Out there waiting for you: Part 3; Not Alone.
“It’s often just enough to be with someone. I don’t need to touch them. Not even talk. A feeling passes between you both. You’re not alone.”
He had tried to get there, but things just didn’t work out.
He had never been late, let alone not turn up.
Would she understand?
Would she be upset?
Of course, she would.
He was starting to panic, just a bit.
She hadn’t rung him. She never rang him even though she had his number. It was part of the way she was, and he loved her for it.
She was determined to give him space and did not want to be seen as ‘chasing him’. If he wanted her, he wanted her, and she was not going to resort to ‘feminine wiles’ to reel him in.
She wanted him to come to her, because he wanted to, not because he was tricked into it.
She had something to tell him: would he think that was a deception? Would he believe her? Would he be happy, or would her news drive him away?
He looked up, and it was 4 o’clock; probably in the afternoon.
But 4 o’clock, in the afternoon on which day?
He had no idea how long he had been lying there.
He thought about getting up when he remembered being a kid running out the front door on a rainy day. He slipped on the top step and flew through the air and landed on the concrete driveway, flat on his back. He knew he should be in pain, and he waited for it to arrive.
He lay there, but nothing happened.
The pain never came.
Maybe he was paralysed, and that was why the pain was absent? Wiggling toes seemed like a good idea.
They wiggled; that was a good sign.
He wiggled his fingers.
They wiggled; that was a good sign.
He sat up, then stood up and amazingly nothing hurt.
How was that possible? He had fallen at least a metre, and at full speed, he should have broken something at the very least.
Maybe this was like that.
Could he be that lucky twice in one lifetime?
He noticed that his back hurt and as he tried to move it hurt a LOT more, and so did his right arm and his right leg, and three fingers on his right hand but that was nothing compared to the galactic sized headache that seemed to be coming from somewhere inside a fog.
The fog cleared a bit, and it now became evident that he was in a lot of pain and some sort of hospital. It was probably the kind of hospital that they take people to when they come in violent contact with something large.
The galactic sized headache expanded by the second.
Thinking hurt; more so than usual.
His throbbing brain returned to the problem at hand.
How was she going to react to him not showing up?
It was Thursday again, and she could not remember a week that had taken so long.
It had been difficult not to ring him and almost impossible not to think about why he had not turned up last Thursday.
All of that did not matter anymore as her goal now was to be in that park and see him waiting for her.
It was hard to prepare herself as her fingers seemed incapable of dealing with buttons and she had to redo her lipstick because drawing anything approaching a straight line seemed impossible.
She approached the park and tried to look calm, but she didn’t feel like she was doing an excellent job of it.
She walked up the white stone gravel path and past the stone wall to their usual bench.
He wasn’t there.
It was not yet time to panic. There could be a hundred reasons why he was late.
She held on tightly to the small photograph that she had in her pocket.
It was part of what she had to tell him.
It was part of the surprise.
Talking to people and getting them to do something and think that it was their idea was part of his job, and he was superb at it. But his skills were useless in the face of how bad he looked.
He pleaded with the nurse to let him out.
She was sympathetic, especially after he told her why he needed to leave. It was up to the doctor to sign him out, and the doctor was having none of it.
Maybe the doctor was having a bad day, and maybe he was worried about the consequences of releasing this obviously injured man. Whatever the reason, it didn’t matter because he was not going to budge.
By this time the young man had worked out that it was Thursday, and not the one he was trying to remember, but the next Thursday.
He had been out of it for a long time.
He had two hours to work out how to get out of the hospital and make it to the park.
Where was the park from here?
Where was here?
Even if he did get out he didn’t have any clothes; his were in shreds.
After the doctor had left the ward his nurse came back with a mysterious bundle.
She placed the bundle on the end of the bed and drew the curtains.
The nurse whispered to him that if he was going to make it in time, he needed to dress quickly. She gave him her phone which had directions on how to get to the park and a twenty dollar bill to pay for the taxi that was waiting at the rear entrance.
He kissed her, and his face hurt.
He thought about asking her where she had gotten the clothes, but he thought better of it; he really didn’t want to know.
The taxi pulled up at the main entrance to the park.
The young man gave the cabbie the twenty and told him to keep the change. The cabby refused. “You look like you need it more than I do, mate. Good luck.”
To say that he walked up the path would be an exaggeration. What he was doing was something like walking but probably looked more like Boris Karloff rehearsing for a role in a Frankenstein movie.
He could see her sitting on the bench.
She hadn’t noticed him yet, and he hoped that his mangled appearance would not frighten her.
He would have a hell of a story to tell her if only he could remember what had happened.
The young woman had only been there a little while but long enough for her nerves to settle down, just a bit.
She smiled at the old lady on the bench down the path and turned to look once more at the main gate.
Someone, who looked a bit like her young man was painfully making his way down the path.
She didn’t recognise his clothes and he was hunched over.
As he got a little closer, she knew it was him.
She wanted to be calm, but she just could not help herself.
She rushed to him and threw her arms around him.
He gave out a small cry of pain, muted by the joy of seeing her again.
They didn’t speak, words would come later, for now, they just held each other.
Lena couldn’t help smiling.
She wondered what Michael would have said.
The young couple were back together.
Whatever had happened last week didn’t seem to matter.
She had her happy ending, at least for now. The future would look after itself as it always did.
Tonight she did not mind returning to her home alone because the warmth of what she had just seen would last her the whole night through.
In case you are wondering how we got here………..