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"So, ya come here often, missy?" was the question that had slipped the bitter lips of a county man whom I had never in my life met, and did not, for the time being, seem to admire. "Excuse me, sir!" I exclaimed. He looked at me in a strange sort of manner and soon commented, "Oh, sorry. It's just- when I look into your eyes; I see what I used to see in my daughter's. You' re-" He cut himself off, mumbled something to himself, and said" It is nothing. Couldn't possibly be!" I looked at him in a way that says 'If you don't go away, creep, you're gonna get yourself sent away. YOU'RE SCARING ME!" It was then that the structure of his face seemed somewhat familiar… his teeth, jagged and small from the many years spent grinding them to dust, and his hair, long, black, dirty, and the kind that really makes you want to smooth it back. You then watch in reverence as it swoops easily back down to his rough head.
I just had to speak now, for I could not forever hold my peace. "Might I know you from somewhere?" To which he replied, "Why, the whole state of Michigan already knows me from somewhere, Madame. This is because though I have been quite the loner since my daughter died, and wife kneeling by her bed, I have still made my way through all the town- making myself known by any means whatsoever." The name Alicia really rang those sweet bells in my mind, yet I could not place with it a face. I began thinking diligently. Maybe I met her as a child, at my home on Reflection Street. Shall I ask her age, or would that bring him down more? I asked anyway, for only pondering this question would probably get me nowhere but back to the start. "Sir, how old might this Alicia be, as of now?" "She turned twenty-eight a couple of months ago, though her birthday was celebrated for the first year ever underground. How miserable he seemed! Honestly, I did not mean to interfere with his personal life, especially to upset him!
He sprang back into life in only a matter of minutes. I pondered some while longer, as he stepped away to smoke a cigar. Soon, I had been caught in a rather odd trance: I vaguely remembered a scene occurring sometime during childhood where someone was calling my name in a panic-struck voice. I could remember later being in a very tall man's lap crying my eyes out, and yet, I was also very confused. This confusing me further, I tried not to find what it was I was crying about, but rather why I have just remembered it, briefly, and so vaguely.
She was of very close relationship; I was awfully sure of it. This was a very deep, yet very certain observation. Thinking of these observations further, I wondered if she could be a blood relative of some sort. "By any chance, might Alicia have known someone by the name of Annie, or perhaps Annabelle?" Realizing I had brought up a dreadful memory of his, I immediately backed off the subject of myself-or Annie. I was very curious of what I had brought up, so I took a stab at some possibilities. I was struck by the fact that I may be of relationship with them both.
The man stared at his shoes, rocking monotonously back and forth, as he said, "My daughter's name was Annabelle, but she preferred to be called Annie. Alicia and Annie were known as the 'Double A's' by neighbors." With this being said, he looked into my light, intently fixed brown eyes and once more shook his head slightly. "They were my entire reason for living and I planned to commit suicide after their death. What convinced me not to were the first words from my uneducated brother, Sean, since 1903, were "Shoot ya' self and you'll jes' end up in a mental hospital worse off din before, trust me, brudda'." A slight tear could be seen gliding down the tip of his rounded nose.
I had fallen dreadfully ill a few weeks later. Once in the doctor's office, Dr. Phil examined me carefully as he usually would. I would not visit any other doctor in Michigan; I had the only one who would not say "Hmm…. Hum! Well? Ah, this is interesting." Then, when you ask what was so interesting he says, "Oh, nothing. You just need to take these pills. It's nothing serious." I wonder if they think this makes them sound sophisticated, because it really doesn't! Anyway, he told he was glad to see me again and to come back tomorrow, so he can be sure of what I had picked up. On my way out, I saw the countryman I had met in the hotel lobby, standing in the office doorway!
We walked home together when he was out from the doctor's office (He was getting a check- up from a long time missed), both sort of off in our own little world. He began, "Annie knew her mother had been sick, and soon grew tired of seeing her in that condition. She snuck out of the house one evenin' when we had our backs turned and killed herself. She had a concussion and to my knowledge died. And, honestly, I haven't seen that child since the third day in the hospital."
Suddenly, the wildest thought came upon me. What if somehow I had been 'that child'? After all, I do recognize this man, the name Alicia and also, I remembered something from my childhood of me crying in a tall man's lap. In addition, my name is Annabelle according to…well; everything's so vague I seem to have forgotten. I glanced at the man, thoughtfully glaring at me again. Somehow, this was comforting and disturbing at the same time. I shook my head to jog my memory a smudge, but I remained completely as dumb-founded as a deer with the oddly bright light of a truck glaring in my eyes.
When I went back the next day, Dr. Phil told me since he had not seen me in a while; he would have to take a blood test. This was a very understandable procedure. It was also tolerable, so long as I did not watch the needle. That is, until the next day, when I received the results.
Dr. Phil phoned me and told me I had better come to his office instead of hearing this over the phone. Since he was the sort of man to add humor to a seemingly bad situation, he tried to cheer me up. His last words for ten minutes (getting to his office) were," Besides, this is running up my phone bill!"
I arrived at his office and he asked me to have a seat. Once I had been seated, he crossed on ankle across the other and folded his hands in his rather large lap. " I'm afraid I have some awfully terrifying news, Miss Annabelle Miller." Since he hardly ever called me by 'Miss Annabelle Harper' unless it was a frightful, bad, or quite surprising event had just occurred, I got the impression that I had some fateful disease. "Oh my, Doctor Phil! How has harm found its way into my life this time?" I exclaimed, waiting for him to assign my casket to me.
Chuckling to assuage my dread, he announced that I was not going to die any time soon. "It is not necessarily a health matter, Miss Miller. However, you had better prepare yourself for this one." Sighing heavily, he said, "We've found who your father is." My heart beat so much quicker than before, I thought it would pound its way through my skin. " It turns out, it was a patient who I examined yesterday, who had not been to a doctor in years." "Well, who is he?! When can I meet him?" "Knowing how eager you would be, we did a long, thorough search for him and somehow we dragged him here today."
The countryman, named Hector, I had met in the hotel lobby, and again in the doctor's office, crept in shyly through the doors of the office. "Did I not meet you a couple of weeks ago?" "Yes sir, I believe you did." Turning to Dr. Phil, who seemed to be beaming with pride, I asked, "You are positive this is the exact, same blood type as me? The only one!?" He looked quite confused at this. "Yes m' m, it is. I am very positive." Looking down, I noticed the tall, handsome countryman pathetically crying on the ground by my shoes. "Hello, father." I managed, quite gently and shyly. "My, I have not seen you in years, and here you are before me today!"
Is it possible? I can't remember too terribly much of my childhood and it does seem ironic. Coincidence? I doubt it. We walked away slowly and both in a long train of thought. I decided to go to back Dr. Phil to figure out as much as possible about my family and history.
Seeming awfully alarmed to see me in his office again, he asked what the matter was. I replied, "I am not physically ill anymore, Doctor, but I would like to have research done to show my family's history." "When you say 'family's history' do you mean the special events that have occurred since as far back as we can trace? Or do you mean what happened to you as a child- with your mother, father, and any siblings?" "I want to know what has happened to my mother, father, and any siblings I had and also what my childhood was like. After all, I do not have much memory of it."
This concerned the doctor. He remarked, "I am certain we cannot find that, A-" he paused briefly to think. "Annie." I had to ask why he was so concerned with this. "Oh, It is nothing. However, I am afraid the search will not be performed." This made me so furious; words could never describe how I felt. "You will do this no matter how much you may or may not want to! I will sue you for ev'ry miserable penny you're worth if ya don't!" The doctor tried to calm me down, but nothing was standing in my tracks now. "Okay, I must admit the truth to you, since you've been very close to my family and I. You're father, Hector Miller, if he hasn't grown old and feeble, is still out in the cold, harsh world somewhere. He saved you from committing suicide at about age twelve. Your mother, Alicia Miller, died when your father had left you, which was about a month after your twelfth birthday. You and your mother were both being hospitalized at the same time, in separate sections of the hospital. You suffered for around a week from a concussion- which came from your attempt at suicide." Dr. Phil ended his story with a deep, unpleasant sigh.
Tears rolling quickly down my face, I attempted to pull myself together. Yet it seemed as though the harder I tried, the more I gushed. He comforted me somewhat by patting me on the back and reminding me of better moments that I can actually remember. Suddenly, I ran out of the room thanking the doctor and set off to find my father once more. He must've really missed my mother, for he was lying on the ground behind the doctor's office staring at the sky blankly. I sat next to him and slowly eased a question about Mom, hoping not to upset him too much. According to him, she was the sweetest, most hard-working woman there ever was, with me, of course, following right behind her. For what seemed to be an astonishing two hours, we mourned together.
Father finally stopped sniffling and said, "Okay, this is all in our past. Let us suck it up and put it behind us now." And so we did; we moved on to our own lives. Uncle Billy happily moved in with us a year later. Though I think we all still thought about this and bellowed when reflecting upon Mom's tragic death, I think we were a very nice family. Soon, I married Eric, my dream- come- true. I believe that God has a reason for everything, even this case, of which was quite difficult at first to figure out. Well, it was there somewhere. I am blessed and it took all this, though he may have exaggerated a tad, to make me realize just how blessed I was. Maybe this would be a good subject to pray about tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day.


------
ChElSeA



Comments

The following comments are for "Matter of Minutes"
by sk8trgrlac

Mine:
Everyone please read this and state your opinion hear. Be honest, I personally do not like it much. It's just that my English teacher loved it and I'd like a little feedback...

( Posted by: sk8trgrlac [Member] On: November 24, 2003 )

Please?
If I could get a little feedback, it would really help! Anyone that reads this, PLEASE state your opinion....

( Posted by: sk8trgrlac [Member] On: December 20, 2003 )





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