Aidan 11

By Asa Montreaux 

That was something to ponder. What if she would not even speak to me? I suppose I would take it very personally, it was the nature of my personality. I was not the nurse, I mean, if she wouldn’t speak to her son… He had prepared me some, otherwise it would have wholly been about a son being ignored by his Mom, being indignated by his mother. But if she wasn’t speaking, well that was fine.

So I went to see her. I made the trek to her hospital room, it was actually even quite a ways as they moved her to a different area to really search the wound area and she must have needed 80 stitches. I’m not sure why that isn’t a surgery. 

The door was slightly ajar, and I nudged it open with my hand and quietly walked into the room. She was not asleep though her eyes were close, as if she were on life support. She looked like she was in pain. Or rather upset.

There was a chair, and I sat down in it, and pulled up right beside her.

‘Hey, Mom.’ Her eyes didn’t open.

‘Hey, Mom, wake up.’ I said, a little louder.

Her eyes did open, and she looked ahead, or I suppose more at the ceiling, seeming to be gauging her surroundings, though she’d only been sleeping. She didn’t seem to notice I was there.

‘Hey, Mom.’ She heard that, and eventually, she turned, and she looked at me, expressionless, well, quite blankly, and then moved her head back to center, and then wholly the other way.

I thought I wouldn’t be hurt if she wouldn’t speak to me, but to turn her head the other way, and dismiss me. To ignore me? I wasn’t angered. Maybe a little. But I was so hurt. I was not as prepared as her not speaking meant exactly this. I suppose she wasn’t angry at me but her anger had flooded her feelings and I suppose her engine was… well, flooded. She was working properly, I felt. Not nicely, anyways.

I needed to try saying something to her again. It wasn’t a good policy in life to quit after one try. Like obviously. I felt like leaning a little closer to her, but anyone being that disinterested in eye contact or connection of any sort maybe, didn’t want me to clean and take away any personal space from her.

‘Mom,’ I began. ‘…Mom.’

She didn’t respond. I couldn’t register any movement. She must have made a point of just not even acknowledging having heard me, not even moving.

I suppose it occurred to me she might have even incurred brain damage. No, that was just my emotional defenses. She really had just not responded to me. I suppose it was a mental condition. Maybe an emotional disease. Depression, or whatever it was, it was a real disease. I suppose it is nothing you can catch and that’s always something I wanted to say when I felt depressed. Though I could influence your mood. Actually I’d probably not make a rational adult more depressed by my kid depression.

‘Are you only going to ignore me?’

She not answered, and I guess that was answer enough, enough of an answer.

Well if you are going to be a child, I thought of saying.

‘Well so someone shot you. I was there. I know what happened. I know who it was. It was your husband.’

Still no response.

‘Yea, that sucks. That’s awful, in fact. Someone you trusted, loved, respected, whatever else. He did love you. He was only after me. You were in his way. I think I mean to say thank you. He meant to kill me.’

Still no sign even of movement. Just a few eye blinks.

‘Well. This is hopeless.’ I got up, and walked out.

Gee, I’d gotten frustrated easily. But what a terrible feeling, to have someone who’d always been so nice to you, suddenly not even look at you. I thought she’d always been there for me and she really had even been someone that was in fact always there for me. Had that all been fake? Maybe.

Though that is all a little iffy and it’s only what went through my mind. I suppose our thoughts are all we know of the world. I mean our world is subjective. Experience is a lens for understanding everything. Even our experience of the visual world is really an experience just of phenomena that aren’t actually there, or aren’t actually solid, static, at all. I suppose there is not one atom that was in one place at any one measurable time. There wasn’t an object that was really truly solid, behaving as it appears to the eyes. Maybe you could map the potentiality of the position or just the energy if that’s the same thing on a grid of lines. I suppose that’s string theory.

So obviously I had vaguely realized through the clouds of my emotions that this could be a transitory thing. That eventually she would heal. It would go away, eventually. Though right at the moment. I felt deeply like I had even lost my mother. 
I walked out of there a little angrily, and I started making my way out of the hospital. I walked past some nurses and they oddly looked at me as if they heard some of the conversation. It was a slightly sad smile, and a slightly judging one too, and it made me feel odd. Well, it was rather a one sided conversation. I was embarrassed. I felt a little faint thinking they heard me, like, turned down. I was completely tuned out. No, not whatever. Though I am gay.

It would have hurt more if the nurses were men. Though as I walked by the concierge any number of looks, knowing or ambivalent, made me feel worse, and then even a little worse after that. 

It was just me at home. There was message on the answering machine, and I quickly called back one of the detectives. My father would be held without bail until trial. So they said. I was safe for now anyways. Though occasionally I would look out the front window. To see if anyone was coming, my father I suppose. Or anyone. Any friend of his. It was nerve-wracking, to say the least. No, the experience was a one of having a gun at your face all over again. The moment flashed all over again in your mind. And sometimes I woke up, after being in the middle of a dream where the new incident had begun. He had broken out, he was on top of me, he was even about the pull trigger. And so on. Something like this. 

The future could or would not develop like that. At some point the man would get out. I hoped he never would. So, maybe he never would. I hoped he never would.

As for a gang, who’s to say who they were, or where they were. Because they hadn’t shown up. So maybe not in Vancouver. But I heard around town that maybe they were, or that they were coming. 

Bu nothing materialized. Where were they? Off somewhere in the distance, hundreds of miles away? In LA, surely. In New York, surely. So, thousands of miles away.

I wasn’t thinking about that – LA, New York, wherever. I was here in the moment. How was my anxiety? That was only something I’d ask myself. Actually, it was fine. But the bad dreams, the wondering when they were coming, if they were to actually be right in front of me… well. I’m not sure breathing exercises would help me. 

Sometimes the hospital would call. She was doing better, though she really wasn’t. Then she was doing worse. So more of the same. Soon she was coming home, in month, in a few weeks. Then she was coming back in a week.

At that point there wasn’t anything I was thinking about but just seeing her. I was over her stiffing me. It was clear she was really badly off. She was not the same person, yet. She was broken, though I hoped and believed she would recover and be the same person in my life, in anybody’s life. 

For my mother’s return of wholeness, of her nerves, her sanity, I prayed for. A breakdown could be something you never recovered from. But she wouldn’t be able to just lie there for forever, would she? She would go about here day, she’d have to change, and eat, and be outside, walk, garden, speak to relatives, speak to the police. Attend Bill’s trial. Whatever. But it amounted to responsibility, a life that would continue without her being ready for it.

When I finally drove to the hospital to bring her home, it only seemed to me odd that they even thought she could walk out of there. Apparently, she didn’t even move, still. Regardless of this fact I had to bring her home. So I drove, full of anticipation and trepidation for seeing her and knowing her readiness to have her life back again. Becoming herself again after disaster.


They were all familiar faces in the psychiatry wing now, where I had been since recovering from her physical injuries due to the shooting. I waved at a few people and tried to seem cheery despite my unknowing and fear about what was going to happen.

An orderly led me to her door, and she said: ‘May, your son is here. Time to go home.’

I looked at her, and I was about to say well go get her in the wheelchair. But she was watching May, and smiling. So, I looked over towards the bed.

And she was getting up, slowly on her own. She moved shakily, but she was able to raise herself out of the bed, and then steadied herself on her feet. She walked gingerly, each step about half the length of a normal one for her, then sat down into the chair, using two hands. 

Fighting tears, I walked over to her, and offered to wheel her out right that second. The orderly said, ‘I’ll do that. Hospital policy.’

‘Oh, okay. You're more than welcome.’

‘Just anything to get out of here, hey?’

‘To get her out of her,’ I said.

‘Of course.’

We walked back through the hospital, people watching sometimes as we passed. May looked around some, her hands on her legs. 

Her alertness was encouraging, though I had noted that she hadn’t said a word yet. And this concerned me, and I kept thinking about it. How long would it take before she would speak? Would I be the first one she spoke to?

As we got to the parking lot, and near to the car, she knew she had to get up from the chair. She did so solemnly, with dignity, but certainly with reluctance. A mixture of feelings, I suppose. And a most certain disdain for whoever did this to her, and to whoever wanted to ask her about it.

She immediately went for the car. It was already open. To my dismay, she opened the back seat door, and sat down there. So we wouldn’t be having our first chat on the way home.

‘Thank you,’ I said to the orderly. And she smiled, and bid me on my way, and so we were on our way out of the parking lot. Leaving the dreary sterility of the hospital behind. I looked to my left to see if there were any cars coming, really craning my neck some, and I could swear, she leaned forward and looked at me, even grinned, smiled perhaps. But when I turned around to check, she was still just looking out the window.

I drove slowly. Whenever we stopped, she sat with her hand in her lap. She never made a sound. Though one time when we stopped at a light, it was so quiet in the car, I could hear her breathing. It was a little wheezy, for whatever reason. She was a little overwhelmed for someone who hadn’t even been speaking, I suppose. 

I drove slowly so as not to upset her. I really hadn’t thought much about how I would have things work when we arrived home. I guess I thought I’d just let her lie there, in bed, and take care of her when she needed things. It didn’t occur to me she would be walking, and alert, or sort of alert. Now I had to be prepared for what I thought would come next, but in a significant amount of time. I was already thinking about how to help her speak. When would she talk for the first time, again? She wasn’t a child though I was titillated by the possibility of receiving someone’s first words. And in a reversal, these words coming from my own mother, no less.

We eventually pulled into the driveway, the length of the trip no bother to me. I turned off the car, stepped out of the driver’s seat, walked around and opened the door for her. She had waited for me to do so, and I will just imagine she said thank you. She slowly scooted out and braced herself on the car for a moment. Then she began walking to the house. She knew the door was locked, and she waited patiently there while I grabbed her bags.

When she stepped into the house, almost immediately after I opened the door, not counting her slowness of movement, she actually looked around, surveying the house. Though not all was positive, as after she immediately headed upstairs, and at the top of the stairs, she closed her bedroom door shut. And then I heard her climb into bed, with her clothes on.

I only left her suitcase near the bottom of the stairs, and then I stood there thinking about the sort of solemn tone reverberating around the house. That was the thing I’d been waiting for, the start of a new somberness, a slumber, and an awakening would only follow after a transitory sharing between herself and herself and me. The journey was in her mind I suppose, how to help was anyone’s guess. My only gift was patience and an infinite amount could be the only thing that would flow from me as she surely would get better, and return to being who I knew her to be.


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