December 20, part onePosted on: December 20, 2012
I am so relieved Angela is back, but I’m also very angry with her for putting her family thru such torment! I know I can’t say anything to her, at least not until I find out the details when they come for Christmas, and not saying anything is an additional source of torment for me.
It’s been six weeks since the Event, just six weeks! But during that time I’ve seen my community suffer, and there’s nothing I can do. I’ve watched my son suffer, and there’s nothing I can do. I’ve seen friends die, and I cannot grieve for them. I’ve shot and killed a man, and I cannot grieve for myself. I’m suppressing everything I feel, just so I can function, just so I can keep the promise I made when I was sworn in, and it’s tearing me apart. I don’t know how long I can keep this up… One of these days I’m going to lose it. I want to stop clearing the driveway, no more shoveling, no more going to the office, no more, just no more anything except taking care of myself instead of everyone else.
But I did take that oath, and I did make that promise.
The sky was exceptionally dark this morning, even at 9:00. There was this ominous gloom hanging over the office, as I settled into my seat. I laid the cane across the counter next to me; it was constantly falling over if I stood it upright. My ‘office’ is just a corner of Darlene’s bigger office, but my desk actually looks out the window at a perfect angle to watch Fram’s store; Which is why I was one of the first to see the gas tanker pull into his lot! Teresa came thru for us! This was going a long way to alleviate the tensions of the town folk wanting gas for their cars, their generators.
“Darlene! We are getting an early Christmas present. Come look,” I called over my shoulder.
“Gas? How did that happen?” she was all smiles. I told her of my conversation with Teresa, well most of the conversation. I haven’t told anyone about Angela and now that she’s back, I won’t have to. Just then Gary, our head EMS walked into the office and saw my foot up on the waste basket.
“What did you do?!” He didn’t sound happy. He’s had to be the doctor in town, all minor stuff of course.
“Hey, I didn’t fall on purpose. It’s only a strain,” I reassured him.
“Let me check.” He deftly unwrapped the Ace bandage then poked and moved my foot around.
“Ouch! Careful there.” I didn’t appreciate him making it feel worse.
“Strain, huh? This is a sprain, Deborah, and a bad one. You need to stay completely off this foot.”
“I promise to stay off it as much as I can, Gary, but completely is impossible. You know that.” I glowered at him over my glasses, willing him to go away. That’s when he noticed the tanker across the street.
“Gas? I sure hope its diesel.” His comment took me by surprise.
“Diesel? Why?” the confusion momentarily made me forget about my ankle.
“Well, all the county trucks run on diesel; you know, the plow trucks,” sarcasm didn’t suit him, “As well as my EMS truck and the new fire engine, they all run on diesel. Only the older pumper runs on regular gas.”
Crap! Why didn’t I know this? I had just assumed all the trucks took regular gas. “Well, we’ll take whatever they’ve brought us.” My mood suddenly took a plunge. Gary rewrapped my ankle, patted my knee and went back to his own office. I picked up a stack of gas requests that were still sitting on my desk, which I was just getting ready to approve; I still might be able to, but for different reasons. I needed to ask Joe how much regular gas was left. If all the essential vehicles took diesel, we might not have to ration as strongly. As I contemplated this, someone came walking across the street from Frams, carrying a small box. He looked vaguely familiar, but he wasn’t a local. I turned my attention back to my paperwork.
“I was told to ask for Darlene,” I heard an unfamiliar voice say to Joe, the zoning guy whose desk is in the lobby.
“In there”, I could just see Joe pointing with thumb toward this office, from his seat just on the other side of the wall.
“Are you Darlene? My name is James, I’ve got a package to deliver to someone named Deborah,” this strange voice said. I turned in my seat to face him. Darlene looked at me, and James followed her eyes.
“It’s you!” He said in a whispered voice. That’s when I recognized him. The young father in the parking lot at Mack’s grocery store! “Oh, my God! I never thought I would see you again to thank you!” He took several long strides in my direction and stuck out his hand. I smiled and shook his hand.
“How’s your little boy?”
“Oh, he’s doing fine. So you do remember me?” he questioned.
“Of course, situations like that don’t happen every day!” I shrugged, and looked at the box in his hands.
“You know Marie at Mack’s?” He asked and I nodded. “She’s my cousin. I told her I had been assigned to make a delivery to Moose Creek. That’s what I do, deliver gas around the UP. Anyway, she said she knew someone in Moose Creek that she owed a big favor, but all she knew was your first name. To make sure I gave this to the right person, she said you would know what you told her.”
I thought for a moment, and then said, “I told her to buy a bunch of pet food before she left work.” He smiled and handed me the heavy box. I opened it and started to laugh. Marie had sent me a box of batteries! A, AA, C, D, and one 9V.…. all those I had picked up that day of the parking lot incident. “Tell Marie, I said thank you. And I hope she’s staying at home! Town can be very dangerous right now.”
“Oh, she’s still working. The few grocery stores that are still open have guards. Marie is safe.” He looked down, and lowered his voice. “I really don’t know how to thank you for that day. I still can’t believe those guys would have attacked in broad daylight! You might have saved our lives, you know.” This was making me really uncomfortable and I looked away.
“I only did what anyone else would do,” but he didn’t hear me.
“Oh, and here’s a copy of your receipt: 1500 gallons of diesel fuel.” He turned and handed some papers to Darlene.
Diesel. How did Teresa know?
I left the office an hour later, shipping box already placed in my car by Joe. I had first given Darlene a pack of D cells for the battery lamp I gave her. In just that short time, there was a fresh 4” of snow on my car. This is going to add up for sure.
I backed the car into the barn trying to stay to one side so I could eventually get the snow blower out. I collected the few eggs from the chickens, and locked the barn doors. The wind was fierce and even though it was the middle of the afternoon, it seemed dark. A white out will do that. I limped thru the snow, leaning on the cane when possible, and fought my way to the pantry door and let myself in with my keys. I’ve been locking the doors when I never had before. The house had cooled off considerably in the few hours I’d been gone.
I re-stoked the fire, leaving the damper wide open. There would be no grilling tonight; I couldn’t even see the grill from the back door! It’s been years since we’ve had a blizzard like this. Tom had apparently been over after I left: the wood supply behind the stove was full again. I really hate depending on others like this, but grateful I had those I could depend on when necessary.
A half hour later and the kitchen had warmed nicely. I could finally take my coat off. I hadn’t eaten all day, so I limped to the back pantry and selected a quart jar of chicken soup, and a pint of mixed veggies. I added a handful of rice and pushed the soup pot to the back of the stove to heat, and made myself a cup of tea. What a day!
I sat in the rocker with my tea and briefly closed my eyes. I was awaken by a knock on the door. I bolted out of the chair; had I locked that door? Was the bar in place? Wait….
… a knock on the door????. I looked out at a snow covered figure; it looked up, blue eyes peering thru a veil of snowflakes. “You said to find you.” The soft North Carolina accent kept whipping away with the wind. JOHN!!!!
2 thoughts on “December 20, part one”
Thank you for continuing to take us on this difficult, yet important journey with you.
Really enjoying your longer posts, and wincing for your character’s sprain!
I don’t have canes but I do have crutches left over from a sprain a few years ago, using one of them comes in handy once in a while.
Looking forward to meeting JOHN (LOL!)