Part 2208 – “Dad?”

“Tessa?”

Missy muffled another yawn. “Dad? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I just wanted to make sure that you were okay.”

“I’m fine even though Raven is still asleep.” She looked over at the sleeping vampire. “He looks so pretty when he’s asleep I wish I could jump out of bed and run to him and hug him and kiss him the way I usually do.”

Jeff chuckled. “You really are feeling better.”

“Feeling better. I don’t know. I’d feel much better if I could get out of bed on my own without anyone’s help.”

“Don’t worry, Tessie. It will happen. It will take a lot of trying, but you’ll be back up on your feet again.”

“When?”

“When you’re strong enough.”

“But when will that be? How many days will it take for me to get strong enough?”

Jeff paused before replying, “I don’t know. Just keep trying. Your leg muscles will get stronger.”

“Dad?”

“Yeah?”

She looked up at the ceiling. “There are a lot of ceiling tiles I wonder how many there are if I were to start counting them which one would I start with the one by the door or the one closest to the window? Do all hospitals have ceiling tiles or is it just this one why do they have tiles wouldn’t it be nicer if it were some sort of pretty picture on the ceiling or a painting or a whole big poster of Raven without his shirt on that would be very nice. I know I’d like that.”

She scratched the back of the phone with her fingernail. “Dad? Will I really get stronger? Will I be able to walk again to run again to just be me again am I really going to be okay?”

“You will.”

“He sounds so certain. So firm. Maybe he is right. Maybe if I’m that certain then I will get stronger. If I just believe it.”

“If you just keep trying. Tessie, you sure you’re okay? Nothing feels weird or…You’re not bleeding or dizzy or—”

“I’m fine. At least, as fine as I can be given the situation.”

“You sure?”

She smiled at his worry. “Very sure. Trust me if I felt weird at all I would definitely let you know and then I’d let Raven know or maybe I would tell him first I don’t know I’d have to think about it but I think I would tell you first maybe.”

Her smile faded. “Dad? Am I really all that much different from who I used to be? Do you look at me and miss the girl I was before all of this?”

***

The girl she was before.

She isn’t her anymore. But what am I supposed to say? How should I answer this question without hurting her?

“We’ve all changed, Tessa. You. Me. And just…everyone. No one really stays the same. We are all inconsistent to some degree. We change for the better or for the worst or just a middling in between. We mature. We age. We live, Tessa, and we die. It is how we are. How we all are.” He thought of all the people he’d lost in his lifetime. “We’re just humans, Tessa. That is all we are.”

 

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