Palms and Pockets
by Paul Diaz
by Paul Diaz
Chapter 7: Last Day
It was the last day of classes and the seniors were rejoicing in campus as the juniors enviously watched on. “As they take their exit we take over as seniors” Kevin uttered. “Yeah, one more year of high school” John added. “Why are you guys like that? One more year and we all would be rejoicing like them” Anne said.
“Yeah she is right and this coming school year we get to be the bullies” Jeremy said. “That reminds me, how is that sophomore guy you had an argument with?” John asked and his friend pouted and sighed. The other giggled but John kept teasing Jeremy. “Who do you say are going to be bullies? How do you become a bully when you are scared of a younger student?” he added.
Anne tugged at John’s shirt so the young man nodded. “Hey guys we are going to go ahead. Just send us a message whatever plans you have okay?” he told his friends. The two exited campus and immediately the scooter was out of the bag. Anne got on and John pushed the scooter slowly.
“John, how come I don’t see you do stuff like normal guys do?” Anne asked. “What do you mean?” John replied. “Oh you know like playing baseball, basketball or even football” Anne said. “Football I don’t like it, but we do play a little catch sometimes. We do know how to play basketball too” the young man said.
“How come I never saw you play?” she asked. “Well honestly they are not on the top of my list. I do like more adventurous stuff like hiking, camping, kart racing and playing console games” John told her. “Why don’t you do them then?” Anne asked and the young man started to laugh.
“Because you cant do them yet. When your legs are healed then we go do them together” he said. Anne bowed her head and frowned. “So its me that’s holding you back from doing the things you like then” she said.
“Of course not. The guys don’t like those stuff and I cant enjoy doing them alone. Well we do have a small band but we stopped playing. They do like console games but they like different games so we don’t get along. I was not even sure too if you like them so I never asked” John explained. “And because of my disability right?” Anne added. “Yeah, I also have to think about your condition but when your leg is healed then I would ask you” he told her.
“Hiking would be fun and I would really like that. Hmmm I guess for now you can teach me how to play console games” Anne said and John looked at her. “Seriously? You are willing to play console games with me?” he asked and his friend smiled. “You have all summer to teach me” Anne said and she saw John happy.
“We can start now” he said and started to run. The young woman released her hands on the handle bars and embraced John as she screamed and laughed. Five minutes later they arrived at the young man’s house and Anne was still laughing as John tried to regain his breath.
“What took you two so long?” Gerard asked and the two were surprised to see Anne’s father on the porch. “Uh dad, this isn’t our home” Anne said. “Silly you of course I know that. We were waiting for you two. Come quickly inside” her father said. Anne looked at John, “Whats could it be?” she asked. “I don’t know, why is your dad here? And why are they waiting for us?” he replied. “Come on lets go inside” she said.
Anne and John were surprised to see their parents well seated at the living room and looking at them. “Why are you all so serious looking?” Anne asked as she leaned on John. “You two take a seat” Colleen said and the two started to worry. As the two were seated they looked at their parents who had straight faces.
“We are going to take your summer away” Gerard told them. “Mom! What is he trying to say?” Anne asked. “Taking our summer away? What have we done?” John asked. Colleen took a deep breath but suddenly burst in laughter. Seconds later all their parents were laughing.
“We were just kidding you two. But we really are taking your summer away” Bob said. “What do you mean dad?” the young man asked and the doctor looked at Gerard. “Anne, its high time we had your leg fixed. I showed Bob your old x-rays and he said there is no need for a knee replacement. All that needs to be done is to insert a brace and do little corrective surgery” the young woman’s father said.
Anne’s jaw dropped and she began to tremble as she looked at her left leg. “John’s father was to kind to offer his services for free dear. And another good news is that you wont be having that scar on your face soon” Colleen said and the young woman was really surprised and could not believe what her parents were saying.
“You will have two surgeries but you don’t have to worry about them. Anne when your father said we would be taking your summer away he meant it literally because its going to take one week for your wounds to heal then that’s the time we can start the rehabilitation of your leg. John your summer would be taken away too since you would be there for her right?” Bob said.
“Of course” John replied as Anne stood up and walked towards her parents. She bowed her head as tears started falling to the ground. “Thank you” she uttered as her parents stood up and hugged her. “You should thank Bob here” her father whispered. Anne hugged John father as Linda noticed a sense of sadness in John.
Linda had prepared dinner for all of them so everyone proceeded to the dining area. “Anne you should eat a lot today for you wont be able to eat breakfast. Tomorrow you shall have your blood work done so we can check if you may have the operation. Don’t worry I can see you are fit, its just protocol you know” Bob said as they all sat down.
“Will we have the operation tomorrow?” Anne asked and the elder ones laughed. “Someone seems to be excited” Colleen said. “If all the results are okay which I am sure they are then we can have your operation the following day. But Anne, you may not feel anything during the operation but during recovery its going to get really nasty. You will have to learn to walk again after that” Bob told her.
Anne sat still and she felt a sudden chill down her spine. She could already imagine the pain and hardship she was about to encounter but suddenly her cold hands felt warmth. She looked at her hand and saw John holding them so she slowly looked at the young man beside her. “Everything will be okay” he softly whispered and Anne nodded her head and smiled.
After dinner Anne’s family had to excuse themselves for they were going to the grocery to do some late buying. Anne approached John and pouted, “I guess it’s a rain check on the console games” she said. “Yeah its okay. Dad said you should get a good night sleep” John replied. “Hmmm tomorrow clear your schedule” the young woman said. “Clear my schedule?” he asked. “Yup, just clear your schedule okay? See you tomorrow after the test” Anne said.
As the Rivera family left, John sat down on the couch and closed his eyes. Linda sat down beside her son and caressed his forehead. “You should be happier since she would be able to walk normally after the operation” she said. “I am happy for her” John murmured.
“It doesn’t show you know. Whats bothering you?” Linda asked. “Anne is very pretty mom” John said. “Yes I know but she will become prettier when her scar is gone” his mother said. “That’s the problem” the young man whispered. “Oh John don’t compare her to Sarah. You and Anne have something special already I can tell so don’t think negatively” Linda told him.
“I sure hope so” John said as he stood up and went to look for his father. Bob was at his study, the young man entered and sat down beside him. “What are you reading?” John asked. “I was just going through the steps on Anne’s procedure” his father said. “Why? Are you not sure of what you will be doing?” the young man asked and his father laughed.
“I just wanted to make sure so I will not commit a mistake. I know how important she is to you so somehow there is a lot of pressure” Bob told him. “I want you to explain everything you are going to do to her leg. From the moment you put her to sleep up to the point you stitch her up” John said and his father looked at him. “And why do I have to do that? You doubt your father’s skill?” Bob asked. “No dad, I just want to know what she is about to go through. I want to make sure you know what you are doing. Tell me what I can do after especially when she is in pain” John said.
Bob saw again the seriousness in his son’s eyes but he could also feel the nervousness inside him. He placed his arm across his son’s shoulder and started to explain. Bob knew he didn’t just need to explain but he likewise needed to calm the nerves of John.
The following day John waited for Anne’s return at their front porch. As soon as he saw their car pass by he quickly ran towards his friend’s house. As soon as Anne got out of the car she immediately walked towards John showing him her arm.
“They took a lot of blood, did lots of tests and examinations” she said as John held her arm and caressed it. “Are you alright? How about the results? Did you get them already?” he asked. “Your dad is still in the hospital and he will call us up once he got them” she said.
“I see. So why did you want me to clear my schedule?” he asked. Anne grinned and held his two hands, “Were going hiking” she said. “Say what? Hiking?” John asked in surprise. “Yup but just the small hill nearby for now, will that be okay?” Anne said. “It is but can you manage?” he asked.
“As long as your with me” Anne told him. John smiled and scratched his head, “Okay then since its just a simple hike I think we can go now” he said. “Wait, I had mom prepare a picnic basket for us” she said as they walked towards the house door. “So you planned this day again but you could have kept the picnic a surprise” John told her.
“Hmmm I thought of that but I could not keep a secret because you will have to carry the basket” Anne said and they both laughed. With the picnic basket in one hand and Anne’s hand in the other, John joyfully sang as the two headed for the hill.
Anne kept laughing since John kept changing the lyrics to different songs that pop up in his head. Before they could reach the foot of the hill the two were already tired from laughing.
The trek uphill was slow, John had his eyes glued to Anne’s footing making sure she didn’t step in any stones. As soon as they were on top Anne immediately sat down and massaged her left knee. “Whats wrong? Does it hurt?” John asked.
Anne grimaced in pain for a second but immediately smiled. “I will be honest, yes it does hurt but its all worth it. I got to do something that you liked while I was still this way. Don’t worry John when my leg is healed we are going to go on a real hike” she said.
John knelt down and massaged her knee, Anne noticed sadness in his eyes. “Is there something wrong John?” she asked. “I stayed up all night trying to learn about your operation. Even if my father assured me that you will be alright, I still am scared” he told her.
“Oh John, I too am scared but I have to stay positive. Even if something goes wrong and they have to cut off my leg I am not afraid since I know you will still be there for me” Anne said. “Of course I will. If everything goes well, you will be able to walk normally. I will have no purpose anymore” John said and Anne was surprised.
“What do you mean no purpose? I really want this operation to go well so we could do so many things together. Why would you say you would have no purpose?” Anne asked. John shrugged his shoulders as he slowly sat down beside her.
“I don’t know. I wont be needed to push the scooter anymore or something like that” he said. “Hmmm about the scooter, who said we are going to stop using it? I actually like riding the scooter that way. This time you can get the chance to ride it and let me be the one to push” Anne told him and John smiled. “But once a month only, the rest it will be me riding and you pushing” she added and they laughed.
The two ate lunch on top of the hill and while eating Anne asked John to explain about her operation. She could tell that he really studied about it because John was able to explain it like a doctor. Anne giggled as the young man even explained about her rehabilitation, she laughed harder when John tried to demonstrate some exercises.
“If you were only a doctor then I would let you be the one to operate on my leg” Anne said. “Can you wait a couple of years?” John joked and they again laughed. “I do know everything they are going to do to you. There is one thing I don’t know…how painful its going to get. If there was a chance to trade places during the painful part in a heartbeat I would trade places with you” John told her.
Anne got teary eyed and didn’t know what to say. She held John’s hand tightly and looked at him. “When I will be in pain just hold my hand this way. No matter how painful it would be I am sure I can withstand it with you” she whispered.
“Don’t worry…I will hold both hands”
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