Last night, we called Todd in Los Angeles because his sisters are three brunettes in a tight situation with unlimited in-network minutes. Todd told us difficult news: he was coming back to Virginia but not until Thursday. Completely bummed, we poured ourselves glasses of wine and embarked on a three-state eating spree. Next thing we knew, we’d slaughtered some defenseless freezer spring rolls and a pint of Vermonty Python. Oh, the carnage of the chocolate cows!
This morning, nobody slept. When Dara got up at 6:10 to get ready for school, I was already awake. Since I’m sleeping on the floor of Dad’s office with a red-furred cat named Atticus who rearranges my hair every night, my hair stands up in dramatic curls every morning and this morning was no exception. I came downstairs looking like Carmen Miranda with an extra fruit chapeau. Daria had already taken Dara to the bus stop half a mile away because neither of them had slept, and it turned out Darla hadn’t slept much either. Essentially, it sucked to be us when the phone rang at 8 and I sprinted to Darla with a hospice nurse on the cordless. A few minutes later, Daria, Darla and I clutched tea and coffee cups for dear life during this conversation.
Darla: Your father had pressure in his chest last night. I told the hospice people he could tell he wasn’t having a heart attack because he’s had one and recalls the sensation vividly.
Tata: Right, right, you told us. It felt like an obstruction in his throat, you said.
Darla: They didn’t believe me so they called back 10 hours later in a panic.
Tata: That’s service!
Darla: He had lesions on his lung so maybe the cancer’s pressing now on his bronchia.
Tata: Would he enjoy a tasty glass of refreshing whiskey with his morphine?
Daria: Oh, Todd told us last night he’s coming back on Thursday. He’s got a throat thing.
Darla: Good for him. We cannot have a throat thing.
We heard a noise at the side door and froze. Because I’m small but fierce in a Nobody’s getting past me to see Dad uninvited-sort of way, I turned the corner in confrontation mode and burst out laughing. I unleashed a laughable tae bo move and ducked back in the kitchen to get out of the way.
Darla: We were just talking about you!
Daria: The words were still hanging in the air: “Todd’s coming back on Thursday.” What are you doing here?
Todd: I hung up the phone and half an hour later I was on a plane.
Tata: You’d better gargle with warm salt water, dude, nobody needs a throat thing.
And then, an extra set of hands to carry the weight lightened the load. It’s not all right, but it’s better. Well, alas for the poor chocolate cows.