Chapter 3.22 – Legend

Mark paces back-and-forth in the hospital’s lobby.
 
He had been at home, setting up for Hope’s birthday party, when the phone call came. David had collapsed at work and was being treated for chest pains. He tries not to think about a similar phone call he received not long ago, but he cannot prevent that terrible day from being conjured in his mind.
 
Hannah Dempsey, one of David’s oldest friends from the hospital, finally emerges and puts Mark’s mind to rest. David had only suffered an acute anxiety/panic attack. She rubs the back of her neck, as if to relieve her own anxiety, and tells Mark that he has been given sedatives and is being kept overnight for observation. When Mark asks if he can visit his father, Hannah frowns apologetically, and suggests that the best thing for him now is complete rest and lack of stimuli.
 
Hannah smiles gently, and puts her reassuring hand on Mark’s shoulder. She promises that David is in good company. He has been a legend at this hospital for years, and he will be treated like a king. Mark nods in agreement, but lets slip that he will miss Hope’s birthday. She offers a cheery congratulations, and wonders out-loud if Mark ought to be getting back at the risk of missing the event himself.
 
She watches as the handsome young man dashes out to the street, allowing her to relax the facade of confidence she had been maintaining. She had not lied to Mark. But what she did not tell him is that she had been the one to find his father in a fetal position, on the floor of his wrecked office, in the midst a psychotic break. David had always been prone to over-excitement, but this was something completely different. She had asked her husband, Chase, about this General Buford that David was rambling about. Chase is a Squadron Leader at the military base, and claimed that no such person exists, at least not at Fort Gnome.
 
Hannah shakes her head as she thinks about the tragedy her boss has seen. He has worked hard to keep himself focused through all of it. But quite frankly, she is not surprised that the bottom has finally fallen out from under him. Turning to go back to work, she wonders if she would have lasted as long, had it been Chase and her child in that car…
 
Later that evening, the Barimens celebrate Hope’s birthday with a big family and friend gathering, despite the worry for David’s health. Mei’s parents, who have travelled from China just for the occasion, are the stars of the evening. The highlight of the party, however, is the impromptu sparring match between Mark and the elder Wu. Mark smiles after the 2-1 loss. Mei uses her female charm to try and learn whether Mark threw the match or not, but he only grins and tells her he’ll take that knowledge to his grave.
 
With so much excitement and so many people to socialize with, Hope’s energy finally sputters out as she wails to be put bo bed. By this time the party has already started winding down. The remaining guests excuse themselves, enthusiastically thanking Mark and Mei for the great party. The proud parents go together to put Hope in her crib. Situated among the pile of new birthday presents ranging from teddy bears, to clothes, and the doll-house David had built by hand, Hope settles into a happy and sated night’s sleep.
 
David returns home the next morning to a relieved and worried family. In the days that follow, there is something decidedly different about the way David carries himself and talks to his children. He seems almost far-away and detached, sometimes having to be redirected back to reality after drifting off to some daydream. Mark talks to his father about this, one evening over a few glasses of nectar.
 
As they finish off the bottle of nectar, then head down tot he beach to catch fish, David admits that he has not handled the past few days gracefully; especially his confrontation with the so-called “General” Buford. David solicits Mark’s promise to keep whatever he tells his son between the two of them. When Mark hesitantly agrees, David relays what happened that day in his office. He tells Mark about Kacey and the photos he saw, as well as Buford’s curious demand for some documents she has seemingly taken.
 
There is a long period where neither father or son speak before David again breaks the silence. He explains that he has given the hospital many, many good years of service. Age has taken his ability to work as a surgeon; in fact doing so would probably cause more harm than good. David stows his fishing pole and turns to Mark. In an almost apologetic tone, he tells his son that he has decided to retire from the hospital and focus his attentions to raising Mary and Elizabeth. Both girls will be teens soon, and David wants to spend as much time with them as he possibly can.
 
Mark is not surprised. Ever since the death of his mother and Jacob, David’s passion for work has vanished. He has been postponing his promise to take Mary on a fishing excursion and Elizabeth to a daytime baseball game at the stadium. Mark reminds him of these two things, and reassures his father that his income, plus the profits generated from their many business holdings, are more than enough to continue their standard of living.
 
David sighs, as if a heavy weight has been lifted from him, then casts his line back into the water. After a moment, he asks his son if he had ever told him about the time that he, Reid, and January Donner had played pretend that pirates were landing on the beach below the old cabin. Mark cannot hide the wide grin finds its way onto his face. He had heard the story a million times, starting from the very earliest days he and his father would fish when he was a kid. But the story never grew stale. It has been many years since the last telling, but David manages to spin the yarn as if the thing had actually happened. Every pirate is described with vivid detail; every gnarly scar, matted beard, and faded tatoo seemingly alive, right here on the beach.
 
Mark listens in nostalgic wonderment as David’s story continues into the early evening; and Mei’s call to supper from atop of the bluff goes ignored just exactly as Bebe’s had gone ignored many, many years ago.
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4 thoughts on “Chapter 3.22 – Legend

  1. Aww…That was a beautiful ending. Im glad David has given some of the pressure he was feeling away, letting his son know what really happened. I had a feeling that the General wasnt really a General. And it makes it all the more suspicious and mysterious. Hopefully his threat of visiting them at home will go unfulfilled.

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  2. FortA says:

    Hooray! I’m finally caught up! (I already read Mother!) Now, I’m off to read the new chapter. Everything is making sense (in some ways) now, but I’m more intrigued than ever. You’re doing a wonderful job with this legacy – I almost can’t wait for the tenth generation so we can find out the unknown Barimen secret ;-).

    FortA

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  3. Aww, love the ending! Its really nice to see them get along so well. I love your writting, it has a lot of mystery and suspense in it. Good job ! I have a new chapter posted up on my legacy, can you check it out and leave a comment? Thanks 🙂

    The Smith Legacy
    xcin100x

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