As he entered the hospital lobby, he went to the front desk and asked to see a girl under the name Walker. He was then escorted down a far hallway and to a small room. Lawrence then asked for the nurse to leave. He entered and slowly approached the bed. The person in the bed was a young girl. She looked over and saw Lawrence sitting in a chair next to the bed.
A large smile appeared across her face.
“Lawrence, I’m so glad you made it.” she said
“Claire, when I make a promise, I intend to keep it.” he said
They then talked for a bit. Claire only having a short time left, always wanted to know about what was happening with her brother and all her family.
“So how’s Dad?” asked Claire
The smile started to drain from Lawrence’s face “Same as always.”
“That bad?” she asked now with slight concern in her voice.
“Nothing I can’t handle.”
“I’ve been meaning to talk to you about her. She keeps asking if mom’s ever coming back and I am running out of things to tell her.”
“Don’t worry you’ll think of something, you always do.”
They both smiled. Then as if by cue, they could hear the cursing and shouting of their dad coming down the hallway. And within seconds he was standing in the doorway. Face red with rage, and fist clenched.
“Lawrence! Get your stuff we're leaving now!” he said as if not acknowledging that Claire exists.
“I can’t believe you!” shouted Lawrence.
“Do you even care that you own daughter is dying over here? What am I saying of course you don’t care.”
“Get your stuff,we are leaving!”
Lawrence then took his things and gave Claire a kiss on the head and left. As soon as they left the hospital Lawrence’s father lit a cigarette.
They both got in the truck and left for home. About halfway home his father looked at him and said “I told you never go to that hospital again!”
“Why?” shouted Lawrence
“Don’t you question me Boy. You do as you're told.”
“I don’t see why I can’t spend some time with my sister, who is slowly slipping away from me?”
“Hey, your sister made her choice to leave this family!”
“I can’t believe you right now! You think she went out and got Leukemia on purpose! You think she just decided to leave us with a life threatening disease! No, you know why she got that disease? It’s because you would always drag her down to that ship yard, and tell her to look for scrap metal, so you could sell it and pay for your cigarettes and booze! Well you know what in a small way, she’s better off dead than to spend one more minute living with you as a father!”
And with that he slammed on the brakes and lifted Lawrence’s sleeve on his right arm. Then once he found a spot on his forearm without a burn mark he pressed his cigarette down upon Lawrence’s skin.
Lawrence grunted in pain but he did not cry, he was to use to the feeling. His body, after feeling the burn of a cigarette so many times, almost numbed itself. After that, they drove the rest of the way home in silence.
When they got to the house Lawrence burst thru the door, not even giving Scarlet a smile and raced to his room to apply burn cream. Almost immediately after putting on the cream and wrapping his arm with gauze. He heard his father, “Lawrence, get out here now! You got dinner to make!”