“Daddy your looking awfully peaked.” Little Angelica said to her father, Lt. Jack Ramone, her little face wrinkling with obvious concern as they made their way down the hospital corridor. “You need to go back to your bed and rest.” Angelica insisted. For only being four years old, Angelica was extremely bright and perceptive.
“Peaked? Where did you learn such a big word?” Jack asked.
For a four year old, Angelica was extremely bright
“My Aunt Cindy.” Angelica replied. “She was always saying that I looked ‘peaked’, so I asked her what it meant and she told me it means that I look sickly and tired” “But I don’t look like that anymore, do I Daddy”
“No Sweetheart, you don’t”
Jack was thankful that his sister had agreed to take Angelica after his wife Bethany (Angelica’s mother) had died in a terrible car accident just before he had called up for active duty. Jack and Bethany had made the mutual decision that if anything was to ever happen to Bethany and Jack found himself unable to care for Angelica that guardianship would be given to his sister Cindy. Cindy and Bethany had gotten on well together right from the start and had formed a strong bond.
Being out in the country with her cousins and the livestock had done Angelica a world of good. Each time Jack had seen Angelica via an online link, each time Cindy sent a new picture he could see that she was looking healthier and healthier. His plan, after finishing his call of duty, was to get a place in the country – Maybe even on the river so he could use hydroelectric electricity. His job in the military had been in finding and harnessing various forms of energy and he had had no doubt that he could use that knowledge in his own place. That is he hadn’t had any doubt before a terrible accident had left him badly injured with the possibility that he might not work again.
The accident had taken place at a geothermal plant where Jack had been stationed. Everything had happened so fast that he’d barely had time to comprehend what was going on as the proverbial ‘shit hit the fan’ Without thinking Jack had immediately acted to ensure the safety of the others in his group making sure that everyone had gotten out safely. He was just moments away from safety himself when an explosion had ripped through the building. Something had fallen hitting him across his lower back. The last thing that Jack remembered was one of the other guys pulling him to safety.
Doctors hadn’t given Jack much hope that he’d ever walk again. He didn’t know how he was ever going to be a father to little Angelica. The dream of having a place of their own in the country now seemed an impossibility….
“Come on Daddy,” Angelica said, interrupting Jack’s thoughts, “I’ll help you”
“Allright sweetie” Jack responded, we’ll head back
Angelica helped her father push his wheelchair back to his room, her red tap dance shoes clinking on the linoleum as the fairy wings of her favorite costume flapped behind her.
“You know your my little angel girl, don’t you?” Jack said as they rolled into his room.
“Yes Daddy” Angelica responded as she climbed into his lap for his kiss.