Status: In Time

To Caress My Day

Chapter 266: The Right Mental Space

While everyone else was glorifying the lord on Sunday, Twigs was out making moves on her career as best as she could considering the dismal page her life seemed to be on these days. She’d spent her morning meeting with Jesse to work on a computer-generated version of her body for her next single. Gladdened to know that they were still on the same page concerning the style of animation, Twigs made her way back to her apartment and had just reached her floor when she received a call from her parents. The caller ID made Twig’s stomach sink, sent her heart racing out of dread, and her feet skidding to a dead halt in the middle of the barren hallway. The sounds of TVs blasting, conversations drifting and children loudly playing within the apartments surrounding her didn’t register as she fought the icy quake that ran up her spine and stole her breath. Her chest rose and fell as she closed her eyes and willed herself to get a damn grip. Just because her parents were considerate enough to pick up the phone and give her a call does NOT mean it was bad news!

Not always at least. Sometimes her parents just wanted to catch up and hear what she was up to in her music career. That’s the kind of people they were. Today’s call might be just that.

Answering the call, Twigs headed straight for her apartment door as she greeted her parents. “Hey, you guys! I’ve been hoping to hear from you!”

“We’ve been hoping to hear from you too!” Araceli called down to Luther’s phone lying on the kitchen table as she snipped some new flowers for the vase in the dining room. Some neighbors gifted her a flower bouquet from their own garden, it was in hopes of lifting her spirits due to her cancer diagnosis.

“How are you doing, honey?” Luther asked Twigs from where he sat comfortably at the kitchen table, leaning over his phone as his eyes gazed off to the bay window behind the sink. “Good, I hope.”

Deducing that she was put on speakerphone so they could both converse with her, Twigs unlocked her front door and entered her apartment. “Yeah, it’s been going pretty good around here.”

“The new landlords treating you well?” Araceli probed, glancing at the phone out of the corner of her eye. She appeared focused on her flowers, but actually, she was listening for the break in her daughter’s reply and got it.

“Yeah, everything is good there too. Nice people, they turned out to be.” Twigs answered, wincing at her lie. As she shut the front door and locked it, her mind went to her new landlord and how money-hungry the scoundrels seemed to be. Not only were they sapping her dry, but the other tenant as well. It frankly irked Twigs, which was why she made herself forget the couple to instead get on her laptop that she left charging on her kitchen table. “I’m glad they aren’t the mean landlords I was afraid they’d be.”

“Us too. You nor your neighbors deserve a landlord straight out of hell.” Luther told Twigs, nodding along to his words with a smile, content that everything was working out on Twig’s end.

“What about you guys?” Twigs began to inquire, loathing herself for bringing the cancer topic up. Especially while she was trying to look through her email inbox for a message from a local performer whom she made an appointment with to dance in a small project on YouTube. Because they knew each other, she was more than delighted to take on the part when he got into contact with her even if that meant she had to memorize the dance routine in such a short amount of time compared to the other dancers. “Have you got any updates on…mom’s diagnosis?”

That’s actually why we wanted to call you.” Araceli told her, arranging the cut flowers in the vase to her preference. She wanted every flower, little or drab, to have a spot on the stage. “We just got off a call with that specialist and he has my surgery scheduled at the end of this month on the 29th.”

Twigs had to close her eyes after hearing that update and take several deep calming breaths. Her heart was back to sprinting again at the thought of her mother being slashed open. Yes, it was for the greater good of the patient’s health, but the patient was her mother! Knowing she was getting operated on would never sit well with Twigs.

Catching her silence, Luther became attentive and leaned closer to his phone with furrowed brows. “Tahliah? Are you still there?”

“Y-Yeah, I’m still here.” Twigs ensured them both, plastering a smile on her face as if they were in the apartment chatting with her right now. Deciding to stick them both on speaker phone so she wouldn’t drop her phone due to her trembling hands, Twigs set them onto her lap and asked her mother. “How do you feel now that you finally have a date, Mom? Are you…are you scared?”

Sighing audibly, Araceli strayed from her vase to take a seat at the kitchen table next to her husband. Taking his hand in hers for stability, she looked down at the phone and answered. “A bit. I’m more nervous than anything. I just keep repeating to myself what the doctor told me, that it will be a 1-2 hour long procedure and that the recovery should be about 24 hours. As long as I don’t strain my neck, of course, then everything should be smooth sailing from there.”

Adding to the doctor’s instruction, Luther inserted. “And he told us the incision should be so insignificant that once your mother heals it won’t be pronounced at all. She won’t have to live with the reminder.”

Once again, Twigs found herself truly indebted to the local doctors in Tewkesbury for working alongside the specialist Seth had found for her mother. She’s heard of horror stories where doctors squabbled and contested over patients rather than banding together to be a dynamic duo. Out of the million fears Twigs had, this was one of them, that her mother’s longtime doctors would have territorial problems. Feeling the need to express this, Twigs told them with a sigh of relief. “Thank god your doctors have hearts of gold! I didn’t want to make them feel inferior just because we pursued a specialist for mom.”

“Hmm, I’ve heard of cops pulling those absurd attempts against police from neighboring counties before. It’s despicable behavior, and should not be tolerated in any law enforcement!” Luther unleashed much like a grand judge. “If doctors behave in that same childish way, then I’m proud that we got a couple of good ones here in our Tewkesbury.”

“Were you already aware, Tahliah, that Seth had hired not just one specialist but a second one as well?” Araceli asked of her daughter. She hadn’t been notified herself and was taken aback by it. There was no aggravation on her part, however. They were trying to save her life, so she forgave the secretiveness.

“No, I…I’m not sure if he told me or not.” Twigs answered truthfully, a frown on her face as she tried to recall. In the end, she got nowhere. Every single day, she was distracted not crumbling back into an emotional wreck. Anything that happened in between, she could hardly bring to mind now.

“Well, he has.” Araceli substantiated with a nod.

“I wonder why he’d do that.” Twigs whispered herself, not realizing that her parents had overheard her.

“I think I know, and I’ll advise you two to brace yourselves before I tell you.” Luther counseled them before explaining. “I believe it’s on the chance that they find out your mother’s glands are in a worse state than we all fear. With two doctors she’ll have a better shot and can go straight into the Thyroidectomy.”

“Thyroidectomy?” Twigs parroted in perplexity. Now why did that word sound so familiar to her?

“It’s basically the same procedure your mother is going in for.” Luther clarified to Twigs. “Except they’re gonna remove even more than just a singular Thyroid gland.”

God, Twigs didn’t want to think of this whole situation getting any worse than already having to extract something from her mother’s body. Covering her face with her hands, she fought the rising nausea back by visually replaying the dance routine she had to master in her head as detailed as possible.

When Twigs hadn’t responded, Araceli softly called for her. “Tahliah, honey, are you still there?”

“Yeah, I’m here, Mom, I’m just…taking it all in.” Twigs tried to explain as briefly as she could. They didn’t need to go in and scrutinize how she was handling all this on her end. As far as she was concerned, she didn’t matter. Her mother, however, did. She was all that mattered.

“Oh honey, I know. It’s a lot to take in.” Araceli cooed. “But as a family, we’ll get through this together!”

“You’re absolutely right, my love!” Luther backed, nodding confidently as he squeezed his wife’s hand.

“Yeah. We’ll get through this together, as a family.” Twigs replied, but her tone was a bit faint and almost inaudible. It was because she wasn’t talking to them so much as she was talking to herself. Her parents were in the right mental space to handle anything ahead, Twigs was the only one that wasn’t ready.