Fiction 2

Mac watched his childhood friend hug his wife and waited for the feeling to hit. Which feeling, he wasn’t sure, maybe all of them, full force, which is why it surprised him that he felt almost nothing at all.

It occurred to him that in order to save his daughter, he might just be willing to give up his wife.

I mean, she was still his daughter, wasn’t she? Even though he didn’t share his DNA with her, she had always been his. He had rocked her and walked the floor with her, taught her to ride a bike and bait a line. How to drive and how to stick up for herself. He was her father in every sense, except that he couldn’t save her at a time when she needed him to save her the most.

Maybe he didn’t deserve her, the more he thought about it. What good was a father who couldn’t save his daughter?

He walked over to stand near Jim when he was getting to the end of the story about how he came to be here.

“I was shocked, of course, but, well, I’m here.”

It had been a long time since he had seen his wife so uncomfortable. They had an easy marriage, a comfortable place to land. He watched now as she nervously tucked a chunk of her shoulder length brown hair behind her ear.

Already he was looking for signs of betrayal.

“I’ve already had the tests done at my local hospital,” Jim was saying, looking from one woman to another, “and I’m a match. I can donate a kidney to Ava.”

Joey burst into tears, but did not throw her arms around Jim’s neck as Mac had envisioned she would at this moment.

“I’m going to find the doctor,” Mac declared, because he couldn’t just stand around while his best friend- FORMER best friend- swooped in like a knight in shining armor to sweep his wife off her feet by saving their daughter. Really. How could he compete with that?

“We’ll meet you in the lounge,” Shelly offered and led his whimpering wife that way.

Jim said, “I’ll follow Mac,” and stepped in beside him.

They passed through the double doors at the end of the wing and stopped at the nurses station, leaving a message for the doctor to meet them in the lounge.

The ride from the airport had been awkward and formal, so it surprised Mac when Jim said, “Relax Mac, it’s just me.”

“It’s kind of hard to relax when my daughter is being poisoned to death by her own body.”

Mac had heard himself say, “my daughter” as he had hundreds, probably thousands of times, and it pissed him off that he caught himself wondering if he was now expected to say, “our daughter”.

Mac would’ve liked to have had more kids, but it hadn’t worked out that way. He had one precious girl, and he had gone all in on her.

Jim and his wife had three kids. Why should he have to share his one and only daughter with him?

Only because he was going to save her life, he guessed.

They turned into the waiting room at the same time as the doctor, and Mac sat down next to Joey, taking her hand in his, as far away from Jim as he could get.

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