“Are you Miss Johnson?” I was greeted at my front door by two police officers, female and male.
“I am. What’s this about?” I started to panic a little inside.
It can’t be Matty and Kelia.
I refuse to believe it.
When police officers show up at your front door steps late in the evening with their lights flashing, your mind tends to panic from intuition. It tends to go places that it shouldn’t, like who it could be or am I being arrested for something?
“I’m Sergeant Elliot and this is my partner officer Hamilton. We are very sorry to inform you but there has been a car accident.”
“Wh-what?” I reached for my phone in my back pocket and speed dialed Matty’s cell phone but it went straight to voicemail and the tears started filling and swelling my eyes while I could barely breathe.
I couldn’t think, let alone know what to say next. Who? How? When? There are so many little questions and yet I can’t bring myself to speak. It’s as if my mind goes blank and I don’t know how to pronounce the words to come out.
“Would you come with us?”
“Wh-who i-is it?” I finally brought myself to ask something as I grabbed my purse from coat rack and I locked the door from the inside before we exited the house.
“Your father and mother have been in an accident, it was minor but there are some injuries your father has suffered and they asked for a police escort.”
“M-my fiancé and daughter were in the car with them. What about them?” I tried dialing his number again.
“They were the only ones we found at the scene and there was no sign of your daughter and fiancé being in the car but we could have some officers look around for them if you’d like?” Sergeant Elliot politely offered me.
“They left my house this morning to go look for a horse for my daughter.” I started to feel sick to my stomach.
“A horse?” Officer Hamilton butt in.
“My parents bought the ranch up on Marauder road and promised my daughter a horse of her own and her dad wanted to tag along with.”
“No way, your parents bought the ranch? That’s so cool.”
“You know it?”
“That ranch has been here since eighteen thirteen, before California was founded by Brannen and Sutter in eighteen forty eight. It was a traditional thing for a long time until the latest owners had passed, but they would hold a yearly horse camp and offer kids to learn how to handle a horse and make the best of the summer there. I went there a couple of times, and my kids had gone there a couple times. Absolutely loved it.”
“That’s really sweet, I could ask my mom if she’d be interested in continuing that tradition. I guess she grew up on a farm and knows a lot about horses and things of that sort.” I know what he’s doing and it’s working. He’s keeping my mind from wandering to dangerous places before I breakdown or hurl in the driveway as we got closer to the police car.
“That’d be awesome, kids absolutely loved it. And also mention to her that she has my help whenever it is needed if she decides to do it.”
“Yeah. I’ll mention it to her.”
As soon as we got near the hospital I couldn’t hold in the vomit any longer and I needed to let it out, “Pull over!”
“What’s wrong? Are you okay?” they panicked as they looked at me in the mirror.
“I’m going to puke, I need to get out.” I covered my mouth as I felt it start getting ready to come up.
They pulled over immediately and officer Hamilton rushed to open the back door for me and I made it just in time to stick my head out and get it outside of the vehicle. I could only imagine what the press are going to have to say about this.
That doesn’t matter now, Kiera. Your fiancé and daughter are missing and your parents were in a car accident.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I didn’t go with because I’m sick and we have a lot of packing to do.” I wiped my mouth as I finished and spit one more time to make sure the nastiness is almost completely out of my mouth.
“That’s right, you leave for Africa this coming up week right?”
“Yeah, it’s been hectic packing for not only myself but my fiancé too. What do you even wear to Africa?”
“Well, something comfortable most of the times as the sun is out most days but the rain can get really bad so you will want to pack a couple of warm clothing and sweaters with what you guys are doing.”
“Ah, you’ve figured out who I was.” I shut the door and Hamilton got back into the front seat.
“My wife and daughter love you and talk about you and Matty all the time.” Sergeant Elliot said embarrassed.
“Can I see your phone?” I held my hand to the small cubby window.
“Do you need to make a call?” he reached in his pocket and unlocked it to the home screen.
“Something like that.” I grabbed it through the opening. I went through his contacts and acted like I was dialing a number. “What’s your wife and daughters name?”
“Alex and Kassandra. They’re at the Kennel that she owns.”
I secretly FaceTimed his wife and I held the camera up right. I needed to be focused on something else rather than focusing on my parents. I couldn’t take it if they were severely hurt or if Matty and Kelia were in the car they are just no where to be found.
See. That’s why I need my mind somewhere else.
“Hey honey-,” she paused mid sentence as she answered the phone.
“Hi Alex, my name is-,”
“Kiera freaking Johnson!” she screeched at the top of her lungs. “Kassy! It’s an emergency, come here!”
“I hear you’re quite a fan of me.”
“I’m so jealous of you and who you are as a human!” her face was beat red and she hadn’t let her smile down for a moment.
“Don’t be jealous, you’re gorgeous.”
“Oh please, I don’t look half as good as you. I’d like you to meet my daughter, she’s just as much a fan as me.” I watched the screen go from the center of the face to her arm reaching out around someone who was a bit shorter than her and a younger girl with the same hair color had stood beside her.
When she noticed it was me on the phone her eyes started filling with tears and they started falling down her face, “O-M-G!”
“Hi, Kassandra. How are you?”
“Oh my god, mom, she knows my name.”
“I know sweetie.”
“How are you calling us?” Kassy freaked out. It’s so cute.
“Your father is helping me out and he mentioned that you guys were fans so I thought I’d do the honor.”
“I love you, and Matty! How are you guys doing?”
“Can we see the ring?” her mother asked.
I held the back of my hand up straight so she could see the marvelous rock on my ring finger and they both started hyperventilating. I hadn’t posted much of my life events recently only because I’ve been so busy with helping my parents start up the ranch and helping Kelia with school all while working everyday and getting ready for the trip.
People have seen glimpses of it, but I haven’t had the time to post the picture along with an appreciation note attacked to it. And I guess I could show some fans in the time I can.
“That rock is fucking huge!” Kassy screeched.
“Language, young lady!” her mother scolded her with a point of the finger to the face.
“Have you guys decided on a date yet? Oh my gosh, will you please have tons of pictures taken? Can you post them everywhere? Can you give me a shoutout? Can you follow me?” Kassy didn’t stop to breathe. It almost looked like she was going to pass out from lack of oxygen.
“Hey, hey, calm down. I’ll tell you what, screenshot this picture and tag me in it. We’ll see what happens.” I pressed my fingers to my lips lightly and blew it into the phone.
“Oh my gosh!” she almost fainted.
“We’ve got to go, you know, dogs.” her mother was bummed we couldn’t talk longer.
“Yes of course, go ahead and treat the baby puppies for me.”
“Thank you so much, we look forward to seeing you.” she smiled before she hung up.
“Thank you, for that.” Sergeant Elliot smiled into the rear view mirror.
“Anything to take my mind off of this.”
I hadn’t understood why I was sick. I rarely ever get sick, besides when I was pregnant. But I’ve taken test after test and there is never two pink lines — only one.
Being sick, tagging along with my fiancé and my daughter missing, topping it off with my parents car accident has made my mood and energy take a turn downward on the chart at full speed ahead.
“We’re here, Miss Johnson. Would you like us to escort you in?”
“No, thank you. I think I’ll be fine.” I smirked before I turned to the door as I waited for officer Hamilton to open the door for me so I could enter.
“Here’s my number in case you need anything of the sort, please don’t hesitate to call.” Officer Hamilton handed me a business card that had both his personal and work cell on the front.
“Thank you, again. I appreciate it.”
I threw my hood of my Balenciaga hoodie over top of my head before completely exiting the car and I ran towards the hospital front automatic doors without a second to look back.
I just wanted to get this done and over with so I could look for Matty and Kelia. I dialed Matty’s speed dial number again and it still went straight to voicemail. I walked into the reception area where I saw the desk clerk sitting peacefully while typing on the computer and I could only assume that she was the one who would check people in and point you in the right direction.
I approached the young lady, “Hi. My parents were in a car accident.”
She looked at me for a few seconds before she finally spoke, “What’s their names?”
“Andrew and Heather Johnson, I’m their daughter.”
“Okay, let me check what room they’re in and make sure it’s okay with the doctor for you to go back.” she smiled gracefully at me, “Why don’t you go sit in the waiting area and we will be right with you.”
“Thank you.” finally someone who doesn’t want to talk about my fame and realizes that I’m kind of in a dilemma right now. She didn’t even acknowledge that I was famous and I couldn’t respect her more because of it.
She disappeared into the back room behind the reception desk and she shut the door behind her, I decided to take her advice and sit down in the waiting area. I still felt nauseous and I don’t need to bring the attention to me.
The young lady reappeared and found me while she remained behind the desk and she motioned for me to come back to the front desk and she greeted me with the same smile on her face.
On the inside, I know she is freaking out. You can see the excitement pouring out of her pores and it was taking her all to handle it well as a professional. “Your father and mother are in room three twelve and three thirteen. The doctor asked to meet you in your fathers room so he can catch you up to date with what is going on. Go down there to the elevator and go to the third floor and take a right to find your parents’ rooms to your left.”
“Thank you, so much.” I nodded my head lightly and I left the front desk and followed her directions.
“Miss Johnson?” a taller dark skinned older male had called my name. I’m only assuming he was a doctor of some sort, he was wearing a white doctors coat and a pair of dark blue scrubs.
“Yes?” I stood up from my chair in full alert that this is the moment the doctor debriefs me with what’s going on with my parents.
I walked over to the door and greeted the doctor with a handshake and someone else of younger age who was also wearing a doctors coat but light blue scrubs, “I’m doctor Jahick and this here is my intern doctor Scarr. We were hoping you could give us a moment of your time so we could talk?”
“Yes. Why are my parents asleep? I don’t understand. If it was a minor car accident then why are they hooked up to the machines and they are asleep?” I was generally confused.
“Your father here, suffered a minor brain bleed. We were able to fix it before it got out of hand and we expect him to pull through just fine. Now about your fathers IO2 treatments — it says here he missed his last session back in El Paso, Texas. Would you know why-,”
“For your fathers skin cancer, miss Johnson.” Doctor Scarr answered.
“I’m sorry, cancer?”
“I see he hadn’t told you about his diagnoses, we weren’t aware that you didn’t know what had been going on and we deeply apologize for that. But we believe-,”
“Doctor Jahick, patient three twelve has woken up and is asking for her daughter and you.” someone interrupted with a light knock before peeking their head in through the cracked door.
My mother woke up.
“If you’d follow me next door, I’d be happy to fill you in after I review your mother.”
“Thank you.” I stood up from the cushioned couch and I walked behind him to the next room over where my mother sat up slanted in the hospital bed.
“Mom!” I said lightly as I got passed the doctors in front of me and I hugged her lightly as she was completely bruised up and covered in bandages.
“Hi honey.” she lightly let out a sigh as I hugged her.
“What happened? How did you guys crash? What are they talking about with dad and cancer treatments?” I pulled away but stayed still on the edge of her bed.
“Oh honey, we were going to tell you. We wanted to tell you but we just got you back.” she started to tear up and her voice cracked.
“Tell me what?” I started to go numb in my body.
“Your father was diagnosed with skin cancer and a brain tumor two years ago and we were undergoing IO2 treatments in hopes it’d held them shrink to remove them but we’ve been struggling with it.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I felt my heart break completely in half. I just got them both back and I’m probably already going to lose another one so soon.
“We didn’t know how to — it’s a tough situation and we didn’t know how to handle it ourselves, let alone let you try and handle it.”
“How long was he given?” my voice cracked as the tears began to fill my eyes and my nose had blood rushing to it causing it to heat up and turn bright red.
“Seven years, but we haven’t been to have a scan done this month. So we don’t know how it’s going.”
“Honey, it’s so hard watching your father go through that horrible pain. He was always so sick, and he hasn’t ever been one to quit but he had to quit this one time.” she grasped me into her chest while patting the back of my head.
“Where’s Matty and Kelia?” I felt a single tear drop fall from my eye.
“They stayed back at the ranch while we went and bought a couple bags of feed so they could play with Kelia’s new foal.”
“You got her one?” I started to feel nauseated and sad, all while happy for Kelia.
Maybe it’s because now I know that Kelia and Matty are safe and sound.
“Would you guys like us to step out for a moment before we examine you?” Doctor Scarr offered out of politeness.
“No, no. We can talk later, please go ahead. I’m going over to my fathers room for a moment.”
I grabbed my phone from my back pocket and I made my way to my fathers room before shutting the door behind me and I had pulled out the business card that officer Hamilton had given me and I dialed it.
“Officer Hamilton.” he answered after the third ring.
“Hi, it’s Kiera Johnson.”
“Oh, hiya! How are your parents?”
“Okay for right now, but I actually have an important favor to ask if you.”
“Could you drive by the ranch and relay a message to my fiancé without alarming my daughter?”
“Yes ma’am, could we be of service to anything else?”
“No, that’ll be all. Thank you so much.”
“What will the message be?”
“Well first start out with how he needs to learn to charge his phone, and can you just tell him to meet me at the hospital and drop Kelia off to Hailey’s?”
“Would you like us to drive him to you?”
“No, he has the truck.”
“No problem, Kiera Johnson. We’ll relay the message for you.”
“Thank you, so much.”
I’ve never been one for being friendly with police because they are all usually dickheads but these ones were different. They were nice and you can tell they enjoy helping and protecting our community.
I heard a light knock at the door and I jumped out of my light slumber, “Come in!”
“Mommy!” Kelia popped into the doorway and ran to me immediately with her arm sprawled out and tear stain on her cheeks.
“Hey princess, what’s wrong? Have you been crying?”
“What’s wrong with grandpa and grandma?” she cried into my chest as I caressed her back and rocked her back and fourth in my chair. This is why I didn’t want her coming here. She doesn’t need to see this.
“They got into a little accident, baby. But guess what?”
She started crying hysterically.
“They’re going to be fine, Princess. They are going to be fine, I promise. Just a little cut and bruise.”
“Where’d his hair go?” She continued crying into my chest and Matty had walked in and shut the door behind him.
“They had to cut open his head to fix him up.” I can’t believe I have to say this to my six year old daughter.
“Hi, babe.” he whispered to me and walked over quickly before bending over to kiss me lightly on the cheek.
“Hi.” I whispered back to Matty, “His hair will grow back. He had a boo boo inside his head and the doctors fixed him up.”
“You remember when you and Duma were playing outside and you had stepped on that sharp piece of glass?”
She nodded before wiping some of her tears away and quickly grasping tightly onto me again, “You remember when we took you to the hospital and the doctors gave you a Band-Aid to help you?”
She nodded again as her crying slowed down.
“Just like that, he’s just a tough cookie as you are and he will be okay just like you were.”
“Is he hurting?” she rubbed her eyes.
“No, no. He’s in no pain. The doctors gave him juice to help with that.”
“I just hope they’re okay.” she started crying again.
“Oh sweetie, I know. Why don’t you sit here with grandpa so daddy and I can talk real quick?” I pulled my iPad from my purse beside me and offered it to her, “Just relax baby.”
She continued crying but she grabbed the iPad and sat down on the chair beside me as I got up and walked over to Matty who was standing silently at the doorway.
He wrapped his arms around my neck and brought my head to his chest tight enough to where I could still breathe, “How are you holding up, baby? I’m so sorry my phone died while Kelia was watching videos on it.”
“It’s okay, really.” I felt the tears forming in my eye sockets again.
“I thought the police said they were going to be fine, what’s wrong?” he kissed the top of my head and whispered to me.
“We should talk outside.” I pulled away from him and opened the door behind him to lead him out.
“What’s wrong? You’re scaring me.” I shut the door behind me.
“Yeah.” I began to feel nauseous again and I tried to hold my tears in from showing but it was useless.
“What’s wrong baby? Whatever it is I’m here and we will get through this.”
“That’s just the thing, I don’t know if we will this time.”
“What do you mean?”
“He has cancer, Matty. He has cancer and they didn’t even tell me.” I felt the tears start falling down my cheeks, a dam breaking, causing floods of tears to leak out of my eyelids, one after another.
He brought me into his chest and held me tight as I cried and cried. That’s all that’s left to do, really.
At least that’s the only way I see it right now.
“I’m so sorry, babe.” He kissed the top of my head, “Have you got ahold of Allen and Roxy?”
“They’re on their way, they were a few hours away shopping for the baby.”
“I’m so sorry, babe. I don’t know what to say.”
“Don’t say anything, please. Just hold me.” I whimpered into his chest.
At this point in my life, I went from the happiest any girl could be to the saddest one in the matter of seconds. Just when I thought life had given up on punishing me, here it is, back at it again. Repeating history for me and my family.
What does one do when they find out their father has cancer?
What does one do when they find out their father has a tumor in the middle of his brain and it’s too big to be fixed?
What does one do when they keep taking loss after loss?
All I know is one thing for sure.
I’m truly fucking exhausted and need a drink.