September 8, 2007
She can finally go home. She takes a cab to the airport directly from her father's sparsely attended funeral, not lingering at the gravesite. She's done too much lingering the past several weeks, waiting for him to die.
Even though she's been preparing herself for this ever since she got the call from Texas, she still doesn't know how to feel. The past few weeks have been draining, emotionally and physically, Abby running on poor to no sleep most days, and bad hospital and vending machine food. She feels no more at peace with her father than when she'd come; she knows Lee had expected or at least wanted her to make amends with the man before he died, and while she'd been there every day with the dying man, the times when he was with it enough to converse had been stilted and awkward at best, if not as angry as when he'd been in Chicago.
The night he died, she'd been alone with him. After the doctor on call had pronounced him, she'd been left alone again, "to say goodbye." She sat there, staring at his body, trying to feel something other than anger and regret, trying to think of something appropriate to say. Eventually she gave up, getting up and walking out of the hospital in the direction of her hotel. On her way, she passed several bars; she stood outside one for a full five minutes before going in and ordering a beer. And then another, and another. When she finally leaves, she's successfully numbed herself, but when she returned to her hotel she opened the mini bar for the first time. She spent the entire next day in bed, nursing an impressive hangover.
Now, after calling Lee to let him know her flight information, she sits on the airplane, wanting nothing more than to just be home already. On top of her father's death, she's also missed her husband's birthday, the guilt over that not doing anything for her state of mind. At least she'll be home in time for Lily's first birthday, she muses, but even that thought doesn't cheer her as much as it should. And when the attendant comes around to take drink orders, Abby only hesitates a couple moments before requesting a tequila on the rocks.
When she lands in Chicago, she's just consumed enough alcohol to take the edge off, not wanting to be drunk when she sees her husband and daughter for the first time in weeks. She puts a piece of gum in her mouth as she walks through the terminal with the other passengers, scanning the crowd of waiting people as she makes her way towards the baggage claim.
- homecoming [RP for Lee]