Wednesday, January 3, 2002. 8:30 A.M.
Kerri had received a telephone call from Helen Monteith late on Tuesday evening. She had told Kerri the entire story of her son’s accident, leaving nothing out. She treasured the bond the two shared, and knew that Kerri would want to know. Helen added that Doctor Graham had told her and Steve’s brothers that Steve’s condition is grave, that he may not recover from his comatose state, and that if he does recover, there is a strong possibility that he will be challenged. From the tone of Steve’s mother’s voice it was obvious to Kerri that she was deeply upset, and that she was in tears for the entire conversation. In spite of Steve’s condition and the time and aggravation of making the the trip to Toronto, Kerri had to see him. Something in the deepest region of her soul told her that she might make a difference.
Kerri took a cab to Newark Liberty International Airport, then boarded a Porter Airlines, Bombardier Q400, a stretched short takeoff and landing turboprop aircraft. Her flight took her to Toronto Island Airport. After disembarking, she collected her luggage, cleared Customs, then took the ferry to the Ferry Pier at Hanlan’s Point. From there, she took a taxi to St. Michael’s Hospital. The receptionist gave her directions to the hospital’s Trauma Center, and she hurried there to announce her arrival. She approached a frowning middle aged woman in street clothing. “My name is Kerri King. I’m here to see Steve Monteith, a friend of mine. He was admitted yesterday.”
“Have you spoken to Doctor Graham?” the woman asked, still frowning, but staring at Kerri as if she knew her.
“He would have told you that Steve Monteith is still comatose.”
“I’m aware of that. I spoke to Steve’s mother last night. I still want to see him. I hope that’s possible. Please don’t disappoint me. I’ve travelled a long way to be here. ”
The woman scanned Kerri as if she was a felon. “It’s possible, but it would be appreciated if you didn’t stay long,” she said, then squinted. “You look familiar. Do I know you?” she asked.
“You might have seen me on television.”
The woman smiled. “Of course. You’re Kerri King, the president of that company that lost...”
“Yes, I am,” Kerri interrupted. “Could you tell me where Steve is?”
The woman pointed to the corridor to her right. “He’s in number four. Second door on your left...Before you go, I just want you to know that I think what your doing is amazing. And by the way, stay as long as you want.”
“Thank you,” Kerri said with a big smile, then turned and headed for Steve’s room. She entered to find the man she had not seen since he cancelled and stormed out of his wedding to Christine Stewart. The man with whom she had formed a friendship was lying on his back, his eyes closed, a myriad of wires and tubes connected to his head and body. To her, he was still the ten she had met at The Health Club in September of the previous year. She sat on the white wooden chair on the window side of his bed. “Hi, stranger,” she said, a small part of her expecting his eyes to open and his wonderful smile to appear.
She reached for his hand, immediately feeling its cold limpness. She stared at him, wishing he could see her, hear her, respond to her. For so long she had thought about, dreamed about what it would be like to see him again, alone, just like it was on their one and only date in New York. It saddened her to see such a vital man in his current condition. It worried her to think of the mountain he had to climb. “You’re a wonderful man, Steve Monteith, too nice a guy to end it like this,” she said with tears flooding her eyes, then stood and kissed his forehead. “I’m praying for you, and I’m going to keep praying for you until you come back to this world, back to your family, back to me.”