Apartment Life (Part Eleven)

Apartment Life (Part Eleven)

(go back to Part Ten)

Susan sat with Ronnie and listened as the doctor told them her son was now a surgical patient. They needed to stop the bleeding and repair the damage, and worry about reconstructive work later.

Reconstructive? Oh, my beautiful baby. It was vain, but she was proud that along with his other great qualities, her younger son had become a handsome young man. She liked it when she walked through the mall with Ronnie and girls noticed him.

“Will he look a lot different when it’s over?” Susan asked.

“We’ll do our best to restore his appearance.” He turned to Ronnie. “With injuries this severe, you may also notice a permanent change in your voice. It depends how nasal your voice was before the incident. That part’s more difficult for us to restore to its original state.”

Susan flashed back to a friend of hers who was in a major car crash. His face had a rude introduction to the windshield, and years later his nose still looked wrong and his voice sounded more whiny. She didn’t want that for her boy.

Her hatred for Outhouse grew.


“We want to see if Trena can breathe on her own now,” the doctor said. He smelled of Old Spice. Trena thought it strange for such a young man to smell like her grandfather.

“It’s been three days, doctor. What does it mean if she can’t?” her mother asked.

Still groggy from what she guessed must have been a long sleep, Trena kept her eyes closed so she could listen in on the conversation.

“It just means that we intubate her again and keep waiting for her body to heal. We still believe she’s in spinal shock and can make a full recovery.”

Her mom squeezed her hand. Hey, I felt that! She squeezed back.

“Oh my God! She just squeezed my hand!”

Let’s see what else we can do.

She lifted her mom’s hand.

“She’s moving! She’s moving! That’s my girl!”

She dropped that hand and tried the other. Nothing. Dammit! She still couldn’t move anything below her waist, either, but she could barely sense her mother’s tickling fingers on her feet.

That was the happiest she’d seen her mom in months.

The hand she could move was her left — her writing hand. She had done a lot of passive listening the past few days. It was time for her to ask and to tell. She pantomimed holding a pen and writing.

“I believe your daughter wants to tell us something, Ms. Outhouse,” the doctor said. He pulled a large, sleek pen from the front pocket of his white jacket and placed it gently in Trena’s hand. “Mont Blanc. You deserve it.” He looked around the room.

“Oh, I think I have something,” her mom said. She grabbed her purse from a chair and rummaged around in it. “Your clipboard, doctor?”

The doctor handed it over.

Trena wrote, “Larry going away?”

Her mom’s smile turned to a frown. “It doesn’t look good, honey.”

Looks good to me. She hated to see her mom hurt, but knew that she would realize she was better off without him.

“Doctor, could we have a word alone?” her mom asked.

“Of course. Take your time.” He turned and walked out.

“I’m sorry you haven’t seen much of me since this happened to you. After they took Larry in, I –” she sobbed, but quickly composed herself.

“I had a lot of things to take care of. We’re going to be starting fresh again, without him.”

Yes! She wrote, “We’ll be happy.”

“That means changing our names and moving again. But first I need to ask you a question, sweetie.”

Again? The asshole strikes again. Trena raised her eyebrows to show she had her attention.

“Did that Batson boy push you down the stairs?”

She still couldn’t shake or nod her head. She was having some trouble now holding the pen, but managed to scratch out, “Call him Ronnie” before her hand gave out and the Mont Blanc fell to the floor.

Her mother picked it up and put it back on the clipboard. Trena took a minute to work up the nerve to make a leap of faith, then picked up the pen and wrote, “No.”

“Did he do anything inappropriate before that?”

Is that her way of asking, because she thinks something happened but doesn’t want to accuse me?

She managed to write the word, “No,” once more before dropping the pen again.


“It’s been three days. I want to see her. I have to talk to her and make sure she knows I didn’t mean to push her down the stairs.”

“I know, I know. I’m trying to find a good time to sneak you up there.”

What has she told everybody? I guess nothing, or they would have been after me by now. Oh, man, can she even talk? Oh, shit. What if she’s so messed up still that she can’t talk?

“I just really need to see her.”

(continue to the conclusion of “Apartment Life”)

5 Replies to “Apartment Life (Part Eleven)”

  1. Slowing down a bit here, but things are coming together nicely. After that last phone call Trena saw Larry make, I think a traced call should yield a unexpected mob hit on the man. You know, just sayin’.

  2. I had to chuckle a bit early on when the young doc smelled of Old Spice. Early in our “intimate” life, I had to ask PD to please not wear Old Spice to bed… smelling like my grandfather had the opposite effect from what we were going for… ;-)
    This was good. One thing, please rethink Trena’s “scratching out” “No”
    when her mother asked if anything inappropriate happened before her fall. I thought you meant she scribbled out the “No” she’d first written, giving her mom a reason to believe that something had, indeed happened…
    I’m with Dave, not wanting this to end quite yet.

  3. Linda – Yeah, my grandfather wore Old Spice. When somebody at work smells like that, I’m instantly transported back to watching my grandfather shave when I was a little boy.

    Great point about “scratching out” the word “No.” I didn’t even think about that, but it definitely could confuse a reader. I’ll have to figure out some other way of saying she wrote it messily, or struggled to form the letters.

    I sort of wanted it to keep going, too. I predict Ronnie and his mom will have further (or previous) adventures.