My brother, who had been in a coma for I don't remember how long, just woke up this morning. Mom called me in tears, barely able to form sentences.

"Johnny is awake !", she finally said in between sobs.

I booked the first flight I could get.

I got to the hospital the following morning. Little Johnny has changed to say the least. I wasn't not sure if I could still refer to him as "little" Johnny. He looked almost as old as dad, if not more. His once youthful face now had a gaunt taint to it. Sunken cheeks, eye bags, the works. Inactivity took a toll on his body it seems. He couldn't stand just yet, he had to learn how to use his legs all over again. He aged quite a bit too.

But his eyes did not age one day. His green eyes were as sharp as ever.

I was the last one to arrive to the hospital. My mother beamed with joy to finally see everyone reunited. I hugged my parents then went over to hug Johnny. The poor guy was all bones and skin. His body was frail to the point where I feared I might hurt him if I hugged too tight. I did it anyway, I couldn't bring myself not to. I didn't realize I was crying until my vision blurred. I was never the overly emotional kind. I liked to think of my tears as a bottle of fine champagne. They were made to be brought out on special occasions only. This fit the bill perfectly.

"It's OK", he whispered to me. "Things are going to be OK from now on"

I released from the hug and looked at him. He had a serene expression on his face as he said this. The words were uttered with a deep conviction. I assumed that he had a near death experience that gave him a positive outlook on life. Or perhaps that he had some sort of vision while he was passed out. But beyond that, I didn't think much of it.

It was still too soon for Johnny to be discharged from the hospital. He still had weeks of physical therapy ahead of him. The hospital bill was like a tumor that had been growing in our family's bank account for the past few years. It was finally time to extract it. But seeing the look on my parents' faces this morning, it was all worth it. The doctors had told us there was little hope for John to wake up again, but they didn't know little Johnny like we did. John Bringer was a fighter. All the Bringers were. We've all pitched in to make things work. Dad had to work two jobs. Mom worked a day job in addition to supporting a family of three. I worked as a part time waiter at a coffe shop nearby. Everyone worked hard to keep little Johnny afloat.

My parents had reluctantly convinced me to go to college after I graduated from high school. I wanted to stay and help out. Dad said that burden was far too heavy for such a young man to shoulder. We had a big fight that night and I stormed out of the house. Mom later told me that he confided in her that he didn't want to fail me as a father. She said he thought he had failed Johnny after he got them in that car accident. That he should be the one who's lying in that hospital bed. That he was supposed to be the one who protected us and that he felt responsible for Johnny's state. But we all knew it was not his fault. Nobody held my father responsible but himself. I told her that burden was far too heavy a burden for such an old man to shoulder.

After calming down, I thought things through. My meager part time paycheck had barely made a dent in the mountain of hospital bills. I decided then that the best course of action was for me to go college. After all, I had managed to land a full scholarship despite everything that was going on. My plan was to graduate and get a stable job as soon as humanly possible. That way I could truly make a difference.

Coming back home brought all these memories crashing down. I was barely one year into my plan before it got cut short by the phone call I received this morning. For the first time in my life, I was glad to have a plan ruined.

A few weeks went by and Johnny was finally in a state where he could walk with crutches. We threw a little welcome party for him. Just the four of us, like the old times. We didn't want him to feel overwhelmed. John had that serene look on his face the whole time. I wondered if it was caused by the pain killers.

Later that night, I escorted him to his room upstairs. I carried him in my arms all the way there. He was too thin, too weak. Too everything. I wondered if his body could ever be restored to what it once was. I wondered the same thing about our financial situation. Things didn't look great, but this new beginning gave me hope. My brother asked that I help him sit in his desk. He wanted to check something on the computer. I sat beside him.

Seeing that old computer boot up Windows XP was like a trip down memory lane. We stayed up late that night, visiting all the websites we used to visit back in the day. Playing old video games of that era. I had a lot of fun introducing him to the currently trending memes.

"Remember what I told you when you came to see me at the hospital ?"

The sudden question took me off-guard. But I did in fact remember it.

"Yeah. What about it ?"

He started digging through the files in search of something.


He browsed through a few folders and landed on an executable file I thought looked suspicious.

"First thing I did when I woke up was that I checked something online."

He double clicked on the program.

"See, a couple of years before the accident, I made an investment of sorts"

The program prompted for a passphrase. Johnny obliged.

"It only cost a couple hundred dollars, but that's how I bought a hundred bitcoins"

August 22, 2019 23:08

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