Almost naked, Mike and Sarena are interrupted by Jessie knocking on the door. She’s very upset. Molly has had a heart attack. The ambulance takes Molly to the hospital and Mike gets dressed and follows. Molly has listed him as her next of kin.
“You’re the son?”
I put my hand over the phone. “Yeah. How is she?”
“On the mend, but it was a bad one. Doctor needs to talk to you.”
“Angie, give the phone to Steve—now.” The command in my voice was imperative. She did it that time. “Look, I’m getting details now. I’ll call back. You answer. I can’t talk to her when she’s like that.” I followed the woman inside.
“No problem. You do what you need to for her. We’ll be there in an hour or so.”
“Stay home until I know something. You may not even need to come tonight at all. Better not to upset her with a crowd. I got to go. They don’t like phones back here.”
The doctor stood by Molly’s bed, holding her hand, talking quietly. She was a small, dark haired woman, slight build, athletic.
“I’m Doctor Chian. You’re Michael?” She held out her hand, taking mine firmly. She might be four foot nothin’, but that lady had a hell of a grip. “Is the rest of the family coming?”
“Do they need to?”
Molly shook her head feebly, whispering, “No.”
“She really doesn’t want the girls here. Funny, she never mentioned a son before.” She frowned slightly.
“I’m her neighbor, but we take care of each other. She’s like the mother I never had. Not that I don’t have a mother,” I laughed nervously. “She’s like mine never has been?”
She laughed lightly, nodding. “Yes, I understand. Mine is very disappointed that I became a doctor and didn’t stay home to raise a dozen kids.”
“Wow, did your mom and my mom meet at some convention?”
I glanced at Molly. She looked like she had drifted asleep. All the monitors beeped, clicked and whirred, so I knew she was alive. Dr. Chian led me outside.
“We need to put in a pacemaker, Michael. Molly has refused it for years, but it’s to the point where it really can’t be put off, or she could have these attacks on a daily basis.”
“And Jesse might not be with her next time, or me. . . .”
“Exactly. I know she doesn’t like the idea, but I don’t want that wonderful woman to die. Not on my watch. Not when I can do something. . . .”
“I’ll have to contact her daughters. I really can’t make that decision.”
“Actually, according to Molly, you can. She’s had all the papers drawn up and notarized. She’s designated you as her surrogate. She wants you to make those decisions. She doesn’t think her daughters can.”
“Where do I sign? She needs that surgery.”
She smiled, shaking my hand again. “I knew I liked you. She’s going to fuss.”
“She can yell all she wants when she’s better. Shall I tell her?”
“Come in with me. I will.”
“I’m awake,” Molly said before we were halfway in the room. “You want me to have that surgery and you talked him into it.”
“You’re right,” I said, sitting on the side of the gurney. “She’s very convincing.”
“I’ll beat your ass for saying yes.”
“Then you shouldn’t have given me permission to make the decisions for you. I want you around for a long time, Molly. I need you to keep my sorry ass in line. If you don’t get this pacemaker, who’s going to kick my ass when I fuck up?”
Molly pursed her lips. “I owe you two just for that.”
“I’m gonna sit here and cuss until you quit being grumpy and realize this is the best thing for you. I can’t lose you, Molly. You have to be well to dance at my wedding.”
She perked up at that, opening her eyes about halfway. “Who’d marry a sorry reprobate like you?”
“A nice Jewish girl, the daughter of a dentist.”
“Not a shiksa?”
“Listen to you. You’re an expert on shiksas now?” I laid the accent on thick. “Let me tell you, you don’t know from nothing.”
“God, shut him up,” she complained, giggling weakly. “Okay, Roberta. I’ll have the damn surgery if you’ll just get him out of here so I can sleep!”
© Dellani Oakes 2014