It is the weekend after the Spring break. Emmylou and her father are having breakfast. She probably should sit facing her father and not the window so he would not have to compete with the diversions outside a few kids riding their bikes, an older woman is playing with her tiny Affenpinscher dog in her front yard, the construction that is going on at the end of the cul-de-sac, two squirrels scampering through the trees. They would have to wait for her father to finish talking about miracles.
Her father believes in those things and in grand schemes God, religion and her.A few years ago, in November, Emmylou had a car accident. There had been intermittent freezing rain, her car slipped and hit a truck.
Her father asks taking a sip from his hot coffee. “It is unbelievable! And I am thankful to God for protecting you.” He continues, “ There is one woman runs a wildlife charity, would you like to volunteer there? Try, you may like it.” He hands her a newspaper classified.
Emmylou has made it through high school and one year of college before the car accident. She is that kid, who moves sideways, lags behind, forgets her buddy in the partner system and loses the group. She has read a report from neuropsychologist that her executive function is severely impaired due to frontal-lobe injury.
“ So,” her father says. “ Are you ready for the interview?”
Emmylou takes a long deep breath and takes a sip from her herbal tea. Art and crafts she could do well or if she could find a job that allows her to play all day, that could have been perfect. The job search has been an integral piece of their morning routine for last two years. It is a complex exchange full of limited expectations, consistent disappointment.
Her father kisses the crown of her forehead on his way out and she watches his car fades beyond the driveway.
Emmylou walks into the kitchen.On the stainless steel refrigerator door there are a few faded magnets of wonder woman, ‘ I can do it’ and ‘Believe in yourself’ that her mother made infused with her strong believes. She passed away in cancer leaving Emmylou. Emmylou misses her mother her love and the time that they spent together.She wiped her tears and looks to the other side of the refrigerator door.There is a long note from her father.
1.Take pills. Pills to stabilize her mood, even if each one has a side effect that thins her hair and slows her metabolism.
- Feed Angel. Angel is her cat. She is eleven years old tabby, has a shiny coat,mild arrogance, lots of stubbornness and a huge appetite.
- Shower and dress. Clearly later. May be she could go back to sleep again or after one more cup of herbal tea.
- Find clothes for the interview. Emmylou walks into her room. Clothes are everywhere spilling from the closet, exploding out of the chest of drawers, on the floor mingled with cat hair and dust.Folding requires fine motor skills and she does not have them. Her hands are weak and she can not fold them properly. She finds one black skirt in the back of the closet and one blue silk blouse which need ironing. She has to wait on that.
- Think about cleaning your room.Really!!
Emmylou looks around. Reams of papers are scattered everywhere, used art supplies on the desks. By the end of week her room is a colossal accumulation of socks, broken pencils, books and magazines.Every cleaning crew that her father has ever sent over, refused to work unless she could first get her room into “ manageable” shape, a concept which she does not know. “Sure I will try cleaning the room but in my way.” Emmylou mumbles.
The rest of the day goes fine. After shower,she watches a documentary on elephants,on polar bears, on climate change. Then she sits by the window sill and watches outside A spotted squirrel focuses on an acorn. Emmylou grabs her sketch pad.The squirrel is holding the nut in his tiny hands, gnawing on it pieces by pieces. She imagines his determination which pulses through her pencil creatively. She is almost done with her picture when her dad returns home.
Today her father has brought Chinese food for dinner so that they do not have to cook. He hands her a fortune cookie from the bag. “Open it.”
Emmylou opens it. “ Door will be opening for you.” it says.
“You see?” her dad says with a big grin. “ You never know what life will bring.”
Emmylou rolls her eyes. “You are taking a fortune cookie to heart?”
“Why shouldn’t I?” he says. “ The cookie knows.Tomorrow we will go together to the nature center, you will feed the ducks and approach the owner for the interview. And the door will open for you. You love to take care of the animals and this will be a perfect opportunity for you.” There is confidence in his voice and Emmylou is excited.