Page Four

Christa stayed the night in Joe’s room, sitting in the chair and watching him sleep.   She wanted to be there first thing in the morning when he woke up.

As she sat in the chair, she dozed in and out of sleep, and the memory of that tragic day began to drift in and out of her dreams.

Joey came running to the house, screaming and crying, “Tessie’s dead! Tessie’s dead!”  Eight months pregnant with her third child, she raced out the door of the house and followed Joe to the apple orchard.  There lay Teresa, unconscious, her head in a pool of blood.  She picked Teresa up.  She could feel the softness of the skull–she knew that wasn’t good.  She swiftly carried her to the car, laying her carefully on the back seat.  No time to get her husband from the barn.  “Joe, go tell Daddy I had to take Tessie to the doctor.  Tell him to come as quick as he can.  Tell him Tessie’s hurt bad.”

Her head knodded, startling Christa out of her sleep. The dream…it was so real…just as if it had happened yesterday.   Thirty-six years had already passed.  She thanked God every day that Joe didn’t get hurt that day, too.  
But now he was hurting in a different way.  Christa knew that things had been rough for Joe lately.  But his psychiatrist attributed Joe’s depression to that tragic day, saying that somehow Joe felt responsible for Teresa’s accident and had carried this guilt with him all these years.  Christa didn’t believe this.  She and her husband never blamed Joe for what happened.  After all, he was only four. It was an accident; there was nothing Joe could have done to prevent it.  

The family rarely spoke of that day, and neither did Joe.  Christa was certain that it was a more recent turn of events in Joe’s life that had brought him to this state of depression.  
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