Blister Sister: Part One
On a Monday just past four in the afternoon, Mother, dressed in her secondhand dress and faux-leather heels, drove a little faster than normal—which was still relatively slow. I was seated in the front seat of Ben’s battered sedan. Every few minutes a piercing pain drove up my left side causing me to let out a muffled moan, which gave Mother a reason to pat her hand on my shoulder and offer out a sympathetic smile.
This was an unusual ride, given the fact I was headed for the hospital, and Mother’s live in lover, Ben, who was habitually attached to the front seat, was dutifully sulking in the back. I was so accustomed to seeing Ben’s broad back hunched over in the front that upon spotting him there, behind me, sprawled out in excess of half the seat with his socked feet propped up on Mother’s weather-beaten briefcase, I swore to myself I was dreaming. But if I was dreaming I thought, then surely when I had shut my eyes and then peered out again, Ben would have vanished.
Looking at Ben, one might conclude he was sick himself. His face was yellow, or something akin to yellow, and nearly drained of luster, the whites of his eyes markedly pink against the background of his white shirt and black suit. With his lump of a belly, he resembled an overfed daylight vampire.
At four-thirty, we stepped into the first wing of the hospital. In the waiting room I devoured Mother’s attention. I needed it. I longed for it. And I was willing to pay the cost of pain. As we sat there together, Mother wasn’t talking about herself or squabbling with Ben. She was with me.
Always before in the times we lived with my stepfather Drake, if I was ill Mother was overly attentive to my needs, setting aside her tasks to bring me medicine, hot fluids and hugs. I still thought of her attentiveness each time I refused to drink apple juice, how she’d long ago dissolved the bitter aspirin in the juice as a remedy to lower my fever. I never imagined when I grew older and our circumstances changed that my mother wouldn’t be there whenever I needed her.
Once inside the second floor hospital room, a small drab area with a thin gray pull curtain, I feared the worse. In situations concerning illness my morbid thoughts take center stage. As I rested on the hospital bed, clenching in pain, trying to subdue the bubbling pressure pulsating in my gut, the curtain of my mind opened to a melancholic first act. Did I want an open casket? I ought to definitely be buried back in my hometown in California, not here on the east coast. Would my freshman crush, Jeff, come to the funeral?
I would have continued had my thoughts not been interrupted by Ben’s shouts resounding down the corridor. “Why haven’t you attended to her? Why are you taking so damn long?” he yelled.
I supposed Ben’s anger was his way of showing he cared, but his hollering, whether motivated from a good place or not, left me feeling terribly shamed. Mother on the other hand seemed completely unmoved by Ben’s remarks. Instead of pulling back in embarrassment, she remained steadfastly focused on me, even so much as making the effort to bring me a cup of crushed ice. I was a bit uncomfortable, accepting the attention from my doting mother, a parent who had just the day before acted so aloof and distant, wrapped up in her own misgivings about her job and second guessing her decision to move in with Ben, that she hadn’t even remarked on my arriving home past the dinner curfew—a curfew which was quite ironic, since there was rarely any dinner prepared.
An attractive doctor entered the room, endowed with the looks of super combo-order of Jimmy Stewart and the father from Leave It to Beaver. Mother, as I expected, sat upright smiling fully. After a click of his wide jaw, the doctor scratched the center of his dimpled chin, and smiled. “We’ve finished most of the tests. And we are now just waiting for the x-ray technician. It should not be more than a few more minutes. How are you feeling?”
“The pains are not so bad anymore,” I said.
Just then Ben, uncouth in appearance, with his dress shirt unbuttoned midway exposing his undershirt and the top of his thick carpet of chest hair, barged in and stared down the doctor. “Might I suggest you find out what the Hell is going on?”
The doctor, averting his eyes from Ben, looked at me. “Excuse me. I’ll be back in a moment.” The billowing tail of the doctor’s coat floated past the foot of my bed and trailed out of the room. Mother rolled her eyes to the ceiling, hesitated and hovered there a moment, and then focused back on me. Ben’s look was incredulous. After kicking the foot of my bed, he backed away into the corner. There, lurking in the shadows like a chastised child, he fingered his wiry hair, setting down a mass of his cowlick before most of the strands sprung back up in greeting. Then he sneered in the direction of the door, sat down with a severe sigh, made a half-stretch flashing his sweat rings, and shot out a raunchy smell resembling earwax and bacon grease.
Blister Sisters. That’s what we had called each other, my childhood friend Jane McNeil and I. When we were seven years of age we had rubbed the opened raw blisters on the palms of our hands together and proclaimed an all-binding pact: Blister Sisters Forever! It was easy. We already had the blisters from the countless hours of swinging across the monkey bars. It was painless. We didn’t have to pierce our thumbs to draw blood like the Blood Sisters did. As Blister Sisters, whenever we were in trouble or worried we had each other to lean on. Even from across the miles from the east border to the west border we phoned or wrote.
In the hospital bed, dreading the news the doctor was carrying inside the x-ray envelope, I thought about my Blister Sister. I pictured her with her Tahoe blue eyes and golden-straw pigtails. And standing next to her was Ben’s chubby little daughter, Shara, holding my dog Justice, and beside them stood my skinny friend Renny with her oversized nostrils, and lastly stood my nana and my nano with a platter of homemade pizza. They were all in my hospital room smiling over me, surrounding my bed with their loving auras; until, with the flash of the x-ray display board, they were gone.
The x-ray revealed a large mass on my lower left side. The doctor reported there were several ailments that could be causing the mass. He was concerned it might be cancer. On hearing the word I went into a semi-state of shock. The room started spinning and I wanted to run back home. Wherever home was.
Based on True Events
© Everyday Aspergers, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. http://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com