise in the kitchen around 11:45 when her mother suddenly appeared at her side, startling her. “Mom, oh my God; you scared me. “Are you just waking up? It’s almost noon. Sit down. I’ll make you some lunch. I was just checking to see what I can make us; there’s some left over soup in here,” she said, disappearing into the refrigerator.
“Well, I’m not very hungry; just make me half a bowl,” her mother replied, staring down at nothing in particular on the table.
“Mom…..come on, you look terrible and you didn’t have breakfast, at least have a whole bowl of soup; a piece of bread wouldn’t hurt either…..” she went on, pulling her head out of the refrigerator.
“I’ll do my best, but I’m not promising anything,” her mom replied, trying to muster a smile.
“Whadaya want to drink?” Kendal asked, looking for the iced tea mix.
“I can get it myself,” her mom said, starting to stand up.
“Mom sit down! I’ll get it!” Kendal yelled, but just as she was turning around, her mother was already standing. She started taking a few steps and fell to the floor.

“Mom!” Kendal screeched, running to her side. “Oh my God; MOM PASSED OUT,” she screamed as she frantically searched for the nearest phone. She quickly retrieved the house phone from the living room and hit 911. An ambulance arrived shortly after that and Kendal rode in the back, holding her mother’s hand while making calls with the other, as the paramedics worked. Then Mr. Chrenshaw answered his phone. “Dad, mom passed out; we’re on the way Mercy hospital now. Meet us over there.” Then in a few seconds; she called Jason. ‘I know he’s working now, but I’m sure they’ll let him leave,’ she thought, as she counted the rings. “Come on Jase, answer,” she muttered. JASON…..oh my God; listen mom passed out….yeah…..we’re heading to Mercy hospital now. Kendal almost lost the fight against her tears as she hit the end button on her phone, throwing it quickly in her purse. Just as she thought they’d never get there, the ambulance pulled into the ER entrance and three paramedics jumped out and quickly pushed Mrs. Crenshaw’s stretcher through the automatic doors. Kendal listened intently to them quickly reporting all her mother’s vital signs and symptoms to the triage nurse and learned that dehydration and possibly malnutrition led to her passing out. Just as she felt her heart starting to slow to its normal rate; her mother started opening her eyes. Kendal’s face was becoming wet from the tears she’d been fighting, just as her father suddenly appeared by her side. “Dad,” she shouted, grabbing him around the middle.
“It’ll be okay….it’ll be…..sorry you h-had to g-o thr-ou-gh that a-long sweetness……I’d a been her soon-er…..but I had to tell my….my…guys….you know…what to do and …..what happened,” he said, looking everywhere but at Kendal as he spoke.
“Yeah….I know,” she replied, wrinkling her nose and staring into her dad’s tired looking eyes.
“Come on. I wann-na sit down,” he said, walking slowly toward the waiting area.
“Alright,” Kendal replied, reaching into her purse for a tissue as she walked behind her father. Just as she was sitting down she heard the sound of frantic feet, getting louder and louder. “JASON” she screamed, jumping to her feet.
“Wh-ere is she?”
“Take it easy; she’s awake now. The doctor will be out soon to tell us what’s going on,” Kendal said. Just sit and wait with dad and me. I think they’ll come to talk to us soon; luckily it’s a quiet day around here,” she said, with an unconvincing smile.
As they sat quietly; Kendal and Jason stared intently at their shoes with their dad between them. Suddenly Jason detected the sound of change jingling in their father’s pockets. He stared Kendal down to get her attention. As the sound continued; he could see the cause was coming from the way his father’s legs were jerking and twitching and it seemed he had neither awareness nor control. Kendal finally looked up and noticed the way Jason was trying to get her attention. They stared at each other over their father’s lap, concerned, but even more puzzled.
“First he can’t talk straight and now he’s shaking…..whadaya think is wrong with him?” Kendal whispered in Jason’s ear.
Jason shrugged his shoulders. Then suddenly; one of the doctors started walking toward where they were sitting.
“We ran a bunch of tests…..and……I’m really sorry to inform you…….one of the tests showed…..can I sit,” he asked, as he sat next to Kendal. Then he looked deeply into her eyes and said: “the test suggests your mother is suffering from a blood disease. We’re running more tests to make sure…..did either of you ever hear of leukemia?”

“LEUKEMIA;” isn’t that cancer of the blood?”
“Yes; I’m so sorry. We will be admitting your mother in about an hour or so……I want you two to know some people DO make it; they go into remission. We caught it early. We have a lovely chapel just down this hall to your left,” he said, pointing down the corridor.
Jason and Kendal walked slowly toward where their mother lay resting on a stretcher, not making eye contact, wiping their tear stained faces with their hands. The kissed her cheek and then drove home in silence.
The next day, having had little sleep; they sat at the kitchen table staring at the floor, exhausted, depressed and not eating the breakfast that they fixed in a trance-like state.
“You should eat Kendal,” Jason said; even though he hadn’t eaten a single bite either.
“Well so should you,” she whispered back. She had her hand on her cheek and her elbow on the table, as she stirred her coffee; still staring.
“I guess it’s like who could eat at a time like this!” Jason said suddenly, making Kendal jolt up to a straight position. “I mean….where’s God in all this….mom’s in the hospital with leukemia and something’s wrong with dad too!” Then he stood up quickly, pushing the table a little and stomped off to his room, “dam, son of a bitch….shit….”he mumbled, dragging his feet instead of stepping. “I don’t have to work today,” he mumbled in Kendal’s direction. “I’m going back to bed.”
“I’m calling school,” she mumbled back, as she went to her room too and curled up on her bed. “Oh yeah, I’m in college now, I don’t have to call. I can’t believe this is happening,” she repeated several times until she fell asleep.
The next morning, Kendal got up late and started making coffee. ‘God, I know Jase didn’t mean what he said yesterday morning; he knows you’re working on this,’ she prayed. Just as she started feeling a headache coming on; Jason stumbled into the kitchen. They sat there, trying to enjoy their coffee when the phone unexpectedly rang, startling both of them.
Jason jumped up and flew to answer it as if he knew it would be important. “Hey Jase!” the voice said. I really have to talk to you; Is this a good time?”
“Who is this?” Jason asked.
“This is Drew; you know from the store?”
“Oh sure; you work for my father.”
“Yes, well I’m sorry to bother you, but I didn’t know what else to do. I’ve been trying to reach your dad all day and for the past few days and his phone just rings and rings….He hardly shows up for work anymore. I hate to tell you this but; I am going to have to quit. I really don’t want to do this to YOU Jason. I swear to God, but I just can’t take it anymore. You Jase, you have been totally cool, really it’s not like I enjoy doing this to YOU, but….well all I can say is your dad is leaving me no choice…….I’m quitting as of right now.”
“What’s my father done?” Jason started questioning him, but he already hung up.

Right away Jason started yelling, “Kendal, I’ll be right back. I’m going over to the store.” Then he quickly left and started driving faster than he ever did before; then he did something else he knew he shouldn’t; he reached for his phone and called Tyler. As he waited for an answer, he could feel his heart starting to race and at the same time his foot pressed harder on the gas pedal. “Hey Tyler, I’m calling about the job at my dad’s store; call me back, it’s important,” he said in his message. Just as he was about to hit the end button; he heard sirens. He looked in his rear view mirror and it was the police motioning him to pull over and just as he was pulling over, his phone rang. “Hello,” he said, trying not to sound flustered.
Hello, this is the Philadelphia police department calling to let you know we just picked up your father for possession of heroin, needles and other paraphernalia.”
“Oh my God; I’ll be there as soon as I can,” he replied.
He hung up with that officer as he waited for the other one who he could see walking over to his car to give him a ticket.
“Officer,” he pleaded, “please understand; I have never speeded in my life. I’m trying to handle a lot of things. I was going to my dad’s furniture store to fill in until I can find a replacement for a guy who just quit and now I get a call from your department, telling me he’s just been arrested for possession of heroin.” Jason started sobbing and put his hands over his face.
“Um, believe me I do understand and I feel for ya……umm, but there is one little problem….I mean other than the speeding. I discovered when I ran your plates that um…..you don’t have any insurance. Follow me; we’ll go down to the station. We’ll take care of your issues, as well as your father’s….and ah….no speeding, okay kid? Oh and you better follow me or I’ll be forced to put a warrant out for your arrest.”
“Of course, I understand and I’ll follow you sir,” replied Jason; his voice shaking. He put his head on the steering wheel for a minute before he started driving. As he drove; he couldn’t help but think about his childhood. His dad was always cracking jokes and teasing him and Kendal. ‘How could he do this to us especially when mom’s been so sick, not that he even knows about it! How could he have changed so much and how could my own father let me drive without insurance? He always paid it before and I never had to check with him to make sure. I’m gonna have to take care of mom and Kendal and me all by myself,’ he thought.
When they finally arrived at the police station; Jason made a phone call as he walked. He knew he couldn’t wait any longer to call Tyler to get over to the store. “Hey Tyler can you please take the job like we talked about? My father’s been arrested.”
“Omg; of course I will. I’ll leave right now! All I have to do is find my keys. And don’t worry Jase; I’ll work for you guys as long as you need me to or want me to.”
“Ahhh….you have no idea how much that means. Thank you so much Tyler,” Jason replied, as he walked slowly into the police station, lagging behind the officer.
As soon as they entered the station; the officer looked at Jason and said: “before we get into anything; would you like to see your father?”
“No….not right now,” he replied, looking at his shoes.
“That’s fine…..Okay then, let’s sit down and have a little talk,” the officer said, pointing at his desk.

“I appreciate you being so cool about all this,” Jason said, as he sat down.
“Yeah, well I can’t just pat you on the head and send you home, but I’ll be decent to you. I can see you’ve kinda been a victim in all this…..however I hope you know and will understand you won’t be able to keep your car……just park it in your backyard until you can get your car insurance back….and …….just to let you know; that can be a real problem.”
“Why, whadaya mean?”
“Well after something like this happens, actually non-payment for ANY reason; most insurance companies won’t insure you…..they consider you a bad risk…..No one is gonna insure you until you pay what’s owed to the company your father was involved with….understand?”
“Yes sir,” Jason answered, wondering how he was going to get to his job the next day and thereafter.
“Well, whadaya think? Do you want to see your father now?” The officer asked again, with a concerned look on his face.
“All I wanna do is go home and crawl under the covers.”
“That’s fine, but just be warned, go straight home and no more driving until you get your insurance back. Do I have your word?
“Yes sir,” Jason replied. Then he drove home, half in a trance; his head swirling and aching. “I can’t wait to just lay down and get some rest….Kendal and I will talk about the no driving thing in the morning. I don’t know how I’m gonna tell her about dad. I would tell her today, but she’s spending the day with some school friends and I don’t want to spoil her fun. The best thing to do is just wait till morning and tell her everything,’ Jason thought, as he drove around his yard to the back. He parked his car and as he got out, he couldn’t help but think about how it would be the last time and he only had his car for such a short time. ‘Some day off, ‘he thought. He went inside. He decided not to feel sorry for himself. ‘It sucks, but I can’t be a cry baby. My family needs me. I’m the man of the house now. Even if they let dad out of jail; this family needs me now,’ he thought. He laid down on his bed and curled up on his side. He fell asleep even though it was only three o’clock in the afternoon. He slept for several hours and then around seven that evening he heard Kendal coming into the house. ‘I’ll talk to her in the morning,’ he told himself as he rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.
Then in the morning, still tired; he woke up early and went downstairs into the kitchen and started making coffee. ‘This is good,’ he thought, ‘I can use the peace and quiet to figure out a way to tell her, but just as he was sitting down at the table; Kendal came through the swinging kitchen doors.
“What’s up?” she asked.
Jason noted her puzzled look. ‘She knows something’s up,’ he thought. “Ahh…well you know how dad’s never home anymore and we’ve been wondering what’s going on with him? Well yesterday afternoon I found out…”
“Well what is it Jase? Don’t keep me in suspense, “she replied, as she sat down at the table.

“Well, hold onto your seat…..you won’t even believe it……see yesterday I got a call from this guy Drew….ya know from dad’s store?
“Yeah,” replied Kendal, impatiently.
“Well, he quit….so….I thought I better get down there and help out. I figured he musta left the store unattended. I was nervous about the store and dad and everything…..so…..I…..well I was going pretty fast. I don’t know how fast exactly….and well ahhh….I got stopped!”
“Oh no Jason!”
“That’s not even the really bad part…..while I was sitting there waiting for the cops to come to my window….….I got a phone call from another cop telling me dad has been arrested for possession of heroin,’ he mumbled, looking down at the table.
“HEROIN” You mean that’s what dad’s been doing all this time? Oh my God… Jason, what are we gonna do?”
“Well the first thing we’re gonna do is sell my car and the store. We can use the money to pay bills and stuff and I bet the mortgage hasn’t been paid. Later on, we’ll sell the house, but I think we need to focus on the car and store for now. I can look it up, but I think we need to get a power of attorney in order for us to sell our parent’s store.”
“Yeah….and as far as getting to work, you can just take the bus like you woulda had to if you hadn’t bought a car.”
“Yup,” he replied.
“Wow, all excellent ideas. I’m so proud of you. You are really growing up, kid brother and you know what? I can quit school and get a job. I’ll do whatever I can. And, ya know…. I know you don’t like talking about these things, but we were taught to pray and have faith…..so in times like this; we can stay strong,” Kendal replied.
“That’s what I’m doing, even though I don’t show it. As for you quitting school; you can just forget it. I don’t even want you to think about that. I can handle everything myself.”
“Okay, but please let me know if you run into any trouble; my offer stands.”
“I will, well; I better get ready for that bus ride! See you later sis,” said Jason, as he headed toward the door.
Jason got ready for work quickly and started the not too long walk to the bus stop. “I can’t believe my luck, having such a great job and the day mom fainted Joe let me leave early and I had the next day off,’ he thought, as he walked. ‘I gonna make this work…I’ll make the best of this bad situation. At least I have my sister.’ he thought, as the bus pulled up to the curb. Jason stepped up into the bus. He looked around at the other passengers, just staring out the windows. He walked slowly, trying to pick the best seat. ‘I don’t know why, but I feel like making a human connection. ‘People, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world,’ he sang the lyrics from the VERY old song he’s heard his mother sing dozens of times.

Then, he finally found a seat near a kid about his age and even more near a woman a bit older than he. ‘Wow, she’s gorgeous. I hope someday I have the courage to talk to her! Ah, maybe talking is the wrong thing to do anyway,’ then his phone rang; breaking his train of thought.
“Jason, the hospital just called. The nurse told me mom’s insurance hasn’t been paid and we have to take her home! She also said they can’t do anything else for her now anyway………she doesn’t have much time left and it would be better for her to be with family now. Anyway, I called my friend Nora, she has a car and she’s going with me to pick mom up.”
“Omg we shoulda realized this would happen, with the insurance I mean! Well, there’s nothing we can do about it now………Oh my God Kendal; I can’t believe we’re losing mom!”
“I know, but has tough as things are, we’re still gonna have to write up those Craig’s list ads tonight!”
“I know; we gotta get some money and pay some bills before we lose anything else……alright then, see you tonight Kendal.” Jason put his phone back in his pocket and sat up straighter in his seat. I can’t believe mom is really dying…..’I better take my mind in another direction,’ he thought. He looked around at the other passengers, this time noting more details about them. They all look so tired. That boy sitting alone looks so sad; I wonder what’s going on in his life. His clothes look pretty old; his sleeves are too short and his pants have holes. Across from him is an old guy. I smelled a pretty strong alcohol scent when I walked passed him. I wonder if he’s an alcoholic. I wonder if I’d be good at counseling someone like that,’ he thought, and then his phone rang again.
“Oh my God Jason; it’s one thing after another today. I just got the mail and they ‘re threatening to turn our power off!”
“Okay….I know how bad things are getting, but I’m getting paid tomorrow and they always give you a little time and that’s all we need, because we’ll be making money soon on those sales, between that and my pay, we should have more than enough.”
“Oh okay. I’ll quit panicking then. See you later Jase.”
“Yup, see you tonight.” Jason put his phone in his pocket and gazed out the window. ‘I was just starting to feel better too, except for mom that is. Oh God, please help us,’ he prayed, as the bus turned onto his stop. He walked off the bus slowly and stared at the ground the rest of the way to work. ‘I hope I can concentrate today,’ he thought, as he entered the restaurant. He managed to get through his morning and was sitting down to a Stromboli lunch, when he got a text: Just lettin u no we got mom home and shes all settled in bed:)
‘Good,’ Jason thought. ‘I think I’ll give Tyler a call now and see how things are going at the store. “Hey Tyler, I just wanted to call to see how things are going,” he said very boss-like.
“Fair, we made one sale so far today.”
“Okay, thanks for jumping right in the way you did. I really appreciate it, Jason replied.
“Np boss!” Tyler replied.

Later that day, when he came home from work; Jason kissed his mother on her cheek. “I’m glad you’re here,” he whispered, as he pulled the covers around her shoulders. Then he went downstairs to sit with Kendal to make up the Craig’s List ads. After that, he made a few calls and googled how to get a power of attorney he’d need to sell the store. Jason walked slowly up the stairs to his bedroom late that night. “What a day,” he mumbled to himself as he got into bed. ‘God please help us. Kendal and I need Your guidance Lord. Only You can save us! We are trusting You to do that for us God,’ he prayed and then he rolled over and fell into a deep and dreamy sleep.





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Peg Gifford 18 Jun 2014
I found this article riveting.... and so REAL. Can't wait until the next installment. Nice work, Linzy. Thank you.


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