C 2004 By Gracie Prior
CHAPTER XIX. AFTERGLOW
Terry slept in after the big day. He felt so good about not making any mistakes. It was great having Dad, Mom, Philip, and Kathy there. He laughed to himself. They were sure surprised that I could do something like that. Well, I don't know whether I like that or not. Still he had the glow and just lingered awhile under the warm sheets.
Ordinarily, he had to get up early every morning for his paper route, but Philip volunteered to do it for him. It was nice having Phil back in the house. Sometimes they even had one of those big brother, little brother talks.
"Terry," Mom called from the kitchen. "Time to get up...even for you," she added.
Terry noticed the joy in her voice. He dressed in his dungarees and flannel shirt. He passed his dad's room and saw with satisfaction that he was not in bed. Terry was glad that the excitement and the cold weather of last evening hadn't been too much for him. He hadn't heard coughing in the night, either. Maybe his prayers were being heard and Dad was getting better.
"Today, I thought we would get in the car and look for a bed for Dad, for the living room," Mrs. Raymond said when Terry entered the kitchen. "Then he can see us and be in the group, even when he doesn't feel well. Philip will stay here. Maybe he and Dad can join us at Bernies Restaurant and we'll all have dinner out. How does that sound? It will be sort of a celebration of your gym show last night."
"That sounds great. Only I thought Dad was doing better. Where is he? He wasn't in bed."
"Sometimes he is better, but he has some bad spells, too once in awhile when you're not here. He's at the doctor. He may get new medicine. But I'm determined that he will not spend all his time upstairs, away from us. So that's why we're getting a nice, pretty, comfy bed for down here."
* * *
We had a great time getting a bed for Dad. We picked out a nice dark wood frame called mahogany and Mom got soft mattresses and a cool brown bedspread. We ate at Bernies and I had a hamburger and even a milkshake. That was good. We came home and Dad started coughing right away. He went to bed, while Philip and Mom and I got his downstairs bed ready. It looked nice in the corner of the living room, right under our Home Sweet Home picture. Dad got out of his bed, went to his new one and he fell asleep. I suppose that was the idea.
Mom doesn't tell me anything. She doesn't want to worry me I guess. How can I not worry? I hate it that Dad is bad when I'm away. I know it isn't my fault, but why do I feel guilty? There's not much I can do, but I still want to do something. Mary's dad is a preacher. He seems real nice. Maybe I can talk to him and see if I can figure this thing out.
I'm glad everyone liked my tumbling last night, but if something happens to Dad, and I just stand around here like a dunce, I don't think I'm good for much. There must be something I can do.
* * *
The ambulance came at two o'clock a.m. Terry heard the siren and was startled out of a very peaceful sleep. Dad was taken to the hospital nearly unable to breathe. Terry spent the rest of the night curled up on the new bed, crying and feeling forlorn.
(What will happen to Terry's father? Will Terry figure out a way to help? Come back next Friday and see.)