Before we knew it, summer had ended and autumn was upon us. We had little to no resolution in any aspect of our lives. Mom still hadn’t decided if she wanted to meet Peter and Dad was still puttering along as usual.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do, Lucian.” It had been another rough day at the art gallery. “If I have to deal with one more entitled, wannabe artist I might explode!”
“Well, is this your dream job?”
“No, of course not. It’s just a job I took when I moved here with Vi. It didn’t require a degree or experience so it was perfect.”
Lucian carried over our dinner and served me a hotdog. He was quiet for a moment before he finally smiled.
“What do you want to do with your life? Even better, what did you want to do before you became Violet’s Mommy — back when you were just Danielle Jayne McNamara?”
“It’s stupid really. I wanted to be a trauma surgeon. This was before I even knew that my mom had been a top-notch doc in her day. Once I heard her story it kinda made me want it even more, tradition I guess, but I’d already had Violet by then.”
“So go back to school and become a surgeon,” Lucian said matter-of-factly as he took a giant bite out of his hotdog.
“It’s not that easy, you know!”
“Why isn’t it?”
“Because I have to take an entrance exam and apply! It’s probably past the deadline.”
“Maybe,” he said. “But you don’t know that for sure. And if it is, so what? Apply anyway for next term.”
“Well, we don’t have the money. We need both incomes.”
“That’s bullshit and you know it. I make enough money to support us and pay for your classes.” Lucian smiled wickedly. “I can do this all day, Danielle. There’s no valid excuse you can give that I can’t shoot down with logic and reason. There is no good reason why you can’t and shouldn’t follow your dreams.”
I was struck with fear at the thought of going back to school, especially medical school, at this point in my life.
“I’ll think about it. Someone will have to watch Violet.”
“I’m out of work most days by 2pm, Danielle. Vi will be starting school soon anyway. I’ll be here when she leaves and here when she gets back. Go back to school, Babe. You can do it.”
“I’ll think about it,” I sighed. I wasn’t going to win this battle.
The only saving grace in my life right now was that Dad was no better or worse which was why I found it so odd when he showed up on my doorstep at 8pm one chilly night, arms full of notebooks. I was certain he’d gone off the deep end.
I ushered him into the kitchen and he started spreading out his bundles.
“Sit, Dani. We need to talk.” He rifled around though his notebooks, looking for something.
“Uh, sure, Dad.” I sat down across from him and eyed him carefully.
“Stop looking at me like I’m nuts, Daughter. In fact, according to today’s entry, I’m quite lucid.” He pushed the notebook over to me. “Here, see for yourself.”
I started to read my dad’s journal:
“If you need a comparison,” Dad interjected, “just flip through the pages. I’ve been trying to keep detailed notes.”
I turned back a few pages to one with less writing:
“Daddy, what is all this?” I was shocked and dumbfounded by all the notebooks, all the pages, that my dad had written.
“I’ve had an inkling for awhile that something wasn’t quite right in my old noggin.” He smiled sheepishly and sighed. “I wasn’t entirely sure but it felt like things were here some days and wavy the next. So I decided to try and find out.”
I was still flipping through notebooks that went back years. “Daddy, how long? How do you remember to write this when some days you can’t even remember Mom?”
“I asked some geeks to set up a reminder system. It sends a text message to my phone and it tells me exactly what to do. The notebooks are in the same place and I date them on good days. Some days are better than others and I remember what I am doing even when fuzzy. Other days…well there are some blank pages in there.”
“I’m forgetting more, Danielle. The iffy notes and blank pages are becoming more frequent. I’m going to transfer power of attorney soon. I’m giving it to you.”
“Daddy, no! You’re fine right now! And what about Mom?” I was on the verge of tears. Why me?!
“Everyone thinks I’m too off my rocker to realize who my doctor is. I know your mother’s past better than most, kiddo. I’m not going to stand in the way of her future.”
We sat in silence while Dad’s words sat on the table between us.
“Does Mom know yet” I whispered.
“No, and don’t you tell her either. Your mother and I will cross that bridge together when the time comes.” He stood up and hugged me. “I’m leaving these notebooks with you. Maybe it will give the doctors a better glimpse at my head. Maybe it will help them come up with a plan?” He hugged me again. “Hang in there, kiddo. We’ll all be fine in the end.”
Late that night, Lucian and I dug deeper into my Dad’s stack of notebooks.
“Jesus, Dani! There’s got to be thousands of pages here. And they go back at least 10 years. This is impressive for a man in the early stages of dementia.”
“Well, he was a doctor himself. I guess that part of his brain never quite left.”
He wasn’t wrong though. The pages were becoming more sparse with each passing month. It would only be a matter of time before my Dad became a blank notebook.
Time trudges on despite personal issues. Work still sucked but it paid the bills.
“Hey baby!” Lucian was waiting for me with a glass of wine one particularly difficult day. “I opened us a bottle of wine to celebrate.”
“Uh…celebrate? What are we celebrating?”
“I got you an interview with admissions at the university.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?! Why would you do that behind my back?!” I stormed out of the room.
“Because you were never going to do it and you deserve to go to medical school.” Lucian grabbed my arm and spun me toward him. “Seriously, Danielle. Give it a chance. The school understands non-traditional students. That’s why your meeting is at 7pm tonight. I know you are scared but I wouldn’t be telling you to do this if I thought you couldn’t.”
“Fine,” I pouted. “But you owe me a brownie after the meeting.”
After swearing up and down that he would give me a brownie, we piled into the car and headed to the University.
I had to take a painfully difficult placement test.
“Who really needs to know the answer to crossing the river with a wolf, a goat and a cabbage?” I grumbled to myself. Of course, Lucian overheard.
“The acceptance committee. And don’t think I can’t feel you making faces at me!”
Turns out I did fine on the testing but it was going to take an extra year to finish my degree. Apparently, art credits don’t transfer to medical school though I did try to argue that medicine was art.
“See, I told you it would be fine!”
“Is that like ‘I told you so’ only less offensive?”
“Shush and eat your brownie. You have 5 minutes before you have to meet your new advisor and talk about a plan to get you that degree.”
I went to meet my advisor and she handed me a schedule. It turns out I’m in Med School now based on stellar recommendations from Dr. Penelope McNamara, Dr. Peter Pagano, and Dr. Declan Hale.
We drove home in silence, mostly because I was in shock. We weren’t home long though when Lucian was called to the hospital for an emergency.
By the time he got home and got to sleep, I was already studying for my first lecture. I guess this is our life now. I’m sure we’ll see each other in passing…I hope.
Medical School is going to keep me busy for a while. See you on the flip side!
Note from SweetPoyzin: Sorry for the two-month-long hiatus between chapters — things got a little crazy. Thanks for being patient, dear readers!
We’re going to give Dani a break for a bit so she can focus on medical school. This will give us some time to hang around with our other favorite peeps. I wonder what Penny’s been up to lately…
One final thank you to Ms. Addy Wilson for supply the entrance exam question and for nominating me for my Sunshine Blogger Award. You are awesome.