23:59 EST (New York Time) Wednesday. (700)
Using the prompt of ‘A Friend Shows Up‘ create a scene. This scene about a friend arriving at an embarrassing or perfect time. It could be, if a series is being written, a new friend we haven’t met before that changes the dynamic of the story.
To see more about this challenge, go Here
He came with flowers and a smile, moving immediately to give her a kiss, to fuss about, before he looked around and saw me. Instantly, his face changed, darkened, pretending dangerous.
Not that I was afraid. I remained standing before the window, arms akimbo, eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses.
“What,” he asked, “are you doing here?”
“Actually,” I replied, “I ought to be asking you that question. Friend.”
He laid the flowers down on the tray table. “I am here,” he replied, “for Sarah. My friend.” He took a step closer. “It’s you, friend,” he continued, an ugliness in his voice I had never heard before, “who shouldn’t be here.”
“You mean, here like you’ve been for the last ten years? Or here like you are because it’s near the end and you don’t want to miss the drama?”
His face drew rigid with anger. “How dare you,” he hissed, moving towards me. And then reconsidering and stopping in the middle of the room.
“Everyone knows,” I continued, “you left because Sarah couldn’t give you what you wanted so you didn’t need her. Now when she’s dying, now you have a chance to dwell in the drama, now you have a chance to get something from her….”
I didn’t say the rest. He’d know.
He shifted from foot to foot, unsure what to do. I’d beat the crap out of him if he pushed and he knew it. Or maybe he didn’t know me now as well as he thought. He knew what my size and built said and that was enough for him to assume nothing had changed.
Abruptly, he turned back to the bed, murmuring endearments to Sarah, so still and thin and pale, a shadow of mixed memories. Sarah who had never stopped waiting for him to come home.
Not when I’d left and come back. Not when I left my career and got a job, bought a house for her, took her off the street and handled her bills and doctor’s and medicine. Bathed her, wiped her, fed her when she was too weak to feed herself.
None of this mattered in the end. It was him for whom she had waited, from the moment he left, dreaming and wishing and hoping he would come back as promised. Even as the years passed, she never lost hope.
And now he was back, the third of a friendship we’d never imagined would shatter. Children never believe in death. Their lives are magical, little Peter Pans, never thinking childhood will end. But it ended when he left. I wasn’t strong enough to watch her pine her life away so I’d joined the military, travelled the world, forgot her, forgot him, forgot the little corner of our world where we’d believed we would always be safe.
He sat by the bed, holding her hand, stroking her face, his the first face she saw when she woke. The joy in her eyes hurt me. If it had been possible, it would have broken me.
“Hush, darling, I’m here,” he whispered. “I’m here to take care of everything.” He smoothed her brow. “Just sleep, darling. Everything will be all right now.”
From that moment on, I was invisible. The next day…
I was gone.