By Martin Clement
Unless otherwise noted, this story is Copyright 2006 by Martin Clement for Clement & Boule Associes. All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, published, distributed, displayed, performed, copied or stored for public or private use in any information retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process, including electronically or digitally on the Internet or World Wide Web, or over any network, or local area network, without written permission of the author.
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"Bleep! Bleep!" I don't remember much about what really happened after I passed out. "Bleep! Bleep!" But I remember the sound that was confirming me I was still alive. And the pain in my head that wouldn't leave me, and the light that seemed to pass right through me eyelids. I could fell someone's hand covering mine very slightly. "Bleep! Bleep!" I wanted the light to disappear so I could go back to my slumber. I was so tired. My head hurt and I wanted to sleep so bad...
"Doctor, I think he's awaking." I heard a deep voice saying.
"Lucas?" some woman said. "Lucas?" it repeated. I groaned. My throat burned as I tried to groan, a raspy sound coming out. "I'm Doctor Cohen. Can you try to open your eyes?" she asked. I didn't want to. The light was so intense I felt as if I opened them, they would instantly combust.
"Light..." I managed to croak, shutting my eyes tight.
"It's okay, Lucas. Your eyes just need to get used to see. You've been out for quite a while now. The light is down. Even the curtains are. Just try to open your eyes for a while."
"I know, Lucas. The nurse will be there in a few with some medicine. Michael, could you please go tell Lucas' parents that he's awake?"
"Mi... Michael...?" I asked.
"I'm here." I heard the deep voice again, followed by a light squeeze of my hand. When he started to let go, I tried to hold it back, but my hand was too weak.
"Stay..." I said.
"I'll be back, Lucas."
"That's okay, Lucas. I'll go by myself if you just try to open your eyes to let me know how your vision is." I heard the woman say.
So that's what I did. At first it was as if coming out of a very dark room and stepping to a bright sun. My vision was blurry and even if I did know the room was lightless, the natural light of the room was too much for my eyes. My head hurt. I blinked a couple of times and finally, I could see. Not quite exactly clearly, but I could. The room was your typical hospital room, as you see in movies. Close to me, I could finally put a face on the voice and there stood this forty-something woman dressed in white, a stethoscope held around her neck. I couldn't say my first vision was one of an angel, but she was quite charming. A smile was slightly parting her lips as she put her hand in front of my face.
"How many fingers do you see?" she asked.
"Jeez! not so close..." I told her. She grinned, causing a little smile of mine to follow suite. "Three, I guess..."
"Good. Do you remember what happened?"
"Okay." She wrote something on a pad. "Can you tell me what is your family name?"
"Good. Seems as you don't have amnesia. That's pretty good. When the paramedics brought you here, you had a mild concussion. That's why your head hurts. Do you know what a concussion is?"
"Okay. You have a double broken tibia, so we had to put your right leg in a cast. If you don't put too much pressure on it, and I'm sure you won't do that, it should be healed in about three months. You also broke your left radius, probably when you hit the ground, and so we also needed to put your arm in a cast. Arms are easier to heal. We should be able to remove the cast in about a month. You were lucky the car was not coming very fast." A nurse entered the room. "Hugh will give you some analgesic for your head. After that, you'll need to sleep. Do you want to see your parents before?"
"No..." I said. "No crowd... Just Michael."
I hardly could turn my head. But I could turn it enough to see Michael's face, as he tightened his grip of my hand before I fell asleep.
When I woke up, I was a little confused, probably because of the medicine they gave me. The room was dark, the only light coming from the cracked door in front of my bed. Surely the bathroom, I thought. I was in the same room, but something was missing. Mike wasn't there anymore. I couldn't expect him to stay until I wake up, could I? It was probably boring to death. It even probably was the middle of the night, so how could I expect him to still be there? But I missed his comforting hand on mine. I wasn't tired anymore. And luckily, my head didn't hurt as much as the first time I woke up. I wanted to sit down, so I tried to find a button with my hand, but finding none in the dark, I shuffled, trying to find a comfortable position all by myself.
"You're awake?" I heard in a whisper.
"Yeah... trying to sit."
"Let me help you."
I heard some shuffling, as someone standing from a comfy chair then steps as the person was as silently as possible walking to me before I saw who it was... My father...
"I'll be okay. I can do it." I quickly said, grabbing the remote from his hand, then lifting the head of the bed in a near sitting position.
"Lucas... I just wanted to help you."
I tried to turn on the light on the night table, but it was too far. So my father did it for me. His eyes were tired. Jeez, everything in my father looked so tired, so old... It looked as if he got ten years older since the last time I saw him. I couldn't see him that way. So I turned my head to the other side of the room.
"Lucas... I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything. I know you hate me. I know you would like me to explain to you what exactly happened for me to turn my back on you. I'm sure you would like me to give you good reasons. But there is no such answer... I have not been a good father to you, Lucas. You deserved better than me. See, your grand-father, my father, was a very traditional and conservative person. Everything and everyone that was not the way he had been told they had to be, well, he hated it. He hated it because he was ignorant. You know, in the sixties, him and my mother went to Montreal to watch a match of hockey at the Forum. After the match, they went to eat before taking the car and come back home. Your grand-mother was having pizza for her very first time... and, you know, she loved it. My father never wanted to touch it. It was a brand new meal in Canada at the time. So my father asked for a traditional meal, and even if he was not the one eating pizza, he pestered against it for weeks after. He was not used to it. It was new, modern. And probably far better than the one we call at Charlie's Pizzeria these days. One day, they hired a new guy at the fabric to help my father. He used to claim that his boss gave him too much work, so he was happy not to be alone anymore... until he saw the new guy. Frank was quite traditional, married with two kids. And he was black. I think that was the only reason why my father disliked him. Just because he was black. Because he ignored anything that was not his way, he disliked him. He disliked pizza because it was new. He disliked Frank because a black guy was something new to him. He raised us to be like him. And I hate to think that I've acted the same way as him with you. Just because something was not quite conventional for me with you, I thought you were not the same person that I used to love... but I was wrong to do that. I know. You've always been the same person. You've always been my little boy. It's me who changed. And I'm really sorry. When the hospital called me to tell me you have been hit by a car, I thought that maybe I could never tell you this. I love you, Lucas." I heard the sobs in his voice. "You may not ever want to talk to me ever again. You probably don't see me as your father anymore. I wouldn't blame you for hating me. I just want you to know that you've always been my son. I made a big mistake. A damn huge mistake. I don't expect you to love me anymore. It hurts to think you might hate me, but I did it all by myself. But I want you to know that I love you, Lucas, and always will. I don't expect you to see me as a father to you. I would just like to be able to talk with you sometimes. About anything. I am ready now to hear anything you would want to tell me. I'm late to be your father again. But maybe some day we could be civil to each other. I'll leave. You probably don't want me to be here right now. Do you want me to tell your mother that you're awake?" He said, taking a step behind.
I grabbed his hand and looked his way.
"Yeah..." I whispered. "Dad... thank you for my locker."
My father simply nodded and squeezed my hand before leaving my room.
I won't tell you in details what happened the next few days since I'm sure you would be bored to death. I'm sure you don't want me to explain how Doctor Cohen and John, a therapist, taught me how to walk with only one crutch, since my left arm was in a cast. The concussion was swelling and my head didn't hurt as much as it did the first day. I'd needed acetaminophen pills to block the pain out by Saturday, and I was leaving at noon, since Doctor Cohen had already signed my departure. So I won't tell you all about the little details about some little discomforts to happen to quite everyone in a hospital and I'll jump to this Saturday morning, when at ten o'clock, my mother entered the room. I was already ready to leave and sitting in the comfy chair in the corner of the room, Michael sitting on my bed, slightly chatting about nothingness. Mike came to visit me everyday. His parents came twice. I was still feeling uneasy with Mr. and Mrs. Walsh, though we were able to chit-chat for a while. But when they left both times, I felt relieved.
"Yeah, here." I said, a wide smile on my face from the chatting.
"There is somebody who would like to see you in the hall." she said seriously.
"Who is it?" I asked, seriously troubled by this news. I thought I had seen everybody who cared about me. Federico had come to visit me every single day. I've been civil with my father... even a bit comfy too. I had made my decision Monday morning to give him a chance. I wouldn't have denied it.
"He said you probably wouldn't want to see him... and I told him I didn't know either."
"Who is it?" I demanded.
"He's the one you saved his life, Lucas."
Harris... What was it with him that he wanted to torment me all the time, I wouldn't know. But jeez! couldn't he seem to understand that I was in a hospital by then? I hadn't been at school the whole week, was he missing our little encounters? Was he here to tell me he painted back my locker? To tell me I should have died? What did he want?
"What does he want?" I asked.
"I honestly don't know, Lucas. He came by me in the hall when one of the nurses said "Hello, Mrs. Decker!" and asked me politely if I was your mother. He told me that you had saved his life. When I asked him if he wanted to see you, he said that you wouldn't want to see him."
"Hell right, I don't want to see him!" I was getting unnerved. "He's been my living nightmare for the last five years! What does he think? That I would greet him with opened arms and wait for the next prank to come his way?"
"I don't think he wanted to..." I cut her.
"I don't want to see him, that's all!"
"Okay, Lucas. I will tell him."
"Good! I want him to be out of here before I have to leave. I don't want to see him on my way out."
"He will. He was about to leave before I told him to wait until I could talk to you."
"Then now he can go."
"I'll tell him. He wanted me to tell you that he was sorry for everything."
"What?" I didn't understand anything anymore.
If Matthew Harris was sending me his apologies, then hell was probably starting to freeze. He said he was sorry? Yeah right... He told this to my mother! Probably wanted to look as the perfect kid, I presumed. And as soon as she wouldn't be there anymore, start back with the beatings, the teasing and what more? Monday, he was pissed at me because he's been suspended from football for two weeks. Monday, he had slammed my face in my locker. I was lucky he hadn't broken my nose by then. Maybe all he wanted was to get closer to me then finish what he had started.
When my mother closed the door behind her and I was free to continue my chatting session with Mike, I couldn't help to feel a little bit weird by this sudden showing of Matthew Harris.
The whole week-end, I felt as if I had fallen in the twilight zone. Every ten minutes, there had been a knock at my door. Sometimes it was my mother, sometimes my father asking me if I needed anything. Jeez! as Mike almost never left my side, I'm sure he would have gone to bring me anything I wanted, since he already asked me the same question about every three minutes. So when Sunday Mike left and my parents made their last trip to my room before going to bed, I was glad I could finally get some rest before they made me go crazy.
To be continued...
Thank you all for the great messages you sent me since I posted Chapter 8 of Hate. All your comments have been really appreciated. Don't stop sending your constructive comments, I start feeling hedonist because of them. Don't forget to write the word Hate in the subject line to be sure I don't flush it with the Spam I receive.
I'm sorry it took this long to finish Chapter 9. I'll try to make it quicker for Chapter 10. Yep! we're almost at the end of the story! But don't worry, I'm working on the next one, and it should be more structured than this one. There will probably be an update of the story also. Thanks to Robert who will have the hard work to correct all my errors in grammar and all.