24. Love Hurts
The old house was sold. A new house was yet to be purchased, so Randy was going to rent for a while. He was moving from Virginia to California. The move would put some memories behind him. He was looking forward to a fresh start.
Randy and Nora got married six years ago. It was the first marriage for both of them. Eight months after the marriage, Nora found out she was pregnant. That was good. When she started getting stomachaches, they figured it was the new baby. But then she miscarried.
The stomachaches, however, continued. In fact, they got worse. It wasn't a simple stomachache. It was liver cancer. Then it was stomach cancer, lymph gland cancer, breast cancer, and brain cancer. It never stopped spreading. There was little hope, but Nora battled the daily pain with smiles and few complaints.
After five years of doctors, hospitals, chemotherapy, and surgery, Nora lost the battle. More than one million dollars was spent on medical bills, more than ten thousand prayers were said by family and friends—all to no avail. The only time that Randy asked the doctor for his honest opinion, the doctor said, "She might have six months." Nora died seven days later. Just before she died, she silently squeezed Randy's hand.
The mover took six hours longer to load the moving van than he had estimated originally. Randy wondered how much extra this was going to cost him. After the mover and his crew had departed for California, Randy noticed a 3-foot scar in his new hardwood floor. It looked like the crew had dragged his heavy metal bed frame. Randy hoped the new homeowner wouldn't complain about it too much. He wondered how many damaged goods were in the moving van right now.
The phone rang. It was the California-bound car transporter. He told Randy that his truck was at the corner of Fifth and Main, and he would wait for Randy there. Randy walked out to his car. In five minutes, he was at Fifth and Main. He gave the transporter the ignition key and watched him drive his car up the ramp onto the truck. There were five other cars already on the truck. The transporter said, "I'll call you in nine days," and drove off. Randy hailed a cab.
Eleven days later, Randy got the call. The transporter said he would be in Milroy, Randy's new town, in three hours. Five hours later, the transporter arrived. Randy watched as the transporter backed his car down the ramp. The car was filthy. The transporter explained that bad weather had slowed him down—tornadoes, rain, and dust storms. "No locusts?" Randy wondered to himself.
Randy drove his car to the carwash. While sitting in a chair waiting for the car to be finished, he saw a young pretty woman introduce herself to an aging TV reporter. She proceeded to laugh at his every word, touching him occasionally on the hand and knee. Randy wondered if a woman would ever come on to him like that. Then he thought about Nora squeezing his hand.
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