Stars Worth Searching For

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Chapter Eleven

“How are you getting home today?” Mom comes into my room before work.

“Leo’s picking me up. I’m having dinner there, I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Are you alright?” Mom asks.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I grab some scrubs out of the closet. I don’t want my family to worry about me.

“What time do you work this morning?” “Nine.”

“Hannah made some cinnamon rolls for you.”

“Oh cool.”

Maybe the sticky sweet cinnamon rolls will make me feel better, and take the bitter taste out of my mouth.

“Hey.” Hannah greets me in the kitchen, with a Cinnamon roll, and a glass of chocolate milk.

“Thanks.” I carry my plate over to the bar counter.

“How are you feeling about the surgery?” Hannah asks, sitting next to me.

“I don’t know.” I take a big bite, so I won’t have to talk.

Hannah puts her hand over mine. “You don’t have to be strong for all of us, all the time.”

“Yeah I do.” I wipe a tear off my cheek with my thumb.

“No. You don’t.” Hannah wraps me into a hug, and grabs her keys off the counter.

“Do you care if I drive you today?”

“No, that’s fine.”

“Good.” Hannah wraps me into another hug. “I’m always here for you.”

“Thank you.” I smile, hugging her.

I grab my overnight bag, and hoist it over my shoulder, putting it in the trunk.

“I really admire you for working with these kids.” Hannah pulls into a parking space.

“Thanks.” I put my hand over hers. “That means a lot to me.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

“Hey, Alex.” Christen, an OT offers a small smile. “You’re with Karrie today.”

A tall lady with pink scrubs smiles at me, and extends her hand. “Hi, I’m Karrie, I don’t think we’ve met before.”

“Hi.” I offer a small smile. “How long have you been here?”

“Two years, but I’m usually not here on weekends, I’m covering for someone today.”

“Oh, I just started working here about a month ago.”

“Do you mind setting up in here, while I get the client?” She leads me into her therapy room.

I notice labels and pictures written in English and also written in braille. There are so many sensory bins, a yoga ball and a balance beam.

“I like your room.”

“Thanks.” She pats my shoulder, and goes to get her client.

Pretty soon, Karrie comes in carrying a toddler.

“This is Briana.” She puts the little girl down at the table.

“Hi.” I smile. “I’m Alex.”

“Briana’s four, but she’s just starting to walk, so we’re going to work on some sensory activities on the playground.”

“Can I hold her?” I smile at Briana.

“If she’ll let you.” Karrie laughs. “She’s kind of shy.”

“Hi, Briana!” I bend down to her level. “I’m Alex.”

“Hi.” She says, quietly.

“Can I take you out to the playground?”

“Yeah,” She smiles.

“Okay.” I scoop her up, and put my tote bag on my other shoulder.

As soon as I set Brianna down outside, she picks up some sand, and feels it with her fingers,

“She’s really sensory.” Christen hands her a bucket.

“Bri, take the toys out of the bucket, and count them.”

Brianna takes the toys out of the bucket, counting them, as she dumps them out.Although she’s blind, she happily plays with the bucket, and finds a shovel.

“Will you build a castle with me?” She asks.

“Sure.” I sit across from her, not caring that my clothes get dirty.

I can always wash my clothes. Time with these children is absolutely priceless.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

“You wanna go to the beach?” Leo asks, after dinner.

“Yeah.” I help Jenny clear the table.

“Are you nervous about the surgery?” She asks, putting her hand on my forearm.

“I just know that my vision isn’t going to be the same after.”

She takes both of my hands. “It might be different for a couple of months, sweetie. But it will get better.”

I brush a tear off my cheek with my thumb. “I hope so.”

She hugs me, rubbing my back. “It’ll get better, I promise my love.”

I finish loading the dishwasher, and Leo and I head out to his car

“What if I’m blind after the surgery?” I blurt out, tears streaming down my cheeks.

Leo takes my hand, and kisses it. “You won’t be.”

“Well, what if I am?”

Leo runs his fingers through my hair. “I promise you won’t be. Dr. Calloway is a very good doctor.”

He pulls up to the beach and we find a spot.

“I’m just nervous.” I put my head on Leo’s chest.

Leo kisses my forehead, and takes my face in his hands, so I’m looking at him

“Whatever happens to you. Whether you lose your vision or not, I’m going to be here for you.”

He runs his thumb along my face, brushing some hair away. “Your family My family. We’re all here for you. And we’re going to be here for you, no matter what the situation is.”

Tears stream down my cheeks. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too.” Leo says, before kissing me.

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