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UNCOMFORTABLY TENDER

“Destination please?” asked the lady at the ticket counter.

“Lilongwe, Malawi,” replied Allie, our daughter.

Our “only” seventeen-year-old daughter.

Yeah, I’m gonna be a mess when I walk her down the isle someday.

Somewhat perplexed, ticket lady inquired, “Where’s that?”

Allie turned to me.

I shrugged with an, “It’s all on you from here on out, Luv. You’re on your own.”

She rolled her eyes and sighed, “It’s a country down by Zambia.”

Glassy eyed, ticket lady gave us a look of unbelief, “Sounds like a long ways away.”

At the moment (as I write) she’s somewhere in the air between Dubai and Nairobi...or maybe Nairobi and Zambia.

Four week medical internship.

On her own.

A long ways from home.

Our last connect with her was when she Face Timed Teddy and Laurel up at Children’s sometime this afternoon…from the Dubai International Airport.

Teddy and Allie have grown really close these past six weeks.

Uncomfortably tender.

As the two of them Face Timed, a dear mother wrapped in black linens, from head-to-toe, sent her youngest child with some homemade pita bread stuff with spicy meat over to Allie, who was sitting cross legged and unsure.

Always a mom.

Always a kid.

Even on the carpet floor at 2am in Dubai.

Teddy could barely talk.

The radiation burns his throat.

Not much of an appetite these days.

These days.

Days.

Living one day at a time.

Tomorrow is his last day of radiation. The chemo port is scheduled to come out on Friday.

A pilot friend of ours has offered me a seat for my flight from Durango to Denver tomorrow morning.

I’ll bring Laurel and Teddy home on Saturday.

By then, Allie will have arrived at her final destination via Albuquerque, Atlanta, Dubai, Nairobi…and a stopover somewhere in Zambia.

Tonight’s menu?

Well…Teddy doesn’t really care anymore.

Nothing tastes really good like it used to.

Not even Fettuccine Alfredo.

Same for me too.

Nevertheless, he and mom are out on the town tonight in Denver with dear friends for a Nuggets basketball game.

Compliments of Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Almost home…

Steve, Teddy’s Dad


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