More Of A Father To Me

In a private hospital room the man who looked as though he had the weight of the world on his shoulders kept vigil at the younger man's bedside. He was unmoving, sat so still he could easily have been a statue as he watched the gentle rise and fall of the other's chest. His face was expressionless. He didn't stir, not even when the nurses entered to do their routine checks. The young man's chart bore the name Tom Foster, and the older man's eyes conveyed the sadness of any worried father, although his presence at the bedside was marked by the fact that he would often disappear for days at a time, with no explanation as to where he went, or why.

Tom had been admitted with a serious head injury and had been unconscious ever since. Nobody had known whether he was going to make it, but after weeks spent in a coma, teetering on the very edge of death, he was finally beginning to show signs of waking up.

The man leaned forward as the other's eyes flickered, and slowly opened.

"Grahame…" The young man moaned, his voice hoarse and weak from its lack of recent use – the tone unfamiliar. The last time anyone had heard that voice the man had been healthy and strong.

"I'm here." The older man said, edging closer so the young man could see.

"My head hurts…"

"It's alright, you've been in an accident." He told him – his voice even and monotone, bearing no hint of emotion, despite the circumstances.

"Debbie…" The name escaped pale lips, and was almost lost on a shuddered breath. The young man's lungs were still getting used to breathing for themselves. "Sarah…"

The man turned away. His eyes welled, but when he looked back his face was set stony again – unreadable.

"Just rest now…" His voice shook only slightly, but it was enough to provoke a concerned frown from the man in the bed. They held each other's gaze for a moment, eyes locking in silent communication before the young man's eyes slipped closed again – his injured brain giving in to the fog of sleep which still hung over him.

Whilst the doctor was called to check on his patient, the man – Grahame – slipped out of the room unobserved, where no one could witness him finally break down, and set the tears he'd held onto for the past few weeks free.