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  • A Visit
  • Kevin Wilson (bio)

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Missy heard that her mom was in the hospital, had been assaulted in her own home, from a second cousin who had listened to the whole thing on her police scanner. “As soon as I heard the name June Weaver, I figured I should tell somebody. It sounds bad, Missy.” [End Page 74]

Missy was in bed, just asleep enough that this phone call felt like an anxiety dream, but she slowly worked her way through the facts. Her husband was snoring like a drugged elk, and she shoved him until he rolled onto his stomach and his breathing normalized. From what she could understand, the bare essentials that came over the police scanner, someone had broken into her mother’s home, where she lived alone, demanded money, assaulted her and then run off, still at large. They had taken her mother to the hospital over in Custer. Missy thanked the second cousin, a woman she had no memory of ever meeting, not fully awake enough to wonder how the woman had her phone number, and sat in bed, unable to do anything other than think about her options.

She knew she would have to go to her mother in Slidell, a four-hour drive from her apartment in Atlanta, and take care of things. Her only sibling, Tommy, was a bartender in Las Vegas; she didn’t even have a phone number for him any longer, hadn’t seen him in couple of years. She’d have to take some personal days from the travel agency, her boss surely pissed about it, and her husband and their daughter, Kayla, would have to fend for themselves for a few days. This was easy enough to figure out; the hard part was the uncertainty that awaited her. Her mother, eighty-two years old, had been beaten up, probably by some meth addict, and Missy only knew that there were so many outcomes that were untenable for her, as coldhearted as that seemed.

Their apartment was too small to accommodate her mother. If her mother needed help once she got back from the hospital, there was no money to pay for it. A nursing home was out of the question, too expensive, and her mother would never consent to it anyway. If her mother died—and Missy could not prevent her mind from going to these dark places—she had no idea how to even go about untangling all her mother’s affairs, whatever they might be. She saw her mother on Christmas and Easter, occasionally answered phone calls to help her figure out some tricky website or how to program the satellite TV. Now, as she quickly packed a bag and explained to her groggy husband what was happening, her mother had become the world entire. All the details of how she cared for herself and spent her days, which had become hazy and easy for Missy to ignore over the years, crystallized into a solid and definable sadness.

Before she left, she kissed Kayla, who, even in her sleep, reached out and hugged Missy, and then she was in the car, navigating by memory [End Page 76] the turns and highways that led back to her childhood home, her mind unable to settle on any real thought. The interior of the car was dark and silent, and she realized that, though she should be exhausted, her body was rumbling with adrenaline, her hands gripping the steering wheel so tightly that it made her teeth ache.

Four hours later, as she drove down strange highways, past houses that seemed to have exploded, all their contents now on the front lawn, every five miles seeing yet another fireworks store that was just a run-down trailer strung up with Christmas lights, she arrived in Custer. She pulled into the parking lot of the hospital and suddenly realized that she should have called ahead; why had she never thought to phone the hospital to check on her mother’s status? Everything had happened so fast, she supposed, though that didn’t account for the four hours in...


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pp. 74-92
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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