Chapter 14---Hard to breathe
3:07 AM | Author: Jeff
Jay was in his last year of high school with his 18th birthday a couple of months off, when he first noticed Pop’s cough, he had just gotten home from wrestling practice, Pops was in his favorite spot over the kitchen sink staring out the window, drinking a cup of coffee.
“Hey Pops” Jay said as he entered the kitchen, on his way to the refrigerator.
Pops started to cough pretty badly Jay figured he had just startled him into swallowing his coffee too quickly, but the cough just wouldn’t stop. Jay got him a glass of water which helped as he drunk it. Pops was breathing real heavy.
“Better go see Doc Brown” Jay said, his concern growing
“I’ll be fine Jay” Henry Sutherland replied as Jay knew he would “You know what I think about doctors” Pops shook his head in disapproval.
“Yeah I know Pops, but they have come a long way since your day old man” This was Jays new thing, cheekiness.
“Who are you calling Old man?” Pops asked faking insult, “win a few wrestling meets and you think you’re untouchable” he said rubbing his hands together. Henry was so proud of the man Jay was becoming; he could barely believe the young man in front of was the scared nine year old child that had opened the door for him all those years ago.
“Won more than a few” Jay replied placing his bag on the counter and squaring off his feet.
“Outside?” Pops asked, gesturing with a thumb over his shoulder.
“You’re on” Jay replied, “but age before beauty” He said opening the back door in the kitchen,
“You’ve never beaten me my boy” Pops said walking out the door stretching his arms as he did.
“I know, but I will, maybe today’s the day, what do you think?” Jay teased
“Only one way to find out…ready big man?” Pops said followed with a hearty laugh, which turned into another heavy cough, so strong it doubled him over, forcing him to place a hand on the ground to steady himself.
“Pops!” said Jay, his voice filled with a mixture of concern and shock, his grandfather was a rock, ever steadfast, unbreakable, to Jay, but now he suddenly looked so frail, his face a purple-red color, the veins in his powerful neck swollen so much they looked like they might burst. Jay knelt beside his grandfather, patting his back, the way Pops had always done when Jay had a cold as a boy.
“I’m taking you to see the Doctor Pops, whether you like it or not” Jay said, doing his best to put authority in his shaky voice.
Pops continued to cough for what seemed to be an eternity to Jay, finally the cough subsided and Pops rolled over onto his back, his breath deep and labored, his body spent.
Jay fetched Pops another glass of water, lifting his head to help him drink it, which helped some, the redness in his face slowly faded to a mild pink. A few minutes past before, with Jays help Pops was able to get himself to his feet and walk to his bedroom.
“Must have picked up a chest cold” said Pops, “Bad one at that, but nothing that a days rest won’t set right” Pops smiled at Jay doing his best to reassure him that everything was fine, He could see the fear in Jays eyes, which made him realize how much the boy needed him.
“Just yell if you need anything” said Jay, “I’ll go start with dinner, get some rest old man” Jay smiled through his concern. Henry loved that smile, the same smile he’d seen all those years ago after they had finish moving things to the attic, truly from that day Jay had fallen into Pops confidence and together they had grown. Henry closed his bedroom door changed into his Pajamas and climbed into bed, he was so tired.
An hour later Jay had finished cooking dinner, he went to knock on Pops door, but stopped when he heard the loud resonating snore that Pops only made when he was real tired, ‘better to let him get his rest’ thought Jay, ‘I’ll set him a big breakfast in the morning, after all it’s just a chest cold’. And with that Jay went and ate his dinner alone, watched a little T.V and then after cleaning up, went to bed, he was beat too.
The next morning Jay woke and went to Pops room and listened, still the same loud snore resonated from with Pops room. Jay decided to let him sleep more, he went to the kitchen and cooked up some bacon and fried eggs, Pops favorite breakfast, placed the plate in the warm oven and left a note for Pops, before he headed off for school. ‘ Pops will be fine’ he reassured himself as he headed out the door, Jay looked up at the clear blue sky, took a deep breath, ‘ of coarse he will’ he smiled and began walking down the road to meet with Paul for the walk to school.
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"Wow. That's awesome. I like how you write, it's unique and descriptive and paints an image for you. when i was reading this first chapter, i could just picture this becoming a blockbuster movie or something." ...Toni Brolin

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I'm supposed to be doing all sorts of things--writing cards, laundry, decorating and what happens? You put up another Chapter! So much for my schedule. Ooh, it's a good one, though that's for sure. What a cliffhanger. Can't wait to see what Sabian has to say. Really good tense stuff, but with just the right poignancy."...
Kat