Judy and Duane drew a breath as they anticipated what Dr. Dolan had to say. Duane put his arm around Judy’s shoulders protectively.
“I have good news for you. Carl is going to be fine. We removed his spleen, but all the other organs seem to be working well. He is bruised and had a broken arm, which has been set. He’ll need some tender, loving care for a while, but he’ll recover completely. I’ll release him in a couple of days to your care.” He smiled and shook their hands. “The nurses will let you know when you can see him.”
Duane embraced Judy as the tears flowed from her eyes, and she let him hold her.
“Judy, we’ll work through this together. Just tell me what I need to do to help out with Carl, and I’ll be there for you and for him.”
Judy backed away from Duane, and sat down in a chair. She took a tissue form her purse to dab her eyes and tried to regain some composure. Duane sat next to her.
“Can I get you something to eat?” he asked.
“I’m so exhausted, and I haven’t even thought about food. But I could go for a sandwich, maybe a chicken salad?”
“You stay here and wait for news about Carl, and I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Duane left to walk to the cafeteria.
Judy watched him walk away. She really did love him, and she could see that he was very emotional at the moment. On the way to the hospital they had reminisced about memories of Carl growing up. They had even managed to laugh a couple of times at some of his antics. There had been no mention of Sally or the divorce, and there had been long moments of silence between them during the hour of driving. Judy just wanted to sleep at the moment, eager to hear more about Carl, and avoiding any thoughts of Duane and the scene with Sally. Her heart was torn, and it appeared that Duane’s involvement with Sally was at an end. What did that mean?
Just as Duane was walking toward her with a sandwich and cup of coffee in his hands, a nurse came out to tell them they could go in to see Carl. Together they followed the nurse to Carl’s room where they found him sleeping peacefully among all the machines monitoring his vital signs.
“Carl, can you hear me?” Judy asked as she leaned toward him and kissed him on the cheek.
“Mom, Dad?” He slowly opened his eyes. “You are both here?”
“Yes we are, son. We’ve been waiting to see you. They tell us you are going to be okay.” Duane sat down in a chair by his bed to lean toward him, grasping his hand.
“The accident was horrible, so many people hurt. And it happened so quickly!” Carl had tears in his eyes.
“Everything is going to be okay,” said Judy. “You just rest now.” She watched him close his eyes to drift back off to sleep.
“Judy, why don’t you stay here with Carl, and I’ll go back. I’ll tie up some loose ends at the office. Is there anything I can get for you from the house?”
“Duane, why don’t you stay at the house with the kids tonight and come back tomorrow. If you can bring me a change of clothes and my makeup, that would be great. The girls can help you get a bag together. I’ll just plan to stay here with Carl until he’s released. I’ll call you if there is any change.”
Duane smiled and took her hand in his.
“I’ll be back in the morning. You try to get some rest.”
Where do you see this going?
Will Judy be ready to take Duane back?
The story will end next Tuesday.