by: ReinaHW | Story In Progress | Last updated Dec 24, 2022
Chapter Description: Nothing like a nice walk
Walk on back
It is said that death and taxes are two constants in life, perhaps it is true. There are many constants in life as we all find out.
All too often all we can ever do is just walk back to it or away from it, even if for a short time.
As one woman discovers for herself.
So this is it then. That was the main thought running through her mind as she set off back home from the doctors surgery, her concerns had been confirmed following a series of blood tests. She was given the estimate of a year or less left to live after it was confirmed that she had the same terminal illness that had killed her dad almost twenty years ago.
Genetics or cruel fate, whichever it was she just didn't care any longer. She had been feeling poorly for the past few months and had requested blood tests after a strong feeling that she was suffering from the same illness that had taken her dad from her.
He had been so vital before the illness, so full of life and bit by bit she had watched him wither away until all that was left was a husk in pain, a pale shadow of the man who had raised her for most of her life following her mum's death in childbirth giving birth to her baby brother who had died with her when she was a toddler. Her dad had never met anyone else in regards of romance and intimacy after she had died.
She wondered if she would die alone or in hospital, she didn't have anyone in her life in regards of family. She had never married, never had children. Oh she had dallied in some romances a few times over the years but it had never worked out and now that she was fifty she was already seen as some spinster by people obsessed with stereotypes and forcing people into convenient little boxes.
Have children, they said, you'll regret it if you don't. Get
married, do as we say, conform or else. She didn't care for any of
that and wasn't going to force herself to bother.
Checking the time on her phone, she wonders about catching the bus although a walk sounded nice. It was only a little over two miles back home and she did miss going for a daily walk, she didn't go out for a walk as often as she used to before her dad had died. They had gone for a walk together ever since she had learned how to crawl, it was pretty much how they had formed a strong father and daughter bond.
She had loved those walks where they would talk about the events of the day, they were some of her most sweetest memories.
“A walk does sound good, so why not. Might not get another chance” The weather is at least mild enough thanks to winter finally getting the hint to bugger off after months of being unwelcome and there's no rain due for today it seems, the wind has settled at last and summer is on the approach after almost a year of miserable weather.
Deciding to stop by a shop that has been around since before she was born and one where her dad would take her to so to treat her to a sweet while they were out for a walk, and one she still comes to regularly and is well known by many of the staff old and new, she enters the shop and is greeted by the oldest original owner who has been there since she was in her mum's womb.
Ashley, how's you the day?” Vincent Carison greets her with which
she replies with a hello.
“Not great, got the bad news that confirmed my fears. Looks like I'll be going out like my dad did or sooner” Vincent is dismayed to hear that and his expression shows it, he used to change her nappies when she was a baby, even babysat her from time to time. His wife, before she had died a few years ago, used to babysit her as well. They were neighbours. At close to eighty he is determined to not die in some care home but to die serving the local people he is friends with and has known for so long.
“Oh quine, I'm so sorry to hear that! I can have my sprogs and grand sprogs help you out and I won't take no for an answer, I don't want to see you die alone if I can help it” She knew he wouldn't, even close to death himself he was determined to help those he cared about.
“Thank you, I guess I can let myself be helped out in my remaining time. I'll see them tomorrow then and talk about what may be needed” She had helped her dad in his remaining months as had so many neighbours, he had been loved by many of the neighbours for his kindness.
“See you later then, take care. You're not a spring chicken any more” Vincent waves her off with a laugh after she's bought herself a bottle of water and a sweet to eat on the walk back home. The sadness in his eyes betrays his laughter though, he was sad to see her likely going to die before him.
Once back outside she sets off back home with the way back home by foot engraved into her memory. A few nods and hellos follow before she's on her own.
“Guess I'll see you again soon, dad, I hope you don't mind” She thinks to herself as she turns off from the main town road and heads back home via the coastal road. The scent of the sea is both pungent and welcoming, the gentle breeze ruffling her greying hair.
Memories of the walks with her dad are strong today and she thinks back to the last time she had gone for a walk with him before his illness had rendered him bound to his bed. They had been talking about her thoughts on her new job that she had just started, her previous job at the time had been okay but she had wanted something more. She couldn't even remember the place now, it had been that long ago.
“Got to be excited though” He said as they walked home between nibbles of the chocolate bars they were having, their walk treats.
“Guess so, you know I'm not ambitious. I just want to be able to pull my own weight and not be seen as lazy” Her dad scoffs at that notion.
“You lazy? I had to tell you to relax for years even when you were a teen, I felt lazy just watching you zip around the place and be up earlier than me every morning. You are not lazy, you don't have a lazy bone in your body. You'll probably still be active even when your time ends” He was right about that, she was incapable of being lazy but it still didn't stop her from thinking that she was lazy when she wasn't doing enough.
She missed him so much that she was certain he was walking along side her, maybe he was in spirit at least.
The years in her memories go back a little more to just after she had graduated from college, she had been considering university at the time but she had been too eager to work and eventually decided not to bother with university. The way she saw it she could learn just as well in the workplace.
Her dad hadn't tried to change her mind, he had simply said that it was her decision to make and he supported her regardless. By then she had already moved out and was living less than five minutes walk away, she had wanted to stay close by since her dad had been feeling under the weather in the past couple of years and she had been concerned.
She had been twenty one when she had officially entered the workplace after graduating college, she had wanted to start earlier but her dad had felt that she would be best focusing on her studies first so to not to overwork herself. Her youthful arrogance had almost made her ignore his advice but she was glad that she had taken it in the end.
As she walks she feels her gait strengthen as she thinks about the past, she didn't want to rush home though so she keeps her pace steady enough as the past welcomes her to days gone by.
“Slow down please, this old man is starting to have trouble keeping up” Her dad remarked jokingly and she slows down to match his own pace, she had used to struggle to keep up with him when she was younger.
“Sorry, was lost in thought” This was the day before she had begun college and she had been thinking about what it would be like there, would she be able to manage the new classes? Was she good enough for college? So much was going through her mind that she wasn't paying attention to the world around her.
“Just take it a day at a time, you'll do fine. You shouldn't overthink things so much since it's a one way road to a nervous breakdown” Her dad was always giving her advice, always trying to her her to slow down and enjoy life instead of trying to rush through it. She didn't like to go so slow though, she wanted to get out into the world.
“Can't help it” He shakes his head at his daughter's words but then he had been just as bad at her age, youth was truly wasted on the young.
She had done well in college despite a couple of stress related incidents. Unlike most others though she hadn't fallen into the trap of drink, drugs and other harmful vices. She just worked herself to near death far too often and didn't have that many friends, few people her age felt able to keep up with her so they instead mocked her for not being like them while she did her best to ignore them.
As a teen in her academy years she had been just as bad, she had so few friends and was so dedicated to her studies that she had been seen as arrogant by others her own age. She wasn't arrogant though, not at all, she just wanted to do something more with her life than be like everyone else.
There had to be more to life than following the crowd and heeding to peer pressure. Her dad had been supportive of her determination to not follow the crowd despite his feelings that she should take the time to enjoy her youth before it was gone.
Life was for learning though, that was her thoughts on it. She wanted to learn, needed to even. Knowledge didn't mean power to her, it meant a chance to do something more with her life. She had still gone out for walks with her dad often though when she wasn't studying in and out of school.
“Looking tired there, you sure you're up to this?” She nods, she was up to it. She was pretty tired though and longed to have some sleep before doing more work. At fourteen she was being regarded as a bit of an overachiever by her teachers while she just saw it as focusing on what was important instead of wasting her time being like the other kids her age.
“I'll sleep when I'm dead” She mummers tiredly.
“If you keep this up you will be, we'll just have a short walk today and then you're going to bed as soon as we get back home. Okay?” She shrugs, she wasn't bothered although it sounded lovely.
“Sure, okay” Her dad still treated her like a child and while she tried to show that she was a grown woman while rolling her eyes, she actually liked it, it kept her grounded to more than just her studies. Part of her missed when he would carry her on his shoulders and she felt like she could touch the sky, she missed that.
The last time he had done that was before puberty had hit when she was eleven, she had felt she was too grown up for it despite missing it.
“Up?” Her dad asks and she shakes her head despite wanting to say yes.
“I'm not a little girl any more, dad, I have to be a grown up now” Her period had started several days ago and her dad had been surprised to say the least, thankfully he had been learning how to prepare for his daughter beginning her steps towards becoming a young woman soon so he had been able to help her and teach her about what was happening to her.
Bleeding a week a month didn't sound fun at all to her and she wished she could just turn it off, she didn't have any plans on being a parent in the future and didn't see why she had to have these periods if she wasn't planning on being a parent.
She didn't have a choice though which was unfair. She missed not having them, especially the stomach cramps. She was glad that her dad had helped her through her first, it hadn't been so scary with his help.
“Enjoying your sweet?” He asks and she nods, it was delicious. She hoped the walks wouldn't stop now that she was beginning puberty, she liked spending this time with her dad.
“How about when we get home we can put on that animated movie you've been wanting to watch” That sounded great, she was usually so busy with schoolwork that she didn't have time to enjoy the things she liked.
“Then as soon as get home it's movie night” Yay! Movie night! Her feet were starting to feel a little sore but she took it in her stride, the walk felt longer than it should. Looking up she can see home approaching fast but there was still another twenty minutes or so to go.
She was so lost in her memories that she wasn't even paying attention.
“Feet getting sore?” Her dad asks, she nods. They were starting to ache.
“I can manage” When she was about eight she would often bite back saying that her feet were hurting during a walk, she struggled to keep up with her dad and didn't want to burden him with asking for a piggyback ride. Her little legs just couldn't manage long distances, it wasn't like he minded giving her a piggyback ride but she was a big girl, she needed to show that by not giving up just because her feet were hurting.
“You sure? I don't mind hoisting you up on my shoulders if you're tired” That sounded good but no, she needed to stop being such a baby. Maybe when she was younger and smaller she would have given up but not now.
“Even big girls can admit when they're tired” She looks over at her stroller, so tempting. She was outgrowing it but still it looked so tempting and she was feeling tired, her four year old legs were struggling.
She wonders if her mummy will be hinting for her to use her stroller, but she's gone now. Daddy said she fell asleep and didn't wake up, her baby brother had done the same when he was in mummy's arms. They both fell asleep and didn't wake up, her daddy had mentioned that there had been something called a compli...compli..she couldn't think of the word, it was a big word. It made her sleepy and she didn't wake up, her baby brother had suffered one as well.
She never got to say goodbye.
“Owie” She stops walking, her feet were hurting and her dad picks her up and straps her into her stroller. He looked sad a lot these days, he missed mummy as much as she did. She wished mummy was here.
“Not much longer left to go and we'll be home” She yawns, she's feeling really sleepy. “Soon be beddy byes time for a little angel” She giggles tiredly, she hopes that she sees mummy in her sleep.
“Sweepy” She says softly, she didn't want to sleep just yet.
“Almost home, mummy will be waiting to give you a big hug and change your nappy before bed time” She smiles at her daddy, she loved being out with him. She didn't need a change yet but she would likely need one once they were home, she always did.
She didn't come out on these walks very often but always said she wanted to, she hoped she would soon.
Her pram was so comfy and it let her see her dada who was smiling down at her with so much love in his eyes.
“Dada! Home!” He laughs.
“Of course, ma'am, heading home!” So sleepy. The pram stops and she can hear her mama, she coos sleepily as she's taken out of the pram and cradled.
“Welcome home, sweetie, how was your walk?” She was home at last, home with her mama and dada.
Nothing to worry about.
She closes her eyes after a last big yawn.
Walk on back
by: ReinaHW | Story In Progress | Last updated Dec 24, 2022