The Rest of the Story

September 16, 2009 by Rieshy

  Last Good Friday Jack and I found ourselves in the E.R., not with an emergency, but because Jack had gotten ill and his on-call pediatrician wanted him seen immediately to rule out pneumonia.  Off to the E.R. we had to go.

Waiting in the E.R. is boring.  Most of the time when I take Jack we don't have to wait.  A small sort of blessing; Jack's metabolic condition gives him a through pass when he is in crisis.  This particular visit the waiting room was empty save us and two boys, one who looked to be 17 and what appeared to be his 12  year old brother.  They caught my attention not only because they were there without any parents but because the 17 year old looked so incredibly sick to his stomach.  I sat Jack as far away as possible.

Boredom may have made me nosey, or maybe I am just nosey to start with, but I kept an eye on the boys since their parents weren't there.  I half expected the older boy to pass out.  He looked so much like my oldest son that I found it especially painful to watch him looking so miserable.  The younger brother radiated nervous energy and though vibrating, he kept to his seat. 

After about 20 minutes a large man, an older version of the two boys I was watching, entered.  He was that kind of man I'm used to seeing in TX.  The clean-cut, quiet version of country.  The kind that could run a ranch in his spare time while also being the principal at the local high school.  He looked muscular and tough and grim.  The waiting room was small,  there was no way I could avoid hearing what passed next.

The man went and sat in front of the older boy, their knees touching.  The older boy became even more still and didn't look up. 


"Son, first I want you to know that it is serious, but your brother is going to be fine."  Here the man paused then said gently, "Look at me." The boy looked up at his father.  

"I want you to know that it wasn't your fault,"  at this the boy seemed to start breathing for the first time in the long evening.  

The man continued, "I'm sorry if I appeared angry, I was really worried about getting here fast enough but I was not angry with you.  These kind of things just happen."  


At this point I remember them hugging. I know the older boys face was transformed with relief- but in retrospect,  if they were like the men I knew in TX, the hugging is just an embellishment of my imagination.  They probably just slapped each other on the arms. 

The three of them left to go see the injured brother and Jack and I left to have Jack's chest x-rayed.  That was the last time I saw them. It reminded me of listening to Paul Harvey as a child with my mother, and having to get out of the car before the end of his radio show.  What was the Rest Of The Story?  

I thought about how my face often looks grim when I'm worried and how my own children sometimes misinterpret that.  I mostly thought what a great dad this man appeared to be; he showed his love through eye contact, physical contact, and loving words.  That's what everyone waiting in any E.R. needs.

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