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African American Contemporary Creative Nonfiction

It's mid- January, a plane pulls in from Orlando, Florida, parks and opens its door where a young boy pauses to stare at the swirling white landscape of Chicago, Illinois on the shores of Lake Michigan before he carefully climbs down the steps. His uncle awaits him.

'Time you people got here. Not much I could do once I got him into my boat. No idea how long he was in there. I called 911 as soon as I hit the shore. I almost missed him but Sandy, my dog, here wouldn't stop yelping until I had to leave the wheel and find out why. Sandy's been on top of him ever since – after I tried getting the water out of him, giving him a bit of warmth I would guess.'

'Thanks Tim. We'll take over from here. We'll fly him in to Mac Allister Hospital. I don't suppose you know anything about him, do you?'

'No, sorry McNiell, I haven't seen him around that I can recall.'  

'Right!' A short salut and the heli took off.

Mac Allister Hospital

In intensive care

Day One

ID                         NA

Gender                Male mixed race

Age                       8?

Diagnosis            possible drowning incident, undercooled, in coma

While Doctor George Manderly examined the little guy, he had his assistant phone the sheriff's office. Upon the arrival of Sheriff Jerome Nanchez, together they decided what steps had to be taken to discover who this child was. There had been no missing person report filed at the police station as of yet.  So the child's photo was taken, a report was placed in the late news broadcast on the local television station, as well as reports in the local evening newspaper and on the radio.

'Is he going to pull through?' asked the sheriff. 'Hard to say at this time, his heart is having a rough time but we’re leaving him in this coma stadium for awhile. We hope he'll survive tonight.' answered Doc Manderly. 'You know our winter has been pretty heavy so far and Lake Michigan shores have been frozen. Maybe the kid's curiosity got the better of him. But that leaves you wondering where the adults were. Tim O'Keef told McNiell there were no homes near to where he picked him up. I'll let you know more when I know more. I hope those alerts that will be out later will bear some fruit.' 'Right, I'll leave you to it,' and the sheriff strode off.

Day Two

10.15 a.m.

The doctors are making their rounds. Mike, Manderly's assistant is reading the chart.

It appears that his condition has not changed any. The child is still in a coma. His breathing is still labored.

He informs the team: 'There has been no more information from the sheriff. Apparently, the reports have had no results. So we will keep hoping that he'll pull through and his folks will find their way here.'

15.25 p.m.

Sheriff Nanchez is accompanying an elderly woman to Dr. Manderly's office. 'We think she might be the child's grandmother. Her grandson never came back home yesterday. She has just come to us now, she has no TV, nor any phone. Her neighbor drove her in this afternoon to file a report.' Manderly replies: 'This way madam.' They file off towards the intensive care unit.

The grandmother, a small, fragile 75-year-old breaks down in tears as she approaches the bed and nods her head that it is her missing grandson. She'll stay at his side until the neighbour comes to collect her. Inbetween she will fill the staff in on the particulars. The sheriff has also received the family details. He will call the boy's uncle who lives downstate, bordering on Chicago. 

According to the grandmother, Muriel Ambers, her grandson has been quite unhappy at his family home in the touristy area of Orlando, Florida, home of Disneyland. His mother, Amelie Lloyd, Jamaican, a single mom, felt it might be worthwhile to send him to Michigan to his Uncle Paul. The boy's father had been a GI. He passed away in deployment in Bahrain shortly after the boy's birth. The uncle, Paul Ambers, a car salesman for Ford Motorcars, living near traffic-jammed Chicago, Illinois picked up the boy from the O’Hare airport two weeks ago. He tried to connect with the child, but suburban life with a bachelor did not turn out to be such a good idea. After a week, he had decided the child would be better off in northern Michigan where the grandmother lived. The child had the whole outdoors to roam through, investigate and enjoy the wintry landscape; something the boy had absolutely no experience of and surely he would find something to do. There had to be some children near his mother's who would accept him. 

Day Three

ID                                      Glenroy Ambers

Age                                    10

Diagnosis from birth: Achondroplasia, dwarfism

10.20 a.m.

Doctors making their rounds decided there has been no significant change in his condition.

14.30 p.m.

 Muriel Ambers visits and remains by Glenroy's side for two hours. She tries talking to him even though Glenroy is still in a coma. She tells him that his mom would be arriving this evening.

Everyone wonders what really happened to Glenroy. There are a few possibilities. He could have made friends with some of the children and lost them far from grandma's house, or he simply wandered away on his own and forgot the time. Curious about the water, watching perhaps men fishing in the ice, he walked himself out there, he went too far and slipped into the water with no one the wiser. 

Unknown to anyone, even the doctors, the wee mind of little Glenroy has been busy reliving his life. He was madder than a hatter at his mom, she never stood up for him. He was so fed up with being taunted at school for his smallness. He could hear their taunts even now: midget, mulatto, crybaby, dwarf, gnome, squirt! He had no real friends. When there was a problem, mom just always said to ignore the name-callers, always repeating to me: 'Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names cannot hurt you!'

Well, fuck her and them. People stare at me, talk about me behind my back. Even my teacher tends to just pat me on the head and she says nothing to the bad kids. I don't like crying all of the time either, but I cannot live like this anymore. I do love my mom and my brother and sister. But jeez no one can really help me. 

And when mom finally did try to protect me by going public, we got locked in the house because the news reporters wanted pictures and talks with me. So then she decides to ship me off to Michigan in mid-winter. My uncle and my grandma are strangers for me. I bet my mom has never met them either. And she never said how long I'd have to stay here. I miss home, and mom, and Billy, and Susie. No, I don't miss school. No more school for me! Ever!

Here the monitor peaks then severely drops.

After my uncle brought me up north to Grandma's, I did try to pretend life here was super. The snow was great fun and I did enjoy being outside in it, but I thought - wouldn't it be much more fun with someone? I was thinking of all this as I walked and walked along the shore of the lake admiring it and its snowy landscape, but I stopped, at the same time I was wondering how far I could walk out there on the ice towards the water, and if I dared to. That’s all I remember.

January 22, 2021 22:10

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