First, I want to thank the many of you who send me e-mails. Especially the ones that continued to write me while I was busy with my `real' life and job. I know how upset I get when I read a story on Nifty that never gets finished, and I promise you, each and everyone of you, all my stories will be finished by the years end. I have to; I want to write some new ones.
Second, I'd like to invite you all to the newest chat room on Nifty. It's called Nifty Writers, and it's for readers and writers to come and talk about stories they've read. It's also for people to come and just chat. All people, and I do mean ALL, are welcome. I'd like to ask you guys and gals a real big favor. If you write, or communicate with other writers encourage them to come to this new room. It's for all of us to exchange ideas, and get to know one another in this community we share. You can find the link to it on the Chat page of Nifty, scroll down the page to Nifty Writers, or use this link here: www.nevernet.net/nifty/nifty-w.htm I hope to see you there soon.
Third and final thought I would like to share is; my web site is back up, and being built. If you'd like to check it out, go to http://justinscorner.homestead.com/JustinsCorner.htm I hope you like my newest addition, coming soon, a lesbian section. When I say all are welcome in my life, I mean it! J
As always, but
"His vital signs are good, he's not out of the woods yet, but we're a little better this morning." Doctor Anderson said to Mary, as his hand furiously scribbled notes on the chart that he held in his hand.
"Thank you Doctor," Mary couldn't take her eyes off her son as she responded.
It was just after seven in the morning, her stomach was churning, pangs of hunger and nervousness tore at her. As much as her belly hurt, she wasn't about to leave Randy's bedside. `What if he wakes and I'm not here?' She wondered and worried about him not knowing where he was, or what would happen if he should wake alone in the hospital bed. She sat by him all night, and held his hand or stroked his forehead. Not only was she hungered, but exhausted as well.
Jim woke with a start, confused and dazed. He had forgotten where he was, it all came rushing back to him as he adjusted his wrangled body in the chair he'd slept in. His vision was blurred, and he rubbed at his eyes with a bawled up fist. He looked at Joey, asleep in his wheel chair and wished he'd wake up. A few minutes later a nurse, who came into the room, greeted Jim.
"There he is, we've been looking for him. He needs his meds."
The woman dressed in the white dress, with the funny hat, wheeled Joey out of the room. Jim watched as the door closed behind them, and listened as it creaked shut. He was then engulfed by a deafening silence. Tears began to fill his eyes as he sat alone and imagined his life with his parents. He missed them, even though he hadn't talked about them out loud with others. He often created a secret life in his head. A life where his mother and father still existed, one where all was as it once was. A life where his mother put her warm soft hands on his face, and his dad tossed him a baseball. He feared Randy would soon be joining his fantasy life, it gripped at him.
A few minutes later Jim found himself walking down the hallway, the smells of sickness and death hung in the air. Sadness filled his lonely voids, the holes in his life. He agonized over loosing his best friend. He found himself in Randy's room, Mary sitting by the bed. The tubes and hoses running into his best friend looked frightening. Jim watched Randy's chest, as it was rose and fell with the mechanical pumping of the ventilator. The steady whooshing noise of the air being pushed threw the tube into Randy's mouth and lungs, was necessary, but certainly not a calming sound. It came as rhythmic as the milk machine, and made Jim realize he had missed the safety of the farm.
He had been so caught up in the mundane things of his everyday life; he'd often forgotten how thankful he should be for Carol and Matt. As he looked at Randy's pale and sleeping body, he made a vow to himself. He vowed he'd never take another person for granted, he would cherish those he loved. Jim knew all to well how quickly someone could be gone, he decided right then that he would live his life to its fullest, and be grateful for everything he had. Jim wasn't going to forget his mom and dad; he just wasn't going to live in his fantasy anymore. Instead, he figured he'd relish in the memories and use them as lessons to go forward.
The first thing Jim decided to do was talk to Steve. He didn't like him as much as he thought he had, he saw Steve for what he was. He looked down at his best friend and smiled. `Randy, hurry up and get better. I need you in my life, and the ladies need you too'. Jim thought about the cows, and it dawned on him how important they had become in his life, almost as important as people. Then, he felt guilty that he hadn't included Randy's mom, he knew she needed him too.
"Oh Jimmy, the doctor says he's doing better."
"Has he woken at all?"
"Not yet, but he's stirred a few times."
"Have you been here all night?" Jim asked, knowing she had.
"Yes, and I'm so hungry, but I'm afraid to leave him here."
"I'll go see if I can find something for us to eat. I'm a little hungry myself."
"Thank you Jimmy, you're such a good boy."
Jim walked to the nurses' desk. He waited for the nurse he had met earlier, the one that brought Joey back to his room, to finish a phone call she was on. She was the only familiar face, and he was a little shy around new people. He was hoping the hospital had a cafeteria and more so that it would be open. Jim dreaded the idea of leaving the building, as long as he was in it, he felt a connection to Randy.
The nurse looked up as she hung the phone onto its cradle. She was sitting at a desk, behind a counter; it was flooded with papers and charts. The middle-aged woman was the only one at the station; two other chairs remained empty by her side. Before she greeted Jim, she quickly wrote something on a piece of paper in front of her and put it into a file box.
"Can I help you?"
"Is there a cafeteria?"
"Yes, but I have a couple extra trays I could bring you. I don't think the mother has eaten either," she offered.
"Thank you, that would be nice," Jim told her, then quickly asked, "What room is Joey in?"
"Well right now he's in 212, right over there." The nurse pointed across the hall, and a friendly smile crossed her face. "He's still sleeping, I'm sure when he wakes, he'll be in to see you. He's pretty sick too, you know?"
"Yes, he's going to be here a little while."
"I didn't know appendicitis was that serious. He's already been here a week hasn't he?"
"Yes, but it isn't just appendicitis, I'm afraid." The nurse's face suddenly saddened and she looked down once again at the papers strewn about the desk.
"What else, what else is wrong with him?" Jim pushed for the answers, and hoped she'd tell him.
"He has cancer."
Time froze again for Jim, he stood motionless before the Nurse, and that god-awful silence filled his mind. The same silence he'd felt when he was told his parents were killed, and the same one he felt when they took Randy in the ambulance, and again that very morning in the waiting room.
"Is he...is he...is he gonna die?" Jim asked, as he noticed the name tag pinned to the white uniform over her breast, it read Beatrice Holmsley, RN.
"I don't know, it's pretty serious. We hope not." Nurse Holmsley, a caring woman with the graying brown hair, and soft blue eyes, said with conviction and confidence.
Jim walked back to Randy's room; he was numbed to his senses and surroundings. His mind flashed back to the few days prior, back to when he'd finally thought he'd found his happiness. He pictured Steve, and wondered how he could have been so foolish as to think he loved him. Recollections of the past three years of his life played in his mind, and most centered on him and Randy.
As his mind drifted he thought about Joey, and became saddened. He'd seen that show on television, `Medical Center,' starring Chad Everett, as Doctor Joe Gannon, and saw more than one episode about cancer. In most of those shows the patients died, cancer was almost like a certain death sentence. But, he also remembered a few episodes where miracles happened, and Nurse Holmsley seemed sure of Joey's recovery. Jim quickly remembered Joey's bright smile, and vivacious character, all those times in the school-yard. `Nothing bad could happen to Little Joey,' he tried to convince himself.
Over the next few days, Randy remained unconscious. Mary stayed by her son's bedside, the entire time. Nurse Holmsley had befriended Jim, the two had many conversations as Mary sat by Randy and Joey slept. The nurse persuaded Mary into taking a shower in the bathroom in Randy's room, and asked Jim to bring Mary a fresh change of clothes. Jim was all too happy to help, and readily complied with the simple request.
Jim and Joey began to get closer, because they spent so much time together waiting for Randy to wake. It had gotten to be a routine. Jim would get up early in the morning; help Matty and Mr. Lapointe do the milking. Danny, one of Matt's brothers often joined them. He'd drive to school, blunder his way through the day, his mind always on Randy and Joe. Hence his grades began to suffer. Immediately after school he'd go right to the hospital, pick up Joey in room 212, and go to Randy's room. If Joey were asleep, he'd chat with Nurse Holmsley; then he'd go to Randy's room. Mary was always sitting right next to Randy when Jim arrived, usually holding his hand. No words would be exchanged, just glances or smiles, a nod of the head maybe. After a few moments of silence, Mary would offer up a synopsis of whatever the doctors or nurses had told her that day. Not one of them ever seemed to give up hope. After an hour or so of sitting with Mary and Randy, the two boys would either go back to Joey's room, or to the family waiting room.
Jim had continued his soul searching and had finally decided that he was going to tell Joey his most guarded secret. He was ready to tell him earlier, but had been interrupted. Jim had thought about it those few days, as he reevaluated his life. He knew deep down inside that by confessing his relationship with Steve, and his sexuality to Joey, it would free him. Free him from the guilt he felt. The one thing he couldn't seem to understand was where the guilt came from. It was the way he was, and why was it wrong? Why did so many people say it was bad? He rationalized with himself over those days in waiting that he was a good person, and had a good heart. So why should who he wanted to love make him a bad person? He also knew that Steve no longer fascinated him. He hadn't talked to Steve or Tom since the day Randy was admitted to the hospital. And now he was falling in love with Joey. The little boy he had rescued on the playground so many times from Tom's outlandish behavior.
Jim was happy that Joey was awake when he got there, he smiled at his little sick friend as he sat down in the chair next to the hospital bed. He took a deep breath, let it out, and looked directly into Little Joey's eyes.
"Hey Joey, I got something I want to tell you," he began.
"Oh Jim, is this that thing you were going to tell me the other day? `Cause if it is, you know I would never tell anyone anything you tell me," Joey interrupted.
"Yeah, I know Joey, I know." Jim took another deep breath, held it for a few seconds and slowly let it out.
"Must be pretty serious, Jim."
Jim nodded and began his story, "Joey, first of all let me tell you, I'm no different now than I was when I first met you and Randy."
"Gee whiz, Jim, I know that," Joey interrupted again.
"Well remember when you asked about Steve the other day and what he had to do with all this?"
"Ok, here's the thing..." Jim paused, closed his eyes and continued, "I thought I loved him."
"So, I love you and Randy. Hell, what's wrong with loving your friends? Although I got to be honest Jim, I don't care much for Steve. No sir, no sir-ee, never have, don't think I ever will. He's not like us Jim; he's a user. I'm sorry, but I've known him all my life. Massena is a small town." Joey babbled, then realized tears had formed in Jim's eyes, suddenly he felt horrible.
"It's not that kind of love Joey." Jim stated softly, his voice shaking.
"Oh, I see. So you mean you thought you loved him, like you thought you were in love with him?" A surprised look came upon his face, and he sat up straight in his bed, getting closer to Jim.
"Yeah," was all that Jim could mutter.
"Ok, so what does all this have to do with Randy getting gored by your uncle's bull?"
"Ok, here's the thing Joey. The night before, Uncle Matty had asked me to bring Charlie into the pen. I forgot. I was too excited about Steve sleeping over, and thinking about him. Oh Joey, I was so selfish." Jim broke down completely, tears streamed down his soft boyish cheeks.
Joey, pulled Jim's head into his lap, he stroked the back of Jim's head as he comforted him.
"Jim, it's ok, it's not your fault. We all forget, it was an accident, you can't blame yourself because the Jersey's are known for being ornery bulls, it's in their nature." Joey tried to ease Jim's suffering.
"No, Joey, I was supposed to bring the bull in. I forgot and now Randy is here and probably going to die. Everything I love seems to die. Then that morning I teased him about Monica, I know it bothered him `cause he's so shy. It is Joey, it's all my fault."
Joey thought for a few minutes, he just stroked the back of Jim's head as Jim cried into his lap. He was happy Jim had confessed his love of Steve to him, it meant he could admit his feelings now for Randy. He wasn't going to do that just now. Instead, he tried to think of ways to convince Jim it wasn't his fault that Randy had been hurt. Nothing seemed to come to his mind, nothing at all, so he sat there with Jim's head on his lap, silently.
Nurse Holmsley came charging into the room, "He's awake, he's awake, he's asking for you Jim."
To be continued:
Well there you have it, another chapter. If you liked what you just read and want to read more e-mail me at Justin69SK@aol.com
To a special reader, Happy Birthday. I hope it's a great one. Here's the present I promised for you.