Incomplete: A short story. (Final part)

Part 4

An unpleasant surprise encounter at the ER

They say when you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up. Going up, wasn’t easy or straight. When Aspen and Jolene couldn’t get into a shelter, Jolene would sleep outside in the car while Aspen worked. Aspen checked on Jolene every time she got a break. After two weeks, a security guard noticed Jolene sleeping in the car.

Aspen had just gotten off work, ecstatic about her paycheck for 850.00 for two weeks of work. She was feeling proud, and she felt as if she was positively contributing to society. Aspen heart dropped when she looked up from her check and at her car. The security guard was flashing her flashlight into Aspen’s car. “Can I help you with something?” Aspen said. 

“Ma’am. “Why is there a child sleeping in your car?” the security officer said. “Oh, I just had to go inside and pick up my check, see,” Aspen said, holding up her paycheck. “I wasn’t in there long. In and out. 

Thanks for your concern though. I have to get my daughter to school,” Aspen said. “Ma’am, wait. I know for a fact that you didn’t go in there within the last two hours, because my shift began at 5am. I also know that supervisors pass out checks after the 7am shift, and anyone that’s not clocking out at seven, has to wait until 8am or their first break, to pick up checks. 

So, again, I ask you. Why is this child sleeping in your car?” “Look lady, mind your business, okay?” Aspen said, before getting into the car. “Listen, ma’am,” the security guard said, with a stern tone. “I have to report any suspicious activity. 

Wait here,” she said. “I’m not waiting anywhere,” Aspen said, before cranking up her car. “Ma’am,” the security guard said. “Ma’am, I’m just concerned about the child’s safety, that’s all,” the security guard said. “She’s fine,” Aspen said. 

“Now if you’ll excuse me. I have to get my child to school,” Aspen said. “Listen, I’m going to let you go with a warning, since I don’t have any proof that she’s been here all night, but let this be the last time you leave her in the parking unattended,” the security guard said. “Okay, fine. Thank you. 

Can we go now?” Aspen said. The security guard stepped away from Aspen’s car. “Are you okay, baby girl?” Aspen said, as she drove away. Jolene coughed. “I’m fine momma, but I’ve been coughing all night. 

I tried to be quiet. I’m sorry. Are you going to lose your job, momma?” “I hope not, baby girl, and don’t be sorry. I’m going to cash this check, and I’m going to see about getting us a place to stay, but first, I’m going to get you to a doctor. 

The off brand NyQuil that Aspen gave Jolene during her 3am break, hadn’t helped. Aspen and Jolene went to the hospital. As they walked into the emergency room, they saw Aspen’s step mom leaving. “Aspen?” she said. Aspen pretended not to hear her. 

“Who’s that lady, momma?” Jolene said. “Momma? You’re a mom? Wow. Hey, little girl. 

I’m your grandma,” Aspen’s step mom said, with a smile. That deceptive smile made Aspen furious. She knew the evil that lurked behind that grin. Aspen got in her step mom’s face and said, “You’re nothing to me, and don’t ever talk to my kid. Do you hear me? 

You did everything in your power to break me, but no matter what I go through, I’m a survivor. You abused me and treated me like I was nothing, when I didn’t have anyone else in this world. I loved you, I respected you. I did everything you asked me to, and you betrayed me. Why?” Aspen said, as tears fell down her cheeks. 

“You know what, I don’t need an explanation, or an apology. Just stay the hell away from me and my kid, because the next time I see you, I may not be so polite,” she said, as she bumped her step mom and walked to the emergency front desk. The doctor told Aspen that Jolene had the flu, and to give her Tylenol, and plenty of fluids. “You can continue to use children’s cold medicines, but the flu is something that has to go away on it’s own,” the doctor said. “Okay, thank you doctor,” Aspen said.

A couple of weeks later, Aspen and Jolene was at her step mom’s funeral. It was a sad occasion, and not because she was dead. There were only a hand full of people there, plus Aspen and Jolene. All that money that her step mom had, and the state had to bury her. She had no life insurance. 

“What happened to her?” Aspen asked one of her step mom’s friends. “She took a turn for the worst. She developed colon cancer about eight years ago, and she spent all her money on medical bills. She’d been trying to find you, for years. I believe she wanted to make amends,” the woman said.

Aspen thought to herself, “She didn’t want to make amends, she wanted someone to take care of her.” A week after the funeral, Aspen found out that her father had left the house to her. Aspen was supposed to become owner of her father’s house at eighteen, but her step mom never told her. Being in that house was bittersweet, because it reminded Aspen of the love of her father, but it also reminded her of the hatred she had to endure from her step mom. Aspen and Jolene moved in just in time for Christmas.

They decorated the Christmas tree together, and baked cookies. Aspen had been on her job for six weeks, and was doing well. She enrolled online for GED courses. Aspen also sought out therapy, because she still had alot of anger and resentment for her step mom. Today, Aspen and Jolene are doing, okay.

Aspen became a full time employee at the chicken plant, and she finished her GED and received her high school diploma. Jolene is a healthy fourth grader and feisty as ever. “I’m so proud of you mom,” Jolene said, at Aspen’s graduation. Those were the only words Aspen needed to make her Incomplete life story, complete. After graduation, Aspen and Jolene visited her dad’s grave.

“Thank you for everything dad. I miss you. It’s been hard, but I’m making it. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m working on it. I just wanted you to know, I’m okay,” Aspen said, before sitting flowers on her father’s grave. 

The sun shined on her. She smiled as the heat warmed her heart in a way that let her know that she was not alone. “God is smiling down on you, mom,” Jolene said. “Thank you, God,” Aspen said, as she looked towards the sky. Life had been rough, but it wasn’t over, and every day that God graced Aspen with life, she chose to live. 

The End. 

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