Chapter 11 The Dreamers
Gus and Mary had been waiting for me to come home. “Any word at the hospital,” they inquire?”
“No, they’re still in surgery,” I replied. “The Nurse told Red it would be many hours before they knew anything. Maybe 3-5 hours. There was swelling on the brain and many fractures to deal with.” I sat down on the sofa and put my head into my hands.
“Bill, you know it wasn’t your fault, don’t you,” said Mary? “You never intended to hit that ball toward him. You know most of the time you hitters have not idea where your hits are really going. Most of the time when you try and hit a ball a certain way you end up not doing it. You know that.”
“I know,” I replied. “It just makes no sense. Why me? Why now? I just hope he is all right.”
“It is up to the doctors and God, right now,” added Gus. “There is nothing any of us can do at this point, accept pray Dr. Martin can be of some help to the boy.”
“I think I’ll try and get some rest,” I state rising off the sofa and heading down the all to Bob’s room. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
“I’ll wake you around 7:30am so we can have a good breakfast before going to the ballpark for our day game,” said Gus. “I think it might even be good if we got up earlier and went to early Church, if you would like.”
I stopped as I heard Gus say the word-Church. I turned around as saw Gus and Mary in the living room next to each other.
“I think that would be a good idea,” I respond. “We should do that. Good night.”
I turn and head into Bob’s room hoping for any kind of sleep. If only it would come. I lay down on the bed with my clothes on looking up at the ceiling. I closed my eyes. The next thing I hear is a tapping on the bedroom door. I look over at my alarm clock, it is 6:45am. Did I sleep all night? How impossible could that be? I rise up and get my bearings, grab my suit and clean under cloths and head to the bathroom to take a shower and get ready for church.
Gus was sitting on the sofa leaning forward with his elbows on his knees, hands clasped, starring at the coffee table.
“Bill, I don’t quite know what to say,” Gus began. “Accidents like this don’t happen very often. I think we forget just how dangerous this game can be. Thrown balls traveling over 90 miles an hour. Batted balls traveling over 110. It is really a miracle that there are not more injuries than there are. Don’t ask me how, but I think this happed for a reason. I can only hope the Curtain kid will be alright. I know it looked serious last night. The fact that we still have not heard anything is troublesome. We just need to go to church and ask God to place his hand on this situation a hope is will is that for Curtain to be alright.”
“Gus, if God wanted to look after Curtain don’t you think he waited a little too long, like maybe before I hit the ball,” I asked? “I mean, Gus, look at this situation. Curtain could die. Maybe be in a coma the rest of his life? Will he ever play the game of baseball again? Will he ever walk or see the light of day? All these things we take for granted could be gone for him and his family. He is so young and was just like me, thinking of playing for some Major League team. It is hard not to think his dream is gone for good. It just seems that some times God seems a little disinterested at times. I mean, I don’t expect things to be perfect. I guess that is reserved for heaven, but I find it hard to believe that God is going to bring any good out of this accident on the baseball field last night.”
Gus sat quietly on the sofa after I finished my little tirade. I was hurting after last night and was, quite frankly, in no mood to hear how God was watching out for all of us all the time. It made no sense. I hoped I had not hurt Gus’ feelings, but I just couldn’t see how a loving , caring God could allow Curtain to be dying and let something like this happen.
“Bill,” said Gus, “I know this makes no sense now, it may never make any sense, but often faith is all we have. God never promised us a stress-free life. Look at Job and how the devil treated him. God allowed that to prove a point. It is not up to us to ask why.” Gus paused. “Oh, by the way, Dick called and left a message for you early this morning.” Gus handed me a piece of paper with Mary’s writing on it.
Be at the ballpark by 10AM
Meet me at the batting cages
Underneath the stands.
Don’t be late,
“I wonder what Dick wants from me,” I asked out loud. “Can we make it with church and all,” I ask?
“If Dick wants you there, be there,” added Gus in a stern voice. “He doesn’t bother people unless there is a good reason. We have plenty of time. Let’s get to the kitchen and eat some of Mary’s best cooking, what do you say,” asked Gus?
We make our way into the kitchen and I take my usual seat. Mary come over and puts her hands on my shoulders and gives me a kiss on the cheek.
“Hope you slept well,” she asks? “I’ got scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, pancakes, and strawberries, here’s the orange juice, come on fellas dig in while it is still warm.”
“Thanks Mary, “I say warmly. “This is quite a spread for Sunday morning.”
“One thing you’ll find as the season goes on,” states Mary, “is that you must eat well and the right foods to keep up your strength. The season is long and will slowly wear you down if you don’t get enough rest and eat right. You are not going to blame your slumps on me, Mister,” she adds with a big smile on her face.
“I would never do that, Mary,” I reply. “This sure looks great.”
The phone rings in the living room and Mary goes to answer it. She come back it to the kitchen and tells me it is Red for me. I go into the living room.
“Hello,” I respond.
“Bill, this is Red. “Doc Martin just called as they operated all night. Curtain’s condition is pretty bad, worse than they first thought. The force of the ball broke bones all the way down to his eye socket, including the cheek bone, and nose area. Doc Martin called in Doc Woods who is our best Ophthalmologist in the area. Curtain may loose sight in his left eye. But that is not the worst of it.” Red was silent for quite a while.
“Come on Red, what it is,” I ask impatiently. “How could it be much worse?”
Red finally answered. “When they took X-rays and an MRI they found a dark spot on his brain, on the left side. They’ve called in some doctor from Yale to consult some time today. They decided not to operate any more until they consult with him. Curtain is still in a coma, but he seems stable, but his pulse is weak.” Red’s voice trails off.
“Oh my God,” I said out loud. “Red, you let me know if you hear anything else before we get to the park, will you?”
“Sure, Bill, you’ll be the first to know when I hear anything,” replied Red. “I know it will be hard, but try and eat your breakfast. It is important for you to keep going. It is important for you and this team. Your worrying won’t help Curtain, this hospital, the doctors, or either the us or the Pirates. I see you in a little while.”
Red hung up the phone before I could even respond. The dial tone just buzzed in my ear. The monotone just kept droning in my ear. I dropped the phone to my side, finally placing it in the cradle. I heard footsteps coming up from behind me. Mary and Gus were standing right behind me.
“Looks like Curtain may loose sight in is left eye,” I begin. “He is still in a coma, his face full of fractures, but they found a black-spot on his brain from the x-rays and MRI and they’ve called in a specialist from Yale to assist. The parents must be loosing it by now,” I add.
“Bill, we’re so sorry,” said Mary as she put her hand on my shoulder. “Come back into the kitchen and try and finish your breakfast, if you can. Gus go down and get ready for Church. I’ll be down in a minute.”
Mary’s plan was to see that someone was with me all the time this morning. She was really something.
I sat down at the table and ate a little, but mostly just pushed it around my plate. I did eat more than I thought I would or could for that matter. Gus was back quickly and sat with me while he finished his eggs and toast. I drank the last of my juice and Gus finished his coffee. Mary came back and cleared the table, loaded and started the dishwasher and whisked us out to get the car pulled out of the garage. As Gus and I backed down the drive, Mary was closing the front door and came down the steps. We headed out toward Church.
“Billy, it is alright to feel like you do,” said Mary. “We’ll just have to see what the plan is God has in store for us. Today is a new day and you’ll just have to decide you’re going to deal with and get on with it. What’s done is done. It is up to God now.”
I took a tissue from the box in the back seat and dried my eyes. I felt like this one other time. This one wasn’t any easier.
“Mary, what are you talking about,” I ask? “What do I have to decide?”
“What do you have to decide,” shot back Mary? “Your future that is all. You’ve got to decide whether you are going to stay a part of the living or about to decide if you are about to join the dying. If you are going to be of any help to that Curtain boy you must remain a part of the living. If not, you might just as well be in the bed next to him. If you think the only way to reconcile this problem is to offer your life for his then you might as well get on with it. It makes no sense, but that is not the point, is it? Your feeling sorry for him and yourself is not going to do anyone any good, and most of all yourself. You get no points for self sacrifice. You want to help the Curtain family do it by living, not wallowing around in grief and pity. You really want to help them? Do it by living. They’ll see it in your face. They do not hate you for what happened. They probably feel worse for you than you do yourself. They know it was an accident better then you do, probably. Nobody planned for this to happen. They know it and it is time you did as well. To help them you must be positive, strong, and most of all your compassionate self. Lord knows, they’ll need it from you. They do not wat to look at a second victim.”
As I listened to Mary I could sense the love and concern she had for me and the Curtains. I could hear it in her voice. I could see it in her eyes and she looked at me. She was right. I knew it, just as she and Gus did. It was just this situation made my life seem so insignificant for a while, worthless considering all the pain the Curtain’s were feeling. It was an accident, truly.
As we arrived at the church and got out of the car I reached for Mary and gave her a big hung. “I really love both you and Gus,” I said. “You mean so much to me.”
“We almost lost one son,” said Mary, “we have no intention of losing another, do we Gus?”
“You’re darn right we’re not,” replied Gus. He had a big smile on his face.
“Let’s get on into church as we have a big day a head of us,” instructed Mary. She took my arm as we headed up the cement steps into the Sanctuary.
“Gus, you are a very luck man to have Mary for a wife,” I state.
“Luck had nothing to do with it. I won her at the State Fair,” said Gus with a big grin on his face.
“You won me, did you,” snapped back Mary with a surprised look on her face. “I found him on the street homeless, I did,” Mary added. “He was so pitiful I had to take him in. Living in a refrigerator box on Lexington I think it was.”
We all start laughing as we made our way through the Church doors. If only we could get back to normal. What ever that really was.