There I Am by Ruthie Lindsey

There I Am by Ruthie Lindsey

Author:Ruthie Lindsey
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: 2020-04-21T00:00:00+00:00

* * *

When we get home, we wait for the new beginning we were hoping for. I wait for the pain to go away; Jack waits for the girl he married to arrive. He stays home with me as long as he can, bringing me breakfast in bed and making sure that I have enough pillows. People show up with dinner and cards and flowers every three days, Jack heats up lasagna after lasagna. He waits and he waits.

For a month, he walks me proudly around the block in my giant neck brace and short, bushy LPGA haircut. They told us the walking would make it better, would help me heal, so we walk for miles, we walk like our lives depend on it, but nothing changes. When I become less of a spectacle, the homemade chicken and dumplings stop arriving on the porch, the friends stop coming by, our mothers come for their visits and they go back home. Everything is quiet and we’re left in the pretty yellow house to try to find each other again, but we just can’t seem to do it. After six weeks the pain transforms into an awful searing, a constant burn. It feels like being bitten by red ants and I need my medicine all the time just to survive hour to hour. I panic when I can’t find the right pill at the right time and Jack has to calm me, he has to reason with me like the toddler we don’t have together. He gets frustrated and I don’t blame him: our new beginning has already begun, but the story is the exact same. He leaves for tour and though he’d never say it, I’m sure he’s glad to be gone.

I walk almost fanatically while he travels. They said it would make me better. I take my medicine fanatically. They said it would make me better too. I follow every instruction precisely and I wait for the chapter to end, for the redemption I’m owed to come to me. I walk past the perfect pine fence that encircles our property, a gift the Amish built to honor my daddy. I put my hands on it every day, trying to soak up all of him that I can. I walk down the street to the little garlicky restaurant at happy hour to watch pairs of girlfriends talk with their hands and splash cranberry juice and vodka on the sidewalk. Maybe if I just keep walking, I’ll find my way out?

“Just give it time,” Jack says chirpily on the phone from Milwaukee or Madison or Mars.

“I love you, babe.”

I don’t have any more time. We don’t have any more time. Come home.

There are a hundred things I feel but I don’t say, don’t feel that I can say anymore.

“I love you too.”

Four months go by, four months of walking and waiting and walking and waiting and trying so hard to make the new beginning begin. I get a fresh set of X-rays done to send to Mayo.


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