The phone call came almost a year ago and Homer remembers it well. He had been out in the fields plowing and his wife came out and waved him into the house. His daughter was calling from the city. She had a good job there but she was calling with bad news. A doctor had confirmed she had stomach cancer. He said she should begin chemotherapy and radiation immediately but Laura wasn’t sure that was the right thing to do.
“After all, Dad, my medical intuitive said if I went on the Mediterranean diet, my condition could clear up and my hair wouldn’t fall out. It wouldn’t look good at work if my hair fell out.”
“Laura, what’s a medical intuitive? Is that a doctor of some kind?”
"No, Dad, a medical intuitive can tell just by talking to a sick person what’s the best thing to do. Sometimes they do it by phone, sometimes in person. They’re able to tune into your condition. Vibrations of some kind. They cost a lot but they're worth it. I’ve been talking to mine ever since I came to the city. She was right when I had a bad cough. I still have my tonsils. I hope she’s right again. I bought a book on the diet and I’m going to start on it immediately. Some good recipes if you like vegetables.”
Homer was not happy about the cancer or about the medical intuitive and he could tell that Laura had explained everything to his wife before she had called him in to talk to Laura. His wife was sitting at the kitchen table sobbing in her apron. She had been canning strawberry jam for the winter.
“Laura, this doesn’t sound too good to me,” Homer said.” I think it would be smarter to follow the doctor’s advice and maybe pray a little as well. Or eat the Mediterranean diet and follow the doctor’s advice at the same time. With cancer, chemotherapy and radiation are standard treatments. Your hair will grow back in. You can come back home and let it grow in down here. You’ve been working there long enough to get medical leave. Please think about it. There’s too much at stake here.”
Laura, however, didn’t want anything to do with chemotherapy or radiation. She was going to go on the diet and see if it worked. If not, maybe then she would try chemotherapy and radiation even if her hair fell out. And she promised her father if it did, she would come home to let her hair grow back.
Homer never forgot that phone call. A year later, almost to the day, he repeated every word of it silently to himself on the ride from the church to the cemetery. His wife sat next to him crying. When they buried Laura, she still had all of her brilliant red hair.
By: Donal Mahoney
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He writes poetry and fiction. Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com