Time to Take a Chance

Becca sat in the uncomfortable plastic chair next to the hospital bed waiting for her best friend, Thomas, to wake up from the coma he had been in for over two months. The doctors had been letting her stay with him as long and as often as she wanted to. She figured they didn’t think he was going to wake up and were giving her time to grieve. 

She looked up when the door to the room opened. Doctor Jing stepped into the room. “Good evening, Becca,” he said, walking over to the far side of the bed and taking Thomas’ vital signs. 

“Good evening, Doctor Jing,” she said.

“How long have you been here today?” He asked.

Becca shook her head. “Since sun rise. There’s been no change,” she said.

Doctor Jing nodded. “I wasn’t expecting any. You know we don’t expect Thomas to wake,” he said. 

“You tell me that every day. And I always tell you I don’t believe you. He’s breathing on his own and when you do the scans, you always find brain activity,” she said.

“True, but from everything we have found, he should have woken up on his own. There is no reason he hasn’t.” Doctor Jing said.

She looked from Doctor Jing to Thomas and back. When her eyes touched Thomas a second time, she noticed the lines around his eyes were softer. He looked relaxed, which he hadn’t only moments before. She leaned forward, running the tips of her left hand over the lines on his forehead. Thomas’ eyelids fluttered, but didn’t open. “Doctor Jing?” She questioned, excitement filling her voice.

He stepped closer, his gaze focused on her hand and Thomas’ face. “I saw. Have you been talking to him today?” He asked.

She shook her head. “No, just sitting here, so he wasn’t alone,” she said.

“Try talking to him. See if you can bring him farther out,” he said.

Becca slid the chair closer to the bed and spoke. “T, you need to wake up now. You’ve been asleep for too long. Come on, come back to me,” she said.

Thomas’ eyes fluttered, but still didn’t open. The fingers in her hands stretched and closed over hers. She looked down at their hand before looking back up at his face. 

Doctor Jing’s voice came from behind her. “Keep talking,” he said.

Becca lifted her face to look at Thomas’ face. His eyes were still fluttering. “T. Please. Come back. There’s so many plans left. You were supposed to move up to the majors next year. I want to see you play for the Cowboys,” she said.

The steady beep of the heart monitor sped up a few numbers, getting closer to what it should have been. The grip on her hand tightened again. 

Thomas’ mouth opened slightly. His tongue poking out and running across his lower lip. Becca and Doctor Jing stood there, watching to see if he would fully wake. Doctor Jing moved over to the machines, taking notes on the clipboard he held. He said nothing to Becca as they waited. Nothing more happened. Thomas’ mouth closed and his entire body relaxed a second time, his hand slipping out of Becca’s.

She looked up at Doctor Jing. “Did you get any more information on what happened?” She asked. 

He stepped back and focused on her. “Not much. I know they found the car having rolled at least twice out on Old River Road. I’ll have the nurse bring you a copy of what the officers let us have. Maybe they will let you know more if you call.” He said.

She nodded. “I doubt it. Usually they only let family know information,” she said, her voice sounding tired. “I’m not family.”

“I’m sorry about that.” Doctor Jing said. He looked at Thomas once more before focusing on Becca again. “If anything else happens, use the call button. I have to make rounds. I will be back once I’m done to check on him again.” He walked out of the room, leaving her alone with Thomas. 

She focused on him again. “Come on, T. I can’t lose you,” she whispered. Holding his hand lightly in her own, she sat at there as she had for so many days. Letting her mind drift, she leaned forward and rested her head against his arm for just a few minutes. The moment her head touched her arm, she drifted off to sleep, feeling his heart beat against her cheek. 

Becca felt something touching her head, smoothing from the top of her head down to her shoulder. She opened her eyes but didn’t move. The feeling was so pleasant, she wondered vaguely if she was still sleeping. There was a gruff cough followed by a voice that made her heart soar. “Bec, I know you’re awake.” 

She lifted her head, feeling his hand slid away as she pulled back from his touch. “You’re awake,” she squeaked, reaching for the call button hanging on the edge of the bed. She pushed it, looking at Thomas and absorbing the fact he was awake and talking.

“Yeah,” he looked around the white room. “What in the world is going on?” He asked.

“You were in an accident two and a half months ago. What’s the last thing you remember?” She asked.

He leaned his head back against the pillow behind his head. “Driving home from Anna’s house. We had argued, she dumped me,” he said.

Before he could finish the sentence, the door opened and Doctor Jing slipped through the doorway. “Nice to see you awake,” he said, stepping over and taking Thomas’ vital signs once again. He smiled, looking down at the clipboard. 

Thomas looked up at Doctor Jing without letting go of Becca’s hand. “As I told Becca, I’m awake. But I’m not sure what happened. Last thing I remember was being dumped by my girlfriend and driving down Old River Road,” Thomas said.

Doctor Jing nodded. “That was almost three months ago, now. You’ve been in a coma,” he said. 

Thomas blinked. “Okay, so I’ve been asleep for three months.” He looked at Becca. “How long have you been here?”

She blushed. Doctor Jing answered. “She’s been here every day. Most nights she stays either napping in here or on the couch in the waiting room,” he said.

Thomas looked at her, his expression odd. But when he spoke, he directed his question to Doctor Jing. “Have my parents been here?”

Doctor Jing’s serene smile faded. “Not since you were moved to a private room. Your mother wasn’t handling the situation well.” He said.

Thomas nodded. “She probably freaked when I got hurt. And went apoplectic about my car.” There was no humor in his voice when he continued. “She hated the thing from the moment I bought it.”

Becca stood, letting his hand slip once more from hers. “I’m going to go call them and tell them you are awake. They will want to see you,” she said. He let her go, and she didn’t look back at him as she went out the door. Suddenly, all she wanted or needed was a few minutes to herself.

She walked down to the waiting room, pulling out her phone as she entered the room. Dialing his parents’ number from memory, she waited to see who would pick up. 

Becca was pleasantly surprised when it was his grandfather’s voice that came on the line. “Good morning.”

“Good morning, Joshua. I’m calling with news about Thomas,” she said.

There was a hesitation over the line before he spoke again, his voice tinted with fear. “What happened?”

“He woke up, seems to be okay. I think the doctors are hopeful of a complete recovery,” she said.

Another change of tone had her worrying. “I will let the family know.” He hung up without saying anything else.

Becca wasn’t hopeful that any of them would come to see him. She put the phone down and walked back to his room. She gave a soft knock to announce herself before pushing the door open and stepping into the room. Thomas lay on the bed, though now the head of had been lifted, so he was more sitting up than laying down. He was also alone. “Hi,” she whispered, moving forward and reclaiming the chair she had vacated to make the phone call.

His smile was radiant. “How did the call go?” He asked.

She sighed. “Your grandfather answered. He said he would let the rest of the family know,” she said, figuring the truth was better than lying to him. He knew his family as well as she did. They weren’t a loving bunch. “Did you want me to call anyone else?” She asked.

He shook his head. “No point. Doctor said I’ve got a couple of weeks in here before they’re going to turn me loose. Something about physical therapy and monitoring me,” he said.

“So they think you are going to recover completely?” She asked, unable to hide the hint of fear in her voice.

“From what Doctor Jing said, yes. He’s a bit worried about my leg, but other than that, he says I should be fine,” he said, reaching out toward her to take her hand where it rested on the railing of the bed. 

She tilted her head as she asked, “what’s wrong with your leg?”

“Apparently, the car messed up my right hip some. He says there’s a good chance I won’t be playing ball again anytime soon if ever,” he said.

“Oh, I’m so sorry.” She gripped his hand. He had played ball as long as she could remember. She had thought it was his dream, but he didn’t look all that upset that he couldn’t play now.

His next words confirmed her suspicions. “It’s not a big deal. It has been mostly my father’s dream for me not mine. I went along with it because it was easy and fun, but I wasn’t going any farther than college ball with it. I have other plans for after school,” he said.

Becca shifted in the uncomfortable chair. “What are you planning?” She was worried he was thinking of moving away and she would never see him again.

He grinned. “I’m thinking about asking a girl I know out. I think it might lead to something,” he said.

She felt her heart shatter. He had always had his pick of the girls in school, and she wondered who had caught his attention. “That’s good. You should be happy,” she said, knowing she sounded anything but happy for him.

He tugged her hand free from the railing and leaned forward so he could bring it to his lips. The smile on his lips brightened his eyes. “You are a silly woman, Bec. I can see in your eyes that you’re trying to figure out who I am thinking of. You have no idea that it’s you.” He paused, watching the information settle onto her face. The shock in her eyes at his kissing her knuckles turning to wonder.

“Me?” she squeaked. “Why would you want to date me when you could date any girl in school? Most of them throw themselves at you on a regular basis.” 

He shook his head. She really didn’t know how wonderful she was. How important to him she had always been. It was long past the time to tell her. “Becca, we’ve known each other longer than I’ve known anyone but my own family. You’ve been my best friend and confidant for almost as long. How can you not know how much you mean to me?” He asked.

She didn’t know what to say. She just looked at him. 

He continued. “So, are you will to see if there’s anything here?” He asked, looking scared.

She nodded, still unable to speak. He lifted her hand and kissed the back of her knuckles again. “Thank you.”

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