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Cameron - Chapter 5
“You want to hook up after work tonight?” Trent asked Cameron as he threw together a salad at the waiter stand.
Cameron shook his head as he made his own salad. “I can’t man, my ride will be here soon as work lets out.” He was a little surprised he wasn’t more disappointed that he couldn’t. Actually the only thing that upset him about the question was the fact Cole’s face had popped into his mind the minute an offer of sex from someone else had been spoken.
He’d had perhaps the best sober day of his life helping Cole on Saturday. When they’d been in the hardware store together he had found himself pretending they were a couple buying supplies to fix up their own house. As much as he had tried to fight it, his imagination kept kicking in. Each time it did he filled up with an incredibly warm feeling inside.
Saturday night in bed his fantasies resulted in him having to change the bed sheets in the morning. He’d thought about Cole so much during the night that by the next morning he was so frustrated with himself he almost called Cole to tell him he couldn’t help him any more. He just didn’t need that temptation. He had argued with himself in his head all day Sunday and Monday and now he was still arguing with himself Tuesday night while he was trying to work. Cole never seemed to leave his thoughts.
It seemed though, that the more he argued the more he was giving in. He knew Cole wouldn’t be offended if they kept a relationship a secret. He already seemed to be doing that with Mr. Harris, he knew that from the conversation in the car on Saturday.
“Earth to Cameron, Earth to Cameron.”
Cameron looked up at Trent who was waving his hand in front of his face. He half smiled at him. “Sorry.”
“What’s up with you lately man? You’re like a good guy. Always on time, actually working. Not wanting to sneak out back and get high during breaks. You didn’t find Jesus did you?”
He laughed and shook his head. “No, I’m just living some place else, and I have to be good or I’ll get kicked out.”
“How come you’re not with your dad anymore?”
“I got kicked out.”
Trent shook his head. “I’m sorry.”
Cameron shrugged. “I don’t care. I kinda like the new place better. Which is why I’m trying to be good. I don’t want to leave.”
“Well I’d say you’re doing a damn good job. You sure they don’t allow sex?”
Laughing Cameron shook his head. “Not the kind we have dude!”
Trent bobbed his head up and down. “Ahhh, those types huh?”
Trent looked at him sideways. “And you like living there?”
“I do, I just can’t let on that I’m gay. Otherwise it doesn’t really come up except maybe on Sunday after church.” He flinched a little at Trent’s sudden, loud and raucous laughter.
“CHURCH? You are actually going to church?”
Cameron shook his head his face burning. “It’s kind of a requirement.”
“Damn if it were me I’d run away.” Trent shook his head, picked up his salads and turned and pushed through the swinging doors that lead out into the dining room.
That thought had never crossed Cameron’s mind. He couldn’t imagine running off. If he wasn’t under the watchful eye of Children’s services he could see himself getting an apartment and staying right in town but if he were to run away now he would have to leave town just to get away from them. He didn’t want to leave, and actually considered living with the Harris’s better then living alone. He had been lonely seventy five percent of his life. He liked being part of a family, even if he did occasionally feel like a burden to them. At least he knew he was somewhat wanted there because if he wasn’t it sure would be easy enough for them to get rid of him.
He picked up his own salads and walked out to the dining room himself. He deposited them on the table a family of four was sitting at then walked up to a couple that had been seated at one of his tables while he had been in the kitchen.
“Can I start you off with some drinks?” He asked smiling, as trained, down at the couple.
They both just ordered water and not needing to write that down he nodded and turned away from the table. His eyes fell on the night manager who was standing facing a couple of cops. His heartbeat increased as he saw the manager turn and point directly at him.
What in heck did I do now? He thought as one of the officers made his way to him. He knew he hadn’t done anything wrong in the past couple of weeks but there was no way of telling what past bad deed could be coming back to haunt him.
“Can you follow me outside please son.”
Swallowing hard, Cameron nodded, his tongue seeming to have swollen in his mouth not allowing him to speak. He figured it must be real serious if he had to go outside. The other officer joined the first in front of him as they reached the door and the first officer opened it letting Cameron out into the crisp night air first.
He turned after taking a few steps and faced the officers crossing his arms across his chest though he doubted the cold chill he was feeling was actually from the night air.
“You are Cameron Jamison correct?” The officer whose badge read ‘Jones’ said.
Cameron nodded mutely.
“You are Doug Jamison’s son?”
“Yes sir,” Cameron said quietly managing to find his voice.
“There’s been an accident. Your father is in the hospital, you’ll need to come with us.”
Rather then bring up the fact he was no longer in his father’s life Cameron nodded and got into the back seat of the police car. As with the ride in the back of a police car he took two weeks earlier, the cops didn’t talk to him at all on the way to the hospital, and he was too scared to ask questions.
He wondered what kind of accident it was. Wondered if maybe they though he had something to do with the accident. Though if that were the case why would they be calling it an accident in the first place?
About ten minutes later they pulled up into the parking lot of the emergency entrance to the hospital. Cameron was ushered out of the car and ushered inside to the waiting room where one of the officers went and spoke to a lady behind a desk. Within in minutes Cameron was led through a set of double doors and into an empty exam room.
After giving it a quick look he turned back around and was surprised to find himself all alone. He cursed under his breath getting irritated at no one telling him what was going on and then just dumping him here with no explanation at all. He couldn’t say he was too concerned with his father’s well being. Over the years he had grown to hate the man as much as he hated him. If he had been asked he would have opted to just stay at work rather then being dragged down here like he did give a shit, or something.
As the minutes dragged by he was tempted to just get up and leave. Obviously, no one was in any hurry to tell him anything so he figured they could just wait longer. He could go back to work and at least make some money and not sit there like some goon.
Nearly half an hour had passed before a man in a white coat walked into the room. “You’re Cameron Jamison?”
Cameron sat up straighter in his chair and looked the balding, be-spectacled man over. “Yah,” He answered not hiding the annoyance in his voice.
“Your father has lost a lot of blood. Our blood bank doesn’t have his type. Do you know what type you are?”
He shook his head not having any clue.
“Well we’ll have to take a sample anyways so we can check that too.”
Cameron watched as the man donned a pair of rubber gloves and grabbed a needle. He wasn’t afraid of needles per-say but his stomach still twitched as the man came at him with it. He wanted to open his mouth and say ‘screw that guy he ain’t getting my blood.’ but for some reason unknown to him, he kept it shut.
The doctor took his hand and jabbed the needle in the tip of his index finger, surprising Cameron as it was done so fast. He squeezed a couple drops of blood into a cup, threw the needle away then left the room again.
Cameron turned his hand over and looked at his bloody finger tip, then squeezed it with his other hand and watched even more blood come out. He’d always been fascinated with the sight of blood. He supposed that’s why he was such a horror movie buff. The more the better was how he felt. Of course that was movies. He didn’t suspect he’d be too happy with a heck of a lot more blood coming out of his own body, or even to see the brutality he saw in movies in real life.
He waited around for about another half hour before a woman in a white coat walked in and instructed him to get up on to the bed. He quietly did as he was told as he watched her preparing yet another needle, this one much larger and connected to a tube. He figured that meant his blood was acceptable.
The woman with curly brown hair tied up in a ponytail and warm friendly eyes turned and smiled at him. “Lay back hon, you may as well relax this takes about fifteen minutes.”
He lay back against the back of the bed that was half up to a sitting position. She gently rolled up his sleeve and tied a rubber band around his Bicep. “That’s quite a muscle you have there.”
He found himself laughing amazed at how comfortable he felt in her presence. He figured the muscle must come from lifting all the heavy trays at work. She put a rubber tube in his hand.
He did as he was told and watched her as she slid in the needle. Surprisingly it hurt less then the one that had been jabbed into his finger.
“Is my father going to be okay?” He asked figuring if anyone would answer him it would be her.
“I haven’t really been told about his condition. I just know they need to do surgery, but they needed your blood before they could operate.”
“Was it a car accident?”
She looked up at him after taping the needle in place. “They haven’t told you?”
Cameron shook his head.
“Yes it was a car accident.”
“Was he alone?”
“No he came in with a woman and two kids.”
“How are they?”
She reached across his stomach and took his hand that was not squeezing the tube. “Hon,” She started then paused, her eyes studying his face for a moment before she continued, “They didn’t make it.”
Cameron gasped he had hardly known them, but the loss of three lives of even acquaintances was hard to take. Suddenly he felt very sorry for his father. The man had just had his life ripped out from under him, and here he was now fighting for his own life. “Does my father know?” he asked wondering if he was even fighting much if he knew his family was all dead.
“No, I don’t believe he’s been conscious at all.” She squeezed his hand. “Are you okay?”
He nodded numbly more concerned about his father at that point then anything else. He didn’t think he’d ever find any pity for the man he hated, but knew how incredibly hard it was to have your family ripped away. His hadn’t died, but he had certainly lost them. At least the family he knew up until he was five.
He looked up at Mr. Harris as he walked into the room. He saw he was wearing a badge, something he hadn’t seen him wearing before, even the morning he came and got him at the police station. He walked up to the bed and put his hand gently down on Cameron’s shoulder.
“How are you holding up?”
“Fine sir.” He wondered why everyone was so concerned about him. Especially Mr. Harris he knew Cameron didn’t normally give two shits about his father.
He could feel the man’s eyes staring down at him but couldn’t look up at him. Flashes of his father’s wife and the two kids were racing through his mind. He couldn’t believe they were gone. Couldn’t believe how fast someone’s life could be ripped away. He thought of all the nights he’d been in a car with a drunken Josh. How easily it could have been him that was dead. There were a lot of bad things he could say about his father, but one thing he couldn’t say was that the man was a drinker, at least for many years. He was positive the man didn’t have a drop of alcohol in him when he had been driving tonight.
The two kids were so young. Their whole lives ahead of them. He pictured them running and playing in the back yard. Something he had often watched from his bedroom window. They always seemed so happy laughing and playing, and he could not recall ever seeing them fighting. They were good kids and he just could not understand why, if there was a god, why he would kill them. He wondered what great ‘wisdom’ of God was behind this one.
He was so lost in his thoughts he didn’t even realize when the needled was pulled out, and a large Band-aid was put on his arm. He didn’t come back to reality until he heard Mr. Harris saying his name as he gently shook his shoulder.
“You’re all done here Cameron.” The man said as he looked up at him.
“Oh,” he sat up and turned hanging his legs over the side of the bed. He was about to stand up when the lady was back, handing him a plastic container full of orange juice.
“Drink this before you get up.”
He nodded and took the container. He was shaking so bad he couldn’t manage to peel off the foil lid. He wasn’t sure if his shaking was due to lack of blood, or from the thoughts that had been going through his head.
Ken Harris took the cup and peeled off the lid then handed it back to Cameron, though he kept his hand on it to steady it, as Cameron was shaking so badly he didn’t think he could get it to his mouth without sloshing it all over the place.
After he finished the drink Mr. Harris steadied him as he put his feet on the floor and slowly stood up. His legs were wobbly, but he knew he could manage walking and took a step away from the man hopefully giving him the hint he didn’t need to be steadied out of the room like a big baby.
Once they got out to the waiting room Cameron was sat down in a chair. He looked up at Mr. Harris, “What are we doing, can’t we go home now?”
The man looked down at him in surprise. “I thought you’d want to wait and see how your father was.”
Before he could think what would be proper he asked. “Why?” he watched as the man sat down beside him.
“Because, he is your dad. I know things aren’t good between the two of you but you must still love him.”
Cameron shrugged. He didn’t want to look like an asshole, but he didn’t love the man. He pitied the man at the moment, but felt no love. All he wanted to do was go home, and get in bed. He didn’t figure him sitting in a chair in a waiting room would help anyone.
Feeling exhausted he really didn’t care he had to get in bed. “I really just want to go home and lie down sir.”
He didn’t miss the look of disappointment in the man’s eyes as he nodded. “Okay, I’ll call home see if the wife can come get you. I have to stay here.”
Cameron nodded hanging his head as Mr. Harris stood up. He knew the man had a cell phone and didn’t understand why he was leaving the room. He figured he was going to convey his disappointment in him to his wife.
Even though he knew the man was disappointed in him he couldn’t really figure why. His father didn’t give a crap about him. Why should he care what happened to him? He was sure if he were in a hospital fighting for his life his father wouldn’t stick around. It all made sense to him. Yet he couldn’t even help the nagging feelings of guilt that kept jabbing at him, forcing him to tell himself over and over that he just didn’t care.
Mr. Harris never returned to the waiting room. The next person he saw that he knew was Mrs. Harris, about half an hour later. He didn’t see her walk in as he was too busy staring at the floor. She was directly in front of him where he could see her shoes pointing at him before he looked up at her. He studied her face and didn’t see any of the disappointment he had seen in her husband’s eyes earlier.
“You ready to go hon?”
He nodded and stood up; glad she called him hon, figuring that meant she couldn’t be too mad at him. She put her arm across his shoulders and led him out of the hospital and to the mini van. She even went so far as to open his door for him. Normally he would be annoyed at being so babied; but for him her treating him that way reinforced for him that she was not mad, something he was very happy about.
He was silent on the way home, other then a few yes’s or no’s in replies to her attempts at conversation. He just didn’t feel like talking. All he wanted to do was get to his bed, lie down, and try and forget about the evening.
Once they got to the house he made a quick stop in the bathroom, then went straight to his room where he threw off his clothes, pulled on a T-shirt and some sweat pants. Then he pulled back the blankets on the bed, something he had to make everyday here at the Harris’s, and crawled in pulling the blankets up tightly over his shoulder as he rolled onto his side, and curled his knees up towards his chest.
He was there less then five minutes before he heard the door opening and cursed under his breath not feeling like talking to anyone.
“Cameron?” he heard Kyle’s voice say.
He considered pretending to sleep but changed his mind, figuring Kyle wouldn’t be so bad to talk to. “Yeah?” he asked, not changing his position.
He watched Kyle come around the bed then sit down on it just ahead of where Cameron’s knees were. “You okay?”
He nodded. “I’m just tired.”
Kyle nodded, his eyes scanning Cameron’s face. “Did you hear how your dad was?”
“No, they just said he had to have an operation.”
“I heard about his wife and the kids.”
“Yeah,” He moved the blanket away from his face a little and looked at his friend. “Look Kyle, I really don’t wanna talk right now okay?”
Kyle nodded. “You know though, holding it all in though isn’t good.”
Cameron rolled onto his back and propped himself up on his elbows. “What’s there to hold in? I didn’t even like them.” He didn’t stop there despite the shocked look on his friends face. “Do you really think this is some big tragedy for me? Why should I care Kyle? Huh? You wanna tell me that? I know God damn well if it were me in there, in that room being operated on, none of them would be there, none of them would care, not one of them would even show up to my funeral. Yet you and your father seem to think I gotta be all torn up about them? Do you really think that’s fair?”
“They may not have been a good family Cameron, but they were still your family.”
“Bullshit.” Cameron scoffed. “That woman never said more than 10 words to me my whole life. And every single one of those ten words were negative too.”
“So you think she deserved to die?”
Cameron shook his head, flustered. “No, of course not. It’s just I’m not gonna get all torn up about it. Are you all torn up about it?”
Kyle shrugged. “Well I’m sad, but I didn’t really know them.”
“Exactly!” Cameron nearly yelled relieved. “I hardly knew them either. We may have lived in the same house but I didn’t know them.”
“Are you a little sad?”
“Yes,” He nodded. “So does that make me normal?” He asked sarcastically.
“No, it means you have a heart.” He looked over at the wall then back at Cameron suddenly. “In case you weren’t sure, that’s a good thing.”
Cameron smiled at his friends attempt to lighten the mood with a joke. “So me and my heart can go to sleep now?”
Kyle nodded. “Sure, I can take a hint.” He squeezed Cameron’s shoulder. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
He’d just gotten to the bottom of the stairs after showering and getting dressed the next morning when Mr. Harris walked out of the kitchen and asked him to follow him into his office. Cameron followed along knowing he was going to get a chewing out for being the heartless wonder that he was.
Once in the man’s office he sat in his usual chair across from his desk, while Mr. Harris sat down in his chair behind the desk. “Your father still hasn’t regained consciousness, but he made it through the surgery. Things are critical right now. Really they could go either way.”
Cameron nodded taking the news in.
“I want you to go see him with me this morning. They will allow you in since you are family.”
“Why do you want me to go if he’s not even going to know I’m there?”
Ken Harris shook his head. “I don’t want you to go for him. I want you to go for yourself.”
Cameron looked up at him absolutely confused. “But why?”
“Closure. If your father does die you’ll regret it for the rest of your life that you never said goodbye.” He held up his hand as Cameron started to object. “I know you didn’t get along like a father and son should, but he’s still your father. Don’t let stubbornness now be something that’s going to haunt you for the rest of your life.”
“I don’t see how going to see him, when he’s not even awake is going to help me get closure.”
“No, and you probably won’t see it for years down the road, but some day when you are older you’ll be glad I made you do this. Your conscious will be clear, when it comes to this.”
“So, really I have no choice right?”
Cameron sat up straighter preparing for battle. “So how will being forced to do something I don’t want to do clear my conscious? I’ll always remember I didn’t want to go.”
Ken sat back shaking his head. “I’m sorry Cameron, this isn’t up for discussion. You are going to go.”
About to point out the man didn’t have a good answer to his question, Cameron closed his mouth and sat back remembering he still needed a place to live. If going to see his father was another requirement, he would just get through it like he had gotten through everything else. Hell it couldn’t be any worse than church, and he had sat through that for three weeks in a row already. The thought itself made him shiver.
“You okay?” Mr. Harris asked seeing him shiver.
“Ya.” Was all Cameron could manage for an answer, he may have to obey, but he certainly didn’t have to be happy about it.
“Well let’s go get some breakfast then, we’ll go to the hospital. Bring your books I’ll be dropping you at school afterwards.”
Cameron stared at the door of the ICU entrance. He didn’t want to go in there. Was hoping no one would come to the door after Mr. Harris had pressed the button. He had very little experience with hospitals. The longest he had ever spent in one was the night before when he’d had his blood drawn. He’d never gone to visit anyone in one, even when his father’s wife had, had the babies. He had never been asked to go see her, and he certainly hadn’t offered to go.
He thought of Cole, and how hard it must have been for him to see his mother in a place like this. For Cole it was much worse then what he was facing, Cole actually loved his mother. And his father and brother whom he also loved died in such a place. He didn’t know how Cole found the strength to go into a hospital at all, but knew he still had to as his mother was often hospitalized for routine tests and things.
Just the smell of the place turned his stomach. He supposed they tried to cover it up with the smell of cleaners and sterilizers, but he still smelled it, the smell of death and sickness. It clung in his nostrils like glue, forcing him to inhale it despite the tiny breaths he was taking. He wouldn’t open his mouth though. It was bad enough going through his nose, but he wasn’t going to let it into his mouth. He didn’t want to see if he could taste it or not. He knew if he did he would surely throw up.
His stomach churned as the ICU door opened and a nurse smiled out at them. He cursed in his head seeing his wish of no one coming to the door was not going to come true. He cringed at Mr. Harris’s hand suddenly on his back. He was plenty pissed at the man for making him do this already and didn’t like the fact he was touching him, prodding him to move forward.
“This is Cameron Jamison. He’s here to see his father. Doug Jamison.”
The nurse nodded and smiled at Cameron, then looked back to Mr. Harris. “I can only let him in.”
“Yes, I know, I’ll wait right here.”
Cameron shot the man an icy glare before he turned back to the nurse and followed her through the doors. They passed a long desk with several nurses standing behind it. The room was large, rectangular in shape. He could see several rooms off of it all with glass walls, beyond which he could see patients in beds. It turned his stomach to see them, to hear the beeping of many machines.
The nurse led him to a corner room; she stopped just outside the door and motioned him forward. “Your dad is in there.”
Cameron nodded to her but stayed where he was just outside the door. He wanted to take a deep breath but opted against it, not wanting to get anymore of that smell in his body then he had to. He stood there for another few seconds then looked back at the nurse who was still standing there staring at him expectantly. Not liking to be stared at he bit his lip and walked through the door.
He looked around the room avoiding looking at the bed. There was a bathroom to his left just inside the doorway, its door open enough for him to see a toilet inside. Around his father’s bed were an array of machines; only one of which he knew the purpose of. The one that was beeping, he figured it had to be a heart monitor. His eyes scanned over the machines as he slowly took a few steps further into the room bringing him within a few feet of his father’s bed.
Slowly he lowered his eyes a cold chill running through him as his eyes fell on his father’s broken body. Both his father’s eyes were blackened, and a large purple bruise stretched up the entire right side of his face. His head was wrapped in bandages the left side of which was stained in red. He wondered idly if that was his own blood that stained it. The blood he had given the night before.
His neck was in a brace, and one arm in a cast. The other arm was cast free, but it had a needle sticking out of it that connected to two bags hanging off a pole by the bed. Cameron filled with sadness, sadness he hadn’t been prepared for. He pictured his father like he had been when Cameron’s mom was still around. He didn’t remember him to well, but had flashes of him smiling at him, or giving him a piggy back ride through the house.
He also recalled a camping trip, one where his father had taught him how to fish. He pictured him smiling, wearing a cap filled with fishing lures. He hardly recognized the man lying in the bed as being the same person that was flashing through his head.
Tears smarted at his eyes as flashes of later years replaced the happier early years, flashes of his father screaming and yelling at him. Seeing the man’s fists flying at him while he tried to protect himself as much as possible. Flashes of later years when he couldn’t even get his father to look or talk to him at him at all.
Cameron took another couple steps until he was standing right up to the bed, the tears now rolling down his cheeks. He reached out a shaky hand and gently brushed his fingertips against his father’s arm. “Why did you stop loving me dad?” he asked through his tears. “What did I do wrong?” He knew he wouldn’t get any answers, even though he wanted answers he had never dared to ask the questions that had always nagged at him until now. Now when he knew his father wouldn’t actually hear them.
He let out a sigh and tried to stop his tears. He didn’t like that he was crying. He didn’t want to care. He certainly didn’t want Mr. Harris to see he had been crying. If he had to care, even a little, he didn’t want anyone to know about it.
He looked away from his father and walked over to the window. He looked out at the bleak spring day, down into the parking lot three floors below. It was pretty empty at that point in the morning. Wiping at his eyes he forced the tears to stop, the only thing that was keeping him from leaving the room and going back to Mr. Harris so he could get back to school and get on with his life.
Copyright © 2001-2006 Vance Lister, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED