“Shanna, I don’t like what’s going on with you.” Pop said one day in the hospital.
“What do you mean, Pop? There’s nothing going on.” I never was good at lying.
“I have cancer, Baby, but I’m not blind.”
I loved it when he used that nickname for me. Although I wasn’t the youngest of his grandchildren, I was the only girl and that made me special to him and him to me. I honestly do not remember how I got out of finishing that conversation with him, but I did. Maybe someone came in the room and interrupted us. Maybe he just got too tired, as he often did, but we were not to finish that conversation for another month.
Jim’s Cult grew to include two girls, twins, who became my arch rivals for Jim’s attention. The twins were tall, slender, blonde, green-eyed girls. Every man’s fantasy or so Jim told me when he introduced me to them. Ashley and Amber were everything Jim told me I should be (even though they reminded me of the twins from The Shining). The problem of how to grow taller eluded me, but I had now lost 45 pounds.
“Don’t you EVER contradict me in front of the group again, Shanna! You have no appreciation for how much I take care of you, for how much I do for you! No one isever going to love you with that attitude! Sometimes I don’t even know why I do! You are so lucky to have me!” Jim was upset again. I had stood up for another girl that he made cry. I didn’t know that thinking he was wrong was such a crime. But then, it was the first time I had ever done so. I tearfully apologized saying it would never happen again. Jim didn’t speak to me for the next two days.
“You look almost as bad as I do.”
“Thanks a lot, Pop.”
“Well, you do.”