Apple of Her Eye
I was getting really bored lying in the hospital bed. I was going nuts. The nurses
would come in and check on me from time to time; but since I was getting better,
their visits were becoming less frequent.
Television in a hospital sucks. No MTV or Comedy Central. Most of the channels
showed dumb soap operas in the afternoon. Then, there is the stupid hospital
channel. The one time I tuned into it, they were talking about breast cancer. Yeah,
right! That was really entertaining!
I was starting to feel better. The pain was beginning to subside. The doctor was
ordering less medication, so I didn’t sleep as much. It would have been better if I
were sleeping. At least I wouldn’t have to sit alone bored out of my mind. I wanted
to go home. At least at home I had cable TV and my PlayStation to keep me
occupied. I would even be happy to go back to school, just to have something to do.
My mother usually arrived around four o’clock. Schools lets out at three, but she
often meets with students or talks to other staff before coming to the hospital. I
know she gets tired. She comes directly here and stays until visiting hours end at
eight. Then she goes home, grades papers and works on her lesson plans before
going to bed. She will be just as happy as me when I finally get released.
I looked at the clock. It was almost 4:20. I was beginning to get a little worried. I
figured she was in a staff meeting or parent conference. My mother is always
punctual. She is one of those people you can set your clock by. I guess it comes
from being a teacher. Half her life is determined by bells. So when she didn’t show
up at four, I became concerned.
I would be glad when she got here. At least it would break the monotony. We
really didn’t talk about much. She would tell me how things were going at school.
She teaches at the same school I attend. Lucky kid, right? She informed me that
my teachers were asking how I was doing. She also said some of the students were
concerned, but I didn’t believe that.
Often, it would get really quiet, and I could tell she was staring at me. It would
become very unnerving. I knew she wanted to ask me about the beating, but she
didn’t know how to approach the subject. I had made it quite clear that was an
issue I did not want to discuss.
I also knew that she had to have heard all the rumors that were probably running
rampant- the fag who was tripped in the cafeteria, ran out and then got his ass
kicked in the bathroom. She would just look at me. When I would glance at her,
she would give me a slight smile and then go back to watching TV.
I wondered what she was thinking. Was she disappointed in me? Did she regret
having a gay son? I know she wanted to talk about it. We would talk about it soon,
but now just wasn’t the time. Too much had happened to me recently, and I didn’t
think I could handle much more.
After a few more minutes, the door finally opened and she entered the room. She
had a wide grin on her face. It was like she was keeping a secret from me.
“Hey, honey. How was your day?” she asked.
“I’m fan-tas-tic!” I replied sarcastically. “The activity director has kept me so busy
today. I’m really bushed. It has just been go..go..go all day!”
“Well, that’s nice dear,” she replied, playing along. “I guess I’ll have to talk to her
and tell her you need more rest.”
“Seriously Mom,” I whined. “When I can I leave this prison? I’m bored to death.”
“I’m going to talk to the doctor tonight and see if he can release you soon,” she
responded while feeling my forehead. Why do mothers do that?
“I have a surprise for you,” she said smilingly. “You have a visitor. A friend has
come to visit you.”
Shaun!! It had to be Shaun! He wasn’t mad at me anymore! Who else would come
to visit me? I had pushed all my other friends out of my life over the past two
years. I figured they’d leave me anyways once they found out I was gay. I just
made it easier for them.
So he did care about me. He came to visit and see how I was doing. My stomach
started turning somersaults.
“Just a minute, Gary,” said mother. “Let me go get him.” Yes, it was Shaun! She
left the room and closed the door behind her.
It was about five minutes before she returned. I couldn’t see anyone with her. She
turned and looked behind her, then retreated once again. Seconds later, she came
back in holding someone’s hand.
Who is this? This isn’t Shaun! I didn’t know who he was. I think I remembered him
from school. I’d passed him a few times in the hallway, but we had never spoken.
How could she say he was a friend?
However, he was cute…very cute! He was rather small. He must have only been
about 5’5” tall and weighed about 120 pounds. His hair was blonde, cut short and
spiked on top. Adorable would best define him. He was also very shy. He was
hiding behind my mother with his head down. He wouldn’t look up at me.
“This is Todd Mathews,” my mother said, breaking the awkward silence. “He’s in
my Advanced Algebra II class. He’s been here everyday after school to see how
you’re doing. I’ve tried to get him to come in and see you, but until today, he has
What is going on here? Why would a kid I have only seen at school a couple of
times and never even spoken to, be coming to the hospital every day to check on
me? I was very confused.
My mother finally answered my question. “He found you in the boys’ restroom the
other day. He ran for help, and then he came back and stayed with you until the
medics arrived. He’s been very worried about you.”
Todd was still standing behind my mother with his head down. He was blushing! His
cheeks were red. It was so cute. I began to giggle.
Suddenly, he looked up at me. God, he was so cute! He looked at me and a slight
smile began to form. I could see his lips begin to curl at the edges. We stared into
each others eyes for a moment, and then he again directed his eyes back to a spot
on the floor.
“Thanks, man. That was nice of you,” I said appreciatively.
“It’s okay, nothing really. I Hope you’re feeling better,” he replied timidly. He was
still looking at the damn spot on the floor. I wanted him to look at me so I could
see those beautiful blue eyes once again.
“Tell you what boys,” interrupted my mother. She had been looking back and forth
at us, noticing our reactions. “I’m going to run out and get a pizza. I talked to the
nurse, and she said you can eat anything you want. I know you’re getting tired of
the great cuisine they feed you here.”
“Oh, no! What shall I do?” I shrieked as I clutched my chest, playing along with
her. “You’re going to feed me like a commoner!” I could hear Todd giggling in the
background. I could quickly get used to that giggle.
“Deep dish or thin crust?” she asked us.
“Thin crust!” We both responded at the same time.
“What kind?” she asked.
“Pepperoni!” Again at the same time. I couldn’t believe it. It was like we were on
the same wave length or something. How weird is that?
My mother smiled as she looked us. Then she looked at me and winked. What was
that? She seemed to be very happy to see Todd and me together. I guess she
knew that I had few friends left. She had to have heard what Shaun said about me.
She must have known that our friendship was over.
“You boys stay out of trouble,” she said smiling. “I’ll be back in about a half hour.
Todd, will you be all right?”
“Yes, Mrs. Carson,” he replied. “I’ll be fine.” She ruffled his hair before kissing me
on the cheek.
“Then I’ll be right back with two very large, thin crust, pepperoni pizzas,” she
exclaimed and left the room.
To say the next few minutes were awkward would be an understatement. I looked
up at the television, occasionally watching Todd out of the corner of my eye. He
stood shuffling his feet and looking down at the floor. Neither of us was very
comfortable at the moment.
Finally, I broke the silence. “Why Todd? Why did you help me? Why have you been
coming by every day after school?” I had to know. It just didn’t make any sense.
Why would a complete stranger go to such lengths to help me?
He looked up at me and I could see tears begin to form in those beautiful blue eyes.
“My brother did this to you.”
Chapter 6 Return to TMJ