I got an emergency call from Jack after school on Thursday. I was just walking in the door when the phone rang. He sounded relieved when he heard it was me and all he said was that his mom was at a hospital called Garfield Medical Center near her house and he gave me the number and told me to call for directions and then hung up before I had a chance to say anything else. I stood there staring at the phone and then said hello? I looked at the paper where I’d jotted down the number on and duitfully called it. A professional sounding woman gave me directions and I was relieved to hear that the freeways sounded familiar, so I scribbled a note to my mom and hopped in the car with my directions.
When I found the nurse’s station on Liz’s floor I asked for her room number and if they’d seen Jack. They directed me to her room and I still did not know what was going on until I saw Jack walking out and he quickly steered me away from everyone as I looked over my shoulder at an older woman sitting by the door and asked Jack who she was and he told me that she was a “sitter” and then said “my mom took a crapload of pills and they had to pump her stomach.” I just stood there for a minute and felt numb. He looked so weary and so young and I just grabbed him and hugged him and told him I was loved him and was sorry and at first he let me hug him and fell into my arms and held me tight and then without warning, he kind of jerked away and pulled from my arms and said he had to go take care of some insurane papers. He almost seemed mad at me. But I understood. I knew It all sucked for him. He had done this all before, he’d told me and so had Richard.
Jack told me to go to his mom’s room and he’d be back in a few minutes and then just walked away. I really just wanted to wait, to go in the room with him because stuff like this just doesn’t happen in my family. I didn’t want to go in alone! I didn’t know what to say. I walked past the older lady sitting at the door. She smiled at me kindly. I felt sorry for her that she had to sit there. When I walked through the door Liz was yelling and I realized it was at that lady to go away. She was saying she didn’t need a babysitter. All of a sudden I just got so mad. Not just at what was happening then, but everything that I knew about how unreasonable and selfish she’d been through the years and I told her to “Just stop it!” I told her that the lady had to sit there because of what she did, and didn’t want to be there anymore than Liz wanted her there, and if she didn’t shut up, I was going to leave and not come back. To my surprise she stopped and apologized and even leaned over and sweetly apologized to the woman sitting outside the door. I was caught off guard and when I turned to see what the woman’s reaction was, I saw Jack standing there smiling at me proudly.
We stayed for a while and talked and then promised that we’d go and feed her cat and bring her back some things tomorrow. We were going to stay at her house. We’d called and gotten everything cleared for the next day so we could deal with what needed to be done and my parents said I could stay over at Liz’s. Jack told me to follow him. So as I backed out, he pulled up behind me and we began going down familiar looking side streets. At first I figured we were just going a short cut that Jack knew. And when I missed a light I panicked because I didn’t know exactly where I was but was releived when he pulled over. But not long enough for me to really catch up. For a while we seemed to be playing this weird cat and mouse game until I was almost in tears.
Finally, he actually screeched off. I sat there stunned. My heart was racing my head was spinning and I felt the same feeling I’d felt sailing that day. I began to question what I was doing chasing him around Montery Park. So I turned around and drove until I found a freeway I recognized and went home. At first I was crying and then I was just angry. When I walked in the door my mom asked what had happened to Jack’s mom. I had to tell her. But I made it sound like it was an accident. I told her that I was going to bed and that I’d decided not to stay over because I had a test tomorrow and Jack could handle his mom and if he called to tell him I was asleep and then I lay awake all night long tossing and turning trying to understand what had happened.