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In The Small Hours PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steven Patterson   
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 14:34

In the small hours of the morning, the world grows still.   Even big city hospitals seem to turn their volume down, but are never truly silent.   The sounds of people at rest or in distress, seem to echo along the corridors.   The trucks from the interstate can be heard in the distance.

This was the case as the large man walked towards the room.   His footsteps clearly announced his arrival.   He left his helmet on the chair by the door as he approached the bed.   The contrast was almost startling. He standing there, large, all dressed in black, with features clearly touched by the sun.   She, nearly as colorless as the room that surrounded her.   She just lay there at first, her breathing somewhat labored.   Her chest, barely rising, with each shallow breath.

The man reached down and gently touched her brow, perhaps brushing away an errant hair.   The woman, awakened by his touch, opened her eyes to see him staring back.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.   How are you feeling?”, he asked, with a softness in his voice that few would ever hear.She smiled slightly and said,“I’m happy your here.   I get so lonely when you are away.”   He replied,  "I'm here,now.", trying to smile back.

A nurse, hearing her speak, came into the room.   She being awake would make it easier to get her vitals for her chart.   Patients are never very pleasant when you have to wake them up to give them their sleeping pills.   The large man standing next to the bed startled her.   She hadn’t heard him come in.
At first, she just stared at him.   Then she spoke up, “Visiting hours ended at ten o’clock.  What are you doing here?”

The biker looked back at the nurse and explained that the doctor said it would be all right.   He then turned back to his wife and went back to talking as only a husband and wife do.

The nurse nodded and finished what she came to do.   She gave the couple one last glance as she left the room.   She was thinking that her mother was right; bikers are just trash on two wheels.   It didn’t matter.   She had other patients worthy of her concern.

The biker and his wife were alone once more.   He slid his hand under her top.   She could feel him gently massaging her chest.   It was his way of letting her know that she was still a woman.   More importantly, his woman.   The woman couldn’t help but think about the look on the nurse’s face before she left.   The woman knew that the nurse did not approve of her husband.   The nurse only saw a biker, nothing more.

The woman looked back to the man by her side; her husband.   People, like the nurse, only saw a biker when they looked at him.   They could not see pass the boots, the leather jacket, or the patch on his back.   To them, he was just another curse upon society.   His long hair and beard, his loud motorcycle, came together to make him a social outcast.   She knew few would ever really accepted him.

Her own parents took one look at his long hair and beard and have hated him ever since.   They said you couldn't trust a man with a beard.   Of course her husband had laughed at the comment.   He then replied "Jesus Christ, Santa Claus, and Jerry Garcia all had beards.   How could you not trust Jerry Garcia?" They laughed some more.

After their relationship became serious, the biker offered to shave his beard and cut his hair in hopes of closing the rift between her and her family.   She simply said that she wouldn't want him to do anything to change.   If he did, he would not be the man with whom she had fallen in love, so long ago. The truth be known, she knew her parents would never approve of him no matter what he did, but she was OK with that.

Yes, she knew what most people thought when they saw him.   She saw so much more.   She saw a man who was honest, decent, and hard working.   He did his best to put family first.   She could not think of an instant when he had let her or their kids down.   After a quarter of a century together, she no longer remembered what it was like before he came along. 

He put in a tremendous amount of time on his job.   He worked long, hard hours to take care of his family.... Then, she became ill, very ill.

Thankfully, the kids were grown.   Her husband spent all of his time between his job and the hospital.   She begged him to go home and rest, but he stayed by her side.   His long, hard days were now impossible.   The strain was taking a toll.   He had aged ten years in the past few weeks.   They could no longer deny the truth. She was dying and nothing could be done to stop it.

Truth overcame her.   She began to cry.   Her husband bent to comfort her tears only to be pulled to her.   The tears lead to coughing, but she held her husband tight to her chest.   At least as tight as she was able.

He heard her heart make its final effort.   One last beat, then nothing.

The monitors started beeping furiously, staff rushing in to her aid.   But there was nothing to do.   Her heart had been restarted once before.   She asked that they let her go this time.

Her husband knew she had endured enough.   He could not ask her to stay longer.   He just didn't know what to do without her.   You see, for as much as she had depended upon him, he had depended upon her, as well.   He was lost without her.   He had no idea what to do next.

The doctor called time of death.   The nurses turned off the monitors before filing out.

The biker was left alone with his wife.   He bent and kissed her cooling lips for the last time.   He stood in the darkness looking down at his wife's remains.   A single tear resting in the corner of his eye, defying gravity.   He had no idea how long he had stood there, in the dark.Finally, he could bear it no longer and headed for the door.   No one stopped him.   The staff knew there was nothing to say at a time like this.

After the biker left the building, the nurse went into the room.   The deceased would need to be prepped and moved to the morgue.   The nurse saw the helmet sitting in the chair by the door.   If she hurried, she might catch him before he pulled off.

The biker leaned against the bike smoking.   The old iron head had taken him many places over the years.   Now, he needed the Sporster to take him home.
The nurse reached the parking lot in time to hear the old Harley fire up.   She managed to catch a glimpse of the bike going the wrong way past the "DO NOT ENTER" sign. He was heading straight up the off ramp to the interstate. 

The nurse placed the helmet on a nearby bench and thought her mother was right.   Just trash on two wheels.   She sighed with desire as she returned to her post.

S.W.Patterson


 


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Last Updated on Thursday, 10 December 2009 09:39