Saturday, January 21, 2012
Our lovely Jenny (whose blog, not coincidentally, is titled Off on a Tangent) happens to be off on a cliffhanger tangent just now. In light of that fact, and being an inveterate follower of the inimitable Ms. Matlock, I will now present you with 150 words of epilogue to conclude my two-part Saturday Centus story entitled Cliffhanging. I hope you will bear with me one last time.
The first two installments are in red below,
followed by today's addition, the epilogue, in black.
Cliffhanging, part one (100 words)
©2012 Susan Noyes Anderson
Jan's morning began in the living room, neck protesting a night in her chair. She’d been sitting sentry there (off and on) for years, awaiting errant teenagers, welcoming them in before lecturing them soundly.
But this welcome was too slow in coming. Sean should be home. Trembling, she grabbed her iPhone, exhaling slowly. Nada.
What good were these stupid cell phones, anyway? They made not hearing from your kids even scarier. Especially when their idea of fun was hanging off a cliff. Literally.
Sean knew how she worried. “I’m alive,” he always texted, teasing her. Maybe there was no reception.
Her limbs froze when the doorbell rang. The knocking (urgent, pounding) froze her soul...
Cliffhanging, part two (50 words)
"Mrs. Miller...Janet? It's Bud Gray. "
She rose stiffly, cracked the door. "Sheriff?”
"Sean’s in rough shape, Jan. Head injury. Let’s get you to County." Her stomach lurched.
Across town, a nurse smiled. The kid was conscious now, wanted his phone.
“That your beep?” Bud asked, eyes on the road. Breathless, Jan looked down.
"I'm alive," she read, and felt the world rush in.
Cliffhanging: the Epilogue (150 words)
(six months later)
Jan jumped, startled awake by the touch of Sean’s hand upon her shoulder.
“I texted you that I was on my way home, Mom. You should have gone to bed.” His tone was gentle.
Embarrassed, she glanced up at him. “I know. I was going to, but…” Her voice trailed off into silence, knowing her vigilance was unnecessary, unable to put words to why she couldn’t seem to let go of it. At least she was doing better than initially, when her anxiety level had soared every time her adventure-seeking son left the house.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” he murmured, not for the first time. “Sorry I put you through all that.”
Squeezing his hand reassuringly, Jan nodded. “I’m fine,” she said. “Hey, accidents happen. And all this crazy worrying is on me, not you. I’ll get a handle on it.”
The next weekend, she held vigil in her bed, dozed fitfully until she heard the door.
Progress, she thought, then smiled her way to sleep.