By the end of the week there was a noticeable change in Trish. She ate some of the hot meal Pete had brought from the restaurant. She asked questions of Cash and listened intently when he answered her. She sat in the chair, no longer hostile and tense, but a broken young woman who still hated them all, but most of all, herself for being so gullible. Her sluggish mind began to think again and the pain of it made her panic. The long hours and little sleep were wearing her ragged. She begged Cash to let her sleep and rest. When he grudgingly consented, she fell into the sleeping bag with relief.
The next day found her refreshed and argumentative. Cash cursed himself for allowing her too much time to muster her strength, but hallway into the day she broke down sobbing, sorry for the misery she had put all of them through. She asked to see her father for the first time.
Simmons walked out of the door and yawned, “Any beer left, Hank? I sure worked up a thirst.” Jim, you can go in for a little while. She actually asked to see you. See if you two can strike up a conversation.”
Jim had been pacing nervously. He stared at Simmons. Finally, almost reluctantly, he entered the room and closed the door. Trish looked up at him from her seat. How long was it that she looked at him without the hate in her eyes? She stood up and a tired, tearful smile hinted at her mouth. He put his arms around her and for a long time neither of them spoke.
“Dad, I’ve been such a fool.”
“You don’t have to say anything, Trish, we’ll have lots of time to talk later. The important thing is you know I’m here for you. We are all here because we care.”
She was crying again. She slumped down on the wooden folding chair she had grown to despise. “I hope Mom can forgive me.”
“She’s hoping you will forgive her.” Emotion tightened his throat. “There’s nothing to forgive. No one blames you for anything. Your Mom has gone off the booze, She’s a different woman. She wants you to forgive her. You simply lost your way. We all did, and it drove you away, the last thing any of us wanted. We want to be a family again, if you will let us.”
“I can try, Dad. I feel like I’ve just come back from the dead.”
He helped to her feet again. “Trish, I know you are exhausted. Try to rest now. We will talk later,” Abruptly, he left her standing there. Alone.