I slowly opened my apartment door, peaked my head out, and looked right then left to make sure no one was in the hallway. Oh, how I didn’t want to run into anyone. I was in full Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz costume and needed to be invisible, so I made a spur of the moment decision, to take the stairs rather than elevator down to my car.
I arrived at Mom and Dad’s within 2 minutes. I slowly walked to the front door, was about to knock, when Mom opened it and said,
‘Oh my, don’t you look cute!’
Rolling my eyes, I said ‘yeah, right, I look like a 26 year old dressing as a teenager from Kansas in the 1940’s’.
‘No, no, you look just like Dorothy!’ Mom said excitedly.
‘Your Dad is out grocery shopping; I wish he had been here to see this! Let me get the camera and take a picture.’
‘No, no, no pictures, Mom.’ I said adamantly.
It was bad enough I looked like this; I didn’t want any photos that would appear years later.
‘I thought Dad would be here, he’s shopping early today?’
‘Yes, your Dad is not sleeping well again’, Mom said sorrowfully. ‘He’s also short of breath and tiring a great deal over the last week. I am concerned again. I’ve made him book another doctor’s appointment for next Wednesday.’
‘Oh I’m sure he liked that’, I said sarcastically.
‘Well, you know your father, but I feel there’s something wrong, and I can’t put my finger on it’, Mom said dismally.
There it was again, that pit in my stomach. Mom was usually right about her feelings and was very intuitive when it came to my brother, Dad and myself.
‘Well, I have to get going, I’ll see you tonight’, I said bending down to give her a hug. At that moment, I sensed her vulnerability. She seemed smaller and beaten down. I was hoping with all my heart she was wrong about Dad’s health, but experience had taught me that she was always right.
The day at the mall dragged on. It felt like the longest day of my life. The teenagers hired to portray the ‘cowardly lion’ and ‘scarecrow’ were great guys, but I still felt totally out of my element. Then the icing on the cake, a sales rep from the station showed up. Of course, why wouldn’t he be here, I thought. Following the pointing of his finger, laughs, and teasing, he thanked me for being such a good sport. No kidding I was a good sport. This entire performance deserved a raise!
Next thing I knew, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my good friend Marian from school, walk towards me. Now, Marian and I have been good friends since grade 8 and we always had a blast driving around the province to enjoy live music by our favourite Canadian bands.
‘Cute, Paula!’ she said with a smirk.
‘Ha’, I said, ‘if only the bands could see me now’, I remarked.
‘Oh yeah, that would be funny’ she said.
We talked a few minutes and then I noticed the day was almost over. Thank god, I thought. Yea! The boys and myself took down the display in record time and placed it in my car. I drove home, disrobed, and made my way to Mom and Dad’s to enjoy a relaxing dinner. Whew, guess I did survive being ‘Dorothy’ … what I didn’t know at the time was my future over the next few weeks would prove to become the biggest test of my life professionally and personally. Would I survive the next bump in the road or would I succumb to the pressure?