PT1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 // PT 8 // PT 9 // PT 10 // PT 11 // PT 12 // PT 13 // PT 14 // PT 15 // PT 16 // PT 17 // PT 18 // PT 19 // PT 20 // PT 21 // PT 22 // PT 23 // PT 24 // PT 25 // PT 26 // PT 27 // PT 28 // PT 29 // PT 30 // PT 31 // PT 32 // PT 33 // PT 34 // PT 35 // PT 36 // PT 37 // PT 38 // PT 39 // PT 40 // PT 41 // PT 42 // PT 43 // PT 44 // PT 45 // PT 46 // PT 47 // PT 48 // PT 49 // PT 50 // PT 51 // PT 52 // PT 53 // PT 54 // PT 55 // PT 56 // PT 57 // PT 58 // PT 59 // PT 60 // PT 61 // PT 62 // PT 63 // PT 64 // PT 65 // PT 66 // PT 67 // PT 68 // PT 69 // PT 70 // PT 71 // PT 72 //

“And how long will that take?” Paul asked.

The doctor might have shrugged or been hit by a particularly strong gust of air conditioning. “We’ll do six treatments. Each treatment will be three weeks apart.”

Paul ran the math. “So almost five months?”

Feniker nodded. “We’ll give your mother another few weeks to recover, and then we’ll do another MRI. If everything goes well, we’ll be able to do the surgery then.”

“What,” Paul’s mother took in a deep breath before continuing. “How bad will the side effects be?”

Feniker’s face seemed to scrunch up like he smelled something particularly rotten. Was that his thinking face? “There’s no real way to know. There’s usually sickness, nausea. The severity of the nausea ranges from mild to severe. I’ll make sure the receptionist gives you a packet that has all the details and possible side effects, but I’d advise you to consider them as a possible list instead of a comprehensive list.”

As the doctor spoke, Paul’s mother folded her hands together so tightly her knuckles went white. Somehow, even thought she was obviously afraid, her voice was even and clear. “Thank you.”

They spoke some more, scheduling the first treatment for two weeks from then. Paul tried to keep his thoughts calm. The doctor was clearly trying to maintain a positive demeanor, but Paul couldn’t keep from feeling like he was acting like he didn’t care. No amount of effort let him see it any other way. Luckily for Paul, the doctor excused himself before Paul could work himself into what even he realized would have been an unjustified tantrum.

Paul wrapped an arm around his mother as the doctor shut the door behind himself. The echo of the closing door hadn’t faded before his mother turned into his chest and wept. He held her. He didn’t have a clue what to say, so he remained silent.

“Peace I leave with you,” she whispered. “My peace I give with you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.”

She cried for another few moments and then repeated the phrase. Each time she said it, she seemed to need a little less time to cry, but she gripped him more tightly with each rotation. By the fourth time, her grip was just a shade less than painful, but Paul sat there, quietly holding his mother. 

“Thank you for your support.” Paul would have thought she was still quoting scripture if she hadn’t have looked into his eyes and offered a smile. “I’m so glad you’re here with me.”
“I’d prefer to be with you in a restaurant, but I suppose this’ll do.” He offered her one of his fake smiles, but she laughed anyway. 

“I mean it,” she said. “Whatever happens, I will cherish the memory of how kind and sympathetic you’ve been.”

“Kind?” He was ready to punch the first person he could find who had a reasonably punchable face. “I just sat here.”

“Oh, if more people were willing to just sit quietly and support others.” She chuckled as she spoke. 

… to be continued …

6 thoughts on “Visits From A Man Named Nobody 73

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