Ada was getting for bed, she held her dear bear by her side and together they looked up at the cut-out stars stuck on her bedroom ceiling, when a car drove by outside its light would shine on the stars and they would give a little twinkle, “dad, will you come tuck me in?”
“Coming,” said Robert from the other room, he was doing something he had never done before, he was praying. His wife, Lily, had been diagnosed with leukemia a year earlier, and was undergoing intensive treatment. The doctors said that she needed to show signs of improvement very soon after this round of chemo for there to be any hope.
Robert kissed her on the forehead and went to tuck his daughter into bed. They were at chapter 7 on Winnie-The-Pooh.
Robert read, “‘LINES WRITTEN BY A BEAR OF VERY LITTLE BRAIN
On Tuesday, when it hails and snows,
The feeling on me grows and grows
That hardly anybody knows
On Thursday, when it starts to freeze
And hoar-frost twinkles on the trees,’
It’s late now, time to sleep Ada.”
“Will auntie and the boys come tomorrow dad?”
“They sure will, aunt Emma also said something about bringing presents,” Robert winked at Ada, and she returned it with a bright-eyed smile.
“I have to go to the shops early tomorrow, will you let her in when she comes?
“I can’t wait for thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, it’s going to be the best!” Ada was beaming with excitement.
Robert smiled, but it was hesitant, forced. His mind was occupied with things that he needed to do that night.
“Dad… does auntie have a gift for mom too?”
Ada’s excitement became a sadness that Robert couldn’t dare to turn and face, “Daddy, will mommy die?”
“Just… open the door for aunt Emma when she comes tomorrow.”
Robert closed the bedroom door and collapsed on the ground outside it.
Most possessions in the house had been sold to pay for chemo. Save for a dining table and some chairs, his home was empty. And Robert was laden with that emptiness as it seeped through him, pulling him down into despair. But there was no time to grief. It was past ten thirty and he had to leave for his night job.
Robert quickly changed out of his teaching clothes to put on a pair of construction trousers and jacket. Not wanting his family to know he was leaving and had been leaving the house at night for the past 2 months, Robert tiptoed to the front door.
Just before he left, Lily cough so loudly, that Robert heard a mouthful of blood splashing onto the ground.
It hit like a pang in his heart. He assumed the worst, that like all other chemo sessions this last one would also fail. At that moment Robert wished nothing more than to suffer and die in his wife’s place.
He choked back the pain that clawed at his neck. He had to be strong, stronger than ever. He wished in his heart that thanksgiving would help alleviate the anguish that had tormented his wife and kid. He wished even more for a miracle.
Robert got into his car and drove away.
He drove 30 minutes to an outer West Virginia suburb, to a road that was under construction. It was storming mildly but that was okay for Robert, because he was to work in the sewers tonight. The pipes needed straightening out and the valves needed to be installed and turned on. He went right to work diligently despite his exhaustion his body had become frail from the lack of sleep these two months. But his spirit never waned, as Robert held on to the hope that everything would be alright on this thanksgiving day. That when the sun rose, his boss would come to the site as he had promised to, and give Robert his payment in advance. And with some money, Robert could put together a feast for his loved ones, and that their spirits would be lifted too, and all would turn out okay. So Robert thought about nothing but, and he worked on and on, *clank* *clank* *clank* as he hammered on the pipes throughout the nights, never once caving in to thoughts of despair. Robert felt a trepidation that pushed him on, he thought so clearly that if he were to stop working, Lily’s heart would stop too.
But when the sun came up, his boss was nowhere to be seen. The storm had turned into a blizzard and he thought if because of this his boss didn’t come. No, his boss knew how important this was to him. So Robert waited and waited and waited.
There was nothing. Just Robert and the fears that threatened to drown him. Somehow it seemed realer than the blizzard.
There was only one recourse left. Robert knew of a pawnshop a 2 hours drive away, he could sell his car to get the money he needed for thanksgiving, and take a bus back to his home.
So Robert drove to the pawnshop without a moment’s hesitation.
One hour into his drive, the blizzard became deadly. His vision was reduced to 6 feet ahead of the windshield. And as he drove through the thick snow, he was reminded of the poem by the bear of very little brain.
Then suddenly Robert saw lights flickering on the far side off the road. And he heard a thumping sound coming from the car. ‘Someone is in trouble,’ Robert thought. He pulled up on the side of his road and ran towards the light.
The car was blocked in from all sides, it had fallen into a ditch and the driver was trapped inside. By then the thumping had become weaker and weaker before stopping altogether. Robert hurriedly ran back to his car, took the hammer out of his trunk and ran back to break the back window.
There was a young girl inside who was completely unconscious, there was a huge bruise on her head and her body was frigid. Robert took off his jackets and with great effort, dragged the girl out of the back window all the way to his car. He did not know whether there was any hospital nor were there any reception on his phone. He turned on the heater to its highest setting to give the girl warmth. But he also feared that with so little fuel left, he and the girl may again become stranded down the road. Robert desperately needed the girl to wake up. And shortly after, she did. She was able to muster enough strength to tell Robert the direction to her home.
Robert followed her direction at once. When he arrived at the girl’s place, there were police cars everywhere. As Robert parked in the driveway the father of the girl ran out to Robert’s car.
He was Robert’s boss.
The girl had been out with her friends the night before, on her drive home she was caught in the storm and as her car skidded into the pit off the side of the road, she had bumped her head and lost consciousness. When she woke up the car had already been buried under the blizzard. But fortunately, Robert was able to find the girl and help her, if he hadn’t found her when he did, she would have died shortly from hypothermia.
And so Robert’s boss was overjoyed with relief. Robert had saved his daughter’s life.
Robert’s boss gave him his payment, and offered him a much greater sum of money as a gesture of gratitude. The money was overwhelming to Robert, he accepted it and was lost for words not knowing how to express his own gratitude.
He had forgotten all about it until this moment, Robert realized that his family’s thanksgiving has been saved.
On his way home, he bought all the best food in preparation for dinner: The perfect roast turkey, cheese and corn pudding, potatoes, beans, red pepper and pumpkin pies.
And as Robert arrived at his home, he was struck by another surprise.
Lily had gotten better! Her natural color had returned to her, and she was even able to walk around. It turned out that her body had been purified in the previous night as she had coughed out all the bad blood and cancerous cells that were killing her.
Robert burst into tears and collapsed onto the ground in gratitude. He rejoiced in knowing that his prayers had been answered. It was a true thanksgiving miracle.
By Gray, L.