Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Adulthood (07/30/09)
TITLE: A Meeting of the Minds
By Judy Doyle
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She quickly twittered her friends. “Mom had a stroke. Will call you later.” She hurriedly dressed in her jeans, pullover sweater, and her Idina boots. Although it was early in the morning, Catherine wanted to look her best. She pulled a brush through her long, brown hair and brushed her teeth. She emailed her staff, “Will not be in Monday. Contact our London office. Complete project by 5:00 Monday.” With all the necessary notifications done, she grabbed her keys and headed to the garage.
Mom your timing is lousy! she thought and wasn’t surprised she was perturbed. They hadn’t had a close relationship since her father had left them. Catherine blamed her mother.
The city lights could be seen on the horizon. Catherine’s heart raced, her fingers drummed the steering wheel. It was a nervous habit. Gripping the wheel tightly she exited the interstate. Fearing what she would find, Catherine parked near the emergency room.
The cold morning air took her breath away or perhaps it was the apprehension she felt. She approached the nurses’ desk. Frustration filled the professional woman. She was accustomed to someone responding immediately to her needs, wants and questions. Now she had to wait, and patience wasn’t her greatest attribute. She drummed her fingers on the desktop.
“May I help you?” the receptionist asked unperturbed.
“Yes, my mother, Julia Green, is a patient here. I think she’s in ER.” She waited for the receptionist to check the computer.
“Oh, yes, Mrs. Green is in room six. Through the double doors and to the right.” Catherine started down the hallway and didn’t even thank the lady.
“I’m Catherine Green. How’s my mother?” She clipped off the question as if she was the one in charge rather than the doctors.
“I’m Dr. Meredith. Your mother suffered a massive stroke. She is unable to speak and is paralyzed. If she survives, she’ll need twenty-four hour care.”
“May I see her?”
The doctor showed her to the room.
“Mom, it’s Catherine. I’m here to take care of you. Don’t worry about anything.” She took her mother’s hand and caressed it tenderly. She was surprised by the sudden feeling of love she had for her mother. The lack of response from her mother disappointed her. She stayed most of the day. As the sun set, Catherine leaned over and kissed her mother’s forehead and added, “I’ll be back, Mom.”
Sleep eluded Catherine, so she got up. Never one to waste time, she began gathering items for her mother’s stay in the hospital and nursing home. As she reached in the back of her mother’s dresser, her hand touch a book. She pulled it out. It was her diary.
Catherine gulped as anxiety seized her. She’d begun writing in the diary as a young teen and had been brutally honest. She read some of the entries and shook her head. She couldn’t believe she'd been so petty. She thumbed through the book and found a note paper-clipped to a page.
She had written, “Dear Diary, I’m so tired of mom telling me what to do. 'Clean you room! Do your homework! Wash and dry the dishes!' She’s always ordering me around. I can hardly wait until I’m an adult. She won’t have me to order around then.”
Catherine’s mother had written, “Dearest Catherine, I hope you’ll forgive me for reading you diary. I hadn’t heard from you for such long time, I hoped it might bring you closer to me. My dear, you’ll always have responsibilities. Although the owner of your own business, you still have a responsibility to your employees. I only wanted you to be a responsible young adult. You have become that and more. Love, Mom.”
Tears stung Catherine’s eyes. She hurried back to the hospital. As she entered her mom’s room, she saw her mother was awake. There was a softness in her mom’s eyes.
“Mom, I read the note you wrote in my diary,” Catherine began. She grasped her mom’s hand and continued. “I’m sorry I was such a brat. I was angry because dad left us. I took it out on you. Will you forgive me?”
A tear tripped down her mother’s cheek as mouthed, “Love you, too.”
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