It definitely did not feel like the start of the holidays to Caitlin. Most of her hours were spent at the hospital with her mother. It was all very slow, and she felt listless as the days wore on. There seemed to be nothing to say.
"You're father's people are the most unfriendliest people in the world," her mother spoke up just when Caitlin was hoping they'd go home and let her brother rest. He wasn't really ready to talk, either. Even though, he'd been happy to see her along with the rest of the family. Still it was as if they were waiting for something else to fall apart. One test after another. Her brother had to get used to life without legs. But first there was an infection in his lungs. It seemed he'd caught more than a cold while in the hospital.
Caitlin wasn't sure what her mother was talking about as they were sitting in the waiting room.
"Don't give me that look." Her mother warned.
Caitlin supposed it was just tired talk. Nothing more. She knew her mother was at her wits end. It was hard for her to look at her boy. But he still had a smile and head, all shaved, like he might be ready to get back in the action.
"You're just like them." Her mother gave her the eye. Still Caitlin couldn't speak up. She was tired, too.
"You have that nice young man, bring you all the way out here on Thanksgiving, and you..you hardly say a word." She shook her head.
Caitlin festered a frown as if she really didn't need to hear this now.
"One day, you'll wish, you would have appreciated him." Her mother evidently said her peace and went off to talk to a nurse.
Caitlin only fumed as she listened to her mother's words over and over in her head. Her mother had no idea how much effort it took for her to be happy. She felt as if her arms might as well have been tied down and her head was in an annoying place. She needed sleep, a good hot shower, a cup of tea and of course her favorite flannel pajamas. Maybe she was seriously coming down with something. But then she saw him with Ed.
Gavin brought Ed to the hospital.
It was the strangest thing to see the two of them together. The idea that Ed was Gavin's doppelganger made Caitlin smile.
"He was anxious to see you," Gavin said and handed her a cup of simple vanilla soft serve. "Ed, here, says you don't like anything on your ice cream."
Caitlin nodded. She hugged Ed who was a lot heavier than Gavin.
"I like your friend," Ed said. He was in his red hoodie and jean shorts. He still dressed as if it might be May instead of November. "You guys gonna stay for Christmas?" He looked at Gavin, as if his next visit couldn't come soon enough. "He took me to the library. Escorted me and my date to the mall."
"I dunno." Caitlin took her ice cream. She would have hugged Gavin, but she thanked him for the ice cream first.