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Okey Dokey…Here is the last chapter to this epic love story. I have to say I didn’t expect this kind of wonderful reaction and neither did the boys so, Thank you! It makes me feel so proud and blessed to have them both to call my friends.
Also it’s great to see so many of my fellow “hopeless romantics”.
Chapter Seven….the conclusion.
It has been almost two weeks now since we broke Shawn’s soul with the news that he would be forever wheelchair bound. Every day I went to see him and every day he refused me. Slowly, little by little my heart was breaking into pieces and the hurt I felt was starting to overwhelm me. In an act of total desperation I actually crawled on my knees into ICU and begged him to talk to me. I held his cold hand in mine and pleaded with him to let me in but…nothing.
So I settled for sneaking in while he was sleeping and watching over him like some kind of demented guardian angel. I wanted to know everything about his treatments and when his skin grafts would start. I must have driven the staff nuts but it was the only way I could be a part of it all.
Taylor and Mike convinced me day after day to stick with it and not give up but I must admit that I was loosing hope. I have never cried so much in my entire life and I felt as though I were watching a movie with a tragic story line. The world went about its business and I was left stuck, a waking limbo moving neither forward nor back.
There were times when I would just rage against God. Demanding to know why this had happened and why now? When I had risked it all and chose to let myself really love someone with all my heart. No answers came only the loneliness at night.
One evening when I was once again sitting at Shawn’s bedside it started to rain. Lighting lit the sky, it was amazing. A compulsion came over me to go out in the storm. Like I was being led by a force bigger than I was. Normally I would have scoffed at such a feeling but I just couldn’t refuse this “request”. Leaving Shawn and with no protection against the cold I made my way out into the driving rain.
It hit my skin so hard it stung and my clothes were soaked in seconds. I wandered a few streets down to a small park I often went to after sitting with Shawn. It seemed to give me great comfort to sit and just let it all go.
So that’s where I found myself at almost 2am. Sitting under my favorite tree just “being”. It sounds insane I know but I have never felt such peace before. It was like the storm was taking on all my hurt and desperation and turning it into something magnificent. I knew that things could not go on this way. I made up my mind to plead my case to Shawn one final time. I couldn’t make him feel something different. The only person I had control over was me.
Now don’t misunderstand. The thought of everything between us being over tore my heart out but I didn’t want the love that I felt for Shawn turning into something ugly and bitter. If things went on this way, that’s exactly what would happen. Standing took all my strength and going back into that ICU ward was going to take maybe more courage than I had but I was going to try.
As I walked back to Shawn’s “room” people stopped to stare at the stupid man who went out in the rain. I am sure I looked slightly insane but I guess my determined stride kept everyone at a distance. Stopping before Shawn’s bed I took a shuddering breath.
His eyes were open but as was becoming normal they seemed to see nothing. I closed my eyes and said a silent prayer of strength. I sat for one last time on the hard chair that had become my home over the past weeks. Shawn’s hand was still lifeless but I took it anyway and brought it to my lips. Kissing each knuckle I pressed his palm to my cheek.
“Shawn, I have some things I need to say to you. I don’t know if you want to listen but for the sake of our love I need to get this off my chest.” My voice wobbled and I had to stop and clear my throat.
“Do you remember when you saved me from that fire? You were larger than life to me and even though you aren’t standing you still are. I am in awe of your courage and your kindness and you have such an amazing canlı bahis capacity to see the good side to everything.”
“I believe that spark is still somewhere inside. You’ve just chosen to bury it out of anger and hurt. I know that I can’t possibly understand what you’re going through but when you hurt, so do I. Don’t you see? We are one you and I.” I had to walk away for a minute and find something to wipe my face and compose myself. A kind nurse handed me a towel and left us alone.
I sat once more and vowed to finish what I had started. “Shawn, you are the first person I have been completely open with. I have never loved anyone like this before. So I am going to leave the decision up to you. Being here and seeing you like this is ripping my guts out. I am so desperate to comfort you that I am making myself ill. I will wait for as long as there is the hope that one day you come to your senses and let me in. It’s up to you now.” I thought I was going to vomit. I stood and looked at that beautiful face. I bent and kissed him. It was like kissing a wax statue. “You know how to find me.” And with that I left.
I made it as far as the door to the bathroom and sagged to the floor. God, what have I done?!
It took all my willpower not to take Anthony in my arms and beg for forgiveness for hurting him so badly. I was playing the coward, the victim and boy was I convincing! It was like I was testing the depth of his commitment to me and if he left I was right in thinking that he wouldn’t stay. So I pushed him away with everything in me and still he came and sat with me.
I knew he came at night when I slept. The nurses all told me they could not believe how devoted he was and what an asshole I was being. It was becoming so easy just to stay inside myself and absorb the pain. I was so angry at everyone. All those lucky bastards who could walk. What did they contribute to society? I was a fucking fire fighter for Christ’s sake and what happens? I get my legs taken away!!
I hadn’t really cried since I found out about my injury. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop. I can be a stubborn son-of-a-bitch and once I have painted myself into a corner it’s very hard for me to admit I was being a jerk. But this is Anthony we are talking about. He had such a big place in my life and in my heart and if it was indeed too late I don’t think I could survive.
I closed my eyes and tried to block out the images of Anthony leaving his heart lying open. So desperate for me to just talk to him or let him comfort me. I noticed that he had lost some weight and he looked as though he hadn’t slept in weeks.
I heard someone clear their throat. “Hi Shawn.” Aww crap it was Taylor. Now I was really going to get an ass chewing. Taylor loved Anthony and was very protective of him. But now he was also my friend and I knew that as much as he might have wanted to choke me, he would torture himself over hurting my feelings.
I saved him the trouble. “I guess you’ve talked with Anthony today?” I didn’t pause long enough to let him answer. “I know….I am a fucking idiot. Taylor I don’t know what to do. I am still feeling pretty sorry for myself but I can swallow enough pride to beg him to give me another chance.” Taylor sighed with obvious frustration.
“Don’t you get it? That’s not what Anthony wants. He doesn’t want you to grovel or beg. He knows you’re hurting Shawn. All he wants is for you to talk to him about how you’re feeling and let him comfort you. That’s all…. That’s it.” Taylor sat down and looked at me…hard. Like he was looking inside my soul. Searching for something.
“Shawn, Anthony adores you. Do you know that when we thought maybe you weren’t going to make it, he made a deal with God?”
My eyes widened. “What kind of deal?”
“He asked God that if there was a choice for him to be taken in your place. Now in the past Anthony has always been terrified of being hurt or vulnerable so the fact that he did that, tells me how much he truly loves you.”
I closed my eyes and absorbed that information. What had I done to deserve someone so incredible? I knew I had to do something but what? I couldn’t exactly leap out of bed and go carry him off somewhere bahis siteleri and make it all up to him. “Taylor, what do I do? I don’t want to loose him.”
“Ok. I can ask him to come back because you have some things you want to tell him. I know Anthony, he’ll come don’t worry.” Taylor bent and hugged me as much as he could with my bandages still covering most of me. “It’s all going to be ok. You just have to be honest with him about what you’re going through.”
Taylor winked at me and left. He was such a caring guy. Always wanting to keep the peace and mend bridges. So now I guess I had to lay here and wait and pray that he could convince Anthony to hear what I had to say.
Anthony and Shawn*
After I all but gave Shawn an ultimatum time seemed to slow down. I knew I did the right thing not only for me but also for us. I had even spoken with Shawn’s Captain and asked his advice. He said that even though Shawn would no longer be able to use his body like he used to his mind and soul were still very much intact. “It may take him a while but he’ll come back to his unit. They are his family. You haven’t mentioned anything so I assume he hasn’t told you about his?” I shook my head no. “He lost them..all of them in a car accident. It was one of the worst pile ups that freeway has ever seen. That’s a lot of the reason why he became who he is. He knows what it’s like to loose so much and doesn’t want that for anyone.”
That took my breath away. I understood him more now. “I know he’s being an ass now but that will all sort itself out. Just stick it out, you’ll see I’m right.” I saw it then. Captain Whalen was playing father to them all. He was such a huge bear of a man but I knew that he would give his life for his “sons”. I shook his hand and thanked him for his words of encouragement. “You know how to find me. I’m here for both of you.”
That evening back at Taylor and Mike’s place they were involved in an old movie while I stared out the window and tried to be interested in the world going by. I heard Taylor and Mike talking quietly and then suddenly Taylor stood and walked over to me. “Ok buddy let’s go.” I looked at him in confusion. “Wait. Where are we going?”
“Well I spoke to a certain fireman and he needs to talk with you. Anthony you really need to hear what he has to say.”
A lump formed in my throat. So maybe this was it? He was going to tell me to go away once and for all? I looked at Taylor trying to read his face but he was so good at hiding things. I sighed and walked with him down to the street where he parked his car. He must have realized I was nervous. “Hey…it’s alright. It’s going to be ok.” That gave me some hope.
It was getting late and I hoped that Shawn wasn’t sleeping yet. We stopped outside the main entrance to the hospital. I started to shake a little. Taylor hugged me tightly against him. “Just give him a chance. He’s hurting and scared to death and the thing he needs most right now is you. And it will always be you.” He let me go and shoved me gently out of the car. I bent down to look at him through the window. “You’re kind of special you know?” Taylor blushed and ducked his head. I watched him drive away and made my way slowly to the ICU.
It was so quiet and most of the patients were sleeping. All that could be heard was monitors beeping and the soft chatter of the nurses. I wondered how long Shawn would need to be here for. He was certainly past the critical stage and when his grafts started he would be moved to the burns unit. He still had such a long way to go before he could even leave the hospital all together and they still didn’t know if they could stabilize his spine enough to hold his weight in a wheelchair. Still so many questions with no answers. We were going to have to get used to taking life as it came until things really settled down.
I drew back the curtains of Shawn’s space, he was asleep. Well I was accustomed to waiting so that’s what I did. I let myself daydream a little about Shawn and I. God I hoped he would let me help him get through this but if his response was that he didn’t want me around anymore then I would respect his wishes. It would kill me but I would give him what he wanted.
Shawn bahis şirketleri whimpered a little and his eyes fluttered open. I stood and moved to where he could see me. “Hey handsome. Are you ok?” He looked happy and surprised to see me standing there. He smiled a little. “I’m ok. I just hurt. Nothing I’m not used to by now. So you spoke to Taylor?” I nodded yes. Shawn started to cry. Huge wracking sobs shook his body. My heart ached so much for him. I held him as much as I dared to. “Shh baby. You just go ahead and cry. It’s ok. I’m here.” After a few minutes his crying dwindled to quiet sniffles. “I need to say this ok so let me say it.” I didn’t say anything hoping he would realize he could speak freely. ” I am so sorry about the way I have been acting. I have been a real asshole and the thing is I can’t promise I’m not going to continue to be an asshole for a while. Anthony I am so angry right now but I’m working on that. I just need you with me and I know I can get through anything.” He paused waiting for me to comment. When I didn’t he continued.
“I don’t know how things are going to turn out and maybe I won’t be the same person but I want you to know I heard you the other day when you talked to me about having a spark and being courageous. That Shawn is still there and that’s the Shawn that’s going to beat this.” He stopped, out of breath and I knew his burns were hurting him.
I wanted so badly to take it all away but I knew my job was going to be tackling one hurdle at a time. “Now it’s my turn. Do you have any idea just how much I love you? When I thought you weren’t going to make it, I made a deal with God to take me instead. I don’t think I could make it without you anymore. But like you said we don’t know what’s going to happen so let’s make one promise. Let’s just do our best to be there for each other.” Shawn looked relieved and gave me a small smile. God how I had missed that smile!
A nurse came in just then to top up his pain meds. He felt so good that he even got flirty with her. “Ahhh…here’s my favorite lady. The one with all the good drugs.” She smiled coyly and injected the solution into his IV line. Shawn’s body started to relax almost immediately and I realized that he was probably in pain all the time. This just took some of the edge off.
His eyes became heavy and he motioned me to snuggle closer. Now this is what I had truly missed. The feeling of his body against mine. I didn’t get on the bed but I rested my head on his shoulder and listened to him breath.
He felt around and closed his hand around mine and for the first time since this whole nightmare began; his hand actually had warmth in it. Tears came to my eyes and I knew how close we had come to loosing all we had. And maybe some day we wouldn’t be together but if I had learnt anything from all of this it was to never let a moment pass by without sharing something of yourself with those whom you care about the most.
Shawn was asleep now so I moved a little to get more comfortable. I looked out the hospital window and saw the sun starting to rise. I had been here all night and no one had asked me to leave. I just loved those nurses! The sky changed from pink to orange and the beauty of it gave me goose bumps.
I felt at peace now. I watched Shawn sleep and then looked towards the rising sun and sent up a prayer of thanks. I had all I needed and I knew how blessed Shawn and I were.
So now I need to tell you all that has happened so far. Shawn’s Department arranged for them both to get counseling and training on how to live with impairment like Shawn’s. ( as far as he is concerned he is NOT disabled only impaired..stubborm man!) He is also now on a pension but is still with the Department travelling around to talk with other men and women who have an injury like his and giving them advice on how to look at life with different eyes.
Anthony quit his job and travels around with Shawn. They are now officially joined at the hip and we had a wonderful “ring swapping” ceremony for them. Shawn also talks to school kids about prejudice and not letting your limitations stop you from living your life.
As for me I am the richest person alive because I am blessed beyond measure with true friends.
I am so glad you all enjoyed this little story and I hope it has inspired some of you to stop “sleeping” and get out there and really live.
Blessings to you all.
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