Chapter 20 - Hospital Connection

“Yessssss!”  May yelled as Daniel tossed her body upwards but only to catch her two legs and flip her over his shoulders like he did at the wedding gala. 

Daniel laughed as she hung on to him for dear life.  But that wasn’t enough guarantee for him.  “Yes, what?”

“Yes, whatever you want!”  She yelped and grabbed on to the back of his jacket.  “Let me down.”

“I want to hear you say it first!”  Daniel took one step forward, closer to the pond.

“Yes, I’ll be your wife!”  She started hitting his butt with her dangling arms.  “Let me down now!”

Finally, he let her down slowly and sat her on the rock by the side of the pond. Still trying to calm her heartbeat and catch her breath, May was caught off guard when he started to get down on one knee in front of her.  “Right here before the Maker of Heavens and Earth, I promise to make you the happiest wife!  But if ever I slip and make you fall, which I probably will.”  He grins like a clown, an adorable clown.  “Please know I will land first so you can fall on me!” 

May’s heart should have been melted; but her butt was sitting on a freezing cold rock and the joy inside her was starting to make her tremble.  “Danny, you know I could never say no to you.  But if you ask me to stay out here a minute longer, it’s going to be the first!”

“Sorry!”  He quickly unzipped his jacket and took it off.  “Here you go!  Let’s get you back inside!” 

May held on to his jacket that was placed around her shoulders as Daniel scooped her up into his arms again.  He finally became aware of the real outdoor temperature as he walked them back into the warm penthouse.  “Brrrr!  Looks like it’s going to be a white wedding this weekend!”

“Prince Spencer!”  The friendly nurse put her head through the open curtain where a soon to be 10-year-old boy was bursting out in giggles.  "You are looking so energetic this morning!"

“I’m no prince!  I’m just Spencer!”  He gave the familiar nurse a hug and then went back to flipping the channels on the TV in his somewhat-private room.  Though there were 2 beds in the ward, but he was the only patient there at the moment.

“Well, you’re my prince!”  The nurse pinched his nose and nodded to the boy’s mother who was putting some of his things into a duffel bag.  “And your Mommy’s prince too!”

“Nurse Beth!  You forgot again!”  He gave an exaggerated deep sigh, one too mature for his age.  “She's my Mom, not Mommy!”

“Spencer!”  His mother gave him a reprimanding look.

But Spencer’s attention was on the TV screen.  “Look!  Mom!  Children’s Hospital is on TV!”

Both women looked at the TV and watched the news blurb of a young man and his daughter being interviewed on the early evening news.  But one of the women recognized them as her high school classmates.
Daniel got 7 hours of sleep before he was woken by the ringing of his cell phone at around 10 the next morning. 

“Danny!”  May’s anxious voice came across the line.  “It’s Tessa!”    

Fifteen minutes later, Daniel helped Bedina secure the baby seat in his SUV that was parked at the front entrance driveway.  Then he waved to May who was watching from the lobby with Tessa in her arms.  When May approached, Daniel couldn’t believe how swollen Tessa’s face was.  While May was buckling her into the car seat, he heard the baby’s wheezing and his heart practically dropped to his stomach.  When May was done, Tessa was looking at him with her big brown swollen eyes.  “Hi Baby Girl!  It’s a good thing I got practice doing this over the weekend, huh?” 

“Bahee!”  Upon hearing the baby’s soft whisper, his heart made a dive from his stomach to his feet causing him to look numbly at her.  He wished he had the magic power to make the swelling and wheezing go away.

“Danny?”  May had to remind him the urgency to get to the hospital. 

Five hours later, Tessa’s allergic reaction was brought under control but the attending doctor wanted to keep the baby overnight for further observation.  So at around 4 pm, Daniel drove Bedina back to the Penthouse to prepare an overnight bag for Tessa and May.  Tessa woke up near dinner time, but May was too famished to wait for Daniel’s return with the promise of food.  So she took the baby to the cafeteria and bought a bowl of soup to fill her empty stomach.  At the same time, she brought along the food provided by the hospital for Tessa.  However, the orange paste was not to the infant’s liking because she would not swallow it.  Instead, she pushed the food back out with her tongue right away.  Soon she started crying and refused to open her mouth to the orange paste.  Feeling rattled again, May tried to coo the baby.  

Then out of nowhere, a little boy appeared standing next to them.  Tessa stopped crying out of curiosity as soon as she noticed the boy.

"Those are carrots!"  Explained the boy.  "I don't think she likes carrots!"

May was startled by the boy who was looking at her with a set of clear blue eyes.  He was wearing pajamas with Spiderman prints.  Noticing he had an admission batch on his wrist, she smiled but was afraid to pat his hairless head.  "You are right! I don't think she likes this food." 

“Yeah, nobody likes hospital food!”  The boy grinned and held out his hand with a child-size chocolate pudding.  "She will like this!  My mom said I would only eat this when I was a baby!" 

Tessa reached for the pudding in the boy’s hand. 

"No, no, Tessa!" May took the pudding from Tessa and gave it back to the boy.  "This is your dessert!"

"That's okay!"  He gave it to Tessa again and presented another tub with his other hand.  "Nurse Beth gave me two tonight!"

A staff walked by and nodded at May with a smile and then she ruffled the boy's head.  "Looking good tonight, Spencer!"

"Thanks Nurse Grace!"  Spencer shouted back with a big smile.

A male nurse followed after Nurse Grace and did the same to the boy.  "Ready for your big day tomorrow, Spencer?"

"Yes!  11:15 sharp!  Be there!"  Spencer shouted back with excitement this time.

“We will!”  They both shouted back over their shoulders as they walked towards the exit.

Tessa had the pudding tub in her mouth so May had no choice but to take it away from her.  She started crying again.  May quickly read the label to make sure the pudding was free of nuts.  When May started to peel the cover off, Tessa stopped crying immediately and waited with anticipation as she watched every movement of her sister’s hands. 

“So your name is Spencer?”  Tessa started hitting May’s hands, babbling out nonsensical words to an adult’s ears.  She was trying to tell her older sister to hurry up.

Spencer nodded to May’s question and chuckled at the baby’s actions.  “She’s hungry!  She wants you to hurry up!”  May smiled when she realized somebody actually understood what her baby sister was saying.  Spencer turned back to May.  “I saw you and Tessa on TV this morning!”

“Really? This morning?”  May found it hard to believe they were still broadcasting what she considered ‘old’ news.

“Ah huh, her dad was carrying her!”  Spencer turned and looked around the cafeteria.   “Where is her Daddy?”

“He’s gone home to get some things for us.”  May realized how natural that sounded.  Then a text from Daniel came to her phone.  “Actually, he’s on his way here right now!”

“Cool!  I’ve never met a hero before!”  Spencer chirped as if he was about to meet superman. 

May could not help but chuckle light-heartedly at his comment.  “What about your Daddy?  Isn’t he your hero?”

“I don’t have one.”  Spencer shook his head.  “Mom said I don’t need a Daddy, I just have her and Mommy!”

This was not the kind of answer May was expecting from a child and she didn’t know how to respond to such a predicament.  All she did was smile at the young boy who took over the job of feeding Tessa.  He noticed the wrist batch on the baby and pointed to it.  “What is wrong with Tessa?”

“She had an allergic reaction this morning!”  May explained.  “We just found out she cannot eat peanuts.”

“Mom won’t let me eat nuts either!”  Spencer dug into the tub and scooped a big spoonful. 

“Oh, that’s too much for her!”  May had to stop him because it was too big of a scoop for Tessa.  “Here! Let me feed her so you can eat your dessert!”

The boy handed the cup back to May and sat down at the table.  He ripped open the cover of his pudding and tried to imitate the eating rhythm of Tessa’s. 

“So what is happening tomorrow at 11:15?”  May wondered.  She thought perhaps he was going to be in surgery but his earlier answered seemed too happy for such an ordeal. 

“My birthday party!”  Spencer gave a huge, proud grin.  “You and Tessa can come too!  It’s going to be over there!”  He pointed to the far corner opposite where they were sitting.  “I’m going to be 10 years old tomorrow morning at exactly 11:15!”

“Bahee!”  Tessa called out and Spencer turned around and spotted Daniel coming towards them with a plastic bag of food cartons. 

Daniel approached and gave the bag of food to May.  “Hello!  Who is this new friend here?”  He extended his hand for a handshake.  The boy shook the adult’s hand with zest.

“This is Spencer!”  May introduced the boy to Daniel.

“I saw you on TV this morning!”  Spencer told him as he watched Daniel lifting Tessa out of the highchair, kissing her on both cheeks.  Then he cradled her gently in his arms.  “You were carrying Tessa just like that!

“Really? You saw me on TV with Tessa?”  Daniel gave May a quick grin for reassurance that the child wasn’t making things up.  May nodded.

“Yes, and he told me he was eager to meet her Daddy when you texted me!”  May’s eyes hinted to him that they were once again the heroic family.

“I’ve never met a real hero person!”  Spencer chirped with pride. 

“Well, I think you are the real hero!  You are Spiderman!”  Daniel grinned.  Then he held up his wrist and glanced at the admission batch.  “You’ve been here since last week?”

Spencer nodded and Daniel did a quick glance around the busy cafeteria.  But when he didn’t see anyone who looked like the boy’s parents, he turned to May.  “Have you met his Mom and Dad?”

May shook her head and was about to tell him what she had learned from the boy about his same-sex parents.  But she was interjected by the boy who shouted towards the cafeteria entrance.  “Mom!”  He started waving his arms.  “Nurse Beth!  Mom!”

Spencer’s mom lifted her eyes to meet her son’s.  She smiled and waved to him until she recognized the people he was with.  Dropping her arms instantly, she gasped and turned around to face Beth and asked with a pair of pleading eyes.  “Could you fetch Spencer and bring him back to his room for me please?  I will meet him there!”

“Rebecca?”  Nurse Beth noticed the mother’s complexion turning ghastly but Rebecca dashed out of the cafeteria before she could say anything more.  So the nurse started walking towards Spencer. 

May and Daniel were expecting the woman whom Spencer referred to as ‘Mom’ to make her appearance again.  They thought the woman looked very familiar.  So familiar that the moment pulled them both into a twilight zone until Tessa woke them from their temporary trance.   “Ma-ma-ma-eee!” 

But it was Spencer’s voice and tapping on May’s arm that brought them both back to the Pacific Time Zone.  “Tessa is calling you!  Sounds like she is calling Mommy!”

Daniel handed Tessa over to May and the word mommy lingered on his eardrums.  So he studied the boy for a few more seconds.  “Is that your Mommy?” 

“No, that’s my Mom!”  Spencer turned his attention back to the baby.

“Spencer Miller!”  Nurse Beth called out when she was about three feet away.   “It’s time for …” She paused when she recognized the heroic family.  “Oh!  You are the … the … I saw you guys on TV this morning!”

Nurse Beth got excited as if she was meeting celebrities, much like Spencer’s initial reaction.  After shaking their hands and thanking them for their donation to the hospital, Nurse Beth apologized for her need to take Spencer away because his mom was in a hurry to tuck him into bed so she could go to work.  May and Daniel bid their goodnights to the boy.  After Nurse Beth and Spencer left the cafeteria, May finally said to Daniel.  “His mother looked like Rebecca Green.”

“Yeah, surprised she didn’t come in to say hi!”  Daniel vocalized his thoughts unintentionally.
They sat down without saying another word for almost a minute, because they were still stuck in shock land.  They were surprised Spencer’s mother was Pam’s best friend.  May’s mind was trying to figure out how Spencer got his last name.  She was trying not to jump to conclusion but her brain was working too fast for her to deny her own speculations.  

“Could Pam Miller be the Mommy he’s referring to?”  May analyzed aloud.  When she noticed Daniel looking at her with furrowed brows, she explained.  “Spencer said he has a Mom and a Mommy!” 

“What do you mean?”  Daniel was completely lost because in his mind, Spencer’s mom and mommy were but the same person.

“I don’t think there is a father in the picture.”  May tried to recall the boy’s exact words.  “He said his Mom told him he doesn’t need a Daddy, something about just his Mom and Mommy!”

When Daniel realized what May was trying to say, he couldn’t help but guffawed.

“Danny, it’s not funny!”  May gave him one of her pouty glare and he stopped laughing immediately.  “You know Pam and Rebecca were really good friends back in high school!”

“Yes, but … they were also very much into boys!”  Though he was trying hard to stifle his laughter, his chest was still rumbling with the remnants of it.  “They are not that type!”

“How would you know?”  May realized that was a stupid question given he used to date one of them. 

Daniel read her thoughts from her face and decided to ignore that subject.  “I don’t!  But I cannot picture them as a lesbian couple.”

“Maybe Pam flipped when you broke off the engagement!”  May knew internally she should have left that subject alone, but she was having a moment of weakness as a human being.

“That definitely didn’t happen!”  Daniel ascertained with his pointed finger.  “I know she went on dating other guys.”  He could tell May was having a woman moment again and decided to offer his thought about Spencer’s last name.  “Perhaps Rebecca married Pam’s brother?”

May’s expression looked as if a lightbulb just turned on in her head.  “That’s true!”  Then she sighed and spoke with compassion and empathy.  “She looks very tired.  Must be difficult to see your own child suffering with a disease!” 

May looked down at Tessa who was starting to fall asleep in her arms.  When she looked up, Daniel was looking at her with an amused smile.  “What is so funny?”

“You once told me Rebecca was the bitchiest-bitch in the whole high school!”  It had always puzzled Daniel what could have driven his sweet Little Beauty back in high school to give someone such a superlative - derogative description, especially Rebecca Green who wasn’t known for having such a personality at all.  “Do you remember?  We were in the library.  I have never seen you so angry.”

Of course May remembered, even to a point of how her body trembled every time her memory was triggered.  It was just a few weeks before the Provincial Exams.  Daniel had approached her in the library asking for help with finding a book.  She had told him to ask someone else and started to walk away from the front desk.  Daniel came after her wanting to know why she couldn’t help him and that was when she told him she didn’t want to have anything to do with people who associated with the bitchiest bitch in their high school.

“Shortly before you came in, Rebecca cornered me and said some really terrible things to me.”  May decided it was time to treat this incident as water under the bridge.

Daniel couldn’t picture a well-liked student like Rebecca could say anything unkind to an even more well-liked student.  “Like what?”

“Doesn’t matter now!”  May didn’t care to get into the details.

Daniel discerned it was something painful and that he should not pry; at least not at this time.  But he vocalized his thoughts.  “Why would she do that?  You two hardly know each other back then!”

May felt he was taking Rebecca’s side and her nerves were pricked.  “She was always protective of Pam, especially when it came to you.  Seems every time you and Pam had issues, they blame it on me.”

“That’s crazy!  I never told them I had a crush on you!”  Daniel found it hard to believe because he was certain he never told anyone about his feelings for her back in high school.  “How would they have known?”

May wanted to let bygone be bygone, but his words were stirring up her emotions again.  “I don’t know!  Maybe your Mom or Gram told them.  Rebecca latched out at me in the library on behalf of your Mom!  She got upset about the photo from the Christmas Dance!”

“The photo?”  There was only one Christmas Photo that came to his mind.  “I lost that as soon as I got it.  Why would my mom have it?”

“I don’t know!  Your mom sent your photo to me, along with the letter about your engagement.”

“My engagement?”  Daniel was completely befuddled, even more so about the letter.  “A letter about my engagement? What - when?”

“I was so mad at Rebecca because she deliberately pushed the entire shelf of books over.  I was on shelfing duty that day, so you can imagine how pissed I was when you came into the library with them.” 

Daniel pulled May into his arms and gave her a gentle kiss on her forehead.  “Sorry Shall-May-Ren!  I didn’t know!  I would have helped you put all those books back if I had known.”

May’s head was starting to spin because of her current state of exhaustion. An internal voice was telling her not to take this incident to be of substantial value and she listened.  She smiled and reciprocated with a peck on his lips.   “It’s not your fault, Danny!”

After placing the sleeping Tessa in his arms, she cleared the table of their take-out food containers.  As they headed out the cafeteria, May realized she no longer have a taste of bitter gall in her mouth when memories of Pam and her best friend came to her mind.  Not even as she thought about the time when Rebecca surprised her from behind by yanking hard on her ponytail and throttled her in a firm choking hold.  Rebecca was 5 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than her when they were in high school.  And when May was gagging for air, Rebecca pulled out an X-ACTO knife, threatening her to stay away from Daniel.  She was shocked to learn of Rebecca’s dark side just before high school graduation. 

When May came out of her reverie, she saw a pair of eyes looking at her with concern.  She then smiled and said to Daniel.  “With the horrible things his mother was capable of doing back in high school, I’m rather surprised her son turned out to be so gentle in spirit!”

Nobody's Child - Karen Young