(If you missed part one of this fiction series and want to get caught up, click here.)
(If you missed part two of this fiction series and want to get caught up, click here)
(If you missed part three of this fiction series, click here.)
That night, as Adelaide lay in her bed watching The Big Bang Theory on television, she couldn’t help but wonder if Michael might be watching as well. The thought was comforting in a way; knowing that each time she chuckled or guffawed at Sheldon’s antics, Raj’s inability to talk to a woman without alcohol, or Wallowitz having a conversation with his mother through the bathroom door, that maybe Michael was laughing, too. Felicia had never liked the show and had never failed to deride her mother for enjoying it, which took some of the fun away from the experience.
The next morning, when she opened her eyes, Addie found herself looking forward to taking a walk to the solarium. The prospect of having an enjoyable conversation with Michael was appealing. She hurriedly ate her breakfast, then brushed her hair and applied a touch of lipstick from the overnight bag that Felicia had left for her. She was grateful that she had always kept an extra hairbrush and a few cosmetics in that bag, so that if she decided to go visit her sister in the next county, she wouldn’t forget to bring those necessities along.
The face looking at her from the mirror was a bit wrinkled but at least did have some color thanks to the afternoons she spent walking in the park across the street from her home in search of a little fresh air and some respite from Felicia’s constant laments regarding her situation, which Addie was beginning to feel her daughter may have brought upon herself. “It’s not a face that will win any prizes, but it isn’t bad for an old broad,” Addie thought to herself.
“Well, aren’t we just gussied up this morning,” observed Karen when she came to check Adelaide’s vitals. The lipstick, carefully brushed hair, and clean nightie were not lost on the nurse. “Are we ready for a little exercise again today?”
“Oh, am I going to the solarium again today,” blushed Addie, feigning nonchalance. Karen was not fooled, however. She had noticed the two heart patients chatting amiably the previous afternoon.
“It’s essential that you work on getting your strength back. That means you have to get out of that bed, walk some, and sit up in a real chair for a while each day,” answered Karen. “We need you to be up and out of here in a reasonable amount of time.”
Adelaide once again made the trek to the Solarium, wheeling her IV pole alongside her. She took a seat, disappointed that her new friend Michael wasn’t there. Her concerns were forgotten in a few minutes, when the gentleman with the frayed navy bathrobe parked has IV pole next to hers and parked himself in the adjacent chair.
For the next two days, the recovering heart surgery patients spent their mornings and afternoons together.
There was much pleasure to be found in discovering their common experiences and preferences. Both were fans of Taber’s Takeout on the shores of Lake Auburn; both were disappointed in the Red Sox team’s lackluster performance during the past month; and both wondered if there would be an NBA season this year, regardless of the fact that they would cheer for opposing teams.
On the third day, Adelaide made the trip to the solarium without her IV. Giddy with the sense of freedom, she looked forward to telling Michael of her progress. Though she waited for an hour, he failed to appear with the smiling face and twinkling eyes she’d so enjoyed. Finally, she picked up the phone and waited for a response from the nurses’ station.
“May I help you,” asked the duty nurse.
“Yes. Could you ring Michael Chandler’s room, please,” requested Addie.
“One moment.” The empty sound of a telephone on hold followed the click she heard. After another moment, another click, and the charge nurse said, “I’m sorry, but Mr. Chandler was discharged after dinner last night.” Adelaide, stunned by the unexpected news, sat motionless.
(to be continued)