Saturday, May 1, 2010
just when you thought you'd seen everything
Ellie felt her chest tighten. She thought she might lose it, in traffic just getting Lon to the emergency room. Actually, she'd almost ran her car out in front of another car. It was as if everything had gone crazy, and she had to keep it together. She was so thankful just to be at the emergency room with him.
She'd never seen him this way. Her shoulder still hurt where Charlie had bit her. She should have known it was going to be a freaky day.
It started with the boy in the yellow sneakers out on the sidewalk by their house. She'd never seen him around. But of course, it had been winter and everyone stayed in. Now that spring was pleasantly warm, the kids were coming outside which meant....Charlie saw them outside too, and he wanted to go out. She couldn't let him on his own. She'd gone out with him to show him the plants out in the front yard, and to keep him away from the street.
She looked up and saw the ten year old in his were wolf outfit. It was a hideous Halloween costume. She tried to pay him no mind. She was talking to Charlie, nonstop. Until someone jumped her with a roar and tackled her on the ground.
Naturally, she was stunned and yelled, "Get off me!" Was she awful to say such a thing to a child, she now wondered as she stood there in the emergency room looking at Lon who was squinting hard in some sort of spasms as if he might be in labor.
"I have to - tell you something." He barely got out.
"Its OK, it was only a bite." She didn't know what else she could say. Possibly, Charlie wanted to be a wolf now. Hopefully, it was a one time thing.
"No." Lon went to reach for her hand, but she wasn't close enough. "Come here." Another spasm came. Ellie winced back, sad and wishing she could do something for him. But she watched them get him down on a bed. The nurses took over and put an I-V in place for some pain meds.
"All right, what is it?" She wasn't sure if he was making this up or living a nightmane. She believed he was in pain. The way he breathed. His inflamed skin. He didn't look like himself at all. She gripped his hand, wishing she could have said something kinder, but her shoulder was pulsing in its own pain.
"I didn't mean to lie to you." There was no voice to his words.
"What?" Ellie squinted.
"I didn't know. I swear I didn't." He shook his head, squinting harder as if the pain needed to pass, but it wouldn't.
"It's OK. Really. Whatever it is, its OK." She promised him.
"No, it isn't." He shook his head. "I know your cousin."
Ellie didn't get it. This was odd, that he said that.
"The one we saw a picture of, at your grandparents..." He was whispering, but not to be quiet, just because that was about all he could get out of his mouth.
"OK." She nodded. Not knowing who he meant.
"I'm pretty sure she knows me." He nodded. "I wish I knew for sure. There's something I need to know. And I don't know if-if you could do this for me. Call her. Ask her if she knows me. Will you, do that? I really, really, need to know. Please!"
She watched him cry then. He took a deep breath. He closed his eyes. He was getting tired. Sleepy. She watched him fall asleep slowly. His teeth still clenched in pain.
Ellie looked at him sadly. She hoped he was just having a nightmare. She didn't even know this cousin of hers. What would she even say to her? It wasn't like her mother ever told her she had a cousin. What was it that he needed to know, anyway?