His dad had a stroke, the doctors told Pete and his mom. His condition was very precarious, as a main artery had to be patched up, but do not worry too much, the doctors assured, his dad was in safe hands. His mom cried and teared non-stop. She grabbed onto Pete’s arms and hands, something she wouldn’t have dared to do before, and Pete did not flinch a wink. He occasionally lent upon his mom as well, but it was only for a moment, before he propped back in a sturdy position. The lack of connection between him and his mom was starting to be unveiled.
“Pete,” his mom sobbed, “Do you think dad will be okay? He will be…?”
Pete put his hand on his mom’s shoulder and replied, “Of course, mom, of course.”
Wiping her tear drop, she repeated, “Of course, of course,” very softly, so softly that Pete had to strain to hear it. He heard his mom mutter under her breath very quickly, and felt her grip tighten. Pete knew she was praying hard. Pete’s mind turned off automatically, to shut out her religious and superstitious mutterings. It’s not like it’s going to help, Pete thought to himself. Well, it could help her to calm down, leave the responsibility on God, leave all her worries to rest upon the omnipotent and omniscient God – but it won’t help him. Pete’s heart sank and floated back up and he felt his back muscles spazz due to an involuntary shiver. But something’s gotta help Dad, Pete thought, Please, somebody help him.
Seconds passed, just as minutes passed – and in no time at all, hours passed. While Pete’s mom sat on the waiting benches with downcast eyes, Pete paced impatiently up and down the room, his thoughts shooting off in all directions. He was confused about his state of mind, as he seemed to be thinking about the most trivial things when the most important thing right now was to think about whether his dad would be okay. He thought about Katie, about Chris and his cronies and about the school teachers he hated, about the food that he ate the day before, or the dreams he had a few days ago. It was rather strange – Pete thought whether all these off topic thoughts were just there to soothe his mind, because he really did feel rather sad, and needed to keep his mind off the sadness – and yet he felt bad about it as it felt as if he didn’t care about dad, even though he did.
The doors opened – but it wasn’t dad. Pete felt stupid about being fooled. And then he sighed. His mom looked up for a while, and stared searchingly into Pete’s eyes, but found no comfort as Pete was looking up somewhere else, oblivious to her. She wondered how Pete was feeling – their family relationship wasn’t too great, she knew, but it was his dad after all. She prayed again for her husband’s health – but did not pray for Pete, because she knew Pete wouldn’t feel too great that she was praying for him. She was terribly disappointed of course – that he lost faith – but could no find no reason good enough for him to make him convert back. She was not a talented evangelist at all. She asks God once or twice a week why Pete had decided to change, but God could not explain it either. Pete’s mom sometimes felt extremely frustrated and annoyed because it seemed as if it was somehow her fault that she could not bring up her child in a nice fashion. The other moms she met always talked about how good their child was at school, or what a lovely manner he or she had – and Pete’s mom had nothing to say. Pete got the minimum grades, wasn’t involved in any community services and played no instrument (other than that dreaded electric guitar). He was everything a normal mom would possibly not want. Pete’s mom tapped her foot once, and closed her eyes tight. She then prayed.
Pete’s mom loved Pete very much. Pete loved his mom very much – obviously and needless to say. However, both of them think in cross purposes, assuming that they don’t love each other – that their family is dysfunctional. Since the two have crossed over in completely different directions they each feel as if they are being unfair on themselves by this unrequited love. Unrequited love is like two jig-saw pieces stuck together, but whereas one side fits perfectly, the other side has some trouble fitting in. If each piece had a clasp, some sort of grip, and also a counterpart to the clasp – so a ‘holder’ one could say, the grip of one piece fits in cozily into the other’s ‘holder’ whereas this piece’s grip fits in too clumsily into the other holder.
A doctor came out. He motioned towards Pete and his mom to come over. His expression gave away hints of bad news.
“He has had it very bad – the frontal lobes have been severely damaged, and the arteries that travel to the brain have collapsed. I am very sorry – so sorry – but I don’t think he can make it,” the doctor said very apologetically. He portrayed all the emotions correctly and smoothly.
Pete could feel his throat burn and his eyes become heavy. He could imagine the tears forming behind his eyeballs. His mother’s eyes gave way to the tears first though. One drop fell down her cheek, and then more – one after the other. The doctor took her hand and squeezed it in a gentle way, and went back into the operations room. Pete let it go, and felt his cheek become wet with a streak of tear. He turned round and hugged his mom tightly, and his mom returned in a submissive manner – as if she was standing helpless watching the world dissolve around her. It was suddenly at this moment that both of them strangely realized that they loved each other very much, and that any conflicts and problems, any difficulties and stress between them did not matter anymore. Pete whispered, “Don’t cry, mom, please…” but his mom cried even more, and gradually turned into a muffled wail. Pete guided his mom out of the waiting room, and took her home.