Clarice opened the brief memo folded into the get-well card and read it again, her anger causing her hands to tremble.
All of us hope your recovery is going better. It is difficult to explain your long absence to impatient clients. We will have to discuss making permanent changes if you aren't back soon. There may be other options so let us know when we can expect you.
No word at all from her mother for the last three months, and now this. She crumpled the memo and started to toss it in the wastebasket but changed her mind and stuck it in the pocket of her shorts. Still fuming, she forced herself to continue with her interrupted schedule. She opened the front door to step onto the little porch.
Whistles and cat calls from a crew of roofers working on the house across the street caused her to hesitate, but not for long. She turned and picked up the cane before beginning limping steps toward the street and bike path.
She started the three mile walk slowly but pushed herself to pick up the pace, passing in front of her father's house half a block past her own apartment. She was so frustrated she hoped he wasn't home from work yet, or wouldn't notice her going by. He'd want to talk if he saw her starting her third walk and whe didn't feel like chatting after the note. He could read her like a book. He'd know she was upset.
She heard her father's screen door slam. Dammit. Then she heard the thud of his footsteps as he came after her, nearly at a run. She didn't slow.
"Clarice, wait up. Why so fast?"
"I have to get in my three miles," she called back but still didn't slow.
"Knock this off, Clarice. I need to talk to you."
Hearing the anger in his voice, she slowed. This wasn't his fault. He was only trying to help.
"I'm sorry, Dad. I want to get this done. I need to get back to my own life."