Sunday Psalms: Fictional Narratives Inspired by the Psalms, Proverbs, & Other Biblical Works
The Delivery Guy – Part 3
I’m not sure where I’ve been the past three hours. Once I left the monster in Freddy’s apartment I sort of zoned out. Now I’m on the freeway. We’re backed up all the way to the southbound merge. It’s eighty degrees, and with no AC, I’m sweating.
“Watch it!” A mini coupe cuts me off, and I make sure to respond with a series of irritated honks. Other cars honk back, a domino effect resounding down the I-5 corridor. I try to drown out the noise by turning on the radio. Classic rock. Ruby Tuesday blares through the speakers. I’m reminded of my dad. He sure did love the Stones, but I don’t want to think about that so I flick off the radio.
“Shut up,” I yell at my cell phone. It’s buzzing on the seat next to me. I know it’s Theresa. She’s been calling for hours. She’s going to kill me. I grip the steering wheel tighter.
“Chris, what in the world? Where have you been? Customers have been calling all afternoon. Why didn’t you answer the phone?”
It’s after five when I pull the pink van into the parking lot. Before I’ve closed the door, Theresa is yelling at me.
“What do you want me to say?” I shrug my shoulders, which makes her even more upset. She moves in, close to my face, her words pecking: Why? Where? How come? I toss the van keys at her and walk away. Eventually, I feel the sting of the keys hitting me, smack dab in the middle of my back. Theresa has actually thrown them at me. If I wasn’t so mad, I’d find this hilarious.
“I want an explanation, Chris. You cost me a ton of business today. What is wrong with you?” Theresa shakes her hands at me, frustration pulsing through her like electricity. Her anger is contagious. I feel my own surge of anger and go for it.
“Wrong with me? What’s wrong with you? At least I don’t live in a fantasy world. I’m not the one pretending flowers can cure cancer or make Alzheimer’s go away. They don’t. People die. All the time.”
Great. I’ve made Theresa cry. I hate that.
“You think it’s been easy for me, Chris? He wasn’t just your dad, you know.” Theresa looks off into the distance. She sniffs loudly and rubs her nose. “He was my best friend. I’m never getting my brother back.”
I got nothing. She’s tough, my aunt. I’ve never considered how Theresa was handling all of this. I guess that makes me self-centered.
“I’m not an idiot, Chris. You might think I’m naive and female about everything, but I don’t think I’m curing cancer.” She bends down and picks up the keys. “I am keeping cancer from stealing my humanity, though.” She jingles the keys, tossing them from one hand to the other. I don’t blame her for throwing them at me, or for yelling.
We stand there for a while. A motorcycle drives by, sputtering fumes. A fat bumblebee lands on the purple shoulder of my polo shirt. I don’t bother to brush it away.
“Chris, it might not be a big deal to you, but little things meant something to your dad. Every meal, every card, every stupid teddy bear. That’s why he fought so hard, you know? The shop was his idea.” This is news to me. Theresa’s not yelling anymore. She wipes her eyes, her mascara smears everywhere.
“You look like crap.” I’m not good in these sort of moments. We make eye contact and can’t help laughing. At some point we are hugging each other.
“Get out of here, Chris. Katie called, said you should meet her at six.”
“Am I fired?” I cautiously ask.
“Let me think about.” She kisses me on the cheek and leaves me alone in the parking lot. I crawl into my car — Dad’s car — and turn on the radio. Paul McCartney sings Let It Be, and I force myself to remember: Dad’s gaunt face, jeans barely clinging to his hips, barely sleeping through the night. But he was always singing.
“You’re a terrible singer, Dad.”
“Oh, yeah, smart guy? You think you can do better?” Dad always sang loud and way out of tune. We used to sit in hospital rooms and listen to the Beatles and Zeppelin and try not to think about cancer. Mom would walk in on us, belting out the words to American Pie, and for those brief pockets of time, we would forget about what we had lost.
“You never know, Chris. Maybe I’ll make it to ninety. Maybe I’ll be taking care of you.” That last month Dad thought he was getting better. We all did. In the end it wasn’t even the cancer that took him. A stupid medical mistake. I really hate hospitals.
I sit in the car for a while longer, and the tears come. I hate crying. I don’t let anyone see this side of me. Dad was the only one. Sort of feels like he’s here now.
“Long day,” is all I say to Katie when I finally pick her up. I’m an hour late. She immediately begins to ramble about her day. I try to listen. I give in and take her to the romantic movie she’s been dying to see. I buy her candy and even put my arm around her during the cheesy scenes. Afterwards, I drop Katie off at her dormitory. I give her an extra long kiss goodnight.
Before driving home I shoot a text to Theresa: “Tell Pete 2 take tomorrow off. I do deliveries. Promise. For Dad.”
Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies. Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly. Psalm 6:7-10 (KJV)
-Question to Ponder: Where have you seen beauty in the midst of pain?
-Song Recommendation: What a Wonderful Word performed by Eva Cassidy
Written by Heidi Sadler, Inspired by Psalm 6. Copyright © 2016 by Heidi Sadler, All Rights Reserved.
-Read Previous Sunday Psalms from Season Two: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7, Episode 8, Episode 9, Episode 10, Episode 11, Episode 12, Episode 13, Episode 14