Small Edits

 

Edits are marked in italics.

I closed my eyes, hoping Brian would think I was going to sleep. He must have, because he didn’t say more. But then I felt a warm hand sneak onto mine, where I had rested it right above my pocket. Little by little I felt Brian sneak his fingers into my pocket. For the life of me, I couldn’t seem to lift my fingers to stop him. The world seemed a little greyer as my eyelids gravitated towards my bottom ones. Images of Dad, with his eyes glazed, floated through my mind, tugging at something inside of me that I couldn’t quite name. The temperature of the car seemed to heat up, as if Brian were fiddling with the heating, but I knew he was not.

“Why do you have a rock in your pocket?”

I peeked open one eye to find that I had dozed off. “Why not?”
“So we don’t have any dog biscuits then?” I followed Brian’s gaze and saw that a car had pulled up beside us, with a dog inside.

“Nope. Let’s go out and greet them.” I hurriedly stuffed Shelley’s rock back into my pocket and swung my legs out to stand up before the pins and needles sensation grabbed hold and opened the door for Brian. I glanced up briefly at the window of the medical centre, just enough to see that Mom was still inside, her jacket off.

A woman with a sleek ponytail and a rumpled shirt  ducked out of the car, holding the golden retriever by its leash. “Nice to meet you,” she said, noticing Brian right away.

If possible, the cold had lost some of its chill, but this lady wasn’t even wearing a jacket.

“Don’t dogs think it’s cold?” I asked her.

“Not with that heavy coat of fur.” The woman laughed.

Brian was petting the dog madly, so I continued. “We adopted a dog. But he was taken away to be trained because people say he’s too violent.”

“That’s too bad,” the woman said apologetically while crouching down next to Brian as he pet him. “I’d be devastated if someone took Old Yeller away. He used to be a difficult dog, too. Weren’t you, Old Yeller?” Now I noticed that she had a badge on her coat and the dog had a collar with a few extra tags on it, too. She seemed happy to let Brian pet Old Yeller as long as he wanted. “Now, what brings you two here?”

“There’s our mom in the clinic.” All the sarcastic words that I had stored inside dissipated. “She’s doing her best to get us up north to where our Dad is.”

“Oh, are you three the Kirkwoods?”

Both Brian and I looked up in surprise when she said that. “How do you know?”
“Greg Kirkwood’s recovery is one the biggest cases in the area. As you know, the population in these parts isn’t that large.” She laughed. “I may know you, but you don’t know me. I’m Alice, and I’m part of Team Kirkwood.”

Alice gently shut the door to her car, snow beginning to drift into its interior. Reaching into her pocket, she held something in her palm to Brian. Brian grabbed the dog treat excitedly and held it in his fist for Old Yeller to lap. The slobbering was too much for him; Brian relinquished the dog treat almost immediately. I clapped along with Alice, feeling the familiar envy of owning a dog simmer, but it was tamped down almost immediately with the memory of Fred staring at me as the vets took him away.

“Now, why don’t we get inside?” Alice nodded at Brian and let him hold onto part of the leash.

Suddenly, even though I had wanted to walk in with Mom, I didn’t want to know what she and the pretentious receptionist were talking about. It reminded me that we were still hours away from where Dad was stationed at a hospital even further up north, so far away that our home seemed remote by comparison. I touched that rock that Shelley had thrown at me and that I had later thrown for Fred to fetch and thought about throwing it with this dog to play. But instead I squared my shoulders and grabbed Brian’s hand. “Let’s go.”

We walked, connected together through our hands and to the dog through the leash, towards the featureless, blue building with hesitant steps. {deleted} “We’re so excited,” Alice said unexpectedly. “We’re making real headway with your father. He’s making an excellent recovery.” She pushed open the door. A blast of warm air, thawing parts of us that we hadn’t known were frozen, greeted us. Mom swung around, looking like a deer in the headlights, but not at us. She was looking at Alice.

Hiya, Alice! Welcome, Danny and Brian.” The receptionist greeted us and smiled warmly down at the dog as we squished into the small lobby. “And hiya Old Yeller. If it isn’t the best seeing eye dog in town.

“The only seeing eye dog in town.” Alice pet Old Yeller and nudged Brian, slipping a dog treat into his hand. Mom’s tense worry lines relaxed into a smile.

“Should I know you?” Mom asked, directing her question to Alice. She seemed smaller than ever in her traffic-cone orange puffy winter coat and hunched over from the cold even though it was several degrees warmer inside.

“I’m Alice. Latest addition to Greg’s medical team.” She extended her hand, and I noticed that her eyes weren’t quite focussing on Mom’s face. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Mom’s eyes danced between the Old Yeller and Alice before finally squinting at Alice and accepting her handshake. “You’re…the one working with Greg?” she asked, as if she wasn’t sure what she was saying.

“That’s the plan.” Alice pet Old Yeller’s golden head with her other hand.

Mom started, as if she had just noticed us. “Dan! Brian!” There was an edge of fear in her voice as she gathered us around her with her arms. I squeezed my shoulders together, avoiding being suffocating the puffy orange jacket in vain. “It’s going to be alright. We’ve got Alice.”

“It’s my pleasure,” Alice repeated. “As it is all of ours. We all care about Greg. We’re all happy to be able to bring you all back together.”

“So when we we get to see Dad?” Brian piped up, making Old Yeller perk his head up.

“Very soon,” Mom and Alice said at the same time. Mom coloured and Alice cleared her throat. “I’ll tell Greg that you’re coming up. Then you’ll all see each other.”

“What do you mean?” I felt my face heat up. I wanted to see Dad now, rather than later. Like with Fred, there was no better time than now. If we had delayed adopting him, we’d have had even less time with him than we did.

“Now, Dan, we have to let Dad rest and meet Alice first,” Mom began. I felt the whole office’s eyes on me, including Brian’s. But Brian’s weren’t apprehensive like everyone else’s. His were wide and excited. He held onto Old Yeller as if it were Fred. It didn’t matter that they had just met.

That was when it hit me.

Dad hadn’t recognized us.

Dad couldn’t see us.

Dad couldn’t see.

 

Previous edit:

I closed my eyes, hoping Brian would think I was going to sleep. He must have, because he didn’t say more. But then I felt a warm hand sneak onto mine, where I had rested it right above my pocket. Little by little I felt Brian sneak his fingers into my pocket. For the life of me, I couldn’t seem to lift my fingers to stop him. The world seemed a little greyer as my eyelids gravitated towards my bottom ones. Images of Dad, with his eyes glazed, floated through my mind, tugging at something inside of me that I couldn’t quite name. The temperature of the car seemed to heat up, as if Brian were fiddling with the heating, but I knew he was not.

“Why do you have a rock in your pocket?”

I peeked open one eye to find that I had dozed off. “Why not?”
“So we don’t have any dog biscuits then?” I followed Brian’s gaze and saw that a car had pulled up beside us, with a dog inside.

“Nope. Let’s go out and greet them.” I hurriedly stuffed Shelley’s rock back into my pocket and swung my legs out to stand up before the pins and needles sensation grabbed hold and opened the door for Brian. I glanced up briefly at the window of the medical centre, just enough to see that Mom was still inside, and had taken off her jacket.

A woman with a sleek ponytail and a rumpled shirt  ducked out of the car, holding the golden retriever by its leash. “Nice to meet you,” she said, noticing Brian right away.

If possible, I felt like I had gotten used to the cold, but this lady wasn’t even wearing a jacket.

“Don’t dogs think it’s cold?” I asked her.

“Not with that heavy coat of fur.” The woman laughed.

Brian was petting the dog madly, so I continued. “We adopted a dog. But he was taken away to be trained because people say he’s too violent.”

“That’s too bad,” the woman said apologetically while crouching down next to Brian as he pet him. “I’d be devastated if someone took Old Yeller away. He used to be a difficult dog, too. Weren’t you, Old Yeller?” Now I noticed that she had a badge on her coat and the dog had a collar with a few extra tags on it, too. She seemed happy to let Brian pet Old Yeller as long as he wanted. “Now, what brings you two here?”

“There’s our mom in the clinic.” All the sarcastic words that I had stored inside dissipated. “She’s doing her best to get us up north to where our Dad is.”

“Oh, are you three the Kirkwoods?”

Both Brian and I looked up in surprise when she said that. “How do you know?”
“Greg Kirkwood’s recovery is one the biggest cases in the area. As you know, the population in these parts isn’t that large.” She laughed. “I may know you, but you don’t know me. I’m Alice, and I’m part of Team Kirkwood.”

Alice gently shut the door to her car, where snow was starting to get in. Reaching into her pocket, she held something in her palm to Brian. Brian grabbed the dog treat excitedly and held it in his fist for Old Yeller to lap. The slobbering was too much for him; Brian relinquished the dog treat almost immediately. I clapped along with Alice, feeling the familiar envy of owning a dog simmer, but it was tamped down almost immediately with the memory of having owned Fred, however briefly.

“Now, why don’t we get inside?” Alice nodded at Brian and let him hold onto part of the leash.

Suddenly, even though I had wanted to walk in with Mom, I didn’t want to know what she and the pretentious receptionist were talking about. It reminded me that we were still hours away from where Dad was stationed at a hospital even further up north, somewhere so high that our home seemed remote by comparison. I touched that rock that Shelley had thrown at me and that I had later thrown for Fred to fetch and thought about throwing it with this dog to play. But instead I squared my shoulders and grabbed Brian’s hand. “Why don’t we?”

Connected together through our hands and to the dog through the leash, we approached the featureless, blue building with hesitant steps. The truth lay inside there. Inside, busybodies were working towards solving our dad’s case and jogging his memory again, making the image of Dad’s blank face seemed a little less frightening. And even if all those news stories turned out to be true, at least for this moment, they were still unproven.

“We’re so excited,” Alice said unexpectedly. “We’re making real headway with your father. He’s making an excellent recovery.” She pushed open the door. A blast of warm air, thawing parts of us that we hadn’t known were frozen, greeted us. Mom swung around, looking like a deer in the headlights, but not at us. She was looking at Alice.

“Hey Alice! Hey Danny and Brian.” The receptionist greeted us and smiled warmly down at the dog as we squished into the small lobby. “And hey Old Yeller. The best seeing eye dog in town.”

“The only seeing eye dog in town.” Alice pet Old Yeller and nudged Brian, who fed him another dog treat. Mom’s tense worry lines relaxed into a smile.

“What brings you hereabouts?” That was Mom asking. I desperately wondered what she had been talking to the receptionist about. It clearly wasn’t just to ask directions.

“I’ve been brought onto Kirkwood’s medical team, of course.” She extended her hand, and I noticed that her eyes weren’t quite focussing on Mom’s face. “Pleasure to meet you, Laura.”

Mom shook her hand as if it were a robot’s that she wasn’t sure was nice or evil. “And you too…Alice.” She shook her head. “Sorry. I should be more warm. It’s just that I’ve just been told about you. About what you do.”

“It’s my pleasure,” Alice repeated. “As it is all of ours. We all care about Greg. We’re all happy to be able to bring you all back together.”

“So when we we get to see Dad?” Brian piped up, making Old Yeller perk his head up.

“Very soon,” Mom and Alice said at the same time. Mom coloured and Alice cleared her throat. “I’m just going up to work with him first. Then you’ll all see each other.”

“What do you mean? Work with him?” I felt my face heat up. I wanted to see Dad now, rather than later. Like with Fred, there was no better time than now. If we had delayed adopting him, we’d have had even less time with him than we did.

“Now, Dan, we have to let Dad rest and meet Alice first,” Mom began. I felt the whole office’s eyes on me, including Brian’s. But Brian’s weren’t apprehensive like everyone else’s. His were wide and excited. He held onto Old Yeller as if it were Fred. It didn’t matter that they had just met.

That was when it hit me.

Dad hadn’t recognized us.

Dad couldn’t see us.

Dad couldn’t see.

Larger edit (original): https://lawnchairair.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/childrens-lit-ramblings/

 

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