“I…I first started using when my daughter was old enough to start school,” began Leila. Her voice was soft, embarrassed, “During the day I was home alone…my daughter had been part of every moment of every day since she was born…when she left for school, I don’t know, I just felt lonely. My husband worked a lot…then to make matters worse, Carrie–my daughter– was diagnosed with ADHD…”
Elaine couldn’t help but roll her eyes. Leila’s story was the same story she had heard over and over again on the news from countless junkies who were “tired” or “stressed.”Leila did not have her sympathy.
The leader of the group, Rhys, noticed Elaine’s disinterest. He cut in, “Excuse me, Leila, I think we’ve got a teachable moment here. Elaine, I noticed you don’t seem all that interested in what Leila has to say. Why is that?”
Elaine pursed her lips, then said, “I’m sure her life is rough, but just because being a parent is too much for her doesn’t mean she needs to go smoke a doobie every time her kid cries or her husband goes out-of-town.”
Leila’s eyes began to water and she sat down, placing her hands over her face.
“And why is it that you’re here then, Elaine? Is your problem more real than Leila’s?” said Rhys smoothly.
“No of course not, it’s just that I don’t think it’s right that someone endangers her child like that just because she’s depressed. That’s just plain irresponsible,” retorted Elaine.
“Then why are you here, Elaine? If you’re qualified to make such judgements, then I would think that you’ve never made one mistake in your life, is that right?”
“Look you asked me why I rolled my eyes, and I told you! Just let her speak–”
“Actually Elaine, I think we’d all like to hear from you first,” said Rhys with a smirk.
Josephine Falcone sat in the passenger’s seat of Dr. Rocco Bianchi’s car with her suitcase on her lap. The good doctor had driven her home from the jail, and she was ready to rebuild her damaged relationship with her son.
As they were driving, Dr. Bianchi said, “You know, you haven’t really said a word the whole time we’ve been in this car. Are you feeling okay? You need somethin’?”
Josephine continued to look straight ahead. “I’m feeling fine for the time being Rock, thank you.”
“You know, it’s lucky for us the judge let me treat you privately, because I’ve got some news that might make ya feel a little better,” said the doctor.
“Oh yeah? Tell me Rock, I’m just dying to know,” said Josephine dismissively.
“You know the chemo we’ve been doing? Well your results have been improving. It seems like the lymphoma is receding, at least for now. I won’t give you a clean bill of health just yet, but it’s lookin’ good!”
Josephine smiled to herself. For as good as she felt about going home, the doctor’s news had been even better. Though she refused to cry tears of joy, she honestly wished she could. “I’m just…well, I’m thrilled Rock, really. Thank you.”
They drove on for a bit, sitting pleasantly in silence. Dr. Bianchi then said, “So what are we doing with your daughter-in-law? We turnin’ her in or what?”
“No no, Rock. I’ve spoken with Louise, and it’s all been arranged. She knows my feelings on the subject, and we’ve worked something out. I’m not worried.” Josephine grinned, knowing full-well the silent hell she was causing her daughter-in-law.
“Besides, Louise and I are due for another heart-to-heart, and I’m just dying to tell her what I have in store for her now.”