The alarm went off insanely early that morning. It screamed through her dreams until she could no longer ignore its annoying buzz sound. Reluctantly, Audrina untangled herself from the blankets, pushed the dog that had cuddled against her aside, and rose to shut off the alarm. It was a wonder how it hadn’t woken Aaron or Landis, who had found his way into their bedroom the night before.
Clumsily she walked out to the kitchen, disappointed when she saw the coffee pot that she had forgotten to prepare the night before. With a sigh she fixed the coffee, lighting a cigarette while she waited for it to brew. Immediately she retrieved her laptop out of the bedroom, opening it on the dining room table, and getting right to business. The words came out of her quicker than they had been, though they still weren’t flowing as they once did. She wrote a few paragraphs before the amazing aroma tickled her senses, reminding her of the fresh brewed coffee that beckoned from the kitchen.
After only a few sips Audrina remembered all that today contained. Today was the day she went back to the doctor. Not the physical therapy appointments. She had abandoned them the week before. More of those appointments were cancelled than attended due to a lack of gas money to make it to them. Though it was also likely that the constant appointments were overwhelming Audrina’s depression and that’s why they needed to go. Besides, she felt better. Mostly, anyway. She could do without. Aaron certainly agreed with that.
No. Today was the appointment with her spine specialist. The one and only doctor that held full control over if and when Audrina could return to work. She desperately wanted to. She missed the escape. The paycheck as well. Plus, it would make Aaron awfully happy not having to rely on her once a month insurance check that, after paying bills, didn’t even last a week, leaving them without money nearly the entire month. Though he constantly says he likes her being home, but the weekly paychecks would help them out, Audrina had her reserves. Her returning to work meant a lot more on Audrina’s plate than it ever did on Aarons.
Audrina worried about returning to work. She feared she wasn’t all better yet. That working would worsen her condition. That she would get laid off right after Christmas when all the factories let their temps go. That she’d never be able to handle working and taking care of all the kids and cleaning and doing laundry and running to all the appointments. She had her fears, and for good reason, but Audrina was still excited that today might be the day she is released to return to work. She relished the day of normalcy that she could finally put the accident completely behind them, as though the day would actually ever come.
Brushing the thoughts aside, Audrina woke Raye and Riley for school. This time it was Riley who rose right out of bed. Raye on the other hand simply sat up. After a moment Audrina went in and carried her out to get dressed.
“Are you picking me up today?” whined Raye. To which Audrina shook her head no. “Why you never pick us up any more?”
She had only ever picked them up from school twice, and once was so that they could get their shots. “I simply can not today Raye,” stated Audrina. She felt badly. If she could, she surely would give in to the cries to drive her children to and from school. That was one of the many reasons they moved though, so that the children would be able to depend on the school bus for transportation. “Maybe tomorrow,” Audrina followed with.
“But it is tomorrow,” Raye whined further.
“No. When we wake up again it will be tomorrow. Today is today.” Audrina laughed to herself, struggling to explain the concept of tomorrow to a five year old. “I can not pick you up today. I will be at the doctors when you need picked up. Maybe tomorrow,” she finished, refusing to discuss the topic any further.
It broke Audrina’s heart how Raye struggled with school lately. She cried many days because she missed them so much. It pulled at the very fabric of Audrina’s soul. What was she to do though, she couldn’t just yank her out of school just to go through it all over again, but worse, next year. She certainly couldn’t afford to always drive them and pick them up. Even if she could, when she returned to work it would be impossible and how would her daughter deal with it then. It was better to set the guidelines now. Even though it was killing Audrina on the inside.
Within moments the children were off on the bus towards what Audrina hoped was a good day. Turning back to the house she smiled. Today might just be the day. The day she was released to go back to work. The days of waving good bye to the children in the morning might be numbered. It made her happy, but in a bittersweet way.
Oddly, Marie and Landis slept in a little this morning, likely from the late night the night before. Audrina got a few more paragraphs typed before Aaron woke up for the day.
“You’re up early,” Audrina commented as Aaron came into the dining room. He looked at her oddly. Unsure if he was confused by her meaning or simply not awake yet she continued, “the kids aren’t even awake yet.” Perhaps he thought she was referring to the kids for school, but she had meant Marie and Landis. Regardless, he ambled into the bathroom without uttering a word in response.
Audrina couldn’t believe the little ones were still sleeping. They were always up long before the sun. The late night must have really done them in. Audrina didn’t mind though, it just meant more time for her to work on the novel that was due soon. She typed furiously. Dancing her fingers along the keyboard with the rhythm of a tap dancer. As though they had read her mind in their sleep both children rose before she had finished a sentence.
Reluctantly, she closed her laptop and went about the chores of the day. Folding the blankets. Starting the laundry. Another day like all the rest. Today it didn’t bother her so much though. She had an extra skip in her step, and it wasn’t because of him this time. It was because today was the day. The day she would get her release to return to work. Or so she hoped.
The day wore on ever so slowly. Audrina’s enthusiasm started to wane as her medication made her more and more sleepy. Sleep was far from what she would have though because Aaron, Jack, and Aunt Wanda had left to go buy insulation to re-do the small guest house out back that Jack and Aunt Wanda lived in. Lynn and Dan were at court for the day. It was just Audrina, Marie, and Landis, and the children were very wide awake.
Audrina struggled to stay awake. She went from one room to the next picking up candy wrappers, shredded paper, and other miscellaneous garbage. She wiped down the dining room table and swept the floor. She washed the slider windows and vacuumed the living room floor. Finally she gave in and laid down on the carpeted floor of the living room. Spread her arm and legs and felt a surge of relief course through her back. Ahhhh, she thought, if only she could catch a quick nap.
She couldn’t though. Instead she started doing push ups and sit ups until enough blood got pumping through her veins that it woke her up a little more. She rose to her feet feeling slightly refreshed and went through the house opening curtains and windows. Fresh air and a golden sunshine will surely waken up her senses. Feeling a bit more productive, and with the children settled in to watch a movie, she pulled out her laptop and got down to work.
With the children being rather well behaved Audrina quickly found herself lost in the paragraphs of her novel until the slam of a car door told her Aaron was home. She rushed outside to tease him about the heart attack he had given her flying into their driveway. He chuckled and proceeded to tell her of all the things he bought while he was away. Things they needed, of course.
She was glad he was home. She anxiously anticipated his arrival the moment her eyelids became so heavy that she needed to physically prop them open. Like most days though, there was no time for napping. Audrina had just enough time to get ready and fly to her appointment with the spine specialist. Of course, just as Audrina’s luck typically goes, she went back into the house to find both Marie and Landis fast asleep. Figures, they sleep for him, she thought as she rushed around to get ready to leave.
She got to the spine specialist ten minutes early, immediately going to check in. After signing in she turned to the waiting room and let out a soft sigh. It was packed. As she placed herself in the only chair left available she glanced at the television. Home improvement shows were airing. At least she had a good show to watch for her long wait, she thought. She watched as a man with a giant hammer heaved it at a stand up shower, shattering the tile into pieces that scattered across the floor.
“Audrina,” the nurse called. Audrina hesitated, looking around the waiting room expecting another Audrina to stand. They couldn’t possibly be calling her already. There were all these people waiting. She had just gotten there. No one rose though and she followed the nurse back to the small doctors room.
In what felt like moments Audrina was dancing out of the doctors office. Her head held high. Her spirits lifted. She nearly floated past the elderly man hobbling along with a dreadfully painful knee. It had happened. She had gotten it. Today was the day. Audrina had in her hand a release to return to work, finally.
Elated she went straight to the staffing agency and submitted a new application. Now all there was to do was wait until her actual release date rolled around, but that was only a week away.
By the time she was finished all of the errands and returned home it was time for Raye and Maries baths. Hair combing. Bed making. Movie finding. Snack eating. Landis’ bath. Bed making. Riley’s bath. Bed making. House cleaning. Their own bed making. Tonight though the sweat dripped right down Audrina’s smile. Nothing was getting her down, because today had been the day…even if Raye still thought that today was tomorrow.