Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:
“I’m sorry Shannon, I didn’t want to make you feel guilty about coming out to dinner with me, but I needed to talk to you about something.” I was nervous, understandably if anyone had known what I was going to talk to my daughter about, but no one did.
“Don’t worry about it Dad, I know that you’ve been lonely since Mom died and I really should be spending more time with you. I need to make sure that you’re okay.” She reached across the table and squeezed my hand. I squeezed it back.
“Thanks, kiddo. I had a reason for asking you out tonight, but I’m not quite sure how to go about saying it. It’s difficult for me to say the words, even though I know they need to be said.” Maybe this was the wrong approach. The look on her face, the sudden fear that showed up in her eyes. Yeah, this was definitely the wrong approach, but the truth … the truth? I’m not even sure that I can handle the truth.
“You see, Sandra, I went …”
“Shannon,” she interrupted.
“That’s what I said.”
“No, you called me Sandra. I’ve been Shannon for the past forty-five years, Dad, I think I would know.”
“And I named you,” I said, my voice rising a bit, “I think I would know as well.” This was not going well. I took a couple of deep breaths and started over.
“Look … Shannon … I went to the Doctor today and he confirmed a few things. I’ve been having troubles at work recently, falling a little bit behind on projects and unable to get plans properly organized. I thought it was just stress, just something that would go away if I took a vacation. You know me and vacations don’t get along that well, but I thought that if a vacation was what I needed I could persuade the Randolph brothers to let me go for a few weeks. Or a month.” Rambling, I was rambling and needed to stop.
“I had some tests done and it seems, it seems that I, uhh, I have Alzheimer’s.” I stopped and looked at Shannon. She was scared. Scared for me. But I don’t think she was nearly as scared as I was.
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