Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 16 - Itching to Tell You

Another month passed and Sinclair’s broken leg had healed well enough to remove the stainless steel external screws. The mending plate and internal screws would, in all probability, remain a part of his leg forever. Bev was happier now that he could once again wear pajamas. She knew it sounded silly; but he looked so much better without the extra hardware that she almost forgot that he was still unable to even blink his eyes or wiggle his finger. Their daily “talks” had allowed them a minimal amount of normalcy in their marriage. He was able to talk with each of the children and hear how they were handling the various challenges of life.

“Why can’t he just talk to us on the computer like they did in that movie we saw last week. Remember? It sounded funny like the noise at the video arcades. I miss hearing Daddy’s voice.” Jenny could see no reason why her Daddy couldn’t have one of those talking computers.

“ That’s a good idea Jennifer. When I see Mr. Rylan I’ll ask him if there really is such a thing or if that was just some kind of Hollywood movie trick.” Bev tried to think but did not know that much about such technical computer stuff. She was more than grateful that Sinclair was able to carry on the child/parent relationships and that they only missed his presence at home. The children had been given permission to visit him one at a time as long as Bev was present; even William could go in and talk about his Little League games and his Cub Scouting experiences. William seemed to accept the trials of life better than the girls, or even Bev. He talked to Sinclair and would read the replies on the computer screen as if it were perfectly natural. William would hold up his baseball cards in front of Sinclair’s face, as if Sinclair could see them. Sinclair would respond in much the same way he used to when reading a newspaper and forced to acknowledge without really looking. He would reply, “That’s a nice one.”, or even, “Hey, where’s my stick of gum?”, as if he were able to feel and smell the singularly aromatic odor that a stick of baseball bubble gum holds.

William did not notice; he was just so glad to have a chance to be with his dad.

“Do those holes in your leg hurt very much where they took out the screws?” William’s face displayed all the real and imagined pain that he, as and eight year old, could empathize. He could not comprehend not being able to feel any pain.

“No, they feel fine. How’s your team doing this year?” Sinclair had lied; there was no feeling in his legs, or any other part of his body. He changed the subject back to William as quickly as he could. He wanted to hear about life that was real, life that was all around him.

“Okay, I guess. We played the Tigers yesterday. I got a hit. The ball went way out past the infield.” William gestured with his entire body the act of hitting the ball with his bat, the trajectory a pop fly complete with his running to base.

“William! No running in here!” Bev quietly scolded him, mainly to keep the noise level down. The hospital had been more than understanding of their situation and Bev didn’t want to draw any negative attention. “I know you’re excited about your hit. Tell your father about the corn that you’re growing in the garden.”

“I want to hear all about it.”

“The ears are real small.” William hung his head while he looked at his shoe laces that had become untied. His voice was serious as he described the worm that he had to smush, “It was trying to eat our dinner.”

As a boy Sinclair had always enjoyed working in the garden. He would grow radishes, tomatoes, and string beans. There was a good feeling to be gotten from the soil. The warm spring dirt would smell so good and once in a while he would pick a green bean right off the vine and enjoy it raw. He was glad that his son was finding time to work the garden. Sinclair was itching to break out, to get down on his knees next to William as the two of them went row by row pulling weeds from underneath the young bean bushes.

“Can’t let the worms eat our corn; you did just fine.” It was better than fine. William’s ability to feel and be loved by his father was good medicine for the whole family. Bev watched the imaginary arms surround and shelter William as each thought found its way across the lap top’s screen. Sinclair had not lost the ability to be a father, he had found other ways to obtain the desired results. A strange tingling sensation began to avert Sinclair’s attention. He wasn’t sure what it was at first, having been without feeling for such a long time. It started with the little fuzzy hair on the end of his nose and worked its way down his to his chin.

" Hun. . . Could you scratch my nose for me? It feels like its itching.” Bev softly took the back of her finger and brushed the skin at the base of his nose instinctively; then thought for a moment as she realized what she was reading.

“The light hurts my eyes; could you close the drapes?” Bev looked and could see
movement under his eyelids as they tried to avoid the light from the nearby window. It was the first time he had moved on his own since the fall. The color of his skin seemed to change from a pale olive tone to a warmer pink as his cheeks felt the air pushing on his whiskers.

“That’s great! Your nose really itches?” Bev smiled and began to cry as the miracle unfolded before her eyes. His eyelids parted, only a little to allow their eyes to meet Sinclair looked up at her for only a moment, his eyes not quite ready to take in so much light.

He saw the young girl that he’d fallen in love with so many years ago looking back at him with all of her soul. His lips formed a weak smile as his thoughts poured across the screen. “I love You.’

“I love you too, Dear. It’s so good to have you back.”