MY HEROES

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CAPTAIN BLACK

TREY, CAPTAIN BLACK

Mitch drifts in and out of consciousness over the next few days, never truly opening his eyes. When he does say anything it’s usually hard to understand or makes no sense. Except for one word. One word he says often and with complete clarity.

Jenna.

Even in the condition he’s in – his heart is seeking her out. No one else recognizes it as anything more than ramblings, and I continue to play dumb. The hospital won’t let her in, so it’s a moot point. When I do leave the hospital, I sleep at Jenna’s. She comforts me, takes care of me and then sends me on my way. She is the only thing that is keeping me sane right now.

I update her every night on Mitch’s progress – or lack of. Day in and day out, nothing changes. He remains in limbo, as if waiting for something to tell him whether he should stay or go. Or someone. Fuck.

Mitch’s Dad is a retired firefighter, injured in the line of duty. What was once a horrifying and scary event for the Black family turned out to be a blessing in the end. Capt. and Mrs. Black travel most of the year, splitting their time between their six children and seventeen grandchildren. The fact that their baby and only son is the only one who hasn’t given them grandchildren does not go unmentioned every visit. The Blacks are the kind of family everyone wishes they had, the kind of family I always dreamed of. When he pulls me aside, I figure he wants to talk serious about Mitch’s condition. I’m not prepared for the conversation he really wants to have.

“Tell me about Jenna, son.” Huh? How did he know? “I’m not deaf. I can hear what my son is saying in there. He’s asking for someone named Jenna. And based on the look you just gave me – she means something to you too.” This is why I don’t play poker during the down time at the house, my poker face sucks ass. Ah shit.

“Jenna is a woman your son is in love with, Sir. I believe she loves him too,” oh yeah. That fucking hurt. I thought the concept of a ‘broken heart’ was ridiculous – turns out it is very real. And awful. Capt. Black is watching me carefully, the look of surprise that his son has someone special in his life already gone from his face.

“You love her too, don’t you son?” His face is kind, but his words are fucking knives in my heart. I choose to ignore his question.

“She really wants to come see him, Sir. But the hospital rules won’t allow it.” Mitch’s father lets me off the hook and promises to speak to the doctors about getting Jenna in. We get approval, and I race to her place to pick her up.

She’s going to be so happy.

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