?Henry, its Jake. Sandra was in an accident last night??
?Yes, but she will be O.K. She is unconscious right now. Listen, buddy, I need your help. I have to go on maneuvers in a few minutes and was wondering if you could call the hospital every once in a while. I would also like for someone to be there when she wakes up.?
Henry eagerly bolted from the comfort of his bed. ?I?ll get ready to leave right now.?
?Henry, why don?t you go back to sleep and when you wake up in the morning, you can go visit. No need for you to go right now; she?s still asleep and will be for a couple of more hours. Thanks for doing this, buddy.? Not waiting for a response, Jake hangs up the phone.
Henry did not like Jake very much. The only reason he talked to him was because he was married to his ex-wife. He still loved her very much. Henry hated how he treated her. ?Your typical military man–more concerned about himself than his family,? Henry thought to himself. He took a shower, got dressed and within thirty minutes, he was in the VA hospital. He was glad that the construction on the interstate did not slow him down to Long Beach, where the VA hospital is located.
?Thank you, ma?am,? Henry said.
He walked to Sandra?s room and looked through the window. He saw Sandra lying asleep, with all sorts of hoses and contraptions attached to her. Sandra?s head was heavily bandaged; she had a cast on her left arm and leg and a long gash from her chin to her neck.
?You?re so beautiful, my little Sandra,? Henry murmured softly to himself, as tears welled in his eyes. ?I love you and I want you back. But I will go slow, and if nothing else, I will be your friend.? But in his heart, Henry felt that because of his stupid mistakes in the past, he might never have Sandra again. He turned around and walked down the hall to the waiting room. Henry was surprised that the room was very bright and cheerful. It had two soda machines by the door, a unique sculpture of President Clinton, and some vivid watercolor paintings of the sea on all the walls. He loved how the paintings matched the blue color of the walls. He went and sat on the couch by the back of the room. Getting comfortable Henry started to glance around the room and saw people already seated there. There was a Major, who was wearing his dress uniform, his wife next to him, two middle aged retired old gents, and a young girl.
?I wouldn?t talk, Daniel. You don?t even want to be here.? Rudy laughed wickedly. ?He wouldn?t need this surgery if you would have stopped playing with that gun. We told you to stop?but nooooooo. Now we need to hope that he does not loose his hand. You almost blew it right off!?
Davis snapped back in retaliation. ?It was an accident!?
?Mr. Bozeman and Mr. Grander, Ray has awakened from the anesthetic. You may see him now.?
?Is he all right?? Rudy asked in fearful anticipation.
?Did they save his hand?? Daniel nervously queried.
?Ray will be fine. His hand was saved,? the nurse said with a comforting voice, ?he will not be able to grab things like he used to, but he will be O.K. Follow me please.?
Daniel and Rudy smiled, relieved. They smiled so sweetly at the nurse, it was like watching Dracula going for the kill. As soon as the nurse turned her back to lead them to their injured friend, they stared angrily at each other in obvious contrast from their response to the nurse.
As Rudy and Daniel left the room, Henry, still in his own world worrying about Sandra, looked at them and said to himself, ?With friends like that, who needs enemies!? He glanced at the coffee table and picked up a pamphlet. A quick look at his watch read four thirty am. The pamphlet title was ?How to Deal with Death.? Henry thought, ?jeez, what a wonderful story this is?. And tossed the pamphlet back onto the coffee table. He glanced at the Major and his wife. They were sitting, admiring the yellow, green and red modern mural.
Henry thinking to himself: ?This is too depressing. I?ve got to get out of here,? Getting up and walking towards the door he asked the Major?s wife: ?I?m going to get some coffee. Could I being you back something?? He asked the Major?s wife.
?No thank you, dear,? she politely responded.
?Well, if you wouldn?t mind, I?d really enjoy a ?.? his wife nudged the Major.
?Bill! Where are your manners?? She scolded the major and smiled sweetly at Henry who pretended not to notice.
?Come to think of it, I don?t really want anything at the moment, thanks,? the Major quickly corrected himself.
?You sure have him well trained, ma?am, ? Henry snickered to himself. ?How about you, young lady?? The little girl sat there, tears streaming down her face at the mention of the words, ?Young Lady.? Henry walked quickly out of the room and down the hall to the nurses? station. ?Is there any change in Mrs. Davis? condition? She?s in room fifty-seven.?
?No, Mr. Davis, we will notify you if any change occurs.?
?Thank you very much. By the way, I?m not Mr. Davis,? Henry stopped himself when he realized the nurse?s attention was directed elsewhere. ?It really doesn?t matter anyway,? Henry thought, as he walked to the coffee shop located downstairs on the basement floor. He purchased a large black coffee and a small hot chocolate. When he got close to the waiting room, he saw Daniel and Rudy insincerely embracing their wounded friend who giggled, while showing them his cast. Even from that distance, their hypocrisy was so obvious. Henry recognized this and felt sickened by their fictitious friendship. He opened the door to the waiting room and sat down and listened to the majors wife who was complaining to the him about how their son had married into a bad family.
The major replied, ?I like her??
?Did you say something, dear? Well anyway, like I was saying, I told him, that she would only bring him bad luck, being a divorcee and all. The people at work will not respect him, and most of all, what will the rest of the family think??
?I like her; she has a lot of good qualities and ?? the Major tried again to make his point,. But his wife interrupted him.
?Well, I do not want to be here anymore. Why are we here anyway? I hope that she never wakes up. She needs to make things right for all of us. Let?s go,? she ordered.
The major took her mink wrap from the hanger and placed it gently on her shoulders and proceeded to follow her out of the room like a lost puppy.
Henry was thinking ?Amazing how a Major can be so aggressive at work but not at home. He probably puts his tail in-between his legs when he gets there. Try not to trip over your leash, Major,? Henry was astonished that the man would take such treatment so willingly. Then it dawned on him, ?Major, divorcee?, they must be Jake?s parents! I know that Jake?s father was a Major in the Army, and his mother hated Sandra. How could she say that about Sandra!? Gasping with rage, Henry started to crumble his coffee cup, until some of the hot liquid started to spill on his hand. ?Ouch!!!? Henry came to his senses and looked over at the girl, and realized that he did not notice that a young lady had come into the room and was now hugging the little girl. He walked towards them with a smile, handed the little girl the hot chocolate. ?Here, this is for you.?
The little girl grinned as she took a small sip. Gee, thanks mister. She handed the cup to the young lady, offering her a drink, but she politely refused.
Henry nodded to the young lady and went back to his seat on the couch. Taking a few sips of the coffee, he started to close his eyes and remembering how stupid he was for the divorce. ?How could I have been so self-fish? pondering in his mind. ?She was my wife and I will never take her for granted anymore.? Wondering what to do. ?We had a wonderful marriage, until I decided that I wanted to be alone again, not understanding the consequences. I was a fool, a young fool. Just like Jake, but at least I have come to my senses, and realize how important to me you are Sally? Slowly falling asleep, until he heard some sobbing, he opened his eyes and watched the young girls. He could tell that the young lady was trying to comfort the little girl, who began to sob uncontrollably. Like a medieval gladiator protecting his lady in distress, Henry immediately rose and put his arm around the child?s shoulder. The little girl instantly wrapped her shaking arms around Henry?s neck and cried into is chest. Henry walked her to the couch and in a few minutes, the troubled girl fell into a deep sleep. Henry put a pillow under the girl?s sleeping head and covered her with his jacket.
?Can I talk to you outside for a minute?? Henry asked the young lady
?Yes,? responded the young lady.
?Hi, my name is Jessica, I?m the baby sitter. I guess that I should tell you what happened. It was an ordinary night babysitting Cassandara. Her parents wanted to celebrate her father?s promotion at his company, and when they were heading back home after eating at a local restaurant, a drunk driver, who was driving on the wrong side of the road head-on into them. The doctors do not know if they will survive. The only reason that we are here is because the police officer who came over to tell us gave us a ride. Cassandara was eating popcorn and watching a movie when the officer showed up. She wanted to be here. So he brought us to the hospital. I called my parents and they are heading this way to comfort Cassandara as much as possible, until her aunt and uncle get here around noon later today.? Jessica seemed relieved to divulge the facts of the situation.
?The poor little girl,? his heart went out to her. ?So you two will not be by yourself much longer?? Henry gently pressed for more information.
?That?s correct,? Jessica smiled and replied, as she opened the door to be with Cassandara.
?I?ll see you later; I have something that I have to do.? Henry squeezed her shoulder and looked at his watch.
He went to Sandra?s room, once there he looked around, and saw the coldness and unfeeling of her room. At a whim, he went down to the hospital store and bought all the balloons and an armful of flowers and arranged them all over the room. Something had to be done to give life to the place. The room looked like a tomb; it was so drab and cold. When he was finished, the room burst with colors of orange, red, yellow, and purple. All of the colors broke through the institutional rigidity and gave the room warmth and charm. Henry tore open the curtains and drank in the radiance of the rising sun. He walked over to her bed, and gently grasping Sandra?s hand, began describing the magnificence of the flowers, balloons and the dazzling sun. He told her about the picnics they would have and walks through Balboa Park. ?I would not mind waking up to this,? he continued eagerly, but then stopped, despair inundating him, washing away his dreams. ?Only it?s Jake now, not me anymore,? he murmured sadly and walked slowly over to the window. Henry looked out and down onto a garden where a few patients were walking around. ?That should be us,? he murmured softly to the window. ?That should be us! We had so much happiness!? Henry took a few quick steps and was back at her bedside again. ?I love you, Sandra,? he bent down and softly kissed her deathly pale cheek: ?I never stopped loving you, dear; I never stopped.?
?And I love you, Little Henry,? Sandra very softly whispered into his ears.
Henry stood there looking at her beautiful face while she was waking up. ?How do you feel, babe?? Henry replied, his face alive with tenderness and concern
?Relax, babe, try to get some sleep.? Henry saying with a comforting voice.
?No, I want to tell you something, before I go to sleep again.? Sandra was determined to speak. ?I had this dream, well actually a series of dreams. Each one with a different outcome. I knew that I was in the hospital. I do not know how, but I knew. Each dream starts out the same, but the ending is different. I dreamt that I was asleep in the hospital and when I woke up, the man I saw was the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I dreamt that I woke up and no one was around; I dreamt that I woke up and Jake was here, and I finally dreamt that I woke up and you here. I guess Jake does not care about me as much as you. So this makes my decision of leaving him easier. You and I have talked about this before. I still do not know why I married him. I never did love him. I still loved you when you left me. I have forgiven you for the pain that you caused me and if you want to get back together we must take it very slowly. You hurt me very much, but love does forgive and forget. We cannot make the same mistakes that caused us to break up in the first place.? Sally saying contently.
Henry kissed Sandra very gently on her lips when she flinched in a momentary attack of pain. ?Go and get some doctors, please.?
Henry stared in shock. Gradually a boyish grin crept over his face and he turned and ran to get some help.
?You?ll have to wait outside while we examine her, Mr. Davis.?
?No. I?m Mr. Anderson,? he said confidently. Henry walked back down the hall to the waiting room to check on the little girl. As he neared the open door, he saw the Doctor and a nurse comforting Cassandra who sobbed hysterically. Jessica tried to hold her, but Cassandara was screaming ?Mommy and Daddy would never leave me!! You?re lying!!! You?re lying!!! I want to see my Mommy and Daddy!!!?
Henry turned around very slowly, and as he tearfully walked down the dim hall, he didn?t even care about getting his jacket back. ?I can always replace my jacket,? Henry told himself, ?but she will never be able to replace her parents.? Rubbing his teary eyes, he then realized that the future of his life is also starting anew.