The Long Road
I stared into dad's eyes, looking for a sign, any sign, that it was all just a joke. A joke, or a mistake. Anything but the truth. My arm? How could I have lost my arm? My mouth hung open and I just shook my head. Part of me wanted to let go of Cole and touch my right side, to make sure for myself, but I just couldn't. I was afraid to. Dad hugged me again, and I tried to pat his back when I realised I couldn't. I was already holding Cole, and there wasn't room for more than one anymore. For a couple of seconds I felt close to panic, and I had to fight in order to keep from hyperventilating. My arm! It was all so unfair. Me, a cripple? I was just fifteen, for god's sake! Why should my life be ruined already? There was so much I still had left to do. So much I wanted to do. But now...? I was on the verge of tears, almost choked up with self-pity, when another thought entered my mind. One I had to voice immediately.
"Does... does Lissie know?"
"Yes, she does." Mom's voice sounded hoarse, as if she'd been crying for a long time. She probably had, I realised. "She saw you back at... back where it happened. Geoff, she blames herself."
"You pushed her out of the way, that's when you got hit by the car," Cole sobbed. "You got hurt when you saved her life, Geoff."
"That's why she hasn't been by much," dad said. "It's very stressful for her. She's been so afraid you'll be mad at her when you wake up."
"But I'm not!" I leaned up from the bed, but the pain in my chest forced me to lie back down again. "It wasn't her fault, dad, you've got to bring her next time! If anybody's to blame it's that fucking drunk driver."
"She's dead, Geoff."
"Huh?" I stared at John as if he'd spoken a different language. "Who is?"
"The driver. The car exploded just after we got you away from it. The girl who was driving got killed, and so did her boyfriend riding shotgun. And they weren't drunk either, they were stoned out of their skulls. The police..."
"That's enough, John," dad said, hushing him with a wave of his hand. "All in due time. Son, how do you feel?"
"All right, I guess." I shook my head. "I guess I'm still in a bit of a shock. I don't really feel anything, except that I need to see Lissie."
That was only a half-truth, but it seemed to satisfy everyone except Sean, who was still silent with that heartbreaking sadness painted all across his face. I did feel. A lot of emotions warred inside me. Anger over being hurt. Relief that everyone else was okay. Despair because I had been crippled. Jealousy because everyone else was okay. Fear that I'd be good for nothing from now on. Nothing of it showed on the outside, though. I wanted it to. I wanted to cry, to shout and to curse the world for being so cruelly unfair to me, but I couldn't. I split up into two beings; one inner me who was close to being destroyed and one outer me, who tried his best to be civil. Sean was the only one who showed that he could see through it all, even though I think dad felt it, too. I kept up the small talk for a while, but soon cold shivers started running down my spine, and I broke into a sweat. The nurse returned, and told everybody that I needed to rest. I objected, but the inner me was glad to have the respite. I really did need to rest. Dad pried Cole away from my neck and carried him out of there, while the rest of them followed. John was the last to leave. He walked up to me and hugged me tightly, whispering in my ear.
"Give me a call if you need to talk. Any time at all." He broke the hug, then tousled my hair and smiled. "I'll see you tomorrow."
Then he was gone, too, and I was alone with the nurse. She put a thermometer in my mouth, then pulled off my bed cover. To my horror, she pulled down my underpants, but she waved off any objection.
"This has to be done, Mr Dalton, don't be a fuss. It'll just hurt for a tiny little second."
"What'll hurt?" I asked, but the last syllable dragged out into a wordless yell as she seemed to rip something off. Something that's dead close to vital when you're a teenage boy. "Aah! What the hell did you do!?"
"Just removed your catheter, Mr Dalton." I writhed in pain, but she merely smiled. "You might be a little sore the next time you pee, but the sooner the better. I'll leave you a bedpan, just call me if you need to have it emptied."
"Thanks," I replied automatically, although I'm pretty sure I would have cursed her ears off if I hadn't been so numb from the shock. "I think I'll need it pretty soon."
"Just press the button when you're done. And try not to have an erection for the next couple of hours."
She had to mention the e-word! Nothing so firmly ensures a hard-on as trying not to get one. Within five minutes after she left I was hard as a rock, and almost dizzy with pain. It felt like I had been peeing liquid fire, or acid. I tried rubbing it, thinking that a release might help it get back to its flaccid state, but just touching it worsened the pain. To add to my discomfort, I started to feel that I desperately needed that release. I still had no idea how much time had passed since the accident, but I felt the pressure inside. If I could ever get off again, it would be like a fire hose. Gritting my teeth, I tried to do as I normally did, but to my frustration nothing happened. I had never masturbated with my left hand before, and it seemed to know nothing about which spots gave the pleasure. I was close to tears. Would even this be denied me? In the end I grabbed a handful of tissues and stuffed them inside my boxers, then humped up against the bed cover. Needless to say, it didn't work, and I cried for a couple of minutes before I managed to calm down enough to go to sleep. I did remember to get rid of the tissues, though.
It couldn't have been more than a couple of hours before I woke up again. I felt a little better, and my erection had gone down, leaving in its wake an urgent nature's call. Gasping with pain, I filled up the bedpan, then called for the nurse to take it away. She did, then returned to unplug me from a couple of the machines I had been wired to. I never knew what they were for, and I was afraid to ask. She gave me a glass of lemonade, and fluffed up my pillows, but as she turned to leave, I stopped her.
"I... I'm not really sure I want to know this, but..." I hesitated. "Why does my chest hurt so? Is my heart okay?"
"You have a couple of broken ribs, Mr Dalton, one of which scraped against your left lung, but your heart is fine. Young and strong."
"Great. You see, my grandpa... well, he died of a heart attack, and..."
"No need to worry about that." She patted my head amicably. "You just get some sleep and you'll be just fine."
Just fine... I barely had time to wait until she had closed the door behind her, before the floodworks started. I'd never be `just fine', ever again! I was so right-handed I couldn't even jerk off with my left, how the hell would I get through everyday life? School work? Washing myself? Hell, even reading a magazine would be a challenge! I cried for a long time, releasing the self pity I had stored inside while there were people around. There was no way this could work, no way at all. I pictured myself as some old wreck in a hospital bed, never even able to take a walk in the park. For a while, I saw no hope of ever leaving the hospital, of ever getting something akin to a life. I must have fallen asleep some time during my cry, because the next thing I remember is waking up again, stirred from my fitful sleep by something stirring on the bed next to me. When I opened my eyes, it was to both the best and the worst sight imaginable. Lissie sat next to me, but she had a haunted look to her, as if she'd never be happy again. My heart melted at the sight, and I just hugged her to me, whispering into her ear.
"Oh god, Lissie, it's so good to see you. I got so scared back there, I thought you were gonna get hurt."
She said nothing, but started crying into my shoulder just like Cole had done before. Dad was sitting next to her, and he patted my knee when our eyes met. We let her cry for a while, and when she seemed to have cried herself out, I took her hand.
"Thanks for coming, little flower. I've missed you."
"I missed you too, Geoff. Oh Geoff, I'm so..."
"Sssch, it's okay, Lissie, it wasn't your fault. Okay? It was an accident." No, it wasn't! the inner me wanted to scream. It was attempted bloody murder! I calmed the inside voice down, but not without effort. "I'm all right now, and I'm so happy to see you."
"But Geoff, if I had been faster... Or if you'd got out of the way instead..."
"Then I wouldn't have a sister anymore! Lissie, you know I love you, how do you think I'd feel if I'd woken up and they'd told me I didn't have a sister anymore?"
"I-I don't know, I guess that..."
"...would've been way worse. Give me a hug, okay?"
She smiled. It was a shy, hesitant smile, but it was still a smile. Then she was back around my neck, and we were both crying. Soon, just like Cole had, she fell asleep, as exhausted with emotion as I was. Tired as I was, I still had a smile left for dad. He leaned down to kiss my forehead, then picked Lissie up. With a gesture saying that he'd be right back, he carried her out of the room. I lay back down, wiping the tears from my eyes. I had half a mind to get back to sleep, but dad was back before I could even close my eyelids. He sat down again and took my hand, squeezing it tight.
"Your mother's taking care of her now. Son, how are you feeling? The nurse said you have been crying."
"Yeah, well..." Suddenly, I felt embarrassed over myself. Bawling like a baby over something that was out of my control. "I guess I just needed that. It feels better now."
"Geoff, it's okay to cry. You're going through a difficult time. But don't you think it's better to cry when someone's with you?"
"No way." I laughed. "Dad, I can't do that, they'd think I'm such a pussy."
"I can promise you nobody will think that. Not one single person. You're a hero, you know."
"No, really! Ask Charlie about it, he's right outside, waiting to get to see you."
"Charlie's here? They said he broke his leg..."
"He's in a wheelchair, just like Sean, but that didn't stop him. He's been up here plenty of times before you woke up, but when we were here before, he was under the knife."
"Don't worry, they're just patching him up. I'll let him tell you about it."
"Are you leaving already?"
"Baby, Lissie and I have been here for over two hours. We didn't want to wake you up. I'm gonna take them home now, but I'll be back in the morning."
"Okay." He started to get up, but I grabbed his arm. "Wait! Isn't mom gonna say hello?"
"She's with Lissie now, and..."
"Dad, can't you take Lissie for a little while? I really wanna see her. Please?"
"Geoff, I'm sorry, but..." He looked me straight in the eyes, and there was something in that gaze that really scared me. "It's not very easy to explain."
"She doesn't wanna see me?"
"It's not like that, Geoff. All this has been hard on her, and she's... well, she's not coping very well with it."
"But she was here before, when I woke up! Why can't I see her?"
"Geoff, calm down." I was on my way out of bed, but he pushed me back down. "You need to stay still, son, your ribs are still not healed, and you've had a massive concussion."
"I'll calm down all right!" I shouted. "Tell me what's wrong!"
"Will you please lie still if I do?"
"I promise." He had a haunted look to him that sent shivers down my spine. "Dad, what is wrong?"
"Well, it's not an easy thing to tell you, and now is certainly not the best of times. Your mother doesn't live with us anymore, Geoff. She and Lissie are staying with your grandparents for the time being." I felt my head spin, and suddenly I had to gasp for air like a stranded fish. Before everything turned black, all I heard were dad's next words. "We're getting a divorce, Geoff."
Well, here's chapter two. Took me a while, but it has been a difficult story to write, even though it is all fiction. Like always, I'd be ever so happy to hear what you think about the story. Remember, feedback is an amateur's only payment. Feel free to mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org