Distractions (Memories - Part Two)
Kate found herself sitting once again at her kitchen table, her hands gripping each other in silent desperation. She stared blankly at the wall behind her, even though Ben sat directly in front of her. The walls above the kitchen counters were rather dirty, she was definitely going to have to add them to her spring cleaning list.
"Kate!" Ben shouted. He reached across the table and snapped his fingers in front of her face, "Kate!"
"Oh, what? Sorry, I got distracted."
"Well, what's going on? You wanted to talk to me, Kate, are you alright?"
"Yes," she started, and changed her mind abruptly, "No, actually. I'm not okay at all." Tears started to fall down her cheeks silently. There was nothing she could do to stop them, especially not with the concerned way Ben was looking at her.
"Oh my God, what's going on?" He asked, and got up from his chair to sit directly beside her. He reached an arm around her and pulled her close.
"My dad died." She said into his chest, just loud enough that he was able to hear her.
"Oh, Kate I'm so sorry." Ben said.
Kate said nothing in reply, she didn't know what to say. Ben had never met her father. Ben didn't know very much at all about her childhood actually, it wasn't really for lack of trying on his part, she was just not inclined to answer most of his questions. She knew Ben was talking again, his voice rumbling, his chest, right into her ears. She loved him, but she just couldn't force herself to focus on the words.
Instead, she found herself focusing on memories of the barn and playing with Abigail. She found herself remembering warm summer days where she would sit on the grass and dip her feet into the freezing cold mountain creek. Days where she would just lie on her back next to Abigail and look up at the clouds, trying to guess which shape they were taking on. They would spend the day playing and go back home when they were hungry. Kate's mom would look them over, dirty fingers and faces, and then ask them if they were sure they weren't boys. Both girls would laugh and Kate's mom would smile at them. Her mom always smelled of garden dirt, and the forest after a good rain. Kate missed her mom terribly, she missed Abigail and her dad's friends Jackson and Kelan. And now she had to miss her dad too. She wished she could go back in time and never leave.
Ben pushed her out to arms length which shook her from her reverie. He was looking at her confused and expectant. She hadn't heard a word that he had said.
"Did you get any of that?" He asked, in a whisper.
She shook her head, "I'm sorry."
"It's ok, I get it. I basically just said that I love you and I'll come down there with you."
"Thanks Ben, I appreciate it." She wiped her cheeks off, "I'm leaving right now. I have my stuff packed already."
"Oh, I can't leave tonight. I was thinking a couple of days. I'm right in the middle of something at work. " Ben crumpled his face up in frustration.
Kate was upset but she didn't let Ben see it, his job was important and she knew he'd been working hard lately. Death was fleeting, his career was forever. She gave him a sad smile in an attempt to look like she was alright with the whole situation. "That's okay, I'll go down alone right now. There's some things I have to do anyway, you can just come down in a couple of days when you have the chance. Don't worry about it."
"Are you sure?"
Ben smiled and pulled her back into a hug. He kissed the top of her head and spoke into her hair, "I love you Kate, thank you."
"Love you too." She mumbled back into his shirt. She did love him, but her mind was already drifting back to thoughts of her father, and of how she didn't want to be alone on that drive.