Two Brothers

by Rob Warr

Chapter 10


Sean came up slowly out of the fog of anesthetic, his eyes barely able to focus on the face before him.

"Hi there," his mom said. He'd recognize that voice anywhere, even if he couldn't quite make her face out, yet.

"Mmm," he murmured, his mouth was so dry it felt as if he'd been eating cotton, "where am I?"

"In the recovery room, as soon as you're fully awake they'll be moving you back to your room."

"Patrick?" Sean said rolling his head to see if he could see his brother.

"He's fine, already awake."

"Hey," Patrick said from the gurney next to him, "we survived. Yaaaay!"

Sean laughed softly, "Was it a boy or a girl?" he joked.

"No, a four pound baby kidney," Patrick laughed.

"Wow, you sure they didn't take both of em?" Sean giggled.

"I hope not, or someone is gonna get sued out the wazoo..." Patrick joked, causing both boys to giggle.

"The doctor said everything went smoothly, boys, and that he expected no problems for either of you. He's predicting you can go home tomorrow or the next day at the latest," their mother said, smiling at their banter.

"Cool, will you and dad wait on us hand an foot?" Patrick said grinning.

"Within reason," his mom chuckled, even though everyone knew she would do anything for her boys, especially now.

"Hey, where's dad?" Sean said realizing his mother was alone.

"He's getting coffee, as soon as we're back in your room he'll join us."

"Oh. What about school?" Sean asked then, still sounding a bit out of it, "when can we go back?"

"When can we go back? You mean, when do we have to go back?" Patrick corrected.

"Not this week for sure, we'll see after that. Till then you will have online lessons."

"That's cool," Patrick said, "at least we won't have to listen to some boring teacher go on and on about the Civil War or some other BS."

"The Civil War was a very important part of our history," his mother scolded, "but I get that listening to someone talk isn't always a good way to learn."

"Were you around then, during the Civil War?" Patrick joked, or was he?

"Yes, I used to roll bandages for the Union Soldiers," she teased, "No, of course not, young man. How old do you think I am?"

They were interrupted by the recovery room nurse, who was happy to see that the two were conscious and apparently conversing with their mother.

"Ready to go to your room, boys?" the pretty nurse asked, giving the two boys a smile that turned Patrick's insides to jelly, but had less effect on Sean.

"Yes, please," Sean said, "I need a nap," he teased.

"That's fine, sleep all you want, sweetie, but do it in your room and not in my recovery room," she teased.

Two orderlies appeared then as if by magic and unlocked the brakes on their gurney's and began wheeling them out the door. After thanking the recovery room nurse, their mother followed behind the two and into a huge elevator, where they were transported to the boys' room on the third floor.

Working together, the two orderlies transferred the boys to their hospital beds, first Sean, then Patrick, then they left, taking the gurneys with them. As soon as they were gone, their mother fell into a chair by the window, which was nearest Patrick's bed, and pulled out her phone.

"Hi dear, we're back in the room now, you can come on up, "all right, see you in a bit."

"Was that dad?" Sean asked.

"No, silly, it was her boyfriend," Patrick teased.

"Could have been my boyfriend," Sean said grinning.

His mother gave him a curious look, but she didn't say anything. She assumed he was either joking, or referring to Tim, and either way was fine with her.

Paul, who had been in the cafeteria getting coffee, arrived quickly and rushed to the boys' beds immediately. He'd been in the waiting room with his wife all during the surgery, but once the doctor had assured them all was well, he'd gone off to get some coffee and make some calls.

Moving to the space between the beds, their dad, gave each a hug, then a kiss on the forehead, and sighed a sigh of relief.

"Dad, why are you getting all emotional?" Patrick teased, "it's not like we were gonna die or anything."

"I'm just so thankful both my boys are okay," he said in defense of his actions, "so give me a break, okay?"

"I'm teasing dad, it's cool. We've always been a touchy feely family, I guess we're gonna go on being that way."

"Amen," their mother said.

"Mmm," Sean sighed, "when can Tim come see me?"

"Tonight, I talked to his mom earlier and she'll be bringing him for evening visitation hours. Those blue flowers in the truck-shaped vase over there are from Tim's family."

"Cool, can't wait to see him," Sean said yawning, "man, I know I just had a nice long map in the operating room, but suddenly I am really tired."

"The anesthetic can have a lingering effect, son. Feel free to take a nap if you'd like. We'll be right here when you wake up."

"Not me," Patrick said, "I've spent too much time sleeping today already. I'm starved, when is lunch?"

While Sean napped, Patrick watched TV, but eventually he too fell asleep. While the boys napped, the two parents stood embracing at the window, gazing out on the grounds and parking lot below.

It was a beautiful sunny day, not a cloud in the sky, almost as this was an omen telling them everything would be all right. They knew there were risks with any surgery, and to have both their boys undergo surgery at the same time was probably the most traumatic event of their lives.

"We're so lucky to have our boys," Judy said in a near whisper.

"Thank God for them."

"I hate to say it, but Sean's condition has actually brought Patty back to us."

"I think he might have found his way back eventually on his own, but yeah, you're right, this certainly sped up the process. I'm very proud of him, of both of them actually. They've both exhibited bravery beyond their years. Can you imagine how scary this must've been for both of them."

"Especially Patty," Judy noted, "being perfectly healthy and going into surgery to give up one of his vital organs."

"He's quite a boy. I must say he's surprised me in so many ways with his maturity in this situation."

"Talking about me again?" Patrick chuckled, sounding a bit groggy from his nap, "at least it's good stuff this time."

"Sorry, son," his dad said going to him and laying a hand on his shoulder, "we're just so proud of you that we had to express it or we were gonna burst."

"Can't have you bursting, I guess, too messy to clean up," Patrick laughed.

Sean slept till five, and when he awoke he seemed to have finally purged the anesthetic from his body. He was bright and keenly aware of everyone and everything around him, and unfortunately, a bit bored.

"What time will Tim be here?" Sean asked after staring at the TV for a while, but finding nothing engaging in the flickering images on the screen.

"Around 7," his mom said, "less than an hour and a half."

"I wonder if we'll get real food tonight?" Patrick said looking concerned.

"I doubt it, buddy. Probably liquid and jello," his dad said, "it's part of the hospital torture treatment."

"Ugh, hey, maybe you could go to Micky Dees and smuggle us in a hamburger and fries."

"And have you die of clogged arteries before you even leave the hospital? No way," his dad laughed, "Just hang in there, probably by tomorrow you'll be on regular hospital food."

"If it's anything like school food, then that will suck big time," Patrick groused.

"Oh, I don't think it's that bad," his mother said, "but certainly not home cooking."

"When we get home, can we have meatloaf?" Patrick said, his mouth watering just from the thought of his mother's homemade meatloaf.

"Of course, whatever you want, dear."

Tim looked pensive at first when he entered the room that evening, his mother following close behind him, but as soon as he locked eyes with Sean he ran to his bed and gave him a big hug.

"Man, it's good to see you. Glad you didn't croak or anything."

"Hey, what about me?" Patrick teased.

"Glad you didn't croak too. Thanks, really...thanks for giving Sean your kidney. I would've given him one of mine, but mine wouldn't fit, or whatever..."

Sean laughed, "You mean it wasn't compatible, cause you have a different blood type."

"Yeah, that too. So, does it hurt?"'

"A little, but they're giving us stuff in our IV to help."

"All the guys at school said to tell you 'hi', and get well soon."

"Yeah, the class sent some flowers, but I guess you know that cause your name was on the card too."

"Yeah, they took up a collection, but I think Mrs. Phillips paid for most of it, "I think you're her favorite," he added with a chuckle.

Sean laughed too, "Well, maybe it's cause I don't give her any grief like some of the guys do."

The boys laughed and talked for over an hour while the adults visited on Patrick's side of the room, bringing him into the conversation on occasion. He blushed when Tim's mom told him what a generous and brave young man he was to donate one of his kidney's to his brother, and insisted on giving him a kiss on the cheek.

Sometimes he felt like he didn't deserve all this attention or praise, considering the rotten things he'd done before, but he supposed it would all die down after a while and he could go back to being just plain old Patrick.

When it was finally time to go, Tim hugged Sean's neck and whispered in his ear, 'I can't wait till you're better and we can have some fun'.

Sean blushed but was all smiles as he returned the hug and whispered, 'Me too'.

When Tim and his mom were gone, Judy stood between their beds and addressed both boys.

"So, your father has work tomorrow and needs to go, but if you want me to I'll stay with you tonight. I've already cleared it with the staff. So, I'll let you decide."

"Nah, go home, mom," Sean said, "we're just gonna sleep all night anyway, right Patrick?"

"Yeah, we'll be fine. We got hot and cold running nurses to take care of us," Patrick joked.

"Well, if you're sure. I'll come first thing in the morning, and hopefully the doctor will release you guys and you can be in your own beds this time tomorrow night."

After both parents delivered kisses and hugs to the boys, the two started for the door. Judy paused a moment, wondering if she was being a bad parent by not staying, but finally decided she was being silly. The boys were fine, and in no danger, and Sean was probably right, they would sleep most of the night anyway.

Feeling a little more confident with her decision, and after uttering one more goodnight, she followed her husband out the door.

"Whew, I thought they'd never leave," Patrick chuckled.

"Yeah, I mean, I'm glad mom was here today for us, but she doesn't need to be here every minute. And dad looked so tired."

"Dad works hard and he's been helping mom out a lot lately too. He's a good guy. I guess I sort of knew that all along, but lately I've really noticed just how much stuff he does, and he never complains or makes a big deal of it."

"Yeah, dad is awesome. Umm, Patrick..."


"Remember how you and dad used to go to Home Depot and places like that and hang out and check out all the tools and stuff?"

"Yeah, that was fun," Patrick said smiling.

"I bet dad misses you going with him, that's all."

Suddenly Patrick felt very bad about the decisions he'd made lately. He'd never really thought about how it would make his dad feel, that, or he just hadn't cared, but now that Sean had brought it up, he realized just how much he'd hurt his dad, and himself in the process.

"Did he say that?"

"He didn't have to," Sean said, "he misses you. I miss you, mom misses you."

"Hey, I'm here. I mean, I'm back. I promise I'm not going anywhere again. I know it's gonna take a while for you and everyone else to forgive me, but I'm trying, okay?"

"And I appreciate that, we all do. I know you're trying and I'll help anyway I can. I don't need all of your time, just some of it, okay? And dad, needs some of your time too."

"I know, I know," Patrick said sounding distressed, maybe even tearful.

"I'm really tired now," Sean said, the pain medication and the events of the day finally taking their toll on him.

"Me too, we'll talk tomorrow, okay?"

"Yeah, night," Sean mumbled sleepily.

"Night, love ya," Patrick whispered, but Sean heard him loud and clear.

"Love you too, jerk," Sean whispered back.

"Penis wrinkle," Patrick chuckled, and Sean laughed too.

The boys were finally allowed to go home on the 16th with strict orders to stay in bed for the next few days and not overdo. Both boys agreed that a few days of rest and relaxation was no burden and were looking forward to their time off. Even though they had some online lessons to deal with, they discovered they could do them in a couple hours, which certainly beat the six hours of school they usually endured.

By the weekend, most of the soreness was gone from their incisions, and they were healing nicely. Tim came by Saturday afternoon and he and Sean played video games in Sean's room, while Patrick watched a football game on TV with his dad.

Judy sat at the dining room table staring out the window and sipping a cup of tea, content that her boys were home, and safe and well, and all seemed right in her little world once more. It had been a trying couple of months, but she'd been hopeful the whole time and diligent in her prayers and it had paid off.

From her spot at the table she couldn't see Paul or Patrick, but she could hear them, cheering their team on and talking animatedly with one another, just like old times. Wherever Patrick had been, it seemed he was back, and maybe better than ever. What was it that the Bible said about, 'no greater love is there than laying down one's life for their brother', she thought, well, Patrick may have not laid down his life, but he'd given a part of him that gave Sean a new lease on life. She smiled once again as she watched a fat robin searching for worms in their backyard. Somewhere there was no doubt a nest with a new crop of hatchlings and Momma Robin was shopping for dinner. She and that robin had a lot in common, she mused, we both love our children, and we'll do whatever it takes to make sure they are taken care of.

That night, after lingering hugs and goodnights, the boys headed upstairs, taking the stairs slower than usual to accommodate their stitches.

"You can go first," Sean said when they reached the bathroom.

"There's two sinks, we can both go at once," Patrick insisted.

"Oh, sure, okay," Sean agreed. The old Patrick, or at least the recent old Patrick, would have never agreed to share the bathroom with him, but this way of thinking was indeed more in line with the original Patrick.

Patrick went straight to the toilet and lowered his sweats and began peeing, while Sean grabbed his toothbrush and applied toothpaste.

"What did you and Tim do while you two were alone in your room?" Patrick chuckled, "did you make up for lost time?"

"That's kind of a personal question, but actually...all we did was kiss and cuddle a little."

"Yeah, well...I bet that's nice too," Patrick said sincerely. There had been a time when he might have doubted Sean or given him a hard time, even about something as innocent as that, but Sean was finding it easier and easier to accept that Patrick was changing for the better.

"Didn't want to overdo," Sean chuckled, "and tear out my stitches."

"Oh, man, you must be a wild man," Patrick chuckled as he pulled up his sweats and came over to the other sink to wash up.

"Nah, not really, just being careful, that's all."

Patrick fell quiet as he brushed his teeth, but when he'd returned his toothbrush to the rack he turned to catch Sean's eyes in the mirror and gave him a smile, "How do you do it?"

"What?" Sean said, not understanding Patrick's question.

"How can you be happy all the time, even knowing you only had one kidney, not to mention you had a butthead brother who was giving you shit all the time? I don't get it. I mean, I'm happy sometimes, I guess, but not all the time. I get angry, and I get upset, and sometimes I just want to explode, but not you, you're always so calm."

"Well, I never really thought about it. You know, that's just me. I have stuff to deal with too, I just try not to show it, I guess. In some ways that might be worse than just expressing my feelings, but that's just how I am. But, for the most part I am pretty happy. I have a great family, good friends, we live a good life, have plenty of food to eat and a warm, safe, comfortable place to live. There are a lot of kids in the world who don't have it that good, some are even homeless. Can you imagine living on the street and trying to go to school, not knowing if you're gonna eat that night or even have a bathroom to use?"

"Wow, I never thought of it that way," Patrick confessed, "I guess I just sort of took things for granted. I'm gonna try to do better though."

"I know, and you have, but don't beat yourself up too bad. You're a teenager, and your entitled to some craziness," Sean said grinning, "my time is coming and I'm sure I'll get a little crazy too."

"God, I hope not, at least not as bad as I was," Patrick chuckled, "one butthead in the family is enough."

"Come on, let's go to bed," Sean suggested, "I'm beat."

"Me too."

At Sean's door, Patrick lingered even after they'd said goodnight, and Sean wondered what was on his mind. But suddenly Patrick pulled him into a fierce almost desperate hug. Then pulling back, he sighed and gave Sean a wry smile, "Don't go reading too much into that. I know...?"

"I know, bro, I know. Sometimes a guy just needs a hug. Goodnight big brother, sleep well. Love ya."

"Yeah, you too. Love ya too, night."

Sean lingered long enough to watch Patrick enter his room and close the door, then he opened his door and stepped into his own room.

They still had ways to go, but Patrick seemed to be trying extra hard and Sean was confident they'd get there eventually. They'd shared a lot over the years, the good times, the bad times, and all the rest. They shared the same parents, the same DNA, and now, they shared something even greater. By donating his kidney to Sean, Patrick had given him a new chance at a happy and healthy life, and that had to be life changing for both of them.

As he settled into bed, Sean thought of all the love and laughter he and his big bro had shared over the years and he smiled. His heart ached when he thought about that hug Patrick had given him a few minutes ago. It was as if Patrick needed it to survive. It wasn't an act of desperation though, and even though Patrick had masked it's true meaning with his witty comeback, Sean could see just how much he needed it.

Suddenly the door to Sean's room opened and Patrick peeked in, "Hey, you asleep?"

"Yeah," Sean giggled.

"Duh, I know you're not asleep. Why do people even say that?" Patrick laughed, "I was wondering. I mean, remember when we were little kids and we were sick, how we'd share a bed?"

"Yeah, but no matter how sick we were, we always had fun," Sean said smiling.

"Well, we're kind of sick now..."

Sean pulled back the covers and scooted over to make room for his big bro, and the uncertainty and embarrassment in Patrick's eyes were replaced by a sparkle of joy as his beautiful smile filled his face once more. If Sean had ever had any doubts that he and Patrick would find what they'd lost, those doubts flew away at that moment. There was still a ways to go, and there would no doubt be some rocky moments along the way, but eventually love would win out, and Two Brothers at odds, would become Two Brothers as one, once again.

The End

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