~ Back Down Memory Lane ~

Dr. Lainey Winters handed the pimply-faced teenager a ten-dollar bill and waited for her change and her food. Healthy eating had been one of the first casualties of her current circumstances. Minutes had become a precious commodity to Lainey. It was far easier to just grab some fast food than it was to sit down in a nice restaurant and really dine.

Lainey passed a weary hand over her lovely features. Between her regularly scheduled shift at General and all the time spent with her ailing father at Rose Lawn Nursing Home, she barely had a moment to even think.

The beautiful young psychiatrist didn’t bother to go home much except for a quick shower and change of clothes. Her roommates – Dr. Kelly Lee, Dr. Robin Scorpio and soon-to-be Dr. Emily Quartermaine – all implored Lainey to accept their offers of help in dealing with her father’s care. Unfortunately, Roger Winters was increasingly confused and easily frightened by strangers. Lainey did not want to add to his discomfort.

Instead, Lainey spent nearly all her free time at Rose Lawn presenting a familiar face for her ailing father. Just how familiar a face she was, Lainey couldn’t say. For most of the past two weeks since her father’s emergency trip to General Hospital, Roger Winters had constantly referred to Lainey by her mother’s name. ‘Rachel, I want to get out of here’, or ‘Rachel, where is the baby?’.

At first Lainey automatically corrected her father, gently emphasizing her own identity. After a while, she stopped trying. Lainey chose instead to gratefully gather up the bits and pieces of her father’s life that his confusion revealed. The opportunity to be given such revealing glimpses into the personal memories of her very private father outweighed any discomfort Lainey felt about misleading him.

Roger Winters was not a man who believed in emotionalism. Lainey couldn’t remember a time in her life when her father had ever ‘reminisced’ aloud about anything in his past. In fact, when the young woman had asked him how he met her mother, Roger Winters had given his daughter an abrupt, almost impersonal response.

The past several days, though, Lainey had learned more about her parents and their relationship than she’d ever known. Her father was stuck in a period of time shortly before Lainey’s birth. The conversations between Roger and Rachel Winters were full of their hopes, doubts and fears for the infant who would join their family.

‘The infant who would join their family’… That was the way Lainey’s father always referred to his daughter’s impending birth. Roger Winters managed to make it sound as though the baby girl would simply show up on their doorstep one day and announce her intentions to join the Winters’ clan.

“Dr. Winters, I am glad you’re back.” One of Rose Lawn’s caregivers met Lainey at the entrance to the small, private parking lot. The woman’s name was Dorothy. She was a tiny, bird-like thing who ruled the other caregivers at Rose Lawn with an iron fist. “Your father fell trying to get out of bed. We have called General Hospital for an ambulance. It’s on its way.”