Children Waiting for the Day…
Final Episode: …They Feel Good
Author's notes: It had to happen. This fic would not last forever. I had no intention of making this fic into one of those 'eternal' fics that go on for over one hundred chapters. No, I began writing this fic knowing I would not make it to 20 chapters. And I was right. I had originally conceived of this fic when Reading Paka-Simon-Trevor-Forever's fic 'Stars in the Ceiling'. It was a Heather fic, centering on her dying days. I found it lacking somewhat. I argued that, because Heather was so hated, it was hard to write a fic that made her human, least of all likable. That was when inspiration took in. I took the challenge to write such a fic. The idea danced in my mind for about a few hours, when I started writing. Of all the chapters, the Georgie chapter, Sun chapter and Schadenfreude chapters where there from the get go. All other chapters simply came to me on the spot. The Georgie chapter, to me, was surprisingly well liked. Truth be told, I kind of hated how it came out. But then again, I am my own harshest critic. But enough of that, you did not come here to read my notes. You came here to read my fic. It is with a mix of pride, and a heavy heart, that I give you the FINAL chapter of my biggest hit to date: Children Waiting for the Day…
At age 24, Heather was truly happy with her life. She was NOT rich, she was NOT a celebrity, she was NOT the queen of Europe, she was NOT a supermodel, she was NOT married to a rich man, and she was NOT living in luxury. She lived in a small apartment in Newfoundland alongside her husband, Paul. The apartment had only one bathroom, a living room mixed with a kitchen, and only one bedroom. Paul worked like a dog at the docks, because he quit his job as a stage grip six years ago. He always left before 3:00 AM, and he never came home until 8:00pm. And he was always tired. However, none of this mattered to Heather. As far as she was concerned, she had all she needed.
Heather had good neighbors, who treated her with respect. She worked at a grocery store as a cashier. It was hard work, but she was well liked by her coworkers. She knew Paul loved her with all his heart, and the only reason why he worked so hard was to support the three of them. Yes, Heather had a child: 3 year old Megan, the sweetest little girl you would ever meet, and Heather's pride and joy. Heather loved Megan with all her heart, and dedicated herself to raising her. When Heather worked, Megan was placed in the care of Deborah, their next door neighbor. Heather's life was blissful.
When Heather finished High School, the first thing Paul did was announce that he would quit his job. "-But why?"- asked Heather. "I hate my job. The hours are long, I can't stand my co-workers, and frankly, I never wanted to be a grip. I wanted to be an actor. Only good thing that came out of THAT job was meeting you." The two moved away, somewhere where they could live in peace. Newfoundland turned out to be that place. The main reason they found that place was because Paul's uncle lived there.
Heather did indeed visit Sharon one time. When Sharon opened the door, Heather looked away; far too ashamed about the things she had done on the show, and far too scared to face the rejection of the woman who once thought of her as a surrogate daughter. She was quite surprised when Sharon pulled her into a tight embrace as soon as she had opened the door. The first words Heather said to Sharon were "I'm sorry… About what I did…" They both cried, Sharon over the joy of seeing Heather again, and Heather over the fact that her emotions simply overwhelmed her.
Heather never saw any of the other campers from the show again. She never even tried keeping in touch with any of them. She wanted to apologize for her behavior, she really did. But, she was scared. She didn't want to be rejected.
Heather saw her parents again one time. They didn't recognize her. She thought it was better this way. She thought they hated her. She would never know that her parents tried looking for her, and had in fact changed as people the day they realized their daughter had run away. Even Damien, who once hated his sister, missed her dearly, and began praying to God for her safety.
Heather met up with Jackie again while in Senior Year. They recognized each other. Jackie simply gave a curt nod, and Heather returned it. They last saw each other on graduation. They shook hands, each congratulating the other. Paul was in that ceremony, the only other person who congratulated Heather on her achievement. They were already married by that point.
Heather gave birth to Megan at age 21. Paul was the one that named her, after his dear grandmother. That was the happiest day of Heather's life. She didn't want to let go of Megan, but the doctors insisted on putting her in the baby room, while Heather recovered from the birth. Paul never left the nursery, always looking at his daughter. He also dedicated a few prayers to the less fortunate children who were born prematurely.
Those were angelic days. Then, one day…
Heather had received the news. She had developed a brain tumor. It was far too late to be treated. She had but a few weeks to live. Paul was devastated. Heather looked at her daughter…
Heather spent those few weeks at her job with her friends, with her neighbors, and with her family. She especially made sure to spend as much time with Megan as possible. Paul always argued that he could take an absence of leave, but Heather always told him "No. We both need to work hard for our daughter. She deserves it."
One day, Heather was putting Megan to bed. "Megan, my sweet. I want you to remember some things. In life, sometimes there are people that make other people want to cry. There are those that care only about stupid things, like clothes and money. There are people that will try to hurt you, try to trick you into doing what they want you to do. Please, sweetie, stay away from those people. And don't become like them. Be a good person, a good friend. Be someone who can make someone else smile, someone you can count on. Surround yourself with people you can trust, love and respect. And when you meet that special someone that will make you truly happy, I hope that he will love and respect you, like your father loves and respects me. And remember, just because I'm not going to be there in person, doesn't mean I'm not going to be there in spirit. I love you." Heather kissed Megan good night, turned off the lights, and went to the living room, to wait for Paul to come home.
Paul came home at 8:00PM. "Heather, I…" Paul, let's go to bed. It's Friday, we don't need to stay up late." Paul took a shower, changed into his night clothes, and went to bed, where Heather awaited him. 'Thank you Paul"-She said. "For what?" "You saved me." He looks at her, puzzled. "When? From what?" "After the show ended, when we met. You saved me from myself." "Huh?" "I was a wreck. I was a selfish, immoral little teenage girl who was mad at the world. I thought I hated everyone, that everyone was a loser, that everyone was beneath me. But, the truth was, I hated myself. I hated myself for being such a superficial, lying, backstabbing, two faced traitor. I hated myself because I gave other people reasons to hate me. Good reasons. I knew, somehow, I always knew. You, however, showed me the error of my ways. The night you held me for the first time, when you told me you cared for me. I was happy that time. You saved me from the monster I had become. That I allowed Myself to become. And you gave me happiness. You gave me a new life, a happy one. And you gave me Megan, the greatest gift of all. Thank you Paul, thank you." Paul was in tears now. She continued "I have some regrets. What I did on the show, what I did to Leona and Jackie, never telling my parents where I was… But, my biggest regret is that I won't get to see Megan grow. However, I feel, strangely okay with the idea of dying. I feel like, if I were to die tonight, that would be okay." Paul then said "But I'm not okay with it! Heather, I love you, and I'm not ready to lose you yet. Truth is, you saved ME too. I was on that horrible job, working for that piece of crap McLane. I hated my job, and my boss. I hated the fact that I worked my ass off on that dangerous set, and that no one respected me. That jerk even forced me to try out that dammed cliff jump. I was in the hospital for most of the show. That's when I first saw you, on TV. I didn't like what I saw, but I have to admit, and I am now rather ashamed of this, but seeing someone who acted so badly get their just desserts was about the only thing keeping me from killing myself. But, when I met you personally, I saw that you were so much more than what I saw on the idiot box. I saw your pain, your emotions. And all I wanted to do was help make you feel better. You gave me a new reason to live. And now, I have Megan too. I am not ready to lose you." Heather kissed Paul. Both were crying now. They made love tha night. Then, they both went to sleep in each other's embrace.
And Heather never woke up.
Outside, on that Saturday morning, children play innocently. They play games of tag, baseball, football and basketball. They play with dolls and toy cars. They play under the watchful gaze of their parents. They play under the sun. And they wait. They are all Children Waiting for the Day they Feel Good.
Coming soon: The sequel to this fic. "Retrospective!"