Somebody’s Sons

October 11, 2009

Kat sits on her hospital bed. Her sketches are displayed en masse behind her on a pin board. I scan them as I take the seat next to the bed. Its 7.40, twenty minutes before visiting hours end; the most usual time for me to visit. She types one more thing onto her computer and closes the laptop.

‘How’s everything at home?’ she asks without genuine interest.

‘Good thanks. I like your Sprite’, I say to liven the subject, ‘your new drawing’.

Its a crouched fairy in Autumn tones. It has perfectly shaped wings and looks up out of the drawing with intelligent eyes. Its naked body is hidden behind its bent leg and defensive arms. Around its ankle and wrists are stylized tatoos. It reminds me of a character my first boyfriend made up for me because he was into Dungeons and Dragons. He wanted me to join in the game. I never did. But the character was called Trinity. I don’t tell Kat this, because its not about me…

The sprite provides me with some relief. Its comrades on the pinboard range from skinny women on the catwalk dressed out of Kat’s imagination, to emaciated figures in various contortions of grief or depression, to horrific images of vicious half humans with crazed eyes feasting on human body parts. Kat herself is emaciated and sits on the bed in a crouched position, but her face is beautiful and she seems relaxed.

‘How come no one else in the family came today?’ she enquires. She is more relaxed than usual. She never usually enquires after her sisters. But a week ago we were in Queensland on a family holiday and although we had our tense moments (she rarely kept a meal down), the time away provided bonding time with her sisters.

‘Oh, they were all going to come after school but when dad rang you said you had other visitors’.

‘Oh yeah. Just one visitor. Ethan’.

‘Who’s Ethan again?’, I enquire.

‘Mum don’t you remember him? He was visiting me here once last time when you and Rosie came in. And then you randomly bumped into him at Nandos!’

‘Oh yes, I remember. I just forgot his name. Where do you know him from?’

‘He’s one of Jacob’s friends. I met him through Jacob’.

‘You seem relaxed. Was it a good visit?’

‘Yes he was here for two hours. The time went so quickly! He came straight from school and was here until he was kicked out at dinner time. He even looked at his watch at half past five and said Oh my god I meant to leave at 5 lol’.

‘Wow you met him through Jacob and now he visits you in hospital every time you’re here! Won’t it be nice when you can continue your friendship on the outside. Have you seen much of Jacob?’

‘Yeah I’ve been talking to him’

‘On the phone?’ I ask.

‘No, on facebook! He was the one I was talking to when you walked in just now’…

There are parents out there who I do not know, who have raised caring sons. These boys visit my daughter when she is in hospital for anorexia. Three times since March she has had to go in for her physical health. These boys have visited her and provided gentle support and light hearted company at a time when she needs friendship the most.

I can’t give my daughter what these boys give.

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2 Responses to “Somebody’s Sons”

  1. Brenda Holt said

    I continue to hope with you for Kat’s recovery. Let’s catch up for lunch in the next couple of weeks. I promise to let you talk the whole time next time!

  2. ejenne said

    Hi Brenda, I like listening to you talk! Lunch would be fabulous. I’m in the mood for el fresco dining. How about Animal Orchestra when the weather gets back below 30?

    She is home now and much calmer than before. She is still ill but there seem to be more good days x

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