10/14/10: Way to shame me into updating again by commenting, people who comment! (Seriously, though, hi, welcome, and pull up one of the splintery old orange crates that we use for seating 'round these parts seein' as we can't afford no fancy chairs.)

The rules from
here still apply.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Richard pulled aside the living room curtain slightly. Yep, there she was, a half-hour late, as usual. For all that she claimed to love visiting with him, she certainly did take her time showing up.

She pulled her car up into the driveway, barely missing his petunias on the way up, and parked by the garage. Then the car doors opened, revealing both of the car's occupants. Perfect. His irresponsible daughter and his bigshot lawyer son, both in one visit. Definitely not a good sign. He let the curtain drop and walked slowly to the front door to let them in anyway.

"Hey, dad," Ellie said brightly, swooping in like a miniature hurricane as usual. She hugged him briefly before going to hang up her coat. Brad was more reserved, merely smiling and offering a polite handshake and a "You look well, dad" on his way in. Richard shut the door behind them, offered them a drink (which they both declined), and lowered himself down in his armchair to wait out whatever bad news they'd come to drop.

Brad began first, after a meaningful look from his sister. "You're probably wondering why we're both here today, dad," he started. "It's just that we're -- "

"You're both getting tired of having to drive all the way up here to check on dear old dad, and figure it'll be easier if you can drop me in a nursing home and be done with it, right?" They looked surprised and guilty, and Richard chuckled humorlessly. "Don't think I haven't noticed the signs. You've been thinking of this for at least a year." He pointed an arthritic finger at Ellie's purse. "I'm sure you've got a stack of brochures in there to show me, don't you?" She blushed, which was all the answer he needed. He chuckled again.

"Well, yes, sir, we have been worried about you lately," Brad answered. Calm and collected again, Mr. Bigshot Lawyer ready to argue his case. "I mean, three times in the last month alone, you've called one of us to say that you can't find your keys or your glasses..."

Richard snorted. "Everyone loses things. Doesn't take being old and senile to do that."

"Still." Brad looked levelly at him. "We care about you, dad, but we can't keep caring for you this way. I've got my practice, and Ellie's got her own family to look after. It's an hour's drive here for either of us, and as you get older you're going to start needing more and more help... help we just can't give you if you're living in this house all by yourself."

Ellie reached out and put her hand on Richard's. "We're just worried about you, dad."

Richard pulled back sharply. "I don't need your worry. Or your pity -- just because I'm old doesn't mean I'm helpless, dammit -- or even some goddamn geezer hotel. I'm perfectly fine on my own, always have been, always will be." He folded his arms and glared at them both in turn. "So you can just save your meddling and your planning my life for me. I may be nearly seventy now but I'm still your father, just as much as I was when you were both growing up, and if I say that I'm perfectly self-sufficient, then that means that I'm -- "

"You're not any such thing," Ellie snapped back. "You're just proud. And pride will do you a fat lot of good if you fall on that damn sidewalk some December and break your leg. Again."

Brad looked positively mortified, but Ellie just pulled the rest home brochures out of her purse and slapped them down on the coffee table. "Your choice, dad. Pride or common sense." Then she rose to her feet. "Let's go. He doesn't need our help making any decisions, apparently."

They let themselves out, leaving Richard alone to stare moodily at the pile of brochures.

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