Waiting rooms are the most difficult places to wait in. The sterile white walls and the perfectly arranged chairs made me feel uncomfortable, like I was visiting a spinster's house. The only reasonable thing to do in a waiting room is to think about things completely unrelated to why you are waiting there.
I thought back to this morning. There was something in the back of my mind that was bothering me, like a small blinking red light. Something to do with the alarm clock. Suddenly the words Job Interview popped into my mind. Oh no, I had had a job interview this morning! I stared at my watch. 10:00 was definitely past and gone. What was I going to do? Well, I told myself, trying to calm myself down, I don't have a time machine, so I will just have to deal with the consequences. I pulled out my phone and called the Engineering firm. The secretary answered, so I left an apologetic message. Then I was back to waiting. I leaned back in my chair, trying to relax and forget about the situation until I could do something about it. My mind drifted to my father, and his farm.
My father was given a very small piece of the family farm on his 21 birthday as a present. He worked very hard and soon had enough money to build a house on the property. When he was 26 he married my mother. Edward was born about a year later, and myself two years after that. During this time the farm was profitable and my father bought some land from the neighbouring farms.Then came the hard times. My mother fell sick and the weather turned bad. The farm failed to earn money, and between that and my mother in the hospital my father became very depressed. My mother died when I was six. The last memory I have of her is her telling me “Be good Johnny, and remember that I love you.” We were often neglected as my father tried to deal with the loss, and as he tried to get the farm back on its feet.
After 5 years of hard work most of the debt was paid off and the farm was starting to earn money. But by this time my father must've felt alienated from us, because he never spent much time with us. When I was 12 my brother and I moved into town with our grandparents to attend high school. We were expected to return to the farm every summer and work very hard. We were too tired and to busy to even think of spending fun time with our father.
All to soon we headed off to university, Edward in business and myself in engineering. My father had bought more land and had decided to hire farm hands rather than have us help him through the summer, so we spent most of our time in town. He had also hired Susan to keep track of the finances at this time, especially since he had to pay the hired hands. She was very competent and kept thing going smoothly. We were expected to come home at least one weekend every summer, but that was all we saw of our father.
Now my father, who I really didn't know, was lying unconscious just down the hall.
Suddenly my cell rang. “Hello?” I answered.
“Hello, This is Mr. Robinson from The Carter Brothers Consulting.”
Oh yes, the guy who was supposed to interview me. “I'm sorry that I did not make it to the interview this morning. My father just had a stroke and I'm here at the hospital with him. I would definitely be available for a time later today or tomorrow.”
“I'm sorry, I have to inform you that the position is already filled.”
Already filled!?! They can't do that before they've interviewed everyone... or can they? “Oh. Well, thank you for informing me promptly.”
“You're welcome. Best wishes for your father.”
I was devastated. I had wanted that summer job so much, and had been so determined to get it that I had not even applied to any other company! I sat back down in my chair, my head spinning, I had no idea what I was going to do with my summer now. I put my head in my hands to try and steady myself as my mind raced through reams of possibilities, stretching like an infinite tunnel, each one starting out like a light and become black by the time they were solid enough to be examined. I so badly hoped this was just a dream, but when I pinched myself it really hurt, and I didn't suddenly find myself in the comfort of my bed.
One idea was slowly becoming clearer as it hurtled towards me. My father would not be able to manage his farm for a while, whatever the outcome of the stroke was. It was a viable option, but not pretty. However, it seemed like my only choice. I would help my father run his farm this summer.