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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1977101-The-Many-Faces-of-Love-988-words
Rated: E · Short Story · Contest · #1977101
Not your traditional Valentine's Day. The Writer's Cramp 2/13/14 Prompt, due 2/14/14
“Ten more minutes,” Sandy mumbles as she reaches out to smack the alarm clock.

Falling back into what she calls her best sleep of the night, visions of a romantic dinner and beautiful flowers fade and bottles of pills take center stage.

“Oh crap,” she growls as she reaches out to turn off the clock.  Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she climbing out from beneath the warm covers strewed about the couch.  “Sorry Trouble,” she tells the giant dog resting beside the couch.

“Mom needs her meds,” she says as she pats the dogs head and slips on her shoes.  “Maybe she will be feeling ok and this will be a quick trip.  Hop up here and keep my spot warm.”

Bundled in her heavy coat and goofy looking hat, she heads out of the kennel office and tries to slip through the kennel toward the stairs without waking all the giant dogs.  This is the 16th day she has slept at the kennel where she can be closer to her ailing mother. 

The night brought a heavy snow so Sandy grabs a snow shovel as she heads out the back door and begins her trek up the steps.  Stomping through and shoveling the 14 inches of snow that fell.  “God please let her be feeling ok.  Let’s just take a few pills and go right back to sleep,” she mumbles to herself.

Opening the door she sees her mother sitting slumped and shrouded in blankets on the edge of her queen size poster bed.

“Hey beautiful,” she says with more cheer in her voice than she is feeling.  “Boy they weren’t kidding when they said we were going to get slammed with snow.”

Looking up with a heartbreaking look of age and exhaustion, her mother says, “Hey kid.”

“How you felling?”

“It’s 3:30 in the morning, I’ve been in and out of the hospital for going on three weeks,” she chirps with sarcasm.  “I feel just great.”

“Trouble said to give you kisses,” Sandy says with a smile in her voice.

“She’s such a good girl.  Did she keep you warm last night?”

“Oh yeah, she took the couch and I got the corner,” Sandy said.  “She finally got up and let me have the whole couch about midnight.”

Refilling her mother’s drink and sorting through bottles of pills Sandy asks, “Do you think you need a nausea pill?

An hour and a half later, Sandy makes her way back down the stairs brushing aside the newly fallen snow.  “Just how I planned to spend Valentine’s Day,” she thinks.

***

“Ten more minutes,” Sandy mumbles as she reaches out to smack the alarm clock.

Barking dogs and wagging tails make all attempts to go back to sleep pointless.  Trouble presses her big, cold, wet nose against Sandy’s tired face and the sun peaks through the window.  “Ok.  Ok.  I’m coming,” she mumbles as once again she trades the warm covers for the cold shoes and coat.

Thirty minutes later, she is begins her trek up the stairs as the first group of Saint Bernards romp about the large kennel yard.
 
Entering her mother’s apartment she says, “Happy Valentine’s.”

“Is it Valentine’s Day?” her mother asks as she reaches for the drink sitting on her bedside table.  “I’m sorry.  You should be out with Danny enjoying a romantic day.”

“Don’t be silly.  We’ve been married over 20 years.  Valentines is just another day,” Sandy says.

“Maybe for you, but Danny is silly about things like that,” her mother says.  “I know he must hate me for messing up your life.”

“Now who’s being silly?  Danny understands.  It’s not like you got sick on purpose.”

Following a half dozen pills and a light breakfast, Sandy makes her way back down the stairs.

Getting the first group of dogs back in and setting down their freshly prepared breakfast, Sandy lets out the second group just as the phone in her pocket begins to ring. 

“Good morning babe,” she says.

“Hi honey.  You want coffee?”

“Hum, let me think.  Uh, yeah,” she replies in jest.

“Meet me at the gate.”

“Ok.  Could you bring me my heavy boots, a pair of jeans and dry socks while you’re at it?” she asks.

“Sure, just give me five minutes and I’ll head that way,” he replies.

Back from the long walk in the deep snow, Sandy gets group two in and group 3 out.  “You guys love this don’t you,” she says as she towels off the snow covered dogs and put down more food.  “Grandma will be all better soon.  She misses you so much.”

Back up the stairs and fixing a mid-day snack for her mother, Sandy says, “You seem a little better than yesterday.  Maybe you’re about to turn the corner and get over this.”

“Maybe.  I still just feel so weak and tired,” her mother replies as she sips her juice and takes another pill.  “I do feel like I might could eat something a little more solid.”

“Danny made a beef roast, mashed potatoes and gravy last night,” Sandy says.  “Could you eat something like that?”

“Maybe.  It sure sounds good.”

“I’ll bring some up after I go home to eat my breakfast,” Sandy says.  “I’ll be back in a couple hours if you think you’re ready for a nap.”

“Ok.  I think I could sleep a bit.”

***

Breathing hard and shaking the snow off her boots , Sandy stands dumbstruck as she opens the front door of her home. 

“Danny,” she calls as she steps inside.

“Happy VD” he says as he helps her out of her coat and escorts her to the flower and candle adorned table set with hot coffee, fresh biscuits, ham and eggs.  “I love you more and more with every passing day,” he adds as he picks up the card laying on her plate and places it in her hands.
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