Author: PotoPerson PM
It was a normal night for the Harrsion family when Tomas woke up in tears, saying he couldn't breath. Through the worry and the anxiety of waiting in the hospital waiting room, everyone gets a little lesson and a little closer.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Words: 2,200 - Published: 03-21-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2787742
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Fay was dreaming of dancing on the backs of galloping white stallions through a field of star dust when her twin brother Tomas' wheezing brought her back to her lacy bed. She rolled over on her side and propped her herself up on her elbow. Across the bedroom they shared, Tomas was sitting up in bed and coughing loud enough to wake up the stars. "Tomas, I'm trying to sleep. Can you cough quieter?" she mumbled drowsily. She wanted to get back to her horses.
Tomas suddenly looked at her, his big black eyes like flash lights in the dim room. A light sheen of sweat had gathered on his fore head and he trembled. "Fay…Fay, I don't feel good." He rasped. The words sounded as though they were straining to make themselves heard. As Tomas' twin, Fay could always understand her brother's emotions in a way no one else could. If he felt sad, then so did she. If he felt happy, then she did too. But when Tomas looked at her that way all the terror in his eyes transferred it to her. Fay wasn't going back to sleep now.
She leapt out of bed and dashed down the hall to her parent's room. She was crying "Mommy! Daddy!" Before she even had the door open, so by the time she entered both of her parents had stirred. "Fay? Baby, what is it?" Her mother was saying, sitting up and rubbing her eyes. "Something's wrong, Mommy, something's wrong!" Her mother shushed her and smoothed her mossy black hair. "Calm down, slowly, all right? What's going on?" She said. Fay took a deep breath and said, "Something's wrong with Tomas. He keeps coughing. He doesn't look good. Mommy, come see." She tried to pull her out of bed by the hand but she wouldn't budge. "It's ok if he coughs a little." She assured her, "its wintertime, he's probably just getting a little cold."
Suddenly the soft reassurance that had put a hopeful blanket over the room was pierced by Tomas' cry, "Mommy!" It didn't sound like it was just a cold. Her mother stood up and put her slippers on, telling Fay's father no when he asked if she wanted him to come. When they entered the children's room, Tomas lifted his little arms out in a pitiful way and cried. She crossed the room and sat on the bed, pulling Tomas into her lap. "What's wrong, Tomas?" She asked, "Did you have a nightmare? Are you feeling sick?" Tomas shook his head against her night shirt. "Uh-uh. I can't…I can't…"
"What can't you do, baby?" She coaxed soothingly.
The word was faint, but was enough to send a flicker of terror across their calm mother's face. "Breath…"
She rubbed his back, whispering softly, "It's all right. It's going to be all right." She paused and called louder, her voice cracking a little as she did, "Jack!"
Her father appeared promptly in the door way, asking what was wrong. "Tomas said that he couldn't breathe." She said, panic creating a subtle undercurrent in her tone. Her father frowned and walked into the room. "Tomas, hey buddy, are you ok?" He titled his head up to look at him and his eyes told the story. No, no he wasn't. There was a silent moment of deliberation, filled only with the quiet sounds of Tomas gasping for air. Finally her mother stood, child in arms, and said in a low voice, "We're going to the hospital," before sweeping out of the room. Fay could only stare dumbly after her. She shifted her gaze to her father who was about to leave as well. "D-daddy?" she whispered, voice wavering. He turned, as if just remembering her presence, and knelt down in front of her, folding her in his strong arms. "It's going to be ok, Fay." He said, "Tomas is just going to go to the doctor. We're going to be back soon."
"What's going to happen?" Fay asked. He paused for a moment, and then said, "You're going to go down to Zoey's apartment for a little while until we come back." Zoey lived in the apartment down stairs from them. She was a good friend of the family and often acted as a baby sitter. Fay loved her. Fay was about to follow her father out of the room when she spotted the large, stuffed, pink rabbit abandoned on the floor. It was Tomas' toy, Mister. Tomas never went anywhere without Mister. "Wait!" Fay cried and ran across the room and grabbed it in her arms. Her father smiled at her. "Good call, Fay."
From the front of the apartment her mother called, "Meet me at the car, Jack!" The door slammed shut. This seemed to remind her father of the dire aspect of the situation, and he hurried Fay out of the apartment, stopping only to shove his feet into a pair of sneakers.
I spent the ten minute car ride in the back seat with my son, rubbing his back and whispering softly, "breath in, breath out," over and over. The words weren't only for him, but for me as well. I often found myself at the point of hyperventilating, but I fought to keep myself calm. Breath in, Breath out. Calm down , Jewel. You're his mother. You have to stay calm. After checking Tomas in and giving all of the essential information (Name: Tomas Harrison, Age 4, etc) Tomas was promptly ushered away by sleepy nurses. Jack and I were found ourselves sitting on a hard bench in the lobby beneath a reproduction of Van Gogh's Starry Night. My head was swirling like those stars as I wrung my hands in despair.
Jack pat me reassuringly on the back, "Hey, it's going to be all right." He said. I nodded miserably. "I know, I know. I'm just worried. I can't help it." I mumbled. "Yeah, me too."
We were silent. The only sounds were the ticking of the clock on the wall and the humming of the heater. I was in awe at how such normal sounds could still exist in the world. I prayed this wasn't anything serious. Jack stared straight ahead at the clock. I wondered vaguely if his head was the same fantastic tumult mine was. Then I noticed that he had something in his arms. I hadn't realized it before, but there was a stuffed rabbit there, Tomas' rabbit. I couldn't help smiling a little that he had been so thoughtful to bring it. Tomas would love that.
"You brought Mister?" I asked jokingly. He smiled as well when he realized he was holding it. "Oh yeah, I forgot he was here. Fay told me to bring him. You should have seen her, she said, 'Give him to Tomas, ok Daddy?' just dead serious. It was adorable."
I'm sure I could have easily imagined that and found it adorable, but at that moment I wasn't thinking about it. I was thinking about Fay, my daughter whom I didn't give a second glance in the rush to get my son to the hospital. I turned frantically to my husband, "Oh Jack! I completely forgot Fay!" He put a hand on my shoulder and shushed me. "Hey, it's ok. I took her down to Zoey's place." He said, "She's fine. She'll probably just sleep the whole time."
"No it's not ok, Jack, it's not!" I was practically screaming. I knew I was making a scene, but that wasn't my concern. I had left my daughter all alone, just like that. Right when she needed to be comforted, to be told what was going on. I should have known better than that, better than anyone. "She needed someone to be there, Jack, and I wasn't. How could I do that?" I wailed, imagining how senile I sounded. Jack stared at me, trying to decipher my outburst I guessed. After a moment his face softened. "Jewel," he said quietly, "You're thinking about your own mother, aren't you?"
He'd hit the nail on the head. When I was only a little older than Tomas and Fay, I lived with my mother and my younger sister. My father had died not long before, so my mother was working a lot during the day. We were left at day care most of the time, and every day she picked us up at 4:00 on the dot. One day at 4:00, I pushed my sisters stroller outside and waited while all the other kids were picked up and all the other minivans passed by. It wasn't until the daycare was ready to close that the supervisor got a call that she had died on the way to pick us up when her car was slammed into by a semi-truck.
I could feel tears stinging my eyes as I said softly, "My mom wasn't there when I needed her, to tell me everything was ok. I told myself I'd never do that to my kids."
Jack reached out and wrapped his arms around me, something I desperately needed at the moment. He held me there a moment before saying, "I know you're scared. I'm scared too, but you don't have to worry. Listen, as soon as we get home with Tomas you can pick her up and tell her everything is ok. Back then you were alone, but you aren't anymore. We have two kids, they have two parents. You don't have to do everything. That's what I'm here for. And you know what else, Jewel?"
I sniffled and muttered, "What?"
He whispered the words in my ear that made me smile, "You're a great mother."
At that moment the door opened and the doctor stepped out. We stood and walked over to him. When we asked what happened, he explained calmly that Tomas had asthma, and the cold air triggered an attack. He and Fay would have to come in for a follow up appointment, but for now he was free to go. It shouldn't have been a surprise for me, my family had a history of asthma, but he hadn't had an attack before, so I thought he'd be all right. Just then the door opened, and Tomas, accompanied by a nurse, walked in. As soon as he saw me he ran over. Even though I had told him he was too big to be picked up all the time, I lifted him in my arms anyway. "Mommy! Mommy! I was in the hospital, and there was a doctor, and he was nice!" He babbled. I laughed. Excitement was the only thing that could make the usually quiet Tomas chatter like a chipmunk.
I looked over at Jack who stood watching us with a smile. It was then that I realized he'd been just as terrified as I had been, just as relieved as I was then, he had just chosen to be the strong one. "I think Daddy has something for you." I said to Tomas. Tomas turned his head in his direction. His face brightened. "Daddy…Mister!" I let him down and he scampered over to Jack to receive his rabbit and a hug. "Hey Tomas." Jack said, his voice like a sigh of relief. I couldn't blame him. We scheduled time for a follow-up appointment and then headed back to the car, already feeling the fatigue from the late night escapade. But I couldn't sleep just yet. There was one more thing I had to take care of.
Fay noticed she had dozed off when Zoey was shaking her shoulder and telling her that her parents were back. She sprung from the couch and ran to the window to look at the street. She saw her family's car parked on the curb outside. Before Zoey could finish saying, "They should be up any minuet." There was a knock at the door. Fay ran to the door and threw it open. "Tomas!" she cried, and nearly knocked her brother over trying to hug him. "What was the doctor like? Did you get an X-ray? Did Daddy give you Mister?" Fay prattled. He held up Mister with a wide grin, followed directly by a wide yawn. Fay couldn't help yawning along with him. Her father chuckled and said they ought to be heading home and guided Tomas down the hall after thanking Zoey for all the help.
Fay remembered all the worry and fear from earlier and turned to her mother. "What happened Mommy? Is Tomas sick?" Her mother smiled and lifted Fay up in her arms. "Don't worry." She said as she carried her home, "Everything's going to be ok now."