Chapter Twenty Nine
Sunday November 13th, 2080. Mid-Late Evening.
Rodriguez Study Room:
“Are you alright Grandpa?” Lori asked. He looked over at her big young eyes and grinned. “I’m just fine peach; I’m a bit tired is all.” Randy replied. “My goodness, now wonder. It’s almost nine at night. I’ll go get the kids a snack and put them to bed.” Kolleen stated. Randy nodded at her, as she patted his shoulder. He put his hand on top of hers which she gripped with her frail fingers. They stole a moment to glance at each other then she left with the kids around her legs.
As Randy sat there alone, he had time to reflect back on what he had just read. Staring into the dying flames of the fireplace, he sighed and rested his chin on top of his hand. He would love to lay there and fall asleep in his chair so he wouldn’t have to go back up the stairs. Each and every day seemed to take a toll on his heart and it scared him. He wanted to be alive to see all of his children and their children grow old and happy. The problem with this was the fact that he himself was old. Whenever he would walk more than a slow pace his heart would begin racing as if he had just run a marathon.
There was a slight tingling sensation in his chest at this moment, which he ignored. Randy’s mind kept buzzing between different thoughts and feelings. He could picture Kolleen and himself back when they were young and a bit more wild than they are now. The early 2,000’s was a hell of an era and he wasn’t ready to let go of life yet. No matter how hard Randy tried, he knew deep down the end was inevitable. He could hear the children hooting and hollering off in the distance, which brought a smile to his face. He decided since he had time, he would get up and make his way to the kitchen, just to surprise the kids.
With a big breath and a lunge, Randy picked himself up and grabbed his cane. There was a slight chill in the air; he figured it was coming in from the windows so he lumbered over to them to check. Sure enough, the middle window was open a bit, so he shut and locked it. Once he was satisfied with the window’s security, he slowly made his way to the door. The moment that his feet touched the hallway carpet, he had to stop and lean against the doorway. His heart had been beating harder than ever and caused a steady sweat to pour down his neck. “Come on you old goon, you can make it to the damn kitchen.”
He stood back upright and began to walk down the long deserted hallway. His left hand was tightened around his pajamas, shielding his neck from the cold. “I always hated Winter but Kol seemed to love it. Every year that it would roll around, she would get so excited.” Randy muttered. He was halfway down the hall now, and decided to take a slight break to catch his breath again. The chattering voices of his great grandchildren ran down the hallway, making him smile even more. He had to make it to them, he just had too. So he stood upright once again and continued his journey towards the kitchen.
Thoughts buzzed throughout his mind of all his children and then his grandchildren. They were off doing their own thing, leaving him with his precious great grandkids. Out of nowhere, Kolleen’s voice broke the silence. “Randy! What are you doing all the way out here?!” She sounded shocked as she trotted over to him. “I’m fine honey, honestly. I just wanted to see the kids one last time before they went off to bed.” Kolleen wrapped her arm around his shoulders. “They’re just finishing up Randy. You should get some sleep; tomorrow’s gonna be a long day and you need your rest.” “But I wanted to see them again…” He started. Kolleen shook her head and guided him towards the steps.
“What’s going on tomorrow?” Randy asked her as they ascended the stairway. “Well what happens everyday nowadays?” She replied. The stairs creaked due to their age; Randy never got around to fixing them. He sure couldn’t do it now, not with the condition he was in. When they reached the second floor, Randy had to rest against the wall for a few moments. “Will you be okay until I fetch the kids?” she asked him. He patted his forehead with a handkerchief and nodded. “I’ll be fine Kol; I’ll be in our room when you get back.” Kolleen kissed his cheek and went back downstairs.
He smiled and drew a few deep breaths in before pushing away from the wall. His goal was to reach their bedroom now without Kolleen’s assistance. He grunted, while forcing his legs to move forward. Most of his weight was resting on the cane, which strained under his hand. He took a few steps and felt his heart race but ignored it and took a few more steps. Their room was at the very end of the hall and it felt so close and yet so far. Just a few more steps. Randy thought as he pushed himself to keep going. Sweat formed on his brow and started to run down his face. He wiped it away with his arm sleeve and continued on. The door was now only feet away; he just had to get to and open it.
Just behind him, he heard laughter coming up the stairs. He’d taken that long to move down a single hallway. Randy cursed himself as he finally reached the wooden door. When he was inside the realization of the distance between himself and the bed hit him. Despite the fact that it sat only ten feet from the door, he knew it would feel like miles. His hand shook hard as he grasped his cane. Slumping along, he took his time. The moment that he stepped down halfway towards the bed, Randy tripped and collapsed face first onto the floor.
He couldn’t move, nor talk. All that left his mouth were tiny grunts as he attempted to call for help. It felt as if he broke his hip because it kept shooting scorching pain up and down his body. Randy turned himself over onto his back, gasping for air; the rug had been suffocating him. Kolleen opened the door moments later, drawing his attention. He shakily lifted his head to see her shooing the kids away from the room.
“Randy, what happened?!” she exclaimed, as the door shut hard behind her. He watched as she scuffled over to him. “I-I don’t know. I j-just stumbled and the next thing I knew I was face first in the carpet.”
His loving wife bent down and lifted as hard as she could. With a small struggle, Randy was back up on his feet, resting against his cane. Kolleen swiped her hair from her eyes and then helped him towards the bed. “Why didn’t you wait for help Ran-Ran?” She asked. They reached the left side of the bed, in which Kolleen helped Randy slip in. “There you are!” She pulled the blanket up over his chest and rested it just under his chin.
“I wanted to see the kids. I wasn’t expecting to have these problems…” He rolled over to his side, holding his head up with his hand. “Damn these problems. Just; just damn them all!” Randy said. Kolleen sat on the edge of the bed, resting her hands on his arms and rubbing them softly. Goose bumps ran up and down his arm making him shiver. “Do you like that?” She asked him. He couldn’t help but smile, as his heart started to beat faster. Looking over at her, Randy noticed she was gazing back. “Do you remember that time when we found out you were pregnant?” He asked her.
“God, do I ever! My mom nearly died from the news. I nearly died when I found out about the twins. But we made it Ran-Ran; we made it.” She said, sliding her hand down to his. He felt her fingers fit perfectly into his large palm. Grasping them lightly, just enough to make her shiver this time. “You’re so tiny Kol.” Randy said. “Shush you. It’s just because you happen to be a giant. I’m a normal sized human being.” She replied. “Nah, you’re just tiny!” Randy replied. He pulled her in towards him and stopped when their faces were a couple inches apart.
They both felt each other’s breath pouring onto one another. Randy puckered his old lips, which Kolleen returned with her own. Then a thought occurred to him. “What’s gonna happen tomorrow, do you know?” Randy asked. She pulled away and smiled brighter than ever. “It’s supposed to be nice tomorrow, let’s take the kids to the park and you can continue your story over a picnic?” she suggested. “That’s why I married you, you’re smart!” Randy replied.
“That sounds like an amazing idea.” “Right then, we should get some rest. Just let me go tuck the kids in and I’ll be right back. You just stay relaxed and rest your body. You’ll need it for tomorrow.” Kolleen kissed his cheek and stroked his hair a couple of times before walking towards the door. “See ya soon Kol.” Randy said as she opened the door. She turned around and nodded, “See ya soon.” With that, she exited the room.
Randy rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. Outside in the normal world, he could hear the wind rustling and the sound of leaves blowing around. But in his head, there were sounds of chairs slamming and yelling commentary. He closed his eyes and instantly he was stuck in a memory. Staring up, with sweat pouring down his face, was a cell with a large belt hanging from it. Across the ring, was a large man laying on the mat. It looked like Gorgon, and sure enough when he got a good look, it was. His head was bleeding profusely and he seemed to be unconscious.
All around him was a silent crowd as they watched him gazing at the ladder outside the ring and back at Gorgon. A sudden instinct came to him; it told him to grab the belt and leave. What was the belt for though?” Randy asked himself. With a quick look around, it verified that he was in a professional stadium. He jumped up to the cell and winced from a sudden pain shooting up his leg. Looking down, he realized his leg was bruised.
“What is Randy doing? He should be out of that cell by now.” Paul Brooke stated. “Now, now Paul, Randy’s clearly dazed. Give him some time to get his bearings.” Randy shook his head, as a ringing grew in his ears. The noise was so loud that he had to clench his eyes shut. And when he reopened them, Gorgon was getting back up. “Shit, I have to hurry…” he whispered. There was in fact a ladder nearby, so he dropped and got it so he could set it up.
The belt was just out of reach and he knew he had to get it and get out. “Just rip it off Randy!” John Parker yelled out. Before Randy could undo the buttons, he realized that Gorgon, for some reason, was not inside the cell anymore. Just then Randy jerked back awake and he was staring back up at his ceiling. Kolleen had already slid into her side of the bed, and was sleeping, facing the wall near her. Randy slowly picked up the alarm clock, it read: 1:35 A.M. “Good lord, I’ve been sleeping that long?”
He groaned and turned to his side so he could watch Kolleen sleep. Her tiny breaths made him feel secure. He always feared waking up one day, not seeing her breathing. He slid over to her and wrapped his arms around her waist and nuzzled his bony nose into the back of her neck. Her rhythm like breaths comforted him enough to doze back off into a peaceful sleep. He failed to notice that Kolleen had grabbed a hold of his hands, and wore a smile on her face. They were doing what they did when they first got together over seventy years ago and did it with more passion each year. With this in her heart and the assurance of his breathing, Kolleen allowed herself to fall asleep once more.