Keys To RedemptionErica Gilbreath / Romance & Love
Keys To Redemption
Copyright 2015 Erica Gilbreath
Table of Contents
Shots rang out in the night. Stacy’s partner had fired several times, he only twice. Nevertheless, as he watched the man’s body crumple and fold to the ground, shock moved through his system quickly. He had never shot anyone before. Startled and scared, Stacy broke protocol and ran straight for the man who now laid out on the cement in front of his vehicle. When he reached him, he quickly noted blood pouring out of multiple gunshot wounds on his torso. Without even thinking, he bent down and placed two fingers to the man’s neck to look for a pulse—there was none. “I’m so sorry,” he thought. “This wasn’t supposed to happen.”
He felt himself starting to choke up, and he struggled to swallow the bile as it rose in his throat. There was so much blood….so much blood….Stacy Walsh jerked awake and sat up. He ran his hands through his mussed hair and then over his dry face as he tried to regulate his breathing. He was at home in his bed. As if he needed more conformation about where he was, he heard his mother’s dry cough coming from the next room over. You’d think by now he would be used to the nightmares. He’d been having the same one every night for the last three years and it never changed, never varied. James Joseph Tyrell haunted his days and his nights, and always would.
Stacy swung his legs over the side of his bed and glanced at his alarm clock. Today was his day off and he’d be spending it taking his mother to all of her doctor appointments. He could hear the continuous coughing echoing from her body through the paper thin walls. As he stood up and stretched, his eyes fell on his computer desk and the scrunched pieces of paper next to his laptop that he had written and re-written at least a hundred times over the last three years. Drawn to the papers at his desk, he sat down and unfolded them, briefly scanning the first page.
What would he think if he was Evelyn Tyrell? If he got this letter in the mail, would it make things better or worse? There were times when he thought that this letter was his only salvation. He was neither a religious man, nor a devout Christian like his mother. He didn’t really believe in anything, except doing the right thing—at least once upon a time he did. Maybe that’s why he continued to work on this letter after two years. Picking up a pen off the desk, he pulled out a fresh piece of paper from the printer next to his laptop and started a new letter. He told himself that he’d finish this one and mail it this time.
Dear Mrs. Evelyn Tyrell,
I know this may seem completely unorthodox to you, but this is something I’ve been trying to do for the last three years. I don’t know if I am doing this for my peace of mind or maybe to give you the answers you probably sought in your husband’s death three years ago.
No sooner than the words were on the page, Stacy groaned and crumpled up the paper. Maybe he should just send her an email? No, he couldn’t do that. An email could be traced and it seemed so impersonal. The least she deserved was a handwritten letter.
Before Stacy could pull out another piece of paper and start over, he heard his mother’s coughing take a more violent turn. He immediately jumped up and hurried to her room. Her frail, thin frame was thrashing about under her quilt as the coughs shook her little body. He grabbed the cup of water off of her nightstand, supported her neck in the crook of his arm and gently brought the cup to her lips. She managed to take a couple of sips then sat back heavily. Her coughing abated for a moment, but her shallow breathing was just a reminder to Stacy how sick she was and how she was only going to get worse.
“How is that, Mom?” he asked.
“Better,” Mary Walsh rasped, sinking even further into the stack of pillows under her.
Stacy sat next to her on the edge of the bed and placed her cup of water back onto the nightstand.
“I hate to see you suffering like this, Mom.”
Her eyes were glassy and sunken in, her hair thin and wispy, barely having grown back from the last round of chemotherapy treatment. She was just barely holding on to her ninety pounds, mainly because she couldn’t keep anything down nowadays.
“I’m dying and I want to be home when it happens, not in some sterile, cold hospital room with a bunch of nurses I don’t know.”
Stacy sighed and ran his hand through his short brown hair again.
Mary placed her small, gnarled hand on her sons arm. “I’m sorry to have to put you through this. I just can’t be in that hospital, son.”
Stacy understood. Not a day went by that he minded taking care of his mother. Taking care of her was not a burden, it was his pittance. Besides, it was not like he was doing it all by himself. Esther, the home health care nurse, came by for a few hours a day to help his mother with the difficult tasks, like toileting and bathing. And his mother could still get around a little bit, too.
“Mom, you know it’s not any trouble taking care of you.”
Mary smiled weakly and patted her son’s cheek.
“You’re a good boy, Stacy.” Then with hesitation, she said, “I hear you at night sometimes.”
“Mom,” Stacy started, not wanting to discuss the subject right at the moment.
“I always taught you to do the right thing, and I pray for you every night. I know God hasn’t got a hold of you yet, but He will.”
“Do the right thing? What was the right thing anymore?” Stacy thought to himself. But before he could respond, the phone in the hallway rang.
Mary waved him away and he got up and made his way into the hallway.
“Hello. This is Torrance Memorial Hospital calling to confirm Ms. Mary Walsh’s appointment today with Dr. Hagar.”
“Yes, she’ll be there,” Stacy confirmed.