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In the Crosshairs of a Mother's Eye

By Rebecca Crawford

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Copyright 2003 Rebecca Crawford




      The next morning Gwendolyn was at the hospital.  When she walked into Liz’s room, she found Liz dressed with her hair and makeup done.  Dayla lay asleep in the cradle by the bed. 

     “Good morning!  Did you get released already, Liz?”

     “No, but I’m hoping they’ll take the hint when they see me.”

     Gwendolyn laughed.  “Well, I brought the baby carrier from the Tahoe in case we get to leave today.”

     “Good, I meant to tell you to bring that up.”

     The doctor came in with a smile.  “Look at you, already dressed and ready.”

     “Definitely ready, sir.”

     “Let’s give you and the baby one more exam.”  The doctor looked over toward Gwendolyn.

     “It’s alright doc, she can stay.  This is my mother-in-law, Mrs. Richards.”

     “Very nice to meet you, ma’am.”

     The doctor pulled the curtain around Liz’s bed, examining her and then examining Dayla.  “You both appear to be fit as a fiddle, so I’ll go ahead and release you, but Mrs. Richards I expect you to take it easy and don’t lift anything heavier than the baby for six weeks.”

     “Yes sir.”

     “And make an appointment for you and the baby for a check up in four weeks.”

     “I’ll be sure to do that doc.”

     The doctor left a grinning Liz.  She went to her bag and pulled out a beautiful lacy pink sleeper with a matching cap for Dayla.  “Gwendolyn would you like to dress her?”

     Gwendolyn reached down and picked up Dayla.  “Would you ever expect Grandma to say no?”

     They left the hospital securing Dayla in her carrier and driving home.  The rest of the evening was spent with Gwendolyn reminiscing about Calvin’s childhood as they passed Dayla back and forth between them.

     Gwendolyn spent the next two weeks catering to Liz and Dayla; enjoying every moment of their time together.  They shared their life histories and after two weeks they felt they had known each other forever.

They sat in the living room drinking coffee while Dayla sleep in her crib in the bedroom. 

     “Tomorrow I fly out; I sure hate to leave you, Liz.  Send me photos of Dayla as often as you can.”

     “I’ll send you so many photos you won’t know where to put them all.”

     “You always make me laugh Liz.”

     “Dayla is like a breath of fresh air.  It makes me feel like Calvin’s still here with me in some ways.”

     “Me too, Liz, I can hardly take my eyes off of her.”

     Liz let Gwendolyn care for Dayla the rest of the day without interference.  This would be their last day together for a while.

     The next morning Liz took Gwendolyn to the airport.  Gwendolyn took Dayla from her carrier and hugged her kissing her ever so sweetly on the forehead as tears fell down her cheeks.  “I’ll miss you baby girl.  Grandma loves you.”

     Liz’s heart broke for her.  “I promise to stay close so Dayla will always know her Grandmother.”

     “I know you will Liz.  I’m just going to miss so much as she grows.”

     “I’ll try to capture as many events as I can on camera.”

     Gwendolyn put Dayla back in her carrier then hugged Liz.  “You’re like a daughter to me.  I’ll cherish the last two weeks we had forever.”

     “Gwendolyn, now don’t start getting me all teary eyed.”

     “I’ll call you tonight after I get back in Kentucky.”

   “Dayla and I will be waiting for your call Grandma.”

     Liz and Gwendolyn hugged one last time then Gwendolyn went through security disappearing in the crowded terminal.

     That night Gwendolyn called as soon as she arrived home making Liz vow to keep her promise of sending pictures of Dayla.

     “Gwendolyn, when I start sending pictures they will fill up albums.”

     “Good, now stay in touch and call me anytime, okay?”

     “I will.”

     Liz could tell by Gwendolyn’s voice that she was crying.  They exchanged good byes and hung up.  Liz then called Grams and Grandpa as well as Robin and Lee to let everyone know she was home now.  Everyone wanted pictures of Dayla.  Liz looked down at Dayla in her carrier.  “Well, aren’t you the most requested model of the month.”

     Liz picked Dayla up rocking her.  “You’re daddy would be proud of you.”

     The next two weeks Liz spent caring for Dayla.  She knew she would have to get a babysitter soon, so she called Mrs. Letch who recommended one of the sergeant’s wives.  Liz took Dayla and went to meet her.  She was robust and had such a kind soul.  Liz knew she would care for Dayla properly.  Once that was settled she went to get the forms needed to make Grams and Grandpa guardians in case she was deployed.

     Liz and Dayla went to the doctor’s appointment for their four week checkup and were given a clear bill of health.  Liz only had two days left of maternity leave.  The new babysitter, Mrs. Simon, was wonderful, but leaving Dayla all day with someone else would take some getting use to.  The last few days Liz carried Dayla almost constantly.  She was such a good baby, hardly crying at all through the night, Liz was thankful for that.

     Monday, the day of her return to the unit finally arrived.  Liz took Dayla to Mrs. Simon’s and then headed for PT formation.  Everyone in the unit welcomed her back; congratulating her on her new baby girl.  After PT she reported back to the chief at her duty station.  As usual the back log for repairs was horrendous, making the day zoom by. 

     Liz gave DeAnna all the details of the birth, and DeAnna caught Liz up on what was going on around there.  They spent the day laughing about the many details.

     “DeAnna, you know my hopes were so high that Calvin would somehow reappear.  I had hopes that the reports would be wrong, but its been ten months now, and maybe I’ve just been fooling myself into believing he was alive instead of facing the truth.”

     “Liz, one thing I can say for sure, you never know what’s going on when it comes to the military, and with Calvin being special ops there’s even more red tape and secrecy.”

     “That’s true.  It’s just something inside that keeps me hanging on.  I can’t accept the fact he’s dead.”

     “I would be the same way Liz.”

     DeAnna and Liz grew closer over the course of Liz’s enlistment time at Fort Bliss.  When DeAnna wasn’t spending time with her husband; she, Liz, and Dayla would go see a movie or shop weekends.

      As Liz had promised she sent picture upon picture to Gwendolyn.  Dayla started walking when she was eleven months old and was into everything.  Liz child proofed the house, but the pots and pans caught the brunt of Dayla’s attention.  In the evenings when Liz cooked dinner, Dayla would bang around on the pans.

     Dayla’s eyes did lighten to the icy blue color of Calvin’s.  She was the spitting image of her father.  Liz always showed Calvin’s picture to Dayla.  “Look Dayla its Dada!”

     Dayla would point at his picture repeating after Liz, “Dada.”

     Liz spent all her off time with Dayla and if she couldn’t bring her to any outside functions, she wouldn’t go.  Dayla’s vocabulary grew and Liz read her books all the time.

     By the time Liz’s enlistment was a month away from ending, chief called her into his office.  “Richards, I called you in here today in hopes that you might re-up your enlistment.  You’ve been an outstanding soldier and now hold the rank of Specialist (E4) promotable.  You’d make a great sergeant and leader.  Have you given any thought of re-enlistment?”

     Liz sat in the chair in front of the chief’s desk.  “Yes, chief, I’ve been thinking about it for the last five months.  I feel like everyone here is like my family and I love the work I do, but Dayla needs me.  If I get activated to deploy somewhere Dayla has to go to my grandparents.  I’m all she has left, chief.  So, I’m not going to re-enlist, I’ll miss all of you more than I can say.”

 “I understand, Richards, and your reasoning is truly justifiable.  I sure hate losing a good soldier.”

     Liz smiled at the chief sad expression.

     “Oh, chief, you’ll forget all about me after awhile.”

     “Liz, you’ll never be forgotten by me or my wife.  You’re one strong lady and have endured more than most I’ve known.  You still have a month of duty under me, so get out there and show them how it’s done.”

     Liz stood up with a grin.  “Yes sir!”


     “Yes chief.”

     Liz knew she would miss the chief and his wife most of all.  After what had happened to Calvin they had taken her under their wing treating her practically like family. 

     The last month drew to an end.  Before Liz realized it she was being sent through processing, and was turning in most of her issued items.

     There was a battalion formation at 1500 hrs, which Liz was required to attend.  Liz got toke her place among her unit as the battalion commander spoke. 

     “This has been a great year and I have many soldiers serving within my battalion that need to be recognized for outstanding performance and professionalism!  Please come forward as I call your name and receive your award, Specialist Richards, front and center!”

 Liz fell out walking in a hurried manner to stand saluting before the commander.  The commander saluted back.

     “This award is presented to you, Specialist Richards, for your hard work and dedication to duty in keeping with the 1st Calvary Division and for keeping us in readiness status.  I’m proud to present you with the Army Accommodation medal!”

     The commander handed Liz the award plaque and medal.  “Thank you, Specialist Richards.”

     “Thank you, sir.”

     Liz returned to her position within her unit’s formation.  She never expected such a grand award.  Her heart was filled with pride for the time she had served.  Others were called forward, but none received the accommodation medal; which made Liz stand even prouder.

     The last day the unit gave her a going away party.  Liz had made many friends in her stay at Fort Bliss, but DeAnna was the one of the closest.  DeAnna approached Liz with eyes full of tears; grabbing Liz’s hands.  “I’ll miss you.”

     “I’ll miss you, too.”

     “Write to me.”

     “That’ll be the first letter out of Helena.”

     “It better be!”

     “DeAnna, I’ll always remember you.”

     “Just stay strong, Liz, and take care of Dayla.”

     The chief took a picture of Liz with the rest of the crew.

     “What about you, chief?  A picture says a thousand words, so they say.”

     “Richards, I don’t normally do the camera thing, but for you, I guess I could.”

      DeAnna took the picture of Liz and chief.  The instant photos came out nicely.  Liz put them in the pocket of her BDU pants.

     That night Liz said good bye to everyone before she left for home.  It was a strange feeling knowing that tomorrow she would be home packing for Helena and wouldn’t see anyone in the unit again.  After four years, Fort Bliss was like a second home.

     Liz picked up Dayla from Mrs. Simon’s house that night; hugging her good bye and thanking her for watching Dayla over the past three years.

     “Mama, can Mrs. Simon go bye-bye with us?”

     Liz bent down looking Dayla in the face.  “No honey, Mrs. Simon would be sad if she left without her husband.”

     “He can come too!”

     “He has to work here, honey.”

     Dayla’s black hair was now shoulder length curls.  It set off her icy blue eyes, which were now filling with tears.

     “How about you draw Mrs. Simon a pretty picture of Helena and we can send it to her?”

     “Can she come there some time?”

Liz glanced at Mrs. Simon who was having as hard a time as Dayla saying good bye.  “Sure she can, when ever she gets up that way.”

     Dayla ran to Mrs. Simon encircling her legs.  “Dayla will draw you a picture, so you will come, okay?”

     Mrs. Simon patted Dayla’s back.  “That would be very special.  I’ll even hang your picture on the fridge so I can see Helena and think of you everyday.  Now don’t you cry, Mrs. Simon will always love little Dayla.”

     “You won’t forget me?”

     “Never in a thousand years!”

     Dayla smiled up at Mrs. Simon.  “Okay.”

     Liz and Dayla left Mrs. Simon’s house heading home.

     “Mama, where’s Hel’na?”

     “It’s Helena, and it’s in Montana.”

     “What’s Montana?”

     “That’s where Mama grew up.”

     “Like a house?”

     “No, baby, it’s a place, like here, but with lots of open country, mountains in the distance, and streams, its very pretty.  And you’ll get to see Grandma and Grandpa Shamblee, as well as, Aunt Robin and Uncle Lee.”

     Dayla smiled happily saying, “I talk to them on the phone before!”

     “Yes!  And now you get to see all of them.”

     Dayla clapped her hands.  “When do we get there, Mama, when?”

     Liz laughed.  “It will be a few days.  We have to finish packing then the movers will come and get the furniture, after that we’ll be on our way.”

     Dayla’s spirits had lightened which made it easier on Liz.  She knew how hard it must be for Dayla to leave the only place she’d ever known.

     “Mama, what about Daddy in the picture?”

     “What about him, Sweetie?”

     “Can he go too?”

     Liz placed her hand on Dayla’s leg.  “Yes, baby, he can go too.”

     That night Liz got busy packing after she put Dayla to bed.  It was 2:30 a.m. in the morning when Liz finally finished up packing what she would take in the Tahoe.  She stopped at Dayla’s door peeking in on her.  Dayla lay there sleeping with her arm around her doll looking peaceful and angelic.  Liz softly whispered, “Oh, Calvin, she’s so beautiful.”

     Liz slipped quietly away; heading for bed. 

     The next morning the moving van arrived at 10:00 a.m..  The movers went to work packing and loading all of Liz and Dayla’s belongings.  They finished up at 3:30 p.m.  Liz gave them Grandma Shamblee’s address for delivery.  It would just have to go into the barn until Liz found a house.

     As the moving van pulled away Liz grabbed Dayla’s hand.  “Well, little woman, it looks like its time to head north to Montana.”

     Dayla stood holding her doll in the other hand.  She looked up at Liz without saying a word, just a twinkle in her eyes.

     It was almost like Dayla knew some secret the way she looked up at her, some secret that only children knew.  Liz blew it off and gave Dayla a playful pat on the bottom.  “Lets go, little missy.”

     As she left the base in the Tahoe all she could think about was Calvin.  Even after all this time he’s all she thought of besides Dayla.

     Liz drove until midnight; stopping in Pueblo, Colorado.  She found a hotel right off the interstate, waking Dayla and grabbing the bag she had prepared for them they went inside to get a room.

     Once she had Dayla in bed she showered; knowing tomorrow would be a long ride for the two of them.  That night she fell asleep dreaming of Calvin.  He held a hand carved oak cane out in front of him smiling at her.  As she went to him he drifted further and further away.

     The next morning Liz was awakened by Dayla looking down at her, “Hi, Mama!”

     Liz grabbed Dayla pulling her into bed next to her, “Hi, honey.  You’re sure wide awake this morning.”

     “I want to go to Hel’na.  Daddy’s in Hel’na!”

     “No, baby, Daddy’s not.”

     “I saw him when I was asleep he was in Hel’na!”

     “Dayla that was just a dream, people see a lot of things that aren’t real in dreams.”

     Dayla acted as if she never heard Liz.  “He has a pretty stick, Mama!”

     Liz felt Goosebumps overcome her.  “What?”

     “A pretty stick!”

     “Oh, Dayla, Daddy’s gone now.  All we have is his picture, he’s with Jesus now.”

     “He smiles at me all the time, Mama!”

     “When Dayla?  When does Daddy smile at you?”

     “When I’m sleeping, he loves me Mama, he does!”

     Liz couldn’t believe Dayla was saying all of this.  “How often do you see your Daddy?”

     “A lot of times, I’ve always seen Daddy!”

     Liz tried to rationalize this in her mind.  It must have been his picture, but what about the stick?  Liz knew she saw the same thing in her dream last night.  Liz thought maybe she and Dayla had the same close gift like she had with Grandma.  Maybe some things just weren’t explainable.

     Liz reached over tickling Dayla.  “You, little girl, need to get a bath.”

     “Can dolly go?”

     “No, but she can sit on the sink and watch, okay?”


     Liz got up; getting Dayla into the bath.  She dressed while Dayla played in the water.  Once she was ready Liz gave Dayla a good scrub down; dressed her and then packed up their bag.

     It was 8:30 a.m. when they got back into the Tahoe headed north again.  Liz had stocked up on munchies and gas before leaving Pueblo.  The ride seemed to make Dayla sleepy, so much of the trip she slept as Liz listened to the radio.

     The ride to Helena went smoothly with only a few stops to go to the bathroom.  They reached Helena at midnight.  The town looked deserted and quiet as Liz drove to her grandparent’s house.

     When Liz drove up to the house she noticed that the living room light was on, which was strange as her grandparents always turned out all the lights when they went to bed.  She never remembered a time when they stayed up this late.  Liz pulled into the driveway.  Dayla was asleep, so she went around and got her out carrying her to the door.

 When she approached the steps Grandma opened the door.  “Liz!  Come in!  Come in!  I’ve been expecting you.  You can put Dayla in your bed upstairs, but first let me have a peek at her”

     Grandma walked around Liz looking at Dayla’s sleeping face whispering, “She is truly an angel.”

     Liz went up stairs tucking Dayla into her old bed then went back downstairs to see Grandma.  As usual she was in the kitchen.   Liz gave Grandma a hug.  “I’ve missed you Grams.”

     “I’ve missed you too, dear.  Would you like some coffee?”

     “Sure, I’m exhausted.”

     Grandma fixed her a cup bringing it to the table and sitting down.

     “Grams, how’d you know I would make it in tonight?”

     “Oh, Liz, I told you we have a bond between us.  I just can feel these things.”

     “I think we have a new feeler in the family tree.  Dayla dreamed the same thing I did last night.  She sees her Daddy in her dreams all the time.”

     “Liz, this is a gift.  It has gone through the women of our family for as long as I can remember and have been told.  Don’t let it spook you, its nothing to be afraid of.”

     “It gave me chills this morning talking to Dayla.  Why does she see her father, what does this mean?”

     “It could mean a lot of things Liz.  She’s such a young child, one never knows.”

     “I know one thing for sure, I’m glad to be home again.  So what’s new around town?”

     “Not much really with us older folks.  Mr. Hansen down the road, passed away two months ago with a heart attack.  He was such a close friend with your Grandpa.  They went to the diner a lot together.  And let’s see.”  Grandma gave a thoughtful look, “Who’s that boy you dated in high school, oh yes, Johnny Sly.  It seems his wife left him two years ago.


     “From what I hear she met some out of towner in the bar and run off with him.”

     “That’s terrible.”

     “He’s working his father’s hardware store, running the place now, hasn’t changed much, still as handsome as he ever was.  He’s asked Grandpa about you a couple of times.”

     “That’s water under the bridge, Grams.”

     “He’s grown up a lot Liz; he’s a very nice boy.  You can’t spend the rest of your life alone you know.”

     “I know Grams, but I’m just not ready for a relationship right now.  I haven’t come to peace with Calvin’s disappearance.”

     Grandma looked at Liz with such kindness.  “It’s been four years Liz, and still not a word.  Maybe you should find a way to come to terms with this.”

     “I’m really trying, Grams.  I don’t know how long it will take, but until I do I won’t have anyone else in my life, it wouldn’t be fair for them or me.  Besides I vowed I would never take off my wedding ring the day I married Calvin.”

     “I don’t know what the future brings, Liz, but I feel strongly that everything will work its way out.”

     “I’m really tired, I think I’ll go on upstairs and get to bed.”

     “I need to be going along myself.”

     Liz gave Grams a hug good night and went up to bed with Dayla.

     The next morning smells of Gram’s cooking awakened Liz.  When she opened her eyes Dayla was gone.  Liz listened intently and could hear the faint talking and giggles of Dayla downstairs.  Liz smiled to herself.  It was really good to be home.

     When Liz rounded the corner to the kitchen Dayla was sitting on the counter with one of Gram’s apron’s on.  She had flour on her face and clothes.  “Aren’t you the busy bee this morning?”

     “Mama, Grammy let me make a biscuit!”

     Liz laughed.  “Looks like you’re wearing a lot of that biscuit.”

     Grandma smiled up at Liz.  “Oh, she is such a good helper and has been entertaining me by telling me about all her friends at Fort Bliss.  I told her later we would draw a picture of Helena for Mrs. Simon.”

     “I’m drawing a picture of Grammy for her too Mama!”

     “That’s wonderful!”

     Liz made her coffee; enjoying the sight of Grams and Dayla together.  It made Liz remember when she had been little.  “Grams, the movers should be here today with my furniture.  Is it alright to store it in the barn until I find a place here in town?”

     “Of course it is.  Why don’t you run to town for me and get some milk for Dayla.”

     “I think I can manage that.”

     Liz drank two cups of coffee then left for the store.  “Be back shortly!”

     Liz pulled up at the store and went in to get the milk.  The hardware store was across the street, busy as usual.  Liz got into the Tahoe, “Oh, what will it hurt; we used to be friends too.”

     Liz got back out; crossing the street and walking inside the store.  An elderly man working the counter called out to her,  “Yes ma’am, may I help you?”

     Liz approached the counter.  “Ah, yes, is Johnny Sly in today?”

     “He’s in everyday, he’s in the back; I’ll get him for you.”

 Liz waited as the man went to the back.  She felt nervous and thought maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, but it was to late now.

     Johnny came walking out seeing Liz he stopped, “Liz?  Liz Foyer?”

     “Hi Johnny, I just thought I’d stop by.”

     Liz was still as beautiful as ever.  Johnny had thought about her a lot over the last few years.  “I saw your Grandpa a few times.  I asked how you were and now you’re here.  Are you visiting?”

     Liz stood wringing her hands feeling nervous.  “No, I, ah, moved back, just got in last night.”

     “It’s great to see you again, you haven’t changed at all.”

     “Neither have you, but you’re a little taller than I remember.”

     “Yeah, I finally grew up, in a lot of ways.”

     Liz could tell by the look in Johnny’s eyes that he was still interested in her.  “Well, maybe we’ll see each other around town.  I should be going.  Grams and Dayla are waiting for me.”

     “Dayla, who is she?”

     “That’s my daughter.  She three going on seven she thinks.”

     “I didn’t know you had a child.  No one ever said, but I rarely talk to folks around here about personal matters.”

     “It’s good to see you, Johnny.  I’m glad you’re doing well.  The business appears to be booming as usual.”

     “The business has always done well, Liz.  As far as me, well, I’m getting better with time.”

     “Grams told me about your wife.”

     “It’s hard to keep that a secret, she did it where the whole town could see, the local bar.  It goes to show you the old saying is true, ‘What goes around comes around.’  I was a jerk in high school, not just to you, but other girls.  I guess I learned a lesson through it all.”

     “I never thought you were a jerk.”

     “I was, Liz.”

     “We all make mistakes, Johnny.”

     “It really is good to see you again, Liz.”

     “You too, but I better be on my way.”

     “I hope to see you soon.”

     Liz laughed nervously.  “Helena’s not to big, I’m sure we’ll bump into each other.  Take care, Johnny.”

     “You, too, Liz.”

     Liz raised her hand giving a slight wave then turned; walking out of the store.  She wasn’t sure if seeing Johnny was good or bad.

     When she got back to Grams, she went to the fridge to put the milk in it.  There was already a full jug of milk in there.  “Grams, you have milk.”

     Grams gave her a twinkled eyed look.  “I know, but one could always use more.”

     “Why do I feel like I’ve been setup?”

     “Whatever are you talking about, dear?”

     “You knew I’d go by and see Johnny.”

     “Okay, you got me.  Was it so bad?”

     “No, I guess it wasn’t bad.  I just don’t know what to think right now.”

     “Why don’t you go and spend the day with Robin and Lee.  Dayla and I will go to the park and catch up on lost time.”

     “Yeah, Mama, we’re gonna go play on the swings!”

     Liz looked at Grams.  “It would be nice to go and see them.  Their expecting me to come over as soon as I’m able and I guess I’m able.”

     “Then it’s settled.”

     “Oh!  The movers!  They should be here anytime!  I’ll go when they’re done.”

     “Dayla and I are about done in here.  Would you like me to go ahead and get Dayla changed?”

     “Sure, the bags are beside the bed.”

     Liz looked out the window just as the van lines pulled up out front.  “They’re here.”

     “After I get Dayla dressed we’re going on to the park.  Dayla how about we go check on your Grandpa, see if he wants to come.”

     “Yeah, Yeah, can he push me on the swing Granny?”

     “I’m sure he’d love to.”

     Grams and Dayla left the room as Liz went outside to speak with the movers.

     It wasn’t long before the movers had Liz and Dayla’s belongings stored in the barn.  Liz had them leave it boxed and crated for now.  She signed the delivery slip and the movers left for their next delivery point.

     When Liz came back inside Grandpa was up and around.  She went over hugging him, “Hey, Grandpa!”

     “How’s my girl?  It’s so good to have you home again.  My granddaughter is quite a beauty, she has your personality.”

     “She looks just like her father.”

     “Ah, I see a wee bit of you in her.”

     “I sure wish you could have met him Grandpa.”

     “Me, too, honey.”

     “So, how have you been?”

     “Not well lately I’m afraid, very tired.”

     “You’ve probably been doing too much as usual.  You need to relax more, Grandpa.”

     “Yes, dear, I’m sure your right.”

     Dayla and Grandma rounded the corner.  Dayla went running to Liz.  “Mama, we’re going to the swings!”

     “Are you taking that doll?”

     Dayla had the small doll in her hand.  She pulled away from Liz hugging it.  “Yep, Granny said I could.”

     Liz looked at Grams.  “She takes that doll everywhere.”

     “I knew a little girl like that once.”

     Liz giggled.  “Yes, I guess you did.”

     “Dayla, are you and Grandpa ready?”

     Dayla got up grabbing Grandpa’s hand.  “Go Grampy! Go!”

     Liz laughed again, “Grampy, huh?”

     Grandpa grinned at Liz.  “I answer to anything.”

     Grandpa, Grams, and Dayla left the house.  Liz stood at the window watching them leave and smiling at the happiness on Dayla’s face.

     After they left Liz made a call to Gwendolyn letting her know they had made the trip alright and gave her the number.  Gwendolyn promised to come up when she could.

     After they ended their call, Liz grabbed her keys and left for Robin’s house.  When she arrived no one was home, so Liz just sat on the front porch soaking in the beautiful view and sunlight thinking of Calvin.  “How will I ever get you off my mind?  I loved you so much.”

     Liz didn’t know if she would ever come to terms with what happened to Calvin, but inside she knew she had to sooner or later.

     Robin drove up getting out of the car.  “Liz!”

     Liz stood up.  “Hi, I’m finally here.”

     “It’s about time you got back home!”

     Liz and Robin hugged each other.  “Do you want to come in?”

     “Let’s sit outside, Robin; it’s such a nice day.”

     Robin unlocked the front door, putting her things in the house and walking back outside with a soda for each of them.  They sat back down on the porch.

     Liz opened her drink taking a sip.  “This is like old times.”

     “Doubtful!  Lee might get jealous.”

     They both giggled at the thought.  Robin caught Liz up on what she and Lee were doing now.  “What about you, Liz?  What are your plans now?”

     “I don’t know.  I guess look for a place, get a job, the usual.  Guess who I saw this morning?”

     “This should be good, who?”



     “Nothing, just said hi.”

     “I see him around, but I don’t talk to him.  Johnny and I never got along very well.”

     “Robin, that’s probably my fault.  You just didn’t like him because of the way he treated me.”

     “That’s part of it, but I saw through him in high school.”

     “Everybody changes, Robin.”

     “Yeah, maybe, so, how’s my niece and where are you hiding her?”

     “She’s at the park with Grams and Grandpa.”

     “How’s your Grandpa?  Last I heard he was dealing well with the cancer.”


     “Ah, I thought you knew.  Grandma didn’t tell you?”

     “Tell me what, Robin?”

     “Great, I thought you already knew; he’s had it for six months now.”

     “Robin, what are you saying?”

     Robin dropped her head averting her eyes away from Liz.  “He has colon cancer, Liz, its past the point of treatment, he’s in the final stages.  Grandma never told me you didn’t know.  I’m sorry.”

     Liz sat staring straight ahead feeling shocked.  “How much time does he have left?”

     “Grandma told me they gave him a year, if he’s lucky two.”

     Liz got up, putting her hands on her hips, a tear escaping her eye.  “I knew he didn’t look good this morning.  I just don’t understand why Grams would keep this from me.”

     Robin came up behind Liz placing her hand on Liz’s shoulder.  “Maybe she thought it was best you didn’t worry.  Grandma always believed that God takes us all when he gets good and ready, so when the time comes it will be God’s choice and not a doctor’s opinion.”

     Liz wiped away the tears, sitting back down and trying to come to grip with this awful news.  “Yeah, that’s Grams alright.”

     I think I need to go for a drive.  Tell Lee I said hi, and I’ll be around now to harass him.”

     Robin stood up with Liz.  “I’m so sorry.  I really thought you knew.”

     “Its okay, Robin, its not your fault, I’ll be okay.”

     “Call me, Liz, and we can meet for dinner or something this week.”

     Liz turned; embracing Robin.  “That sounds great; I’ll call you in a day or so.”


     Liz walked to her car and gave Robin a sad looking smile; then got in and drove away.  Robin got up going in the house, “Me and my big mouth.”

     Liz drove out into the country to a place she loved.  It was a cliff with a great view of the valley below.  She sat beside the cliff looking at the beauty, her knees up to her chest.  The tears fell, “Oh Grandpa, not you too, not you.”

     Liz sat there for a long time thinking of her mother, Calvin, now Grandpa, everyone she loved.  She sat there for a long time.  The sun was beginning to set; casting beautiful shades of orange and purple into the horizon.  Liz got up feeling defeated and drove back to Grandpa and Gram’s house.

     When she walked in the door the room was filled with Dayla’s laughter.  Grandpa was tickling her.  “Mama, we had ice cream.!”

     Dayla ran to Liz, she scooped Dayla up in her arms.  “Sounds like you had a fun day.”

     “Grampy and Grammy are taking me to the zoo tomorrow, me and dolly!”

     “Well, aren’t you lucky?”

     Dayla hugged and kissed Liz.  “I love you Mama and I love Helna!”

     “Me, too, baby.”

     Liz put Dayla down, “How about a bath?”

     “Can I bring some toys?”



     Liz walked over kissing Grandpa and Grams, “Looks like she’s worn you two out.”

     Grams laughed.  “If only that energy could be bottled.”

     “Yes, she has plenty of that.”

     Liz got Dayla into the downstairs bath letting her play with her toys.  “I’ll be back to get you out soon.”

     Dayla made lots of sounds as she played with her toys.  “Okay Mama.”

     Liz went out sitting in the living room with her grandparents,     “Why wasn’t I told?”

     Grams looked up at Liz from her knitting.  “What dear?”

     “Grams, Robin told me about Grandpa.”

     Grams dropped her knitting in her lap looking over at Grandpa.  “Your Grandma didn’t tell you because I asked her not to.  You’ve had so much happen to you, Liz.  I don’t want to see you with anymore unhappiness.”

     “But this is different.”

     “No, its not and I don’t want you sad about it.”

     “How can I not be, Grandpa?”

     “Because I’m still here and there’s nothing to be sad about yet.”

     Liz went over to Grandpa wrapping her arms around him.  “I’m just not ready to lose you Grandpa.”

     “All things in life have a season, my dear.  Now, we’re going to be cheerful.  Do it for me, honey.”

     Liz wiped her eyes.  “I’d do anything for you, Grandpa.”  Liz walked over looking out the picture window into the dark night.  “You’ve been like a father to me, Grandpa.  I just want you to know I’m grateful for that.”

     “I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.  You’re like a daughter to me and I’ve cherished every moment, you’re a good girl, Liz.  My last hope is that you’ll find peace with what happened to Calvin, you have to move on.”

     “I’ll do my best, Grandpa.”

    “You always have, I’ve never worried about you.”

     Liz turned from the window looking at Grandpa.  “I love you.”

    “I know, sweetie.”

     “I better get Dayla out of the tub, she probably looks like a prune by now.”

     Grams and Grandpa laughed.  Grams began knitting again.  “If there’s any water left in the tub, I’ve heard a lot of splashing in there.”

     Liz went and took care of Dayla feeling much better about Grandpa.  She planned to spend as much time with him as possible from now until it was over.




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