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Billy
By
aidan

Billy

On Being Lucky

Barb was doing paperwork at her desk. She was a little surprised when she saw Kaye come in, with Billy by her side. She got up to greet Kaye and noticed the dog limping. “You two can't seem to stay out of trouble can you.” She said. Kaye looked frazzled she went right into what she would like Barb to do. She went over the story quickly about Ed and the bull, and that she would be picking the dog up as soon as she could. Kaye thanked her then left quickly. Barb led the dog into the surgery and began her inspection. He had nothing broken just a sprain in his hind quarter and imagined his side had not entirely healed and was re-injured.

Ed, however, was not as fortunate. By the time they got to the hospital, he had begun coughing up blood from a punctured lung. X-rays revealed two broken ribs and three fractured. His wrist broken in two places from his fall from slipping on the ice and his shoulder had separated after being tossed by Brutus against the side of the barn's gate. Kaye was asked to wait in the waiting area; the Dr. would be there as soon as he finished with Ed. As she turned the corner, she heard Ed curse and yell; she assumed they must be putting his shoulder back in its socket. Her pace quickened away from the emergency room taking the first seat in the empty waiting area area

She went through the stack of dog-eared magazines, looking for the most current issue of Good Housekeeping. She found one on holiday baking and began leafing through it. She stopped at how to make the perfect shortbread recipe. She soon lost her concentration. Her mind went over the day. It started out so happy with Ed taking the dog. Then the mail, her student loan payments were passed due with interest, if payment was not received. The call from the oil company wanting their money, with the threat they would be on a cash basis. Then, of course, the farm mortgage was a little past due, as were the light, phone and feed bills. She wondered how did things get so out of control?

She leaned back, closed her eyes tried to block out the day. She leafed through the magazine again stopped at how to make the perfect dinner rolls. The next tip was on to make "The ultimate no less" Christmas pudding “the kind your Grandmother made.” She tried to read that, and after several attempts, Kaye closed it tossing it back on the pile. The issue was a little too perfect for her today. After an hour, or so the Dr. stopped to see her. He went over Ed's injuries, and how lucky Ed had been and how it could have been much worse. The Dr. was keeping him for observation for several days because of the punctured lung before he could go home. She could see him in a few minutes after he was in his room.

She walked to the nurse's station asking for Ed's room number. Before walking in, Kaye stood in the doorway. Ed's left arm was in a cast. IV tubes hung with meds dripping in his good hand and an oxygen tube. He looked small and weak laying in the bed. Ed held up his good hand and waved as she walked into the room. She took it. Tears started down her cheeks. She wiped them off with the back of her hand as she sat down on the bed beside him. Ed was groggy from the painkillers; he smiled up at her. "Don't cry; the Dr. says I will be back on my feet in a week or so.“

"What are we going to do Ed, you can't work like this.?” Ed squeezed her hand. "Listen to me. Call my dad tell him what’s going on. He will come over and feed the cattle. Everything is all there for him; it will take a couple of hour’s tops. I cleaned out the barn and put down new bedding this morning, so that's all taken care of for now. Then call the Jacobson's and tell Jim he will have to pick up his bull. I should of let him come and get the damn thing when he offered last week."

Kaye nodded, saying nothing, just held back tears. She wanted to mention the call from the oil company, talk about the mortgage but decided he was in no condition to carry on a coherent conversation; she thought it best just to leave it. Kaye kissed him on the cheek; "I need to let you rest and pick up Billy. I'll stop in tonight; you better get out of here soon Edward Smith; I need you."

She was almost through the doorway when Ed called to her. “Kaye' Have I ever told you how beautiful you are?”

Kaye was taken back by his comment; raised her eyebrows. She had hoped that one day he might comment on her looks, but today of all days. Standing in a hospital doorway with little to no make-up, an old sweater, baggy jeans, and her hair pulled back and tied in a red scrunchy She smiled and shook her head. “Nope, you never have Ed.”

“Well you are,” Ed said smiling at her. Kaye left the room felt the warmth of a blush on her cheeks wondering what drugs that he was on that made that come out.

Ed's lucky; Kaye thought, as she drove from the hospital to get Billy. She repeated the words lucky in her mind. This time out slow sarcastically. She felt something on her cheeks and wiped it away. Then another tear on the other and wiped it away, She thought of the word lucky, Then thought of all of the perfect recipes and the Thanksgiving recipes, the Christmas ones, how to make ultimate shortbreads, have the perfect home. “Lucky,” she said again; but faster. “Lucky. We're so lucky, aren’t we. So much to be thankful for.” Tears were flowing freely now impairing her vision. Kaye pulled the Jeep off on the side of the road hit the four ways and jammed the Jeep in park and began to let all of it out. "Just so lucky to be here.” she sniffed, “lucky to have a nice cold home hell couldn't heat. A car that needs to be crushed instead of repaired. Lucky, to have a stack of bills that may get paid if we have a little more luck.” Her shoulders shaking Kaye buried her face in her hands. The dam had burst, no pushing it back now any longer. Kaye cried until her throat hurt, she tried to gain a little composure and needed to get Billy at Barb's. She didn't want Barb to see her like this, then that word again that the Dr. had said. "Ed's very lucky." Her voice began to tremble, repeating it again and again. Her voice rose an octave each time she spoke it. “But he's a lucky guy, Ed's Lucky! I'm lucky! So God damn lucky!”

She hadn't seen a half ton that pulled up behind her. Still ranting, pounding on the steering collum. She was startled by a tap on her door glass; she turned. It was Ralph Phillips. "Just my luck." she thought. Kaye rolled down the window remembered her eyes and grabbed a Kleenex from the box in the console.

“Jesus Kaye, you alright? What’s going on?” Ralph asked. Ralph had heard the scream as he was approaching the Jeeps driver's side door.

“Just a bad day Ralph thanks for stopping I appreciate it.” Kaye sniffed at her runny nose. “I will be fine," she tried to smile and be strong, the Kaye everyone saw; but her voice quivered as she began to fill him in on the last few hours of her day. “Ed's in the hospital for a few days. He has a broken wrist, separated, shoulder a punctured lung, broken ribs, I just don't know what to do anymore," she sobbed out loud. "I think I am losing it. We try so hard, and everything has hit us all at once. We can't pay our bills this month Ralph, now this."

Ralph moved around to the front of the jeep and got in the passenger side. He just sat beside her for a while then broke the silence. “Kaye, I think you should come over to the house tonight, I'm worried about you. I'll stop by your house and take care of the dogs. Besides Violet would enjoy your company.; why don't you do that?” Kaye didn't want to be anywhere right now, but out of this three-year nightmare that she and Ed were sharing. What she wanted was to have her house painted white with green trim and finished with the homemade shutters, Ed promised to make. Wanted to see her husband happy, wanted children playing in the family room waiting for their daddy to come in from the fields. She wanted the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Day table, set in her Grandmothers dishes, silver flatware, and linen. She loved that picture, thought it could be a reality. Kaye sighed she believed so much was possible back then. Then after blowing in her tissue, she looked over at Ralph leaned across the console and kissed his cheek.

“Thank you, Ralph, for stopping;, I'm just feeling a little too sorry for myself; I just need to be home, I'll be okay. You're a wonderful man, Ralph Phillips; you know that? Besides, I have to pick Billy up at the vet's, take him home.”

"Billy? Who's Billy;" Ralph asked,” I don't know a Billy, he a relative?”

Kaye chuckled no. “He's the dog I had in my Jeep the night of that storm; you were there for me that night too.” Ralph looked at her. “Well, I have some news. I hope it's good news.” Ralph passed wondering if he should have poked his nose where it didn't belong in calling the Brennan's, but he had to keep going now. “I found the owner I think.”

Kaye's heart sank they had fallen in love with the little guy; a few more tears trickled down from the corners of her eyes. Ralph went over the story how he happened to hear of the missing dog. She looked over at him, smiled at him. “That is good news. I am sure they must miss him very much; I know Ed and I will.”

“I was going to call them tonight; once I talked to you to check to see if it was a border collie or not.” Ralph went on. “But why don't you give them a call instead, I'm sure they would like to thank you for taking care of him.”

Kaye didn't want to call anyone tonight but told Ralph she'd be happy to give them a call. He gave her the matchbook that had Brennan's number. Kaye took it and put in in her purse. She wiped away another tear with the edge of her hand, placed Tom Brennan's phone number in her purse. Just what the Dr. ordered Kaye thought, one more to add to the pile of luck.

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