Finding Perseverance(19)

By: T. E. Black

Drawing my eyes from the door, I look over the rest of the waiting area. A smile breaks from ear to ear as I notice the rest of the rabbit’s buddies strategically painted on each wall. Alice sits at a long table on one of the four walls, while the Mad Hatter pours himself a drink at the other end.

A nurse comes into the room where she calls out me and Luke’s names.

“You can follow me,” she announces.

We leave the waiting room, following the nurse. The paintings on the walls cause me to run my hand against them before we enter the elevator. She presses the button to take us to the fifth floor—the brain injury floor, and I hold my breath.

“You’re going to make this kids day,” Luke nudges me with his elbow.

“I hope so. He’s pretty harsh with some of the shit he writes. He might hate me.” I crack a small smile.

This kid has praised me when I deserved it and shamed me when my actions called for it. Hell, he gave me the name “The Reaper”. I owe him more than I could ever give to him.

When we reach the floor, the door to the elevator opens and we walk into a brightly colored hallway. Rooms that belong to sick kids line the corridor, but I keep my eyes on the floor. I can’t handle it.

How could this be? How the hell are people letting their children wither away in this place? I get that they need doctors and medicine, but these children need to see the sunshine—not the same four walls on a daily basis.

“We’re here.” Luke says and nods to the door to the left of where he’s standing. “You ready?”

“I’m ready.” I take a deep breath.

Luke knocks on the open door, and two adults, who are blocking the view of the hospital bed, turn their heads in our direction.

“You must be Luke,” the black haired woman squeaks excited.

“Nice to finally meet you, Angie,” he greets back.

Luke lets out a low whistle, chuckling as he adds, “Remember those baby blues on Angie? If her husband weren’t twice the size of me, I would have gotten down on one knee and asked her to marry me right there.”

I stand in the background with my hands stuffed in my pockets and the chip that’s usually on my shoulder nowhere in sight. I don’t feel like an undefeated fighter here. I feel less significant than I ever have before. This hospital makes me remember the side of me that isn’t famous. Being here makes me realize how insignificant my accomplishments are compared to a child fighting for his life. How is it right for the world to love and care about me, who only fights for a living, when there are children who fight more than me on a daily basis?

“And you must be Rook.” Angie turns to me with a smile.

“Yes, ma’am. Nice to meet you.”

She waves her hand around, letting out a laugh. “Please. Call me Angie. People call my mother ‘ma’am’, and I’m nowhere close to her age.”

Chuckling, I step inside the room with Luke and the little boy’s parents.

“I’m sorry, Angie.”

“No problem! You know, he can’t wait to meet you! He just had his medicine for the morning so he’s a little out of it, but he couldn’t stop talking about your visit! Dave, is he awake?” she asks the man still standing by the child’s bed.

“He’s asleep, hunny,” he confirms.

As Dave steps away from the bed, a small boy resting kicks my heart into gear. I ache for the sight in front of me. The little boy, who has lost his hair and is paler than anyone I’ve seen before, breaks my heart without a word.

“He had chemo about an hour ago. We didn’t plan on them ordering it so early because of your visit, but the doctors said it would be better if he got it before you came, rather than later on,” Dave says.

“I don’t mind,” I answer taking a seat next to his bed.

As I watch him sleep off the after effects of his chemo, I can’t help but root for this little man. I want him to beat his cancer. I want him to go on living a happy life where he does everything and anything his heart desires.

“He’ll probably be out a few hours,” Angie says, stepping around to the other side of her son’s bed. “If you want, you and Luke can go grab something to eat and we can call you when he wakes up. I know you’re a busy man. I don’t want to keep you any longer than you can stay.”