I’ve failed you, Daddy. The words drummed inside the sleep deprived mind of Dr. Eva Barnett. Still clutching the notice from her research lab’s top funder, Starlight Industries, informing her that the collapse of their portfolio during the recession meant that they would no longer be able to support her work. The notice couldn’t have come at a worse time now that her research was on the verge of making a tremendous breakthrough that would make clinical trials possible for patients living with Alzheimer’s. Ten years of her life about to be thrown into the garbage like last night’s take out. Eva crossed the short distance in her small 2-bedroom, Midtown apartment and laid the notice on the counter before taking a few steadying breaths. Every part of her wanted to start screaming at her funders, the economy, the world, but she had to keep it together or risk waking her father in the other room. Someone should get some sleep around here she thought quietly to herself and considered her options. Ten years of keeping up appearances like everything was fine out of respect for the first man she ever loved. Reaching for a glass and a bottle of her favorite red wine, watching the rich, burgundy liquid climb the curved side of her glass, Eva calculated how long she could keep things afloat before she would have to pull the plug on her work coming to something like 3 maybe 4 months, not nearly enough time.
Eva eased her way quietly over to her father’s bedroom door and peeked in to see if he was still asleep. He’d thrown his blanket onto the floor but all 6’1” of his 62-year old frame seemed to be sleeping soundly. She wondered if he’d be in any kind of shape to hear the news when he woke up in a few hours. Closing the door gently behind her.
Walking across the hall to her bedroom, Eva entered and removed the gently used jean jacket she’d grown to love for all of its pockets taking care not to spill her glass in the process and made her way to the antique rocking chair she’d inherited from her mother. Somehow, sitting in her chair always calmed her and Eva sighed as she rocked slowly back and forth. Here she was safe, here she could talk to her mother about any and everything on her mind. Picking up her phone from its night time home on the stand between her bed and rocking chair, she tuned her Pandora station to her favorite blues station and let the soft sweet sounds of Otis Redding singing “These arms of mine” lull her into a steady rocking rhythm in her special sanctuary.
How do I help him, Mama? I’m so close I can feel it but I need more time.
Sitting her glass on the nearby stand, Eva curled up in her rocking chair and felt the spirit of her mother rock her to sleep.