IMPORTANT NOTE TO READER: If your just tuning in, you'll want to click HERE to read Pick-A-Path Section 1 First.
And the readers said.... Path 'A'! Here we go!!!
That night Lori dreamed that she and J.J. were at the little league field searching for his coat. J.J. was crying saying that only Daddy could find his blue coat. Every place they searched she found a photograph of Jimmy but each photo was more faded than the last, like a Polaroid working in reverse until finally it was blank. The paper was so bright that it lit the entire ball field.
She turned to see where all the light had come from and the entire field was filled with small blue coats. It began to snow, but when she reached to catch the flakes, she discovered that it wasn’t snow. Bits of torn up paper filled her palm. She opened her fingers and the pieces slipped through and became part of the thick layer of paper that covered the field. The wind began to whip around her and she found herself snatching one of the falling papers out of the air and bringing it close enough to read. It was a portion of the paper from a prescription pad. She reached and managed to pull another piece from mid flight. She brought it close and realized it was the missing half to the one she was holding. She brought the two together to reveal Dr. Walters’s letter head and the word “cancer” written in blue ink.
She let the papers fall from her fingers and before they landed they burst into flames setting fire to everything they touched. She began to turn realizing that J.J. was no longer by her side. She couldn’t see him anywhere. She tore through the flames screaming for jimmy and J.J. finding them reading a book in the visitor’s dugout which turned into their living room as soon as she stepped inside.
J.J. looked up from the pages and said “Daddy found my coat.” His eyes shifted from her face. “Mommy, your hands are on fire.”
She’d woken to find she’d sweat through her clothes and tossed and turned so much that she’d pulled all the covers to her side leaving Jimmy with nothing but his shorts and a pillow he’d managed to hold onto.
“You must’ve had one hell of a dream Granger” he said sitting down at the kitchen table the next morning.
“Yeah,” she said pouring him a cup of coffee and sitting across from him at the table. She slid a #1 Dad mug across to him. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay,” he said and took a sip from the cup. “You alright?”
She nodded and sipped from her own cup. “Are you taking J.J. to school?” she said changing the subject.
“I can.” he said watching her get up from the table. “What’d you dream about?”
She stopped at the sink and placed her mug in slowly. “A bear” she lied knowing he would know it was a lie, but unable to think of anything else to say.
“I dreamed about a bear too Mommy” J.J. said from the hall way just beyond the kitchen.
“Really” she said with noticeable relief in her voice.
Yeah!” he squealed, “Poo Bear!” There were a series of thumps and grunts and then their son appeared in the doorway on one foot “Daddy I can’t get my shoes on right.” He hopped across the kitchen to reveal his left shoe on his right foot and his right shoe in his hand.
They both laughed at the sight of him and Jimmy pulled him into his lap. “Its cause you’ve got them switched again goofy.”
“So you’re still goin’ to that meeting tonight right?” Lori asked as she put J.J.’s Incredible Hulk lunch box into his back pack.
“Yeah” Jimmy said swapping J.J. shoes. “I think I’m just gonna pick him up and go over to Clint and Lauraen’s. Is that alright with you?”
“Yeah, that’s fine I just wanted to be sure of who I needed to make dinner for, that’s all.” She said zipping the backpack closed.
With his shoes now on the correct feet and double knotted Jimmy released J.J. and he rounded the kitchen island and maneuvered himself into the shoulder straps of his bag. “Let’s go!” he said looking at his Blue’s Clues watch which Lori noticed happened to be upside down.
“You’re a mess” she said with a laugh and slipped the watch off and then back on facing right side up.
He grinned his father’s grin, the one with the dimple on the left cheek and then bumped his forehead gently against hers. “I love you!” he said with the smallest hint of the baby lisp he’d almost outgrown and it caught her off guard. She found herself swallowing hard to keep herself there with him in that moment.
“Love you” she managed to whisper back to him.
“Love you both,” Jimmy said bending down and kissing J.J.’s head then Lori on the lips, lingering just a moment longer than usual.
“Gross,” J.J. said pushing himself between them.
“Gross” Jimmy said flipping J.J. over his shoulder so that his back pack listed to one side and said “I’ll gross you!”
He picked up his duffle bag and kissed her again. “Bye Granger. Good days!”
Bye Mommy!” J.J. said waving with his feet. :Good days!”
“Bye J.J.’s behind” she said with a laugh
Jimmy spun so that she and J.J. were face to face. She kissed him on the forehead “bye baby.”
She watched as Jimmy put him in the back seat of his truck, and watched as he climbed into the driver’s seat. She closed her eyes and herd the engine start and felt it’s rumble deep within and then she was moving out the door in her pajamas and bath robe hair still in a towel and feet bare.
The cool concrete stung her feet and the chill of the morning took her breath as she ran as fast as she could down the driveway after them.
“What’d I forget” Jimmy said when she’d reached his window.
She shook her head. “Nothing” she said pulling for breath, holding tight to the window frame. “Nothing,” she said again. It’s just…” she paused, digging for the courage. “Buy it.” She said and he looked at her with confusion. “The land, the baseball field.”
Her words hung visible in the cold of the morning and he stared at her
She couldn’t help but smile “we’ll figure it all out” she said.
“Are you sure?”
“Go before I change my mind!” she said laughing.
He leaned out the window and their foreheads touched and she smiled. “I love you.”
She stepped back from the truck and when they’d eased to the end of the driveway, turned left, and were out of sight, she reached into the pocket of her bath robe and felt the real piece of prescription pad paper from Dr. Walters’s office that she’d had with her every moment since he’d handed it across the desk less than twenty-four hours before.
She pushed it deeper into the corner of her pocket and started back up the driveway to the house.
Note to Reader: It’s your turn again. Use the comments section to let me know which path to choose. You have till Midnight on Tuesday August 18th to pick-a-path.
Path A: Jimmy finds the piece of prescription pad paper from Dr. Walters in the pocket of Lori’s robe before she has the chance to tell him.
Path B: J.J. finds the piece of prescription pad paper from Dr. Walters in the pocket of Lori’s robe before she has the chance to tell him.
Till next time,