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Work By Eight

Shandy’s coffee grows cold in the mug, as the deafening silence echoes around her. The house is too quiet without the sounds of Jason banging around getting ready for school. She stares out the window, seeing nothing beyond.

“Mom, would you take me to school today?”

“I can’t today, Jason, I have to get to work.”

“But, Mom! It’s raining.”

“You’re not going to melt. Wear your rain poncho over your backpack. That’ll keep you and your stuff dry. It’s only a mile to school.”

The conversation rings in Shandy’s head. Her jaw clenches and she refuses to allow the tears to fall.

Why didn’t I just give him a ride?

“I had to be at work at eight.”

The sound of her voice cracks the heavy silence.

“Mom, please. I hate riding my bike in the rain. I spend the rest of the day trying to get dry.”

“Jason. Asked and answered. I have to get to work on time. My big presentation is today. Don’t be so whiny.”

She had noticed his lips thin to a taut line at her words, but she ignored it.

“I’ve gotta go. See you tonight.”

She didn’t tell him she loves him.

If she’d only known those would be the last words he would hear from her. The tears spill down her cheeks and dark pain slips through her lips in a deep moan.

“I’m sorry. I'm so sorry. If I hadn’t been so . . . self-absorbed you wouldn’t have been riding your bike. That car . . .”

Shandy’s voice breaks, “I love you, Jason.”

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