Hi everyone, I’m not sure if everyone knows, but I am working on a short story, which I’m pretty exciting! I am planning on releasing a chapter a week, every Wednesday, so please feel free to provide me with feedback, discuss your favourite character, etc. any feedback is appreciated.
I have provided readers with some background and some character information here; https://threeyellowdaisies.ca/2020/07/29/taxi-driver/. I used it as a tool to start brainstorming some ideas for the story, and I figured I would share it with everyone. So without further ado, here is the much anticipated chapter one.
The hospital scenes takes place in 2056.
Theodore Henderson is laying in a hospital bed, surrounded by his wife, their three children, and their four grandchildren. Theodore is now 72 years old, with stage three pancreatic cancer. His family has been by his side since he got the news of his diagnosis just before Christmas, seven months ago.
He is a retired taxi driver, but when he was still working, he was well liked. Throughout his 53 years old of service, he has inspired many people to make better choices in their lives. Although what his clients didn’t know was he has a secret. No one else knows, not even his wife, Amelia knows. Amelia and Theodore have been married for 45 years now. Amelia is a retired first grade teacher.
Amelia has brought some of Theodore’s precious items from home since he is living in the hospital now. She has brought his favourite books, his favourite blue koi fish mug for his tea, and his journal. She has been trying her best to make this hardship a bit more bearable for him.
“How are you feeling, Dad?” Olivia asked with some worry in her voice, as she was lifting her baby, Sophie onto the bed.
“Same old, same old, Flower.” Theodore replied.
Olivia always loved when her Dad called her Flower. She was the youngest so she felt like she got the most love from her parents compared to Sarah and Evan.
“Sarah, and Olivia, perhaps we should grab your father some lunch, and a cup of tea.” Amelia said grabbing her purse.
“Bye bye Teddy Bear!” Sophie’s sister, Emma squealed, waving at her Grandpa. Theodore waved back, trying to be strong for his grandchildren. He was in a lot of pain, but always tried his best to disguise it in front of them.
The ladies left with their children, holding hands walking out of the room as Evan stayed with his father.
“Son, can you pass me my journal?” Theodore said tiredly.
Evan walked towards the wall where his stuff laid on a night table. Evan grabbed his Dad’s journal, and saw that he was reading To Kill A Mockingbird.
It brought back many memories of when Sarah was in high school and told Evan that he had to read this book because Sarah loved it. Evan knew that that book had inspired Sarah to become a lawyer herself. Evan followed his Dad’s footsteps and became a taxi driver since he lost his job not too long ago. As for Olivia, she followed her Mother’s footsteps by becoming a third grade teacher. Evan’s nieces and nephew get along well just like him and his sisters do.
He handed the journal to his father, and his father began flipping through his journal recalling the memories of when he was a taxi driver.
Evan is the middle child who felt like Theodore’s heart always belonged to Sarah and Olivia. And that he felt like he was the forgotten child and that his parents only cared and worried about his sisters. He kept on thinking that he didn’t get much attention since Sarah was the overachiever and always had to be the smartest one, and between Olivia’s sportiness by signing up for baseball, cheer leading and the school band, there wasn’t much for Evan to achieve. He was the last one to find love, get married and start a family with his wife, Elizabeth. He was envious of his sisters who had better jobs than himself.
“Hello? Evan? Can you hear me?” Theodore asked him with a bit of anger and a sigh.
Evan realized that he must have zoned out, getting caught up in his thoughts about the past.
“Sorry. Pardon me?” Evan asked all confused.
“I asked you if you know what this is.” Theodore said.
“No. What it is?”
“It’s my journal. I have written my conversations in several journals throughout my career. It’s about my past clients and our lessons we have shared over the years.”
Evan nodded his head, wondering if his Dad was going to be disappointed since he doesn’t keep a journal of his clients.
“What kind of things did you write in it?” Evan curiously asked.
“Over the years, I had three favourite customers. They really meant a lot to me.” Theodore began explaining.
Evan then sits down in one of the chairs that is now empty since his nieces and nephew had left to go to the cafeteria.
Before Theodore could fully explain why, he had something he wanted to tell Evan.
“Son, I often felt like you were the one that got left out the most. I am sorry if you felt that way. I am proud of you. I am happy that you found Elizabeth. You two are made for each other. You shouldn’t feel the need to compare yourself to your sisters. From what I learned, life isn’t a race. You shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone, actually. Achievements are achievements regardless of when you accomplish them. You got married at 35, and it was still beautiful regardless.”
Evan nodded in agreement, as his Dad started flipping through his journal, three envelopes fell out of the journal. Evan curiously looks over at the envelopes. Theodore smiles, although he quickly becomes sad as a tear rolls down his face, Evan pretended to not notice his Dad was crying.
“Now, son, let me show you something. I wrote down all of the meaningful conversations I have shared with my clients. I have learned so much from these wonderful people. I want to share this with you. You need to know these things. I have also kept in touch with my three closest clients. We wrote each other letters over the years.”
Theodore handed Evan his journal and those three heavy envelopes.
“Go on, and read them out loud. Start with the journal.” He said, as Evan looked puzzled when his Dad handed him the journal.
Evan sighed, as he opened the journal. He began to read the first journal entry…
January 24, 2020
I saw her again. I can tell she was having another bad day. She always told me to not worry about her, but that only made me worry about her even more. I can tell that she was in trouble. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I had to do something. In the past I have driven her to liquor stores, other times it would be to her friends’ houses for parties. Suddenly, the answer came to me, I knew what to do. This time was going to be different.
“Dad, not to sound ungrateful, but what does this have to do with me? I was four years old at the time.” Evan questioned.
“Hey, son, we don’t have a lot of time left. Do you really want to be wasting it?”
Evan was about to continue reading, but one of his Dad’s nurses came in to give him his medicine. She then started asking Theodore some questions, but Evan used that time to flip and skim through some of the pages.
“There are some things I need to tell you, before I go.”
“Dad, don’t talk like that.”
It made Evan realize that they really didn’t have much time left, but that was something he didn’t want to accept.
“One of many things I want to tell you is I just want us to enjoy the time we have together. I am really happy for all of your accomplishments. I know things have been rough for you since you lost your job. Don’t feel like being a taxi driver is a set back. I loved being a taxi driver. I got to help out a lot of people. It just means that the road you want to be at, is under construction. You are just taking a detour to your goals. There’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Things will get better. You just got to believe in yourself, and never give up.”
“When I have my baby, I hope I can give my child the best advice like you do.” Evan expressed, still pretending not see his Dad crying.
“Your son will love you so very much…” Theodore began but got interrupted by Evan.
“How do you know I’m having a son?” Evan asked with confusion.
“Well, I just know these things, and that is all I can say right now.” Theodore explained, and Evan was wondering what Theodore was holding back from him.
He tried to think and wondered what he should ask next.
But before he could, the rest of their family returned with a cup of tea, and a bowl of chicken noodle soup for Theodore and a sandwich for Evan.
Amelia pours Theodore’s tea into his favourite mug.
“Oh, wow. Dad is letting you read his journals? That was always the forbidden fruit when I was growing up. Dad never let me read any of that.” Sarah said, trying to disguise her jealously.
“Oh, you mean I have something you’re jealous of? The tables sure have turned.” Evan said in a superior tone.
“Kids, now, now. Any disagreements like that isn’t good around your father. You know better.” Amelia said with worry, as Evan returned the journal and envelopes where he found them.
She always tried to make sure there was no stress around Theodore.
A few seconds after that, a nurse came in, with some papers in a folder.
“Hi, I’m Stephanie and I am his nurse for today. I have some bad news. I am so sorry. We thought he had more time, but unfortunately, the cancer had progressed and it only looks like he has about three months left. But we are trying our very best. I’ll leave you to discuss, but I’ll be back shortly.” She said as everyone began crying.
Evan came to accept the fact that the end was near. He began to cry as he looked over at the journal.