Copyright© 2020 by Olga Chinka
Today is the day that I go home! I was discharged from the hospital this morning. Before leaving, I got to visit with Taylor. She is still being treated for her poisoning. Given charcoal on a regular schedule, her doctors are too worried to release her just yet. It makes me furious to know that someone intentionally put the poison in the drink. I feel more guilty because that poison was not even meant for her. It was meant for me. The choir director at my church had tried to poison me after brutally assaulting my neighbor. What could have possibly compelled him to do such a thing?
The thing I needed most was answers and I would get them soon. Dad informed me that Mrs. Wheeler was already discharged and recovering at home. He told me I could even go visit her when I was feeling up for it and I plan to as soon as I get a chance.
Mom and dad picked Jane and I up from the hospital and it felt surreal pulling up to the house. First thing I noticed as I made my way to the door were the broken bushes on the side of the house. Mr. Whitmore’s fall had damaged them, and the responding officers must have trampled on what remained. I looked up to where my window was. It did not look too high off the ground, but it must have hurt falling from such a height.
The warmth from my home was a welcome greeting. I took off my shoes and coat and was surprised to see the Christmas tree. It was the day after Christmas and the presents remained untouched. Every year we wait for Christmas morning with such anticipation. We become consumed with wonder at what could be in the boxes. As I look at them now, I feel indifferent. It’s just stuff. The innocence of Christmas has been taken from us and adding more material possessions seemed insignificant in the grand scope of things.
Lost in my thoughts, I jumped when my mom put her arm around my shoulder and kissed my cheek. “Well open them as soon as you’re ready honey.”
I nod and my mom continues, “I made a light lunch before we left. Let’s see if we can get some food in you.”
My family gathers in the dining room and although I can feel my stomach grumbling, I am too scared to eat. Mom pours me a cup of tea and I put a small sandwich on my plate.
“Did Mrs. Wheeler tell anyone why Mr. Whitmore attacked her?” Jane gets right down to business.
“No one knows yet” dad answers in between sips of coffee. “She already talked to the police but hasn’t said a word to anyone else.”
“I wonder if she saw something she shouldn’t have?”
“Something big must be going on if he actually attacked her for it” I reason. “Does she know that I was attacked too?”
“She does know, your dad and I visited her in the hospital yesterday” My mom looks at my untouched plate and then at me, “not hungry yet?”
“It hurts to eat. I’ll just stick with tea for now.”
“Are you up for a visit with her? She asked us to send you over when you got home.”