Words Are Powerful, They Are Magic Pt10
An angel was calling me. She was just past the fog. I had an irresistible urge to go find the angel. It sounded like my Renee. I ran to her and just before I reached the end of the fog, where she would have been, I woke up. I found myself looking into the brown eyes of nurse. It was not Renee at all. I couldn’t help it. I was so bereft, so crushed by the fact that it was not my Renee, I burst into tears.
“It’s Ok Mr. Bittner. It is quite common to cry when you come out of anesthesia. You are going to be just fine sir.”
Anesthesia? I had an operation? Where was I? I guess I said the last aloud as the nurse informed that I was Regional Medical Hospital and I just had an operation. An operation? I vaguely remembered lying in a field staring at stars and hearing cows mooing behind me. It was too much for me and I closed my eyes. Maybe I could find Renee
I spent the next couple of weeks in and out of consciousness. I had been moved from Regional to the local Vets Hospital and it was there I finally came to. It took awhile before anyone noticed that I was awake, but when they did, my room was a flurry of activity. I had nurses and doctors, checking my heart, blood pressure and asking me to follow the pen with my eyes. Did I feel that? How about this? I tried to answer but could not. The doctors and nurses finally calmed down and one of them removed the breathing tube. After a couple of sips of water, I was able to croak out a feeble “Hi.”
The group all smiled at me as if I had just gave an Emmy winning performance, wrote stuff on their clipboards and left. All but one, an older woman who introduced herself as Shirley. Shirley was the one who filled me in. I guess I had been in a coma for while. Couple of months. That is why they were happy to see me awake. I could not really talk, my throat was incredibly raw and sore, but Shirley seemed to answer most of my questions. I had been in an accident. I was the only one who survived because I was thrown from the bus. I had broken my pelvis and a couple of vertebrae had been crushed. They had done several operations to repair them all and I had been healing nicely. I should be able to walk. My son will be happy to see me awake,
She said all this while giving me a new pillow, and checking my IVs. I vaguely remembered an accident, a bus on fire, but my head hurt too much to think on it. When she mentioned my son, I wanted to ask when he was coming. My son. I could not remember when I saw my son last. Did he still look like my wife? Where was Renee? I wanted to ask but I could only say, “Where”. The nurse smiled at me and then told it was time for me to sleep now. She injected something into my IV.
The next time I woke, there was sunshine coming through a window that framed a silhouette of a man.
I cleared my throat, it was so sore! “Hi” I managed to say.
The man turned quickly and came to where I lay. It was my son. It was Richard, Jr. He still looked like my Renee, especially the eyes. They were the same color, the same shape, I had to look away. He had the beginnings of a beard, wanted it to be thicker already to hide the shape of his mouth, which was the same as his mothers. I cleared my throat. Richard reacted by grabbing a cup of ice chips. He spooned a small amount into my mouth. The ice slid down and soothed my throat. A few more spoonfuls and I was able to talk,
“Hello son. How long have you been here?”
“Today, about 15 minutes. But I come every day for months. “
I had not remembered his voice before. It was a deep rich voice. A voice with authority but soothing as well.
“How are you doing? I asked him. I had so many questions. How was the wife? How were the grandchildren doing? How was work? Was he happy? So many questions but the only thing I could come up with was, “How are you doing?”
He gave a half smile. “I am ok father. You, not so much dad. Do you remember much of what happened?”
I thought back. I remembered a bus, a hooker, and a cow licking my face. That was pretty much it. I shook my head, no, no I did not remember. Richard, Jr. sat there, fed me ice chips, and filled me in.
He told me about the bus crash. How the bus driver rammed into a semi truck going full speed. I was thrown clear. He wanted to know why I was on the bus. I told him to get away for a while, after the fiasco at the apartment with the reporters. He seemed to understand that. He asked where I was going. I couldn’t answer. I did not remember WHERE I was going.
He continued on. He told me that I was pretty much on the verge of alcohol poisoning which delayed treatment. When they were able to sober me up a bit I had gone through a series of operations to put me back together again. They added a plate to my pelvis, fixed a couple of vertebrae. Had to build a partial jaw for me as that was broken, but instead of healing properly, I had developed an infection. They removed the bad piece and rebuilt it. Well, that explained why my face hurt so much.
He told me that I had been in the general hospital for over two months and then when stabilized, was moved here to the Vet’s hospital where I have been for almost three months. In a coma. That he had been visiting every day. Hoping that I would come to. And now I had. He was happy. He told me the docs said how much longer I stayed depended on how fast I was able to regain my strength. He finally left me as I drifted to sleep. I was unable to stay up.
My son came back every day, at first at my bedside, and then as I got stronger he would take me outside in a wheelchair where we could talk in the sunshine. Eventually we would walk around the little park like area. As we walked, I would tell him stories. I would tell him stories of just about anything but I avoided talking about his mom. I wasn’t ready for that. I knew it was coming though. And one day he did ask.
We were sitting on one of the benches that were not benches. They had no back to lean against so to me they were actually low tables. There we sat when he asked me about his childhood and his mom. I was silent for a long time and I could feel him getting tense next to me. Finally, I decided to man up. I swallowed, took a deep breath and said
“I loved your mother very much. I miss her very much. It is hard to talk about her because I miss her so much. You look just like her by the way.”
That did it the flood gates opened and I told him everything. How I met her on her wedding trip and how I married her instead. How she died the night he was born. How I blamed myself. I then told him about the words, the power, and the magic of them. He did not laugh and I told him about all of it. I told him about Blendy I told him about the POW camp, his mother, the bus. All of it. Everything.
When I was done, I looked at him. He said nothing for a long time. He just sat there and I could see him processing everything. Finally, he said it was time to get me back in. That I was looking tired. He was right I was tired. Not my body, but my brain, my heart was tired. I was a bit disappointed that none of that confession was the cathartic that everyone said it was. You know the old confession is good for the soul shtick. Did not seem to be so to me. I was just tired. Exhausted.
I let Jr. help me back to my room. The closer we got the more tired I became. He helped me take of my slippers and tucked me into the bed. He leaned down, kissed me on the forehead, and started to leave. When he reached the door, he stopped and turned.
“You know dad, you know none of the things that happened were your fault. It was just circumstance, providence. I am an editor. I read, write, and deal with words all the time and nothing bad has happened. You are right, words do have power, and they are magic. But writing a sentence does not make it become so. What kind of world would it be were words changed everything? Where just writing something gave it magic? We would all be rich!”
I looked at him and shook my head. “No son, you do not understand. You do not seem to get it. Words can change. Maybe not for everyone, maybe it is only those who understand. But son, Words are powerful, they are magic.”
“Ok, father, as you wish. Words are powerful father. They are magic. Rest now and I will come back.”
I closed my eyes and admonished him one more time as I fell asleep, “Words are powerful, they are magic.”