Jordan in Okarito
Kim and Jordan - 3
After dinner, Kim got his guitar and sat out on the balcony to make music, watch the sun go down and to keep an eye on the street in case that boy and his dogs went past.
He hadn't seen him again and was starting to think that he wasn't going to. He might not even be a local, the town got a lot of visitors, he could be someone just passing through. But with all of those dogs?
There was a glorious sunset, all pinks and purples. Then he glanced down at the street and he saw him! There were only a couple of dogs, but it was the same boy, he was sure of that.
He got up, went inside, and left his guitar on the floor, against the wall to rush down to the street and get a closer look. He never got there.
There were some bags and cases near the top of the stairs. In his hurry, he dodged around them, somehow got his feet tangled and he fell down the stairs.
"Oh shoooot! Wow. Gee. Bugger. Damm."
He fell and crashed and bounced and slid to the foot of the steep and narrow stairs and lay there groaning with his legs flared out behind him, one at an unlikely angle. Kaylee came out of her room to see what all the noise was about. She saw her brother lying there and screamed.
Still yelling, she raced down the other stairs, to get their mother, or father, or anyone, and ran straight into Miss Clayton.
Miss Clayton put her hands out to stop her. "Be quiet, Girl! Stop that horrible noise, you'll disturb the guests. Take a deep breath, settle down and tell me what is wrong with you."
"Not me – Kim," she sobbed. "He fell down the top stairs. He's lying there, broken. Help him, Miss Clayton. Someone's got to do something!"
"Of course. Go to your mother. She's in her rooms with the little ones. Tell her to ring 111 and get an ambulance. Quickly now, but quietly – go."
Kaylee ran into her parents' rooms; Miss Clayton went up to where the boy was. She took one look at him and the gathering group of onlookers and she took control.
"Stand back please. Get back and give the boy some room. What are you doing, Man? Do not touch him!
Hold on, Kimberley. It's going to be all right. The Ambulance will be here soon."
"It hurts, Miss Clayton. Oh, damm me, it hurts!"
"Of course it does." She dropped down beside him and held out her hand. "Take my hand, Kimberley. Hold it. Squeeze it tight."
Mrs. Harrison and Kaylee came running up the stairs. "An ambulance is on its way. Oh, Kim. My poor baby!" She burst into tears.
"Shush. Enough of that," Miss Clayton growled. "You'll distress him, even more than he is. Get the duvet and pillows from Kaylee's room. Cover him up, quickly."
They rushed to obey, then sat around quietly, trying not to cry.
"He's not dead and he's not going to be. Where is that bloody ambulance?"
It was only a few minutes, but it semed a long time until the medics arrived. Young Doctor Rodden, Miss Clayton's great-nephew, was with them. He tended to Kim, gave him a shot of painkiller and straightened him up. They loaded him up and took him away to the hospital.
The family followed in their car. Miss Clayton carried on with her duties, quietly shaking her hand when no-one was looking. She was going to have bruises – the boy was strong.
It was a couple of days before he was out of the hospital, and the best part of a week before he was allowed outdoors.
The old hotel had no elevators or escalators, so a return to his 3rd floor room was out of the question for the time being. Alesha had to give up her bed and he was sleeping there, in his parents' rooms. Alesha didn't mind, they put a spare bed in Kaylee's room and she was sleeping up there with her.
He had plenty of visitors in the days he was confined to bed. Jordan and Bonnie were there, and others from school as well – even 2 teachers came to see him.
He made a point of talking to Miss Clayton and thanking her for her help when he 'flew down the stairs'. She hid her bruised hand, smiled and said, "Thank you, Kimberley. What I do best is encouraging others to do better. Speaking of which, while you are laid-up, have a listen to these CDs. When you have done that, we can talk about what you think."
"Sure thing, Miss Clayton." He took the 3 CDs and inspected them. "Classical music?"
"Light Operatic Classics," she replied. "Pay particular attention to the arias. Take good care of them, Kimberley, I've had them for a long time and they are special."
"I'll be careful. I won't be running down the stairs with them anyway."
He was lying there listening to one when Jordan and Bonnie came in on Thursday, after school.
"You can turn that stuff off for a start." Bonnie greeted him.
"Yea. A bit of that goes a long way," Jordan agreed. "How's it, Kim? Getting bored yet?"
"No, not bored at all, but I'll be glad when I can get out and walk a bit. I'll need some practice if I'm going back to school on Monday."
"Get a wheelchair," said Jordan. "One with a souped-up motor."
"Oh brilliant, Jords," Bommie said. "Then he could race around crashing into doors and things."
Kim said, "I don't think so! Jordan, what's that you're wearing on your wrist?"
"What do you think?" Jordan held out his wrist and twisted it to show-off the coloured jelly-bangles.
"Bangles, obviously. But the colours?"
"Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. They're the colours of the Rainbow Flag and you've got a gay signal on your wrist?"
"Got it in one. Not just a pretty face, are you? Clever Kid. I've been wearing them all day and you're the first who's noticed."
"Hey, I knew!" Bonnie objected.
"Only because I told you that I was going to wear them, and why."
"Well, yeah, there is that."
Kim said, "Are you saying you're gay, Jordan? I thought you and Bonnie were an item."
"Us?" Bonnie laughed. "Not likely. I'm not that desperate! We're just mates and Jords is gay."
"Yes, seriously. I'm gay and unattached, so I'm advertising – it's worked before."
Kim said, "Oh. Are you gay too, Bonnie?"
"No I am not. Are you?"
"Yes," he whispered, blushed and nodded.
"Whoa!" Jordan said. "I did not expect that."
"Me neither," said Bonnie.
"Neither did I," Kim said. "But I am."
"Well good for you. Are you interested in Jordan?"
"Jordan? I don't think so. I don't know. I thought we were friends."
Jordan grinned, "Yeah, I don't think so too. You're a good guy, for a kid, but as a partner? I think not."
"You can be like sisters then," Bonnie grinned.
They both said, "Shut up. We're not girls!"
Next day, Friday, Kim's mother finally agreed that he could go out for a walk. That was only because Miss Clayton said that he should start getting around if he was going to go back to school on Monday.
"All right then," she sighed. "It is a nice day out there. Take it easy and don't go overdoing it. You'll need the crutches, this is more than a walk across the room, and make sure you've got your phone so you can call if you have to."
"Great. Thanks, Mum. I won't go far – just down to the end of the street and back."
"That'll be plenty for your first time out."
He went through to the front of the hotel and out on to the sidewalk. He looked right, towards the lagoon-end of the main street, looked left, south, to the other end and went that way. South was the direction that he'd seen the boy walking to with his dogs.
The downtown business area ended abruptly after a couple of blocks and he crossed the street to sit on the seat outside the gates at the entrance to the park.
It wasn't much of a park, just a big, flat, grassed area separating the main street from the small camping ground near the beach. Miss Clayton said that they used to run horse races there, many years ago, before her time. It was sometimes used for sports games now, but not often. There were better sports fields at the schools and over the hill, south, at the Four Mile end of town.
Mostly the central park was a big fat waste of space that the council had to mow to keep it tidy. People walked their dogs there and office and shop workers sat around on the grass in their lunchhours on sunny days.
He sat for a few minutes, watching the tail-end of the street at the tail-end of the day. He stood up to start making his way home, then sat down again.
The boy with the dogs was coming towards him. 'Only 4 dogs today.' It was the first time he'd seen him from down on the street level and not looking down from 3 stories up. The boy wore a cap, as always, but this time he could see his face. It was very familiar.
Did he know him from somewhere? No, he was sure that he didn't. And yet? Maybe he just looked like someone he knew, but who? Ah, yeah! He knew where he'd seen that face before – he saw it every time he looked in a mirror!
The boy looked just like Kim did – dark hair, blue eyes, a fresh, pale face with flushed-red cheeks and full red lips. He was about the same age and same build and height.
They weren't identical. Even at a distance he could see differences between them, his hair was longer for a start, and curlier, but they did look a lot alike. He'd seen twins who looked more different than that boy and him did.
When he was closer, the boy looked and looked again at him. Kim watched and waited as it dawned on him that he was looking at his doppelganger. He stopped and stared.
Kim looked up and grinned. "Weird, eh?"
"This." He pointed at his own face, and then at the other's. "You and me. We look so much alike, we could be twins."
"Doubt it." The boy walked past him and out into the park.
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