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SEP/OCT *WINNER* "Tomorrow, Today, Yesterday"


D. K.
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Earth 2012

** Today **

Derik Wells flicked the pan tossing the ingredients in the air. He chopped a few veggies, wiped his hands on his apron and turned his head to the kitchen door.

“Alli!” he called “Go wash your hands, honey. Dinner’s nearly done”

Fetching plates, Derik waited for a reply from his daughter. Receiving none he pulled the pan off the flames and went to look for her. Entering the living room, he saw her sitting amongst old photo albums.

“Alli! No!” he called

Derik rushed around the sofa while his daughter jumped up at his sudden arrival.

“Allison Grace Wells .” he scolded “Why did you get these out?”

“I found ‘em while I was looking for my drawing book.”

Derik took up the nearest album feeling the pain return as he looked at the grinning youth. He felt a tugging on his apron and looked down at the little blond haired angel.

“What’s wrong daddy?”

** The Past; Day 432 **

Cole opened his eyes, saw the familiar walls and stopped wondering where he was.

‘The Gwyneth Davis Memorial then’ he thought. “Dad?”

“Hey there big guy!” came a familiar voice.

Cole turned his head and saw Doctor Harry Ellis walking up to his bed. The dark haired young man had a good natured grin on his face. He checked briefly on the teenagers reactions and then looked at the equipment monitoring the 16 year old.

“Good to see you back Cole. Your dad’s on his way...should be here soon.”

“What happened? I was about to tackle Taylor Evans and now I’m in the clinic....”

The young Doctor looked at his young patient as the flow of speech wound down.

“The drugs have stopped working haven’t they.”

“Yeah.” Came the soft reply, “Your body has grown use to the dosage; it can’t be increased anymore. We’ll try a new therapy. The Professor is also on his way, we’ll talk when your dad gets here. Right now mate ... well you know the drill. ”

Even as the Doctor spoke three nurses arrived pushing trolleys. Cole sat quietly on his bed letting the Doctors revelation sink in while the nurses got to work. He understood what losing the medication meant, but couldn’t grasp why he felt so calm. It felt as though he was reacting the wrong way; he should have been screaming with rage but there was nothing there that he felt remotely angry about.

His father arrived some half hour later.

Derik opened the door and rushed to his son’s bed. The mid thirties man took the teenager and hugged him tightly.

“Cole... I came as fast as I could.” his fathers voice was hung with relief. They parted and he sat down on the bedside “So, what did the Doctor say?”

Cole looked at him silently and Derik read the face he seen every day since his birth. He felt his own expression fall as realization dawned.

“Oh Cole...”

“The Neurozin isn’t working any more. Dad ....”

** The Past; Day 398 **

“I don’t care dad. I WANT TO GO HOME!” cried Cole

“Lad, they can look after you here.”

“I don’t like the clinic; I want things back to normal.”

“I’ll talk to Professor Hein and see what we can do.”

** The Past; Day 357 **

Even though he had been against bringing Cole home, Derik had to admit his son was right in wanting to be at home. The house had felt so empty during the four weeks Cole had been in the clinic. He heard the juvenile voices upstairs and then the thumping on the stairs as the teenagers came down. The group of 5 teens trouped through the kitchen and Cole took up his coat while his friends left. Turning to his father the well built youth spoke up.

“Dad, we’re going down the field to make a few passes, okay?”

“Sure lad,” he placed a hand on his son’s shoulder as he passed, “Cole?”

“Yeah dad?”

“Just ... just be careful.”

Cole looked at his father and grinned. To Derik’s surprise Cole hugged him quickly.

“I will, I promise.” grinned the teen.

** The Past; Day 295 **

Derik sighed as he pressed an ice cube filled towel on Cole’s bleeding jaw. He looked at his son’s torn clothing and the other cuts and scratches and shook his head.

“Cole, what the hell were you thinking of?” he cried in exasperation “Taylor Evans needed 14 stiches!”

“He started it!”

“That’s no excuse to ....”

Cole growled angrily and made to get up only to be held back by his father, who also tried to calm down himself.

“Lad, talk to me. Tell me what happened.”

While the angry teenager calmed down a little, he fetched another load of ice and made another cooling towel. Passing it to Cole, he continued.

“So what happened?”

“We argued. I fumbled a pass, so I says we all make mistakes and then he said.... he said....”

Derik quickly swallowed the desire to explode on hearing that Cole was still playing rugby.

“What did he say?” he asked softly

“He said ‘yeah look at the mistake your dad made’....”

Derik listened to his son’s words and felt a mix of rage and sorrow rise from his heart in an attempt to take over his mind. Most friends knew that Cole’s condition was the result of a genetic defect passed on solely through the male genome.

“I see.” Two words. Emotionless.

“.... so I punched him and then we were both fighting and I was so angry and ....”

Cole words dwindled away and the teen looked silently to the floor.

“It’s okay to be angry Cole. What Taylor said was way out of order.”

Cole didn’t answer but pressed the cooling towel to his jaw.

** Day 239 **

Derik went upstairs and knocked on Cole’s door. Entering after hearing the call from inside he found his son looking out of the window. The house had a good view of the town and its many parks. Two cases stood near the door, the crutches the hospital had given them lay forlornly in the corner where Cole had thrown them a week ago.

“We have to be goin’ lad.”

“What was it like when Mam went?”

The question hit Derik like a brick in a dark alley. A few moments passed before he could answer.

“Hard.... unbelievably hard.”

Cole didn’t turn but continued looking out.

“How did you get through it all?”

There was another pause before his father answered.

“She was gone, Cole. But you were there. There’s always a tomorrow, a today and a yesterday.”

“But how are you going to get through this?”

Derik looked briefly to the floor and then crossed the floor and joined Cole at the window and placing a hand on his son’s shoulder and squeezing gently.

“With you of course.”

“What if it doesn’t work dad?”

“Cole...”

The teen turned and made his way to the cases; it was evident that walking was becoming a problem, but it didn’t stop the teen from taking up both cases. At the door Cole turned back.

“Do you think I’ll ever look out of that window again?”

“Of course.” Came the reply “By the way, you should tell Terry Jones she should buy some curtains for her window.”

** Day 174 **

“Can you call the nurse?” said Cole

“Of course lad,” said Derik pressing the button. Getting up he added diplomatically, “If you don’t mind, I’ll go and get myself a coffee.”

Cole lay in his bed waiting until the nurse finally arrived. The situation was quickly clear and the woman silently left the room, returning with fresh linen. The nurse helped him out of the bed and sat him in a nearby chair.

“I’m sorry Janice.”

“What for? Its not your fault Cole.”

The teen sat watching her change the sodden sheets, angry at not being able to help. He no longer felt as ashamed as he had done the first time. The job was soon done and as she helped the young man back into bed Cole spoke up again.

“How do you do this everyday, Janice, looking after sick people. After sick kids?”

“Its rewarding in a way Cole.” Pillows were fluffed and replaced.

“You always wanted to do this?”

The nurse stopped her work and looked at the lad. His condition had worsened in the last few months and the once well built teen was visibly dwindling. After effects of the therapy.

“I had thought of stopping once. Then a girl said something to me and it all made sense.”

“What did she say?” His voice was weak.

“Rest up a little Cole you had a hard day. I’ll tell you tomorrow.”

** The Present **

“Daddy? Hey Daddy, whats’up.” Alison tugged at her fathers Apron.

Derik looked from the album down to his blond haired angel.

“Daddy’s just thinking about yesterday, honey.”

This was given due consideration. Then Alli looked up in innocent confusion.

“What’s special about yesterday? We went to the park and then to Auntie Port.”

Derik looked at the pictures of smiling lad and then gently closed the album. Deep down he didn’t want to forget, but sometimes he wished he could. Placing the photo-book on the desk, he hunkered down to his daughter.

“Alli,” He said, smiling at her innocent face, “Yesterday is important because we can go there whenever we want to.”

Young eyes widened as she listened to her fathers words.

“Really?” she breathed

“Of course.” He said, adding in the privacy of his thoughts, ‘Sometimes without us even wanting too.’

** Day 126 **

Derik Wells was snoring gently as Cole awoke. The lad lifted a heavy hand and nudged his father.

“Dad? Wake up.”

Derik came to in a series of snorts and grunts. He looked at Cole’s gaunt face and smiled.

“Hey,” he spoke weakly; due to the therapy loud noises hurt Cole’s ears.

“I’ll see about breakfast, okay?”

“I’m not hungry.”

Derik nodded and returned to his son’s side, sitting on the bed. He felt his forehead and smiled in relief.

“You’re temperature is normal again.”

What was normal these days was debatable.

“Dad?” Cole spoke weakly, “Back then on the field, Taylor Evans, when I said I was angry I...”

“Yeah. It was okay Cole.”

“No, I mean ...”

There was a pause, but Derik was getting use to them. Then Cole struggled up on his arms

“I wasn’t just angry at what he said. I was angry at ...”

“I know Cole. I saw it in your eyes that night.”

“You knew?”

As Derik saw the ashamed tears he was already rising and leant over Cole, holding him.

“It’s okay lad. Everything is okay.”

He stood a few minutes holding and comforting his son and waiting for the sobbing to stop.

“But you know, I could still be annoyed with you.” said Derik, seeing the querying look he continued, “After all you only gave him 14 stitches.”

A weak smile appeared on his son’s face and the day was saved. A good day. There were so few of them now.

** Day 108 **

It was night and Derik lay on the lounger next to Cole’s bed trying to get some sleep. The door opened quietly and one of the hospital nurses came in. Derik kept his closed and remained still as he didn’t feel like talking. There was movement around the room as the nurse went to work.

“Hi Janice.” Said Cole quietly

“Hey there.”

The nurse came up to the railing.

“How y’ doing?”

There was a pause as Cole struggled to look at his sleeping father.

“Is dad asleep?”

“Yup” said the nurse

“Janice... don't tell dad...” Cole whispered, “... I think I’m gonna lose the match.”

** Today **

The meal now served, Alison sat picking at the hated veggies. Derik read his newspaper in silence while nearby the radio ran quietly, some female singer howling out the latest song of love deprival.

“Daddy you said we can go to yesterday all the time.”

The words came slowly and thoughtfully and there was a rustle as the newspaper was lowered.

“Sure honey”

“Then I wanna to Disneyland again. Right now.”

“It doesn’t work like that honey.”

“Why not?”

“Can you remember when Mickey hugged you?”

“Yeah. It was great!”

“You see by remembering you can always go to yesterday.”

There was a pause as Allison considered this.

“Daddy! You’re there as well ... and Mummy!”

** Day 66 **

The window was open and spring air came into the room. Outside a mild shower had become a downpour that now pattered on the window sill. Cole lay in his bed while the gently spraying water fell on his face. The door opened and Janice and Derik rushed in.

“I’m sorry Cole, I forgot the window was open!” said Janice hurrying into the bathroom.

“Oh hell.” Cried his father as he made for the window where further rain pattered in.

“Its okay dad.”

Derik closed the window and turned to his son's gaunt figure who continued weakly.

“It ... it was the first time ...I ... I felt the rain in months, it was good.”

His father sighed and made for his bed and wiped away the rain. He smiled briefly.

“Okay lad, I’m off to see professor Hein. I’ll be right back.”

His father made for the door and Janice came up to the bed and smiled at the teen.

“Let’s get you dried then.”

Cole called up on his dwindling strength and painfully dragged himself up until he was sitting.

“You never did tell me why you still do this job.”

Janice remained silent gently continuing to dry his face and arms.

“I get it now.” persisted Cole

“Do you now?”

The 17 year old smiled weakly at the mid forty woman and then continued, his voice feeble and breathless as he called on his reserves of strength

“Shall I tell you?”

“Tell me what, love?”

“You’re still doing this job because of the thankfulness.” He breathed, “Thanks Janice.... for everything. All the times you came when I called. For staying calm when I get annoyed and angry. For being there when I'm scared, just for ... for everything. ”

It was rare that Cole spoke so long these days and Janice listened to his words, feeling her own grief rise. In this job you could never became totally detached; it was impossible. She reached out and hugged him, while gently lowering him back to the sheets.

In the corridor near the half open door Derik fought with his emotions, finally deciding to leave his forgotten mobile on his son’s bedside cabinet.

** Today **

Having put Alli to bed for her afternoon nap, Derik cleaned up and then returned to the living room. He opened the drawer and pulled out the album. He went through the pictures, went back to yesterday. Time must have past because he heard quiet steps and looked up from the photo album to see a sleepy angel coming to him, dragging her comfort blanket.

“Sleep well honey?”

“Uh-uh.”

“Bad dream?”

“Uh-huh.”

Putting one child aside carefully, Derik opened his arms and took up his daughter, cuddling her while gently rocking to and fro.

“Daddy?”

“Hmm?”

“Who is that boy?”

Derik looked briefly at the open album and then carried on rocking her while he answered.

“That’s Cole, your older brother.”

“Older? How much older? Where is he?”

“He’s 24. He’s somewhere else now.”

“Oh, that’s old, He’s a grown up.”

“Yeah, honey. A grown up.”

The tired child didn’t hear the change in her father’s voice.

“Can I see him?”

“No love. Cole is somewhere else.”

“Where?”

“I don’t know. Cole has gone somewhere none of us have ever gone before.”

There was a pause as Alli fell asleep. Derik looked at nothing, cuddling his sleeping daughter while swaying back and forth. She didn’t see his tears.

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