At one a.m. Clara finally surrendered to going to bed with the stipulation Rachel wake her if anything important happened. Clara had an early rise for work, whereas her mother worked the evening and night shift. So after an exchange of hugs and words of concern for Frank, Rachel was now alone with the TV and her fearful thoughts.
Normally she would be in bed now too. But it would be useless tonight, she would only toss and turn. So she watched the TV intently, even as it repeated itself over and over. She saw no sign of Frank. The hours slowly ticked by, until finally the reporter confirmed Central park was now under police control. The stone building had been gassed, the gangs broken up and arrested, and yes there were fatalities. No names were given yet, until families could be notified.
Rachel was exhausted. She wanted to go to bed, but her worry was growing even more. Why hadn’t Frank called by now to confirm he was alright? He would have to know she would be worried. The fact he had not called yet, was reason for even more concern. But slowly without realizing, she drifted off to sleep on the couch, with her phone nearby.
Six a.m., and she only been asleep for an hour or so when her cell phone began ringing. At first it sounded as if in a heavy fog, and very far away, but slowly growing louder until she finally realized she had fallen asleep and needed to get the phone! But her brain did not want to work and her body did not function. Fumbling to hit the buttons she hastily answered, “Hello…Frank? You okay?”
The voice that answered was not Frank. “Mam,” he began, “this is Frank’s partner, Sam. He told me to call you if anything ever happened. Franks in the hospital.”
As Rachel remained silent, Sam could hear her breathing and decided best to just lay it out there. So he kept on talking, “He’s alive… but it’s not good. He took a bad fall. His back has some serious damage. He’s been unconscious, swelling on the brain. Their prepping him for surgery right now. I’m not leaving till he comes out of surgery. But he would want you to know. Do you have any questions? Do you need a ride to the hospital or anything?”
“No…” she answered. “I can get there. Thank you, Officer Sam.”
“You’re welcome, Mam.”
Rachel disconnected the call, slowly slid off the side of the couch onto the floor, buried her face into her hands and began weeping. She was exhausted, emotionally spent, but as soon as she could pull herself together she would tell Clara the bad news, and then she would be on her way to the hospital.
Frank was unaware of anything going on. He felt no pain, did not know his body lay on the bank of a small stream for a couple hours before he was found, was unaware of his ride in an ambulance to the hospital, and did not know he was being rushed into surgery at this very time. The extent of his injuries were not yet known, but the swelling of his brain had to be treated immediately, and there was spinal cord damage. One doctor estimated his odds of living about fifty-fifty, and his odds of walking again not that good.
Frank was mostly unaware of anything. He was sleeping in darkness and feeling nothing, not even the passing of time, except when there was a flash of light. At random times there would be a flash of something, like light, and a picture! Light flashed, he saw a tree over hanging a lagoon! In his unconscious and injured state he did not try to ponder what he saw, it was as a dream, it just was. Light flashed and he saw a tree, then he saw a lagoon, and it was as if in a jungle.
Time passed by and he was unaware of the passing before light flashed again, and there was the tree again, and something else, a sloth?
Frank was still in surgery when Rachel arrived at the hospital and quickly found Officer Sam. Frank had spoke of him as a fine man, but she and he had never met. He knew she had to be Rachel the moment he saw her enter the waiting room.
Walking over to her, he softly asked, “Rachel?”
“Yes, I’m Rachel. Any word?”
“No. Not yet. He’s still in there. His sons have also been notified and they are on their way. All but one. He’s got to book a plane. Can I get you a coffee or anything?”
“Yes, coffee would be good, and if you can tell me anything at all, about what happened to him?”
“Sure, lets get that coffee first, and find a seat,” Sam went to a coffee machine, put a card in, punched some buttons and waited on the coffee while Rachel spotted a place to sit. Soon he was joining her with two cups of hot coffee, cream and sugar.
“Well,” he began, “here’s all we know. Frank was found unconscious on the ground and almost in a stream of water. It appears he had gone over the side wall of a stone bridge. He must have been in a tussle with somebody. He fell in a bad way. Another officer was found on the bridge, his neck broke. We don’t know if the two are related or not. Frank and I got separated in the chaos. I didn’t see a thing, I’m afraid. And I feel terrible I wasn’t there to help him.”
Sam went silent at that point and Rachel gave him an understanding look as she reached to touch his hand. “Frank always spoke very highly of you. Said you were a good man and he was lucky to have you as his partner. Whatever happened out there, I’m sure he doesn’t blame you.”
Rachel saw tears in Sam’s eyes as he thanked her for her kind words.
Two more hours went by before Frank was wheeled out of surgery and into a special room. Sam helped identify Rachel as someone very close and should be allowed to be at his side when he awoke.
“If he awakes,” a doctor corrected. “His injuries are very serious. we’re hoping he does’t slide into a deep coma, and if he avoids that, then we don’t know if he’ll ever walk again. I’m sorry. I wish I had better news, but we just don’t know. Only God knows at this point.”
Rachel nodded her head that she understood, thanked the doctor for all his efforts, and settled in by Franks bed to wait. There lay the man she was afraid to love. Now it was likely his police days were over. How would Frank deal with such a change in his life? Was she meant to help him through such a time as this? All she knew was she was here for him now.
As morning was birthing thousands of miles south in the Amazon jungle, Yinney was singing his morning song…
Rising morning sun, I greet you. Singing morning birds, I thank you. Gentle cooling breeze, I welcome you. Great and mighty tree, I hang from you.
Predators may lurk jungle below, but our ways are higher in the trees. Our ways are touched with cooling breeze. Our ways invisible in the leaves. Our ways are blessed in peaceful flow. Our ways are blessed with S-O-U-L.