Chapter Sixty Eight
Wednesday October 14th, 2010: Early Afternoon
Minutes have past and they finally reached their destination. There it stood, the old establishment that Randy and Kolleen used to inhabit every few nights. It looked as good as ever, seeing as it’s only been a month or so since they resigned. “I wonder if Mrs. Jones is still there.” Randy asked. “There’s only one way to find out.” Kolleen replied. She had already began crossing the street, causing Randy to limp after her. When he finally got to her, she realized what she had just done.
“I’m sorry about that.” She said, as Randy limped up to her side. “It’s fine! You must have been over excited, that’s all.” They took hands and walked the rest of the way towards the main entrance. And there she was. The short manager of that Sunoco gas station. “She’s just as I remembered her!” Randy stated. “I would hope you can remember her.” He and Kolleen entered the gas station and were greeted by the brightest smile Mrs. Jones had ever given them. She tended to an elderly woman in front of them and then called them over. “My two prodigies return!” she stated. She walked around the corner and had her arms outstretched. They hugged her for some time and then were able to let go. “I can’t believe how far you two have come since you left.” She said.
“I saw that match with you and Marcos against those two big guys. I gotta say, I was impressed.” “What’s with the cane?” She added in. Randy didn’t have the heart to tell her. She was praising him for the progress but it was this progress that caused him such damage. Kolleen took it upon herself to reply. “Randy received a gruesome injury during that match. When he collided with the ring post, it caused moderate damage to his cerebellum, which in turn hurt some of his motor skills.” Mrs. Jones cupped her mouth.
“I’m sorry to hear that!” She said. “Please, do sit down. I’ll bring you two over some food and drinks.” “You don’t have to do that.” Randy replied. She waved him off and lead them both to an empty table. “This is on me. It’s the least I can do for my two hardest workers.” She left them as she began rummaging through the sandwich station. “It’s the usual right?” She asked them. “Yes ma’am, and thank you!” Randy told her. He turned his attention back to Kolleen who was clutching onto her stomach. “What’s the matter?” He asked. “It’s nothing… I just feel a bit queasy, that’s all.” She tried to fight the nausea, but soon after, she got up and ran to the bathroom.
Mrs. Jones came back with two subs, one was hot meatball with melted mozzarella on it and the other was a veggie sub. “Where did Kolleen go?” She asked, as she set down their drinks. “Ugh… Kolleen felt sick so she ran to the bathroom.” Randy replied. He shifted his legs around, clumsily and set his cane down. Mrs. Jones pulled up an extra seat so she could be near him. “Please, tell me what happened between you two.” She asked. “I ask this not as your former boss, but as your current friend.” Randy smiled at her.
“You always had a way with words Mrs. Jones. I’ll give you the short story. Kolleen and I are together.” “Of course.” Mrs. Jones stated. “Well I recently found out that Kolleen is pregnant, and she’s a little over two months along. So, naturally, she’s getting tons of morning sickness.” “That poor girl. I know what will settle her stomach, be right back.” Mrs. Jones grabbed her drink and dumped it then disappeared into the back. Kolleen finally exited the bathroom and walked slowly over towards her seat. When she sat down she had her hands resting on her belly.
“I’m sorry you have to go through this.” Randy told her. He extended his hand in which she grabbed onto. “It’s okay Ran-Ran. It’s all part of the pregnancy. One can’t just become pregnant and avoid all the bad parts. Kudos to Mrs. Jones for remembering our favorites.” She replied. Just then, their former boss came back with a couple of cases of ginger ale and some saltines. “These are for you! It’ll help settle your stomach, trust me. I have a kid of my own and these helped me so much during the morning sickness phase.” “Thank you ma’am!” Kolleen replied shakily.
“You don’t have to thank me. I’m just a friend, looking out for my friends. Enjoy your meal! I gotta get back to the register.” She put the chair back and left them in peace. “Sorry I told her Kol. She was just wondering where you went.” “Don’t be sorry. I’m not ashamed of my pregnancy, just a bit sick of being, you know, sick.” She replied. They ate their food for a short while in silence as they contemplated their futures. Randy was still stuck on the fact that his mother was dying, he’s nearly paralyzed and his girlfriend is pregnant with his child.
“What’s up?” Kolleen asked him. She was chewing a bit more on her sub which made her look so innocent; so adorable to him. “You look cute no matter what you’re doing Kol, you really do.” He noticed her cheeks turning pink which she tried to hide with her hair. “Don’t hide the bashfulness, it’s sexy.” He swiped the hair back from her face, causing her to giggle a bit. “What did I ever do to deserve you?” She asked him, kissing his fingers. He stroked her cheek and pulled her head a bit towards him.
He kissed her and then put his lips to her ears. “I’m the one who should be asking that question. I’m the lucky one here.” He pulled his head back and let go of hers. “I see the worry in your eyes Ran-Ran. We’ll get through this. I’m almost done with college, and so what if I don’t get that job in the DWL. I can take this degree and go to any sports fitness center that I want. It’s a masters degree in fitness training, which can be our key to the financial future.” She walked around the table and sat next to her fidgeting boyfriend.
Her hands rested on his arm and her eyes were locked onto his. “Listen to me good Randy. I don’t blame you for what happened in that match. I won’t blame you if you tell me you’re worried about our future. I just want you to be safe and to be healthy for when our baby arrives. I’ll help pull us through this until you can get back on your feet into a job that will not harm you.” Randy’s head drooped a bit, then he spoke. “I appreciate your help, I really do. But I can’t be over, not now. I just started wrestling on a professional level! I can’t be finished after one match; I just…can’t be!”
“The doctor and your sister told you the consequences of continuing this pursuit. I know it’s in your blood to do the things that you do, but haven’t you ever stopped to wonder how I feel about this?” She asked. He looked over at her and felt his heart shattering. Her eyes were glistening with tears, threatening to break free of their confines. “Don’t cry Kol, please.” He said, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “I know you worry about me and it’s not fair for me to put you through that, but…” “But what?” She interrupted.
“It’s my passion Kolleen. This is what I was born to do. My grandfather wrestled as did my father. It’s been in my blood for too many years now. I can’t back down from this without a fight. Do you have any idea what it would do to me; my family, if I just threw in the towel? If I could get up the next morning, without a hint of guilt from quitting, I would do it in a heartbeat.” He held onto her hands now, feeling them tremble inside of his. The pain he saw etched into her face made him feel so small and caused every fiber of his being to scream in guilt.
“At least let me try. Let me fight this and see where it goes. If I don’t see any improvement soon, I’ll pack it in. I’ll toss in my ring boots and never enter that ring again. But if I’m able to make it through this rehab and I can perform normally even with the numbness…” He paused for a second as he felt his heart beating hard and fast. “Then I owe it to myself and everyone I care about to try.” Kolleen sniffed hard and then nodded at him. “Are you behind me?” He asked her. “I’ll stand behind you no matter what you do Randy. By now you should know that.” She replied.
They hugged each other, nuzzling each other’s necks. As Randy sat there in Kolleen’s embrace, he heard his phone going off. They released their hold and both looked at his phone after Randy withdrew it. He looked up at her and then showed her the screen. It was Penny on the other line and the timing seemed urgent. “Hello?” Randy called out as he answered. “Hey Randy, I just wanted to call you to tell you the good news. Dr. Farber has found a perfect place for you to do your rehab. He will be sending over your charts to the physical therapist today.” She said.
“When and where will this first meeting take place?” Randy asked. His hands were shaking from nervousness. “His name is Dr. Hamir Dohliz. He’s a new doctor who transferred from India to the United States about five years ago. He’s already obtained his U.S. medical license and was highly recommended by Dr. Farber.” “That’s great! When and where?” Randy replied. “Oh, sorry! Your first appointment is tomorrow morning back at this hospital. You’ll be on the fifth floor, room… three zero three. The exact time is… eleven thirty A.M. Don’t be late!” Penny replied.
“I’ll be there, thank you!” Randy ended the call and turned his attention back to Kolleen. This time she had happiness mixed with giddiness etched into her face. She squealed very slightly and hugged him. “I hope for the best!” She said. He rubbed her back as she continued to hold him. “Why the sudden change of tone?” He asked her. She let go and took a couple good breaths. “I figured, why be angry or upset when this is your dream? I shouldn’t fret over something when it’s possible to fix it. Let’s get back to the house and await the appointment.”
Randy got up and wrapped the rest of his sub in it’s package. “There’s still like three quarters of a sub here, I don’t wanna waste it.” He added in. Kolleen gave him a weird look which caused him to react in such a way. They walked past Mrs. Jones who was counting the money in the register. “Thanks again for the subs!” Randy told her. “Don’t mention it kids. I hope to see you again soon!” Randy nodded and exited the gas station. “Let’s get back home.” He chimed in. “Agreed!” Kolleen replied. They started walking home when Randy’s phone went off again.
He leaned against his cane and picked it up; it was his mother. “What’s up Mom?” Randy asked. “R-Randy… Someone’s trying to break in. I… I hear the doorknob jiggling around and now a man’s stomping on the door. Hurry…” A loud snapping sound interrupted his mother’s voice. “Oh god…STAY AWAY!” Diana yelled. The phone then disconnected. Randy’s eyes were open in horror. “What’s the matter?” Kolleen asked. At first he just stood there with bewildering eyes. Then everything began to crash down upon his very mind like ferocious tsunami. “We gotta go! WE GOTTA GO NOW!” He yelled. He started running as fast as he could with his cane, almost doubling his walking speed.
“What’s the problem?!” Kolleen yelled. She was only a few inches behind him but was starting to breath heavily. They turned the corner and ran straight down the road until they hit the four way intersection. Randy immediately took the left and started trucking towards the road that split off to the right. He took that right and ran as fast as his numb leg would carry him. When they got to the base of their hill, he immediately began charging up it. “What is the big hurry?!” Kolleen yelled out to him. He ignored her calls and kept pushing forward.
His mother was in danger, he had no doubt in his mind. Please be okay mom! He was already at the top of the hill. When he gazed at his own house, his heart nearly stopped. The door was kicked off the hinges with wood splintered everywhere. “NO!” Randy yelled. He pushed even harder this time to get to the house, it was only feet away now. He heard a scuffle going on inside consisting of gagging and loud grunting. Randy got inside the house, noticing the door laying almost inside the kitchen.
He looked into the living room and saw a burly, red haired man with his hands wrapped around Diana’s throat. “GET OFF OF HER!” Randy yelled, limply running towards him. He leapt towards the man, yanking him off of his mother, who gasped hard and started coughing. Randy had one of the man’s arms wrapped behind his back but couldn’t quite get the other one due to his numb arm. Come on, work with me! He yelled in his brain. His adrenaline was going through the roof now, as he focused all his attention on holding that man in place.
There was a weird feeling coursing through his left arm and right leg. It felt like millions of pins and needles were stabbing into his skin all up and down his hurt body parts. What the hell? He thought. Just then all the feeling came back to his arm, giving him the ability to wrap the assailant’s other arm in place. He could feel his right leg once more and knew exactly what to do. He wrapped his arm around the man’s throat, hooked his legs around his waist and flexed hard. The man was gagging, flailing his arms around at an attempt to break free.
Randy was counting the seconds that his hold was on the man and after ten to fifteen, the man passed out. Soon thereafter, Randy released the hold and fell onto his back, breathing hard. “How did you find the strength to do that?” Kolleen asked. She dropped to her knees, resting her hands on his legs. “I-I don’t know. I was holding the man with my good arm and was pushing hard to grab the other. It felt like the feeling was being forced back into my hurt limbs.” She looked confused and a bit shocked. “Are… you sure? Maybe it was just the adrenaline.”
Randy sat up and lifted his left arm. It used to be numb five inches above and below his elbow, but not anymore. “What the hell happened to me?” He shakily got to his feet and lifted himself upright; never did he stagger or feel the least bit numb. He then noticed his mother gazing at him with a smile on her face. “Oh god Mom, I’m so sorry!” he yelled, walking to her side. “Don’t be sorry son. I can’t believe you’re walking normally again! God works in mysterious ways it seems.” She replied. She was still coughing and recovering from that choke the man had on her.
“Who is that?!” Randy asked. He jerked his thumb towards the unconscious man. “I don’t know darling. I have no idea what he wanted with me.” Randy flipped the man over onto his back. He had thick copper red eyebrows. Short, curly hair, a wide jaw, thin lips and a very wide face. He was built, almost like a brick house. Just then Penny and Dr. Farber ran into the building. Penny had her eyes wide open in fear. “What happened?!” She yelled. Moments later she noticed the man on the floor, and gasped. “Isn’t that the new EMT intern?” She asked Dr. Farber.
“Yes, that’s Nelson Orasheno. He just transferred from Alabama a couple weeks back.” Dr. Farber replied. He then looked over at Randy who was standing without any aid. “How are you able to do that?!” He asked. Randy shook his head and shrugged and then explained his story starting with when he entered the house. Dr. Farber walked over to him, scratching his chin as he gawked with astonishment. “That’s absolutely stupendous! That brain damage I observed seemed near permanent. I mean, there was a ten percent chance you could regain feeling, but this fast? And without help too? It might as well be a modern miracle.” he stated. “Randy saved my life. I owe him a debt of gratitude.” Diana said. Randy went to her side and held her hand. “Hush Mom. You don’t owe me a thing. You would have done the same.”
Penny had her cell phone out and was talking fast. “My mother’s house was broken into and an assailant tried to murder her! Yes, the address is, six forty, hillside drive. We live in the first house to the left. Thank you sir!” Penny stated. She put her phone back and returned her attention to Randy. “The cops are on the way as well as an ambulance… I’m still baffled as to how you’re walking though. This is nothing short of a miracle, I’m sure of it.” Randy went to sit down on the couch, with Kolleen walking in his wake.
“Quite a day huh?” He asked her. Her face was filled with utmost confusion. Her eyes were darting between Nelson and Randy. “I… I guess you can go back to the ring now.” She said. “Hey, I wasn’t expecting this either Kol. Maybe I have someone watching over me up there.” Randy replied. He looked up and crossed himself with his hand. Whoever did this, thank you! He prayed. He held onto Kolleen tightly and then pulled out his cell phone. “It’s time I give Mr. Lawrence a call and set up my return.” With that, he dialed the number and awaited the voice he so longed to hear.