Monday, November 20, 2006
Pain and Other Flavors of Angst
Lissa and Derek came back into the room and took in Adam and I laughing and they both seemed happier than when they left to go and check on Cassie. I hoped that meant that Cassie was doing well. I took a spoonful of the ice chips and they felt so heavenly to my parched mouth, it was hard not to dive right into the whole cup.
I held my hand out to Derek and he came and took it, and I held onto his gratefully. He had been the man in my life for so long and this was going to be hard for him. I took in his broad shoulders and military bearing and I felt so proud of this fine man who happened to be my son. I think he instinctively knew that none of the other men had been important to me, not even Jason. And except for Jason, he never even got to know too many of them. Jason was around for 2 years, and they would see a lot of one another on holiday visits and such. I think he liked Jason, but he was always reserved around him.
With Adam, he was picking up totally different vibes and it was confusing him. I think he has an idea that Adam isn’t going anywhere, and he is trying to decide where or if he should draw a line in the sand. He has been my ‘protector’ for 10 years now and has always taken the job pretty seriously. Right now it is kind of like he is standing in shifting sand and he isn’t sure which direction to go. He’s a smart young man and he will figure it out soon enough, but until then, I decided to try and let him know how much I appreciate him.
I took another spoonful of ice and felt its cold wetness in my mouth. It felt wonderful as I let it slide slowly down my throat. I was still thirsty, but it was getting better and I wasn’t feeling nauseous! I noticed it was dark outside and couldn’t remember if it had been light when I woke up.
“How is Cassie,” I asked, eager to hear about her.
“She’s much better since she knows you are awake now, mom, she has been worrying constantly about you. It was hard on her when you didn’t wake up right away; it was hard on all of us. But, she has a great doctor and she really likes him. His name is Doctor Gorman and she calls him Dr. Gorgeous. I think he’s in trouble...” Derek finished, laughing at his ‘Auntie Cassie’”
“Oh Dear!” I exclaimed. “At least she’s not letting it all get to her!” If I haven’t said it before, I admire Cassie’s spirit, I always have. She has the most positive outlook on life of anyone I know. I felt better and knew that she will get though this, probably better than I will get through mine, because if attitude has anything to do with it, she’s got me beat already.
I had only been awake for about an hour and I realized I was tired again, and I yawned, a huge jaw-popping yawn that I couldn’t hide. Lissa and Adam looked at each other and Lissa said, “Adam, why don’t I take you to moms house and we’ll sleep for awhile and get cleaned up before we come back. Mom, Derek wants to stay with you since he has to leave tomorrow.”
It’s amazing that they had it all worked out. Beforehand. “Okay, that works for me, but Derek, you could be staying in a nice bed instead of listening to me snore!” I joked.
Adam immediately said, “You don’t snore!” and both kids looked at him, then at me, eyes open wide.
What did they think, that he followed me here because we were just buds?
Derek squeezed my hand and told me, looking pointedly at Adam, that it didn’t matter whether I snored or not, he was NOT leaving!
Lissa came over to me and kissed me on my cheek. I know she really wanted to be able to hug me, but that was out of the question for awhile. “I love you Mom. Thank God you are okay! I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” She walked to the door and said, “Hey Derek, come out with me for a minute.”
Derek just stared at her, refusing to budge from my bedside. He looked down at me and then Adam and then back to Lissa who was standing there in the doorway, waiting for him.
“Anytime Derek,” she said, impatience creeping into her voice. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Derek is actually two years older than Lissa.
He knew he was outgunned here though and bent over and whispered in my ear,” I’ll be right back Mom!” and followed Lissa out the door. She promptly closed it behind them, leaving Adam and I alone for a few minutes at least. We hoped...
He perched carefully on the edge of my bed and softly caressed my face, running his thumb over my cheek and then my lips. His mouth followed suit, not in any way sexual, but a purely loving gesture that told me so much about how he felt.
“So, I’m going to be spending the night in your bed... without you I take it?” he teased me.
“Apparently so cowboy! Don’t get too rough and rowdy there. It’s only a poor queen-size bed, not those monstrous things we got used to!” I did my best to smile at him, but I was fighting the urge to yawn and I didn’t want to do that with him so close. He was looking at me with his chocolate brown eyes, huge and perhaps a bit teary. I saw him swallow quickly and his mouth opened for just a moment, then closed as he swallowed again.
“It’s only for a little while Adam, then I’ll be home,” I told him softly. I knew it was going to be hard for him there, being in my home without me. “Hey, on the bright side you can explore and find out all my secrets,” I teased.
He looked appalled. “I would never...” he started and then I interrupted him.
“Hold on, I was teasing, okay. But, please make yourself at home, feel comfortable there. I love the fact that you are there, with or without me.”
He nodded solemnly and leaned over to kiss me tenderly, slowly. His mouth started to open to say something, but Derek came back in then, so Adam just smiled and kissed me one more time briefly and said, “I’ll see you in the morning love, sleep well.” And then he was gone.
“Well Derek, it’s you and me, but I don’t think I’m very good company. How are you going to sleep here anyway?” I asked him. There was no other bed in the room.
He pointed to a chair he had been sitting in earlier. “It’s a recliner and it’s not too uncomfortable. I slept in it last night and it’ll be fine for tonight too.”
I looked at this wonderful young man that was standing before me, tall, neatly cut blond hair and a muscular build thanks to army life and physical training every morning. He was going to be a wonderful father someday and like many prospective grand parents, I could hardly wait!
I yawned again as the nurse came in to check me out. Now that I was awake they took that irritating automatic blood pressure cuff off of me and that was wonderful. I asked him if I had any limitations because of my ribs, for sleeping that is.
“I generally sleep on my stomach or my side,” I told him hopefully.
He laughed a bit and said, “You probably won’t want to for awhile! Even though your ribs aren’t broken, they are going to be tender. Try to take it easy moving around. If you can stand to sleep on your ribs, it’ll be fine. I’m going to give you the Toradol now and that should help some,” he promised.
I groaned at that, I hated sleeping on my back. “Alright, I’ll try it on my back. I don’t know how much I’ll move around though, I hate sleeping on my back and it always hurts me when I do.” I told him, not quite managing to hide the petulance in my voice. I watched him inserting the syringe of Toradol into the IV tubing and almost immediately I felt better. He started to add something else as well and I asked him what that was?
He just smiled and patted my arm. “That was some Compazine, in case you get nauseous from the Toradol. Doesn’t happen often, but just in case. How’s your pain now, are you doing okay? Do you need anything else right now?”
“No, I’m okay. Can I lay the bed back a little bit now, or is that a major production?” I asked, and I heard a cranky tone in my voice. Okay, I’m acting childish and I shouldn’t be taking it out on this nice young man, he doesn’t deserve it. “I’m sorry; I’m just tired I guess.”
“It’s okay, you’ve been through a lot. But you will be feeling better soon, I promise! And yes, you can move the bed however you like. Do you need some more ice chips?”
“I’d really like something to eat,” I told him. Hm, Adam must have rubbed off on me!
“Sorry, nothing by mouth until tomorrow, if you do well tonight that is. If you don’t need anything else, I’ll leave you now so you can get some sleep.” He looked over at Derek and said, “Do you know where the spare blankets and pillows are?”
At Derek’s nod, he turned and left then, leaving Derek and I alone. As much as I wanted to talk with my son, I was more tired. I pushed the button and laid the bed back some and hoped it would be comfortable enough for me to get some rest.
Derek came over and messed with my pillows and stuff, fussing over me, as I used to do for him when he was a little boy and sick. I asked him if he knew how to turn off the light that was directly over the bed and he did that, throwing the room into darkness except for the bathroom light which was on, casting shadows onto the floor. The door was closed and it was really pretty quiet. Derek held my hand and I heard him yawn too. I smiled in the darkness and wanted to be able to kiss him goodnight and tell him to sleep tight, just as I had when he was a kid.
I laughed suddenly then, remembering another time in his childhood.
“Mom, are you laughing?” he asked, not sure what that sound was I guess and I couldn’t tell if it was the darkness or my hoarse voice that confused him.
“Yes. I was just remembering when you were a little boy and I would tell you the sleep tight thing, and then I thought about the phase you went through of your dad and I having to check and double check the closet and under the bed and everywhere else for monsters! That went on for months and we thought you would never grow out of it.” I reached over to find his hand and squeezed it, then said, “You may be an adult now Derek, but to me you will always be that little boy. I love you as much now as I did then and I can’t imagine my life without you. You have been the man in my life for so long now, always taking responsibility when needed and taking care of me. Thank you so much for that Son.”
“But I’m not the man in your life any longer am I Mom?”
“No Derek, you’re the man in Pam’s life now, and you’re doing a wonderful job at it.” I answered him.
“What about Adam Mom? Do you really think he is the guy for you? I mean, the whole Mr. Hollywood thing, I just don’t know about all that.”
“Has he acted like Mr. Hollywood Derek?”
“No, not really, it’s just that, well, that’s who he is,” he finished and I could hear distrust in his voice and almost a tone of disrespect.
“No Derek, that’s not who he is.” I felt growing anger now. “After you have gotten to know him, then you can form an opinion about him, but for now you’ll just have to wait and see and maybe just trust me a little bit,” I said, my voice tight and irritated.
It was quiet for a few minutes while we both thought over our conversation. I was disappointed at Derek’s attitude, and yet he was doing what he always tried to do which is to protect me. What bothered me the most was that he seemed to have made the decision that Adam was bad, just because of who he is and that isn’t like something Derek usually does.
“Mom, I’m sorry. He just, I just... he was just so damned confident when he came in. I mean, here Lissa and I had been sitting here with you and here he came, acting like he had every right to be here.”
I smiled a bit. “Acting like a man who is worried silly about a woman he cares about maybe?”
“Yeah, but I mean, we didn’t know him from, well, Adam! Aunt Cassie had told us you met him, but she didn’t say that you guys were like, in love or anything.”
“Derek, I don’t know for sure about the ‘in love’ part, but we care about each other a lot. We hope very much to make this relationship work. And yes, we know it won’t be easy Derek. He knows about my past and as far as his life goes, we’ll just have to take it as it comes. I only know that I want this to work, very, very much son. And I would be happier knowing that you and Lissa are happy for me and will give Adam a chance. He is an astonishingly good man Derek, I promise you.” I yawned again in the dark and since yawns are always catching, I heard Derek following with one of his own.
“Pam is going to go crazy you know?” he said and I could tell he was smiling.
“Yeah, I know.” I thought about my lovely daughter-in-law with a grin. She loves Adams’ movies. “Have you told her yet?”
“No, I wanted to make sure he didn’t have the wrong room or something,” he told me and I heard a good-natured snicker in his voice. And another yawn.
“Derek, will you do something for me, and not be upset about it?” I asked him with an idea in mind.
“Okay. I bet it has something to do with Adam, huh?”
“Yes. Will you dial my phone number for me and then give me a few minutes alone to talk to Adam, please?”
“You got it. Mom, I’m sorry I’ve been kind of an ass about him, but I promise I’ll try to give him a chance, okay?”
“That’s all I can ask Derek. By the way, Adam would call it being a ‘prat’!” I heard him trying to punch in the phone number in the near-dark and when he had it, he handed the phone to me. “Thanks,” I told him as he was heading out the door.
The phone rang a couple of times and then Lissa answered it. “Hi sweetie. Is Adam still awake?”
“Um, I think so. I just heard him get out of the shower a couple of minutes ago. Mom, I like him, I really do. Have you talked with Derek?”
“Yes, we just did that and he said he’ll give Adam a chance. That’s all I can ask for. Lissa, thank you for helping Adam. It means a lot to me.”
“I know. I love you Mom and I’m so happy you are going to be fine. Adam is too. He was so scared when he got here.” She giggled a little bit then said, “When Auntie Cassie first told me about him, I could have died! I couldn’t imagine you with a movie star. You just have never liked anyone who wasn’t, I don’t know, maybe the word is genuine. But he really is so nice, you know? Of course you know, but I approve!”
I heard her knocking on the door and Adams muffled voice asking her what she needed. She told him I was on the phone and to pick up the extension in the bedroom and then I heard a ‘click’ as he did, then Lissa hanging up.
“Hi Bella,” he said, his voice warm and sexy. “I miss you.”
I smiled at his calling me Bella. I brought back wonderful memories and I imagined him then, in my room, in my house. “I miss you too. That’s why I’m calling. I keep picturing you there in my bedroom, lying in my bed. It makes me feel, I don’t know, like it will all be okay, you know?”
“Um hm, I do indeed. It will be better when you are here with me, but for now I am at least happy to be in your home. And are you aware you have a most erotic painting on your wall. It’s quite—stimulating!”
I laughed because he was looking at the Georgia O’Keeffe painting called Grey Line, otherwise known as the ‘Pussy Picture’ because it looks amazingly like the folds of a vagina. I adore it, the colors in it actually.
“Well, have fun ‘stimulating’ then. I can’t wait to see you in the morning,” I got out before another huge yawn sneaked out of my mouth.
Adam laughed and said, “Goodnight love. Until tomorrow, I hope you have sweet dreams!”
“Goodnight to you too Adam,” I told him and tried to find the phone cradle in the dark. I finally felt the phone fit in it properly and sighed. I love it when he calls me ‘Bella’. It reminds me of our trip. I hope I dream about that I thought before drifting off to sleep.