Liza skipped lunch and left work an hour early. She grabbed a cup of coffee from a lunch truck outside of St. Francis. This morning’s rain chased the humidity and cooled everything off, leaving a perfect summer afternoon. She decided to enjoy it for a few minutes. A short stone wall ran around the outside of the building. It had probably been built to contain a small garden. Now it was basically a giant trashcan. Liza hopped up and lit her cigarette. What an awesome aunt, she thought wryly. All she needed now was to swap out the coffee cup for a bottle in a brown paper bag. She tried to push the bad thoughts out of her head for a few minutes. The sun felt amazing. Liza dropped her sunglasses in place and turned her face up.
Casey was a sweet kid. Quiet. Thoughtful. She never gave anyone a hard time. What was hard was the leukemia. While most children grew up, Casey deteriorated. It was hard to watch. Liza wasn’t sure if she couldn’t handle it, or didn’t want to. Then there was the other thing. She loved Casey, but had never been interested in kids, she felt uncomfortable around them, and had managed to avoid them up to this point in her life. Liza and Casey usually ran out of things to talk about quickly. Their conversations were awkward and forced. Yet, Casey loved Liza. She acted as if she were a “cool aunt”. All the while, Liza half hoped that Laura would come back and free her.
Liza wished again that their parents were still alive. She took a long drag before flicking the cigarette into the street. It didn’t seem right for a kid to have such a short, miserable life. This is why Liza always thought that karma was a bunch of bull. It was just something weak people invoked to make themselves feel better when bad things happened. Casey didn’t do anything to deserve this. Laura sure did, but Laura was one of those people who always seemed to land on their feet. Maybe the karma fairy had made a mistake. Liza sighed. She slid off the wall and headed into the hospital.