Flash Fiction: Just in Time

Just in Time

by Susan Sage

“How is she?” Sylia faced the doctor in the waiting room of the hospital.

“She doesn’t have much time, but she seems to be hanging on for some reason.” Dr. Morrow’s five-foot frame seemed even more petite with her shoulders lowered.

“What do you mean by that?” Jerry Blessman barked from behind her. “You’re the doctor. Do something.”

“Dad?” Sylia paused a moment, then took slow steps to her father.

“Why don’t we go down the hall and talk.” Dr. Morrow held her arms out, one toward Jerry, the other to a room a few feet from them.

The moment they stepped through the door into the chapel, Jerry collapsed on a padded chair. He leaned over, put his face in his hands, and sobbed.

Sylia hurried to her father’s side and wrapped her arms around him. “I’m glad you came, though I’m surprised.

“It can’t be.” The words were choked out between the breaths. “I still have to … how can I … why did I wait so long.”

Sylia pulled back and sat on the floor in front of him.

Jerry looked at her, then at the doctor.

“Excuse me,” Dr. Morrow backed toward the door, “I’ll go check on Mrs. Blessman again.”

Jerry stood, paced around the pews, then strode down the aisle to the front where a cross sat on a knotted oak table. He leaned on it, then slowly turned and looked at his daughter.

“I haven’t talked to your grandma in many years.”

“Yes. I don’t know why, but I also remember you wouldn’t let me go see her when I was little.”

“You’ve obviously seen her since you moved out of my house.”

Sylia nodded.

Jerry lowered himself to the front pew with his back toward her. She walked up the center of the room and sat on the step across from him. Tingles spread across her shoulders as she silently whispered a prayer.

“Grandma kept a secret from me and Carrie for many years. When she told us the truth, my sister handled it fine.”

“But you didn’t.”

“No.” Jerry stood and paced the space between the pew and the table. He stopped, reached out, and picked up the twisted cross, put it to his chest, then replaced it.

“What was the secret?”

“Carrie and I aren’t actually twins.”

A gasp flew from Sylia’s mouth. How could that be true?

“I went to Grandma’s house today to talk to her after all these years.” He moved back to the chair. “I wanted her to know how sorry I was for how I’d acted and to ask her forgiveness.”

“Wait, you and Aunt Carrie aren’t twins?”

“No. We were born on the same day, so Mom called us twins.”

“Dad, you’re not making sense.”

“We’re both adopted, but from different mothers.”

Only the sound of violin music through speakers filled the space for several moments.

“And when Grandma finally told you?”

Jerry began pacing again, “Carrie wasn’t concerned by it, but I went ballistic. I walked out and haven’t seen my mom since as you know.”

“But what brought you back today?”

Jerry’s head turned in the direction of the cross. “I finally learned the truth that forgiveness is the key to releasing pain. Until the day she died, your mom worked to get me to understand that. I had to try and make it right with Mom before it was too late.” He plopped back down in a chair. “Now it might be.”

Sylia came beside him, then put her arm around his shoulders. “Dear God, Your timing is everything. Please let Dad have a chance to talk to Grandma before she breathes her last breath.”

Something creaked behind them, and they both turned in the direction of the sound.

Dr. Morrow stood at the back of the room. “Mrs. Blessman doesn’t have long. I told her you’re here.”

Sylia looked at her father. His eyes opened wide as tears trickled down his whiskered face.

“Will she be able to hear me?”

“Right now, she seems to be aware. Whatever you need to say to her, I would say it soon. Her daughter is with her now.”

“Carrie’s here?”

“That’s the name she gave.”

Jerry and Sylia rushed down the hall and stepped through the gray curtain.

Carrie hurried forward and hugged both of them. Jerry and Carrie’s gaze held for several moments, then together they went to their mother’s bedside while Sylia stood against the wall.

“Momma?” Jerry’s voice broke.

The older woman’s eyelids fluttered then opened.

“Son.” The sound drifted through dry lips.

Jerry leaned over and put his head on her chest. Old, gnarled fingers rested on the back of his head.

“I’m so sorry. Can you ever forgive me?”

“I forgave you long ago.”

“How could you? I’ve been so … so …”

“God forgave me.” Her breath caught after each word. “So, I … forgave … you.” A staggered breath released from the older woman’s body, and her head lobbed to the side.

Sylia moved to the other side of the bed and joined hands with her father and aunt. “You made it just in time, Dad. Thank God, you made it just in time.”

About the Author

New to north Idaho, Susan Sage and her husband are enjoying getting to know the new area. She continues to work on her craft writing about God’s purpose and sovereignty in all aspects of life. She enjoys writing devotionals and flash fiction. She enjoys mentoring other writers who are new to the craft.

You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and on her website. You can read Susan’s “Flash Fiction” column on the 2nd Thursday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.

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