Marcia’s light brown eyes closed in triumph as her body sunk into the black and blue seat on the bus. She immediately slipped into a dream and could no longer hear the quiet whispers of the guy sitting beside her on his phone.

She dreamt she was the only one on a beach with white sand and a soft breeze. Marcia wore a black one-piece swimsuit, and the breeze caressed the exposed parts of her body, and her dark skin shone in the bright sun. She stood with her hands on her tiny hips as she gazed at the water. Then, a smile broke out across her face, and she suddenly ran towards the water. The water wrapped warm and comforting arms around her, and contentment pushed a sigh out of her.

Marcia was slowly drawn out of her sleep by the vibration of her phone in her long blue pants. She slowly opened her eyes and found that the guy on the phone was gone.

She’d slumped on the seat when she was asleep, and after adjusting her body, she pulled the Samsung phone out of her pocket. The caller display said it was her mom.

“Hi, Mom,” she greeted, her voice thick with sleep.

“Hi, Honey,” her Mom said, “are you on the bus?”

“Yeah, I’m close to the hospital, and before you know it, I’ll be home,” she replied, stifling a yawn.

“Are you sitting or standing on the bus?”

“I’m sitting,” Marcia said, “they weren’t many people at the bus stop tonight.”

“Okay,” her mom said, “I don’t know much right now, but your uncle Sam was shot and is at Belton’s.”


“Your aunt and cousin are already there.”

“What happened?”

“That’s all I know right now,” her Mom replied, “but your aunt and cousin need the support right now.”

“Yes, of course,” Maricia replied, “I’m on it.”

She stretched out her hand and pressed the red buzzer for the bus stop in front of Belton’s Hospital.

“Okay, thanks, Honey. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“Okay, Mom, bye,” Marcia said.


Marcia ended the call as the bus stopped, and she rushed out, saying thank you to the female bus driver.

The large cream-painted waiting room in the hospital had more people than Marcia expected. Brown flowered chairs lined the room’s walls, with a large glass window with slightly opened white shutters. One sizeable green plant was in the corner of the room, and a wooden table was in the center too. She quickly scanned the room and found her aunt and cousin beside the window. Her cousin Alice and her eyes meet, and they rush into each other arms.

Her aunt lifted her eyes to see where Alice was going, and when she saw Marcia, she also walked over and hugged the two of them.

“What happened?” Marcia asked after they parted and returned to their corner of the room.

“I don’t know much,” her aunty replied, “but somehow your uncle and at least two other people were shot in the supermarket parking lot.”

“Yeah, those are some of the other people’s families,” Alice said, pointing her head at some of the people in the room.

“Right now, he’s in surgery, and we heard that the other victims are being worked on, too,” her aunt said.

“Yeah, but we don’t know how badly they were hurt, too,” Alice added.

“Where are the cops?” Marcia asked, “Was it them who called to tell you guys about Uncle Sam?”

“No,” her aunt said, “it was our neighbour next door. He was coming out of the supermarket and called us when he realized your uncle was hurt.”

“Then where are the cops?” Marcia asked.

Then, as if on cue, two cops entered the waiting room.

While the cops talked with Marcia’s aunt and three other people close to the entrance to the waiting room, Alice looked at Marcia and whispered, “I think this is my fault.”

“What are you talking about?” Marcia asked, surprised.

“I went to the party, and Dad came for me,” she replied.

Alice was wearing black jeans and a fuzzy white sweater.

“Alice, I told you not to do that or at least tell your parents what was happening.”

“I know, I know, I should have listened to you, but I didn’t.”

“Okay, okay,” Marcia said, “but why do you think your Dad getting shot is your fault?”

Alice took a deep breath and looked through the window before returning to focus on her cousin.

“I was very angry with him for coming to the party and taking me home. Then just before he left for the supermarket, he asked me if I wanted anything, but I was still angry with him, so I said no.”

Marcia nodded.

Alice took another deep breath.

“When he left, I said in my heart that I didn’t care if he returned home.”

Her voice caught in her throat, but taking several deep breaths, she fought her tears.

“You shouldn’t think things like that,” Marcia said, reaching out and resting her hands on her cousin’s shoulders.

“Why shouldn’t I?” she asked.

“Because it’s not true. The person who shot Uncle is responsible for this. It’s their fault, not yours.”

Alice bit down on her lower lip, and her cousin hugged her.

When the cops left, and her aunt returned to them, Marcia and Alice sat in a chair away from the window. Her aunt told them that a stray bullet from an ex-husband shooting at his ex-wife in the supermarket parking lot hit him.

Sometime later, her uncle was out from surgery and asleep, but they could see him. Her aunt held her emotions together when they entered the hospital room, but the tears Alice was fighting finally won, and her Mom helped her to one of the two chairs in the room.

When they left the room, Marcia’s mom had just arrived and was looking for them.

At work the following day, Marcia could hardly keep her eyes open, and when she heard that her uncle had slipped into a coma, she rushed into the washroom. In the washroom, she cried as she prayed that her uncle would not die.

About a week later, her uncle Sam woke up.

The day before he woke up, though, Marcia was visiting her uncle when the woman, who seemed to be in her early sixties at the reception desk, told her that a Mary was in the waiting room, wanting to see her uncle’s family.

Mary was about the same height as Marcia, wearing light green pants and a white top hanging loosely on her body. Her black braided hair, touching her shoulders, seemed to engulf her small face. They talked briefly before entering Marcia’s uncle’s room.

The only sound in the room was the machines hooked up to him, and he looked as though he was having a peaceful sleep. After telling him about her day, Marcia read a few Bible verses to her uncle.

After the hospital visit, Marcia suggested they go to James Fast Food Restaurant, about a five minutes walk from the hospital. A few people stood in the ordering and pick-up line in the brightly lit and colourful restaurant, and some other customers sat at the tables, eating and quietly talking. They ordered burgers, fries, and drinks, although Marcia only wanted a small Pepsi.

“We will talk,” Marcia said when Mary opened her mouth to say something, “but only after both of us have eaten and drunk something.”

They ate silently for a few minutes, then Alice, wiping her mouth with a brown tissue, said, ” I didn’t realize how hungry I was.”

“That can happen in situations like these,” Mary said, “but we still have to take care of ourselves because we will be useless to others.”

Mary nodded as she chewed on some fries.

“Well, that’s what my mom says, but I agree with her,” Marcia said, smiling and exposing her dimples.

Mary smiled.

They ate silently for a few more minutes, then Mary said, “I am so sorry about your uncle.”


“I didn’t realize he was behind me when I ducked to escape Tyrell.”

Marcia raised her eyes from her fries on the table and searched Mary’s face for a few seconds.

“Are you saying that this is your fault?” Marcia asked.

Mary nodded, and she looked as if she was going to cry.

“Did you shoot my uncle?”

“No, but…”

“But nothing. Tyrell is the only one responsible for shooting my uncle, not you or anyone else.”

Marcia reached out and covered Mary’s hand resting on the table, and tears rolled down Mary’s cheeks.

“The cops said that Tyrell is your ex-husband?” Marcia asked more than she stated.

“No, no,” Mary said, wiping her eyes, with tissue from the table. “That’s what he told the cops when they arrested him, but he is my ex-boyfriend.”

“Oh,” Marcia said, “but why would he say that, were you guys living together?”

“No, we weren’t,” Mary said, shaking her head, “I don’t know why he said that, but I think he was high on something.”

“Oh,” Marcia said, nodding, “that would make sense.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what happened between you?” Marcia asked.

“I don’t mind,” Mary replied before blowing her nose into the tissue.

The End

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