The Middle – Part II

Stella sat in the waiting room at her physician’s office. Two people were in front of her. A boy sat in the corner and doodled on the table while his eyes were fixed on her. He smiled slightly and approached her “will you play with me?”; Stella looked around, confused, “I’m sorry, I have a very bad headache and I think it’s your turn”, the doctor called in the boy with his mother as he looked down in disappointment.

Before closing the door, the physician looked at Stella – she had been seeing him since she was a little girl. “Stella, you just missed your dad. Need a prescription?”

“Oh. Umm… I’m not sure. I fainted and now I have a headache.”

“Here you go,” he ripped off a page of his prescription notepad and handed it to her. “This should take care of it.” He winked at her and closed the door behind him.

“Thank you”, she muttered as she lifted herself up and went straight to the pharmacy before she went back to the office.

 

The weekly meeting took place in the advertising agency’s large conference room. About twenty people were assembled around it, pretending to pay attention to their superior: Judith, a woman in her forties. Stella pushed the glass door open and apologized for being late. “You’re a day late, what happened to you?” Teri hissed from her left.

“I fainted again, and I slept for two days straight”, Stella whispered. “It was never this long. What’s happening?” – “I don’t know.” Teri sipped her Starbucks Vanilla Latte as she sank deeper into her chair, eyeing Stella. She looked too good to have mental issues.

The meeting went on for an hour; everyone was dismissed and went back into their box. Judith walked by Stella’s desk and paused “How’s your dad?” – “Umm… fine. Thanks for asking.”

“Sure. Tell him, I hope he feels better. And you too… your last piece was terrible.” She stomped away.

 

Stella pulled her Toyota into the driveway of her parent’s house. She wanted to know what her father was doing at the doctor’s earlier. Her mom was standing by sink, doing the dishes… as usual.

“Hey mom. Is dad in?” She kissed her on the cheek.

“Heeyyy; I didn’t know you were going to stop by. Sure. He’s in his chair.”

Stella went to the back of the house where she found her father sitting in his arm chair, playing chess with himself.

“Dad, are you ok?”
“Stella… what a nice surprise. I didn’t know you were going to…”
“I know, hi, dad… what were you doing at the doctor’s office today?”
His eyes widened… she knew, he thought. She must know. His cigarette was gleaming in the ashtray. He explained that he had had terrible headaches and his sleep apnea had gotten worse. Mom had sent him over there to get a prescription – any prescription.
He wasn’t sure if she had noticed while he took his cigarette “You know, you should really quit that. Whatever you have, smoking’s not gonna make it better”.
“With a little luck, it’ll make it stop soon…” he replied sarcastically.

Stella left her parent’s house to go home. She went towards her car when she heard a noise from the backyard. The smell of smoke and ashes was pungent, but she was out in the open. The air was supposed to be fresh.

She followed the noise to her backyard and found her dad talking to someone. She couldn’t see who it was, but it didn’t seem like a pleasant conversation. “I told you not to tell her” – “I didn’t, I swear”. She knew the other voice, but couldn’t put a face to it.

There was a muffled sound, like a petanque ball falling onto wet grass. The voices became silent. She heard the back door screen shut and sneaked all the way to the backyard. There was a man lying face-down in the grass, a gunshot wound in the back of his head.

Stumbling backwards, Stella almost fell over. She ran towards her car, fumbled with her keys and almost forgot how to drive. Why would her dad shoot this guy? What had he done to him?

Fear overcame her. She was on her way to the Interstate Highway when she had to pull over. She was hyperventilating, panicking, and was out before she could call for help.

1984
“Do you wanna go swimming today” Teri had knocked on Stella’s door. It was early morning, just after breakfast.

“Sure, let me get my bathing suite”.

(#My500Words Day 28)

Read part I: The End

Read part II: The Middle – Part I

 

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