Waking Up

“What are you doing here?” Jim asked, immediately realizing there was only one reason the director would be there to greet him at his bedside. Tara was dead.

“Jim, Tara’s dead. I’m sorry for that,” Frank said. “Your hands were your fault, however.”

“Jesus Frank! Don’t you have any compassion. The man is barely awake and you’re nearly attacking him,” said Jason.

“I don’t care how long he’s been awake for. I’m not attacking him, he attacked me, remember?” Turning back towards Jim, he continued, “You broke my nose asshole.” Frank had a bandage over his nose. Jim also noticed that Frank was self-conscious of his inability to speak clearly. Looking more closely, Jim could see the cause of the difficulty. Frank had to be careful when he spoke or else parts of his lips would unnaturally flap out into view. Jim’s capacity to fly into a rage would not be soon forgotten.

“What about my hands?” asked Jim, confused by both the gulf between Frank and Jason’s attitudes and the medication that was still in his system. He had been so distracted by the implications of Frank’s presence that he totally forgot what caused him to be in the hospital in the first place. Looking down, he saw, in place of his hands, two stumps that were wrapped in white gauze. He was amazed at how sharply the perpendicular lines that gave texture to the gauze stood out, and not surprised to see the classically blood-stained red ends. Then he threw up. Then he passed out.

Jason glared at Frank as two attractive nurses quickly cleaned up Jim’s mess and re-positioned his body. All the many medical monitors indicated Jim was fine, just fast asleep.

Over the year’s Jason had seen a resigned person or two. But he had never seen anything like the look on Frank’s face. Frank looked Jason in the eye one last time, as if to demonstrate he believed words were not useful or necessary, then he turned and walked away. Frank and Jim were never seen in the same room again. And all Jason could do was wait. So he waited.

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