Entry for Round 19 Roots and Wings Historical Writing Contest, fiction based on a truth
|Mrs. Jenkins was sitting in her seat in the waiting room, waiting to be called to receive her chemotherapy. This was her 3rd treatment, and she wasn’t looking forward to it. She pretended to look through the pages of the magazine she was holding as she glanced around the room at others waiting for the same fate.
There was another man and woman sitting in the seat across from her, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson. She met the lady during her last treatment. This lady was also receiving chemotherapy. There was a man sitting a couple seats down that she hadn’t seen before. Someone else was at the front checking in.
After Mrs. Jenkins had her last treatment, she had experienced extreme fatigue,nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Her poor husband didn’t get much sleep trying to keep her comfortable.
Before each treatment, her family went through a ritualistic house cleaning regimen. Everything had to be scrubbed and cleaned from ceiling to floors. This was to prevent germs from being in her environment as she was recovering from her chemotherapy. Sheets were placed over the couch and chairs to prevent the chemicals in her body from getting on the furniture as she sweated out toxins. If these chemicals didn’t kill her, the cancer would.
Mrs. Jenkins couldn’t help but wonder what would her family do without her if she didn’t survive this. Yes, it hurt so much, yet she knew she had to fight for her family’s sake. Who would her daughter get advice from when she was having issues in her marriage? Who would make sure her son would be able to make it through college? She wanted her grandchildren to remember her, and wanted so much to be a part of their lives.
All of a sudden, there was a little ruckus going on in the corner of the waiting room which jarred her from her depressing thoughts. A little girl, who looked around 3 yrs old, was running around and saying, “No, my cat got lose! I have to catch it! Here kitty kitty!”
Then out of the blue, Mr Thompson acted like he picked something up and ate it all while making sounds of what it would sound like if he swallowed a cat. This upset the little girl, and she ran over to her uncle who had sat down after being checked in. “Uncle Bob, that mean old man ate my cat!”
Without missing a beat, her Uncle Bob gets out of his seat and walks over in front of Mr. Thompson. “ Give the baby back her cat!”, he said.
So Mr. Thompson obediently, started coughing and acting like he was coughing up the cat he just swallowed. “Ok, I will give it back. It was scratching up my insides with its claws anyway!”
So the little girl’s uncle acted like he scooped up her imaginary cat and went back to his seat. The couple who walked in the door to the waiting room about a minute after must have thought it strange when they saw a grown man petting an imaginary cat. He had told the little girl, “You go ahead and play, Uncle Bob will watch your cat.”
Mrs. Jenkins took a look around, and the atmosphere in the room had changed. Instead of grim expressions on the people’s faces, there were smiles and adoration. It had even brought a smile to her own face.
Beep, Beep, Beep! I sleepily reached over to turn off the alarm. Wait! Where am I? Was that real? No, it was a dream.