The Appointment - Conclusion
If the word “hospital” was ever spoken, I don’t remember hearing it. Dad went to work each day, still weakened from his own recent health ordeal, while my grandparents moved in to care for us during the early mornings and late afternoons. Their retirement and our school schedule led logistically to this solution—disrupt as little as possible.
We eventually went to visit Mom at a very big place, at the end of a long car ride. The back seat of my grandparents' sedan had a leather bench with no safety belts. Smoke from my grandfather's cigarettes fogged the large rollup windows and our view of the passing world outside. The building we entered had long dark halls with shiny hard floors. We spoke in hushed tones and headed into a small room that smelled of antiseptic and sterilized linen. Mom was not there.
I was excited and energized by the reunion. It had been a strange week, though school was familiar and took up the majority of my days. I bounced back and forth from the room’s window to the hallway, being careful to keep my body in the room and only peek out around the wooden doorframe. My summer haircut was still fresh, buzzed close to my scalp for easy maintenance and temperature control.
My mother later told me that as she returned from a trip to the bathroom down the hall, shuffling slowly back to her room, she saw me before I spotted her. My head, seemingly disembodied and looking like a fuzzy grape from a distance, searched the opposite way for some sign of her approach.
I ran toward her when she called my name, wanting nothing more than a much-needed hug. She cautioned me to slow and told me her stomach was sore, but embraced me like the dawn of a new day. We were reunited, and although things at home would operate at a slower pace for a while, a return to normal was underway. We would have at least several years to relish the love and comfort that only family brings. Good times were ahead, and the crisp chill of Autumn was in the air and underfoot.