Everyone assured Ailene that the surgery had been successful but watching the way little Scottie’s back seemed to ratchet and twist with each step made her follow up with surgeon after surgeon, specialist after specialist. Every last one reiterated that Scottie’s birth defect had been so severe that what Dr. Hanson had achieved was nothing short of miraculous.
“Yes, Scottikins?” Ailene smoothed her little boy’s hair, setting aside the drawings for that Talbot’s ad campaign.
“Can we please go back to Dr. Hanson and ask him to make me the way I was before?”
“But, baby, you can walk now!” Ailene felt like her heart itself was writhing in her chest, stretching and squeezing. Who could survive this kind of pain?
“It hurts. I don’t want to walk if it’s going to hurt like this.”
“Know what, angel? You don’t have to walk if it hurts. I’ll get your chair back.”
“Mummy, it hurts all the time. It hurts now. We need to ask Dr. Hanson to fix it so I’m like I was before. It didn’t hurt then.” Scottie was in his brace for bed so he couldn’t move very well, but he could see his mother’s tears. “Oh, Mummy, don’t cry anymore. Please!”
Richard Hanson, MD arrived home after the banquet in his honor to the cold silence of an empty house. Now he wished he’d asked Mrs. Beyer to stay tonight even though she annoyed him no end. Letting himself in, he quite deliberately did not think about yesterday’s botched surgery. Fifteen hours in the OR and all because he refused to go along with that woman’s hare-brained idea of reversing the initial surgery. Kid had pain when he walked? Dick Hanson would fix that.
Dick Hanson had been fascinated by the interplay between bone, sinew, tendon, and muscle since before he could read. He’d never wanted to be anything but a surgeon like his Dad.
Not tonight. Tonight after all those accolades and all that acclaim, the only thing Dick Hanson felt was a little queasy. No one could ever find out why he went back in on that kid. Certainly, that wrung-out rag of a mother would keep her mouth shut. He poured himself three fingers of Scotch and dropped into his chair.
Ailene moved back to her mother’s home after the funeral. People in the town were curious but did their whispering at a polite distance. Ailene knew they were talking and didn’t care. She didn’t care what anyone thought about the small body brace she brought with her when she moved home. She went back to work at McBridey’s Ladies’ Apparel and took care of Mother.
In all their gossip, the good people of the town never would have guessed what Ailene was up to until all hours of the night. None could have believed that she was writing and illustrating a graphic novel about Scottie’s life and specifically about his surgeries.
Until it was published.
© Remington Write 2020. All Rights Reserved.
In August 2020, AleXander Hirka set himself the challenge of creating a daily digital collage based on an image and a concept. The image is that of the antique Omega watch that belonged to his Mom and the concept is Time. In September 2020, the Anomalous Duo is challenging themselves to write a short piece of fiction for each collage — the Our Hours project.