Contemporary Romance

Tommy looked across the hospital bed at Heidi and Tim and sighed.

“Well Misses G I’m thinking it is time I left you and these other two alone.”

The coma persisted, the hospital’s machines beeping rhythmically, keeping track of oxygen, heart rate and brain activity. Tommy leaned over the bed and gave Tim’s mum a kiss on the forehead. It was clammy and the kiss made a smack like noise as Tommy’s lips brushed skin and hair combined.

There was no reaction from Tim or Heidi. Still none when Tommy nodded goodbye in their direction.

Quietly he left, closing the door to the hospital room behind him.

“I thought he was never going to leave,” laughed Heidi after a moment or two of silence which was broken by more beeps.

“Hmmm?” replied Tim, his storm grey eyes drifting from his mum laying there in the hospital bed and the blonde with deep green eyes that sat on the opposite side of the bed.

‘Mum,’ Tim thought to himself, ‘I could really use your advice.’

“So, your dad seems to be improving,” Heidi continued.

“Yeah,” Tim agreed. “He has come forward leaps and bounds since you have come on the scene.”

‘We all have,’ he added, just to himself.

‘Hopefully I have had the right effect on everyone,’ thought Heidi privately.

Tim thought back to that day at the beach seemingly so long ago and the way his dad had been for weeks after. It had almost been as if dad had switched to auto, no spark behind his eyes. Since Tim had taken the chance and contacted the agency about getting some in home care he had seen that spark somewhat return. Tim’s father seemed more interested and engaged in what was going on. The big test of course was going to be whether Tim could get Heidi’s help to arrange for his dad to visit the hospital and speak with mum. It had been six months now at least since the accident. Six months since Emily had slipped into the coma and seemed to her son like an enchanted, sleeping princess or queen.

“There is still a long way to go though, Tim,” Heidi suggested.

‘For dad and for me,’ Tim considered.

“Yeah, I know,” Tim agreed.

Heidi reached out her hands and took up Tim’s. They sat, leaning slightly forward, both closer to Emily and listening to the rhythm of the machines. Tim stared deeply into Heidi’s eyes.

“I am here for you,” said Heidi earnestly. “Whatever it is you think you might need.”

“I know,” said Tim, offering half a smile. “Heidi you are already doing so much for all of us.”

Heidi wanted to scream, to shake the hands she was holding. She saw in Tim’s dad a patient that she knew how to fix, in Tim’s mum a patient beyond her own abilities but in Tim though she saw a different kind of patient. There across the bed, across an abyss of emotion so wide she saw someone that she longed to take into her arms and love. Tim had no physical wounds but Heidi felt rather than saw the emotional scars and she thought that maybe, just maybe she could heal those too.

‘Mum, what would you do or say if I asked you how to ask this girl out?’ thought Tim as he tore his eyes away from Heidi’s and focused again on the woman in the bed between them. ‘Would you tell me to wait, too soon, not yet? Or would you tell me to tell her everything before it’s too late?’

The hospital machines beeped again and again in reply to Tim’s unspoken question.

“What do you think she is thinking of?” Heidi asked, her green eyes drifting from Tim’s face to the face of Tim’s mum.

“I know the doctor says otherwise but I like to think that mum is peacefully sleeping.”

“Dreaming?” suggested Heidi, unsure.

“Yeah, I like to think so,” replied Tim.

There were a few bars of machine before he continued.

“Mum loved music, loves music of all kinds, mainly genres ranging from the orchestra to some of the 60’s and 70’s pop that came out while she was growing up.”

“And you think she might be dreaming about songs, a concert perhaps?” Heidi asked.

‘I would so just love to take you to a concert, your favorite bands, just you and me,’ Tim thought for a moment as he looked away from his mum and tried to catch the eye of the girl opposite him.

‘I would love to find out what influence those sounds have had on your music taste,’ thought Heidi, avoiding Tim’s eye and yet thinking about him.

“I hope she is standing on a grassy hill surrounded by friends and family and listening to an incredible performance of O Fortuna by her favorite orchestra,” replied Tim. “Not my choice of how to waste away a day but definitely something that mum would enjoy.”

“Well they do say that coma patients can hear and comprehend those nearby them,” said Heidi with a hopeful smile. This time she did look up and meet Tim’s eyes. “Perhaps you have planted that seed and taken your mum there.”

Tim let go of Heidi’s hands and chose instead to squeeze one of his mum’s. He caught Heidi’s look for just a second before giving his attention to the patient and the machines.

“What do you think, mum?” Tim asked. “Have I taken you there?”

‘I would take you there in a heartbeat,’ thought Heidi.

As the two shared an unspoken moment the machine recording brainwaves jumped.

Tim immediately looked up and saw that Heidi’s face was identical to his.

“What does that mean?” he asked, amazed and confused.

“I don’t exactly know,” admitted Heidi. “But I am sure the doctors will say it is a good sign.”

‘Thank you mum,’ Tim thought as he smiled inwardly. ‘That is enough of a sign for me.’

“Heidi,” the young man asked, suddenly feeling shy. “Would you go to dinner with me?”

Surprised at first, Heidi did not know what to say. After a brief pause she smiled and nodded.

“I would love to, Tim,” she replied.

As the pair held hands again the machine recording brainwaves had a second jump.

January 15, 2021 03:12

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