Father Jim had not been very specific about what had happened. He had told me that a car had struck her while she was crossing the street to get to the post office in Frankton and that her only real injury was to the head. She had a concussion and they had her in an intensive care unit in the hospital in Anderson.
Grandma was more of a mother to me than a grandmother. She had raised me since I was seven and was the only family I had. It was because of her that I had been able to finish college and go on to grad school at an Ivy League university. I owed everything to her.
A mental picture of her lying in a hospital bed, tubes protruding from her body caused a knot to form in my gut. What am I worrying about? Grandma has always been a trooper. She had managed to make it through a ton of adversity. She needed me there to comfort her, but she would be just fine.
But what if . . .? What if this time was more than she could manage? How would I live without her? I lingered on that thought for just a moment, then decided that negative thinking would only serve to make this trip more difficult. She would be just fine and I would be there to make sure it was so. End of discussion.
The aircraft leveled off at altitude and I reclined my seat to relieve some of the tension in my back. In all of the rush to get onto a flight, I had forgotten to make arrangements for transportation from Indianapolis to Frankton. I pulled out my phone and dialed the number of an old friend from high school, Olivia Litsey, who worked in Indianapolis.
The phone rang four times, then the receptionist picked up. Olivia was out at the moment. Could she take a message? I blew out a long breath.
"I'm an old friend of Olivia. My grandmother is in the hospital and I am headed for Indianapolis." I explained that I needed a ride and asked her if she could contact Olivia for me to make that request. I then entered the great abyss..."Please hold."
I listened to bad music for the next ten minutes, then the receptionist's voice was in my ear once again.
"Miss Litsey said that she will be at the office tomorrow. You can stop by then to see her." Is she serious? Grandma is not going to wait until tomorrow. I won't let that happen. I gave a very insincere "thank you" and hung up the phone.
A flight attendant brought me a soft drink which I accepted with gratitude and sipped while I sorted out what to do next. A taxi for a fifty-plus-mile trip would cost a fortune . . . money which a student just did not have. Sure, I could use the credit card Grandma had given me. But she paid for everything I charged. It was her money, and I was not about to spend it frivolously. One of the constant lessons she taught me was to not waste money and I knew she would be upset with me if I did that.
There were buses, I supposed. But that would take longer than waiting for Olivia. No trains or subways were available. There was an airport in Anderson, where the hospital was located, but if I took a flight it would cost as much as a taxi and I would be in Anderson with no transportation. I needed to get to Frankton to pick up my car at home. Grandma's home. Our home.
I just need for everything to be okay. After seeing that little girl from the fire in New York, and now Grandma, I didn't know how much more I could stand before my mind went postal. Please, Grandma. Please be okay.
My phone rang. It was Father Jim.
"I'm sitting in the airport in Indy, waiting for you. I thought you might need a ride."
I heaved a sigh of relief and thanked him. At least something had gone right.
[To Be Continued . . .]