THE GATHERING TURNED out to be an hour long. It could have gone on longer had Adrian not had some unfinished business to attend to regarding his girlfriend. After talking to him, Allison generally felt better — like she did every time. They both agreed to meet again, not on a set date per se, but soon.

She went home and devoted her time back to writing. Though much like what happened earlier, for an hour she sat waiting for inspiration to strike, her mind was blanked out half the time. Out of frustration, she crossed out the few notes she jotted down and started over.

While she could not be more disturbed, her mother called. Taking into account the recent gloom at home, she had not the interest in listening to her brag about her privileged, pampered life spent with her father, and had been daringly dodging her calls since last Thursday. She was seriously considering ignoring it again had her phone not kept ringing. Knowing her mother’s temper, she decided to end this unrelenting chase.


Brenda was glad to hear her daughter’s voice, although ever so slightly expressing her anger out of concern. “Your father and I were worried sick! I must have left over twenty voicemails but you never called back!”

“I’m fine, Mom. And I did call back, once. I left you a message.”

“No excuse! Where have you been these past few days and what have you been up to?!”

“I’m not doing a whole lot, staying home mostly. Still dealing with insomnia, but I’m getting better.”

“Really? Did you try that massage therapy I recommended?”

“As a matter of fact I did, but it didn’t help.”

“Then what did?”

“Well — I visited a shrink yesterday. She gave me a prescription which seems to be working.”

“Are you actually seeing a psychiatrist?”

“I saw a psychiatrist. I will not go back again.”

“If it’s helping you, you should. In fact, I suggest Dr. Carter, if you will. Do you remember Dr. Carter? He’s reputable in his field and he knows your medical history well.”

How could I forget him, Allison thought regarding the Nobel Prize nominated doctor, who was practically family in her parents’ eyes.

“Don’t push it, Mom. I can take care of myself.”

“What’s the name of the doctor you are seeing?”

“Lisa Cooke.”

“Never heard of her.”

“She has an office in Minneapolis.”

“Is she even qualified?”

“She’s fine, but like I said, I don’t plan on going back.”

“Don’t say that so soon. You never know when it comes to medication. It might seem to work one day and then it doesn’t the next. Anyway, just mull over what I said before you reject it completely, okay?”

“About what?”

“About Dr. Carter.”

“Fine,” she concurred just to make happy her mother, who then moved on to ask about Daniel.

“He’s still grieving.”

“What is there to grieve about?”

“Mom, please. Not now.”

However tragic, Brenda only regarded Megan’s unexpected passing as karma well deserved for destroying her daughter’s otherwise perfect marriage. “Darling, things like that don’t just happen without a righteous reason. Out with the evil, in with the good they say. It’s evidence that God is watching over you both. You should be thankful.”

“Thankful for someone’s death?”

“Not just any random person of course, but certainly an evil one at that —”

“Alright, Mom, I get it. I have to go run some errands now. Say hi to Daddy for me.”

“Actually, just one more thing before you go.”

“What is it?”

“Your father and I are going to the Bahamas on the 25th. We would like you and Danny to join us.”

“To go on a trip with you guys?”

“That’s what I said.”

“How come?”

“How come? We haven’t seen you both for so long, your father especially misses his precious little girl. Plus, you kids can probably use a vacation away, to reconnect. It will be a short one, just over the weekend.”

“I don’t know. Let me talk to Dan about it first.”

“Tell him to just say yes and don’t worry about the airfares or accommodations. Your father will take care of all that, okay?”


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