Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The smallest of choices

There is a sound off in the distance. A whistling, to be more precise, and he can’t tell if its coming from the wind or the teakettle. It stops abruptly and then a little more clearly the sound of the hot water being poured into a cup. Then he hears the sound of her bare feet on the tile floor in the kitchen. He hears her open the door to the refrigerator.
He wonders if this is what it will be like now for the rest of his life, listening to her moving about, living her life while he lies in this bed. God he hopes not. He has been like this forever, or has it really only been three days. Funny how the smallest of choices can affect the rest of your life.
“Darling, here’s your tea.” He sits up and she straightens the pillow trying to make him more comfortable. Then he feels her soft hands take his hand and put it around the warm mug. “The appointment is at 11:30.” She says calmly, too calmly.. He can hear the panic lying just below the surface, takes a sip of his tea so he doesn’t have to respond.. “Your dad is coming over to take us. They’ve arrested that man for driving under the influence.”
He says nothing. Too many thoughts and he knows that if he speaks all the emotions that he’s tried to keep pent up so she wouldn’t see them will come tumbling out. He feels the weight of her on the bed. The smell of her freshly washed hair, her gentle kiss on his cheek and she lays her head on his chest.
“Jimmy, its going to be alright, my love.” She whispers. “It will be. It just has to be.” Then she takes the cup from his hands and reaching across him places it on the bedside table. He barely moves and then she wraps her arms around his neck and pulls him to her. Holding him against her, she begins to gently run her fingers through his hair. The tears begin to flow from both their eyes. “They’ll take the bandages off and you’ll be fine. You’ll be able to see just fine.”
He’d like to believe her, but fear grips him. He wants to reassure her. But all he can think about is that he should have crossed at 13th Street instead of cutting across at Grand. He’d only done it because he had smelled the fresh bagels as he had made his way up the street. The smallest of choices.

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