The Hospital Visit
Little three-year-old Barley held on to his mother's hand as they walked the inside of the hospital to the elevator to go to his dad's floor. Barley saw many elfs with tubes attached to them. He didn't know why, and was scared. He looked at his mom who seemed calm, so he decided to be calm too.
As they entered the elevator, the doors were about to close, when an elf pushing a medical cart approached. Laurel pressed the button again to keep it open just long enough so the guy with the medical cart could get in. She saw on his nametag that his name was Visal.
"Thank you ma'am." He thanked her.
"Oh, no problem." She said. He looked at the many buttons, but didn't do anything.
"Hey, you're going to the same floor as me!"
"Are we? My, that's convenient."
"Convenient is right." He looked down at Barley. "Hey little guy, who are you seeing?" Barley couldn't speak, so his mom answered for him.
"His father, Wilden Lightfoot."
"Aw." He bent down to his level. "Don't be nervous. Your dad's nurses and doctors are doing everything they can to get your father better, and home to play with you soon enough." He stood back up as the doors opened back up to their floor.
"You first." Laurel said to the man. Visal thanked her, and got off with the medical cart, but not before waving goodbye to Barley.
"Goodbye, little buddy. Hopes everything goes well with Dad." After he was out, Barley and Mom walked out as well.
Barley saw more and more patients with tubes. There were doctors pushing them on wheelchairs, them going around themselves attached to IVs, them walking with walkers or crutches, and them being pushed on hospital beds on wheels. Several of them had the tubes on them, and all of them wearing hospital gowns.
Barley looked at his mom. She still looked calm, but seeing all of these tubes were scaring him.
"Mommy?" He asked. "Why are there several beings with tubes on them?"
"The tubes are there to help them, sweetheart." She answered. "So there's no need to fear them."
"Will Daddy have tubes?"
"Perhaps." Barley looked scared. "But like I said before, they're there to help. Do you understand?"
"Good. We're almost there."
Barley saw more and more tubes. They didn't seem to stop. Although, he understood now why they had them, he was still scared. Each of these mythical beings were here for the same reason why his father was here, because they were all sick. An adult like his mom and all of these doctors and nurses, were used to it. But he, a kid, wasn't, and this whole new world was scary to him.
"This is your dad's room." Laurel said to Barley as they neared the room. Barley saw his dad inside, and he was in a bed with tubes with an IV attached. He was so scared, that he didn't want to go in.
"I-I can't do this." He said.
"I know seeing your dad like this is scary." His mom began. "But it'll be all right. Trust me. Your dad will want to see you." His mom pulled him closer, but he pulled back. He released his mom's grasp. Laurel looked at her son who shook his head. "I can't go in there. I'm sorry." He ran off. His mom called after him.
"Barley!" She was about to go after him when Wilden, who saw the whole thing, spoke up,
"Come in, Laurel!" He said. "Barley will come in when he's ready." Laurel wasn't sure, but went in, but not before calling to her son. "Just take a seat. Mommy will be there soon! Or, if you want to see Daddy, tell me when you're ready to come in, and I'll get you!" She sighed. "He's not going to want to come in."
"Don't sweat it, dear." He told her. "He's going through a lot. I don't blame him not wanting to see me like this. That's asking a lot. His life is changing, and he barely began his."
"True, but I feel bad for him. Poor Barley."
"Yeah, poor Barley." He changed the subject. "So, how about you? How are you coping with all of this?" Laurel sighed as she sat down at a chair that she pulled next to her husband's bed. "Oh, don't even ask that, Wilden. I have a sick husband in the hospital, I'm working my butt off at work, and we have a small child at home, and to top it all off, another is on the way. So, what do you think?"
"I know it's hard, Laurel. If it were you, it would be hard on me too. But you have to hold on for me, for Barley, and for the baby."
"I don't know if I can do it, Wilden."
"I know you can." Laurel shook her head, and began crying.
"Oh, gosh!" She wept in her hands "I can't believe this is happening. This is not happening. Oh, who am I kidding? It is happening!" Wilden frowned as he saw his wife crying in front of him.
"I wish this wasn't happening either." He told her. "But even the strongest magic on this planet can't prevent this. But you have to promise me something. Look at me. Look at me." A still crying Laurel managed to look at him. "This is going to be hard, but you have to stay strong. Do it for me, for Barley, and the unborn baby. Promise?" Laurel nodded as she wiped her tears away.
"I promise." Wilden smiled.
"Good, and in speaking of our unborn baby, we need to come up with a name. Now on the phone, you said it was going to be a boy." Laurel nodded. "And I know, you wanted it to be a surprise, but due to the circumstances, you made the doctor tell you the moment I got admitted, correct?" Again Laurel nodded. "Did you come up with a few names?"
"I'm sorry, but my mind was on so many things that I didn't think of a single name."
"And that's completely understandable. I did." Laurel became curious.
"You did? What?"
"Yeah. I think it's a fine name. Don't you?" She thought about this a minute, smiled, and rubbed her belly.
"Yeah, Ian's perfect."
"Just like his mom." Laurel looked at him sweetly at that. "Which reminds me, I have a gift for both him and Barley." His wife became confused.
"You do? What?" She looked around. "Where is it?"
"Look in the closet." Laurel stood up, went to the closet, and gasped. She picked it up. It was long, and covered up. "What is it?"
"A present. Don't let them open it up until they are both over 16."
"Because I think by then, they'll be ready for it."
"Ready for what? Wilden, I love you, but you're not making sense."
"All in good time, dear. Sixteen plus years are going to be here before you know it. In the meantime, go in front of the TV. I have another gift. Laurel walked in front of the TV, drew a cassette tape labeled 'Dad', and picked it up.
"A cassette tape?"
"In case they want to listen to my voice. I hope cassette tapes don't become obsolete, and you still have one in the future." She smiled, as she turned back to him.
"We'll keep it. It's not going anywhere for a long time, maybe forever."
"I wish you didn't have to do this, and you can talk and give the gift to them yourself."
"I know. I do too. Like I said before, it's beyond my control."
They talked for a while, then Laurel remembered their son was still waiting outside. She stood up.
"I should go, and get Barley in here."
"If he doesn't want to, don't force him too. Just go home."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure. Just take care of yourself. I feel like I'll see him again." He looked at his wife's belly. "Ian too."
"Okay. I love you, sweetie." She went over to kiss him on the forehead.
"I love you too, as well as Barley, and future Ian. Don't forget the gifts."
"I won't. I'll mark it on the calendar."
"Good girl." She left then.
Laurel found her son with Visal looking at the many sea monsters swimming around in an aquarium.
"Barley," His mom spoke to him when she neared them. "It's time to go, or do you want to see Dad before we do?" Barley and Visal looked at her, and Barley shook his head.
"I'm still scared too." The little elf admitted. "Am I making Dad mad?"
"No, not at all. It's your choice. He understands that you're not ready."
"Okay. I'll try to be ready next time." Laurel wanted to tell her son that she wasn't sure that there'll be a next time, but didn't want to frighten him, so she didn't.
"Okay, say goodbye to this nice man, Barley." Barley waved to him,
"Goodbye, nice man!" Visal smiled.
"Goodbye, my new friend." Barley and his mom left.
Unfortunately, there wasn't a next time, for Laurel got the call the next morning that her husband had passed away in his sleep. Laurel didn't want to, but told Barley. The three-year-old burst out crying.
"I should've visited him." He sobbed.
"You didn't know, Barley." His mom told her. "None of us knew when he was going to die or get better. It's not your fault. This was beyond our control."
"But we're magic aren't we? Can't we bring him back?"
"Not even the strongest magic in the world could stop this. Oh, come here."
"Barley!" Barley shook his head some more, and ran outside.
"Barley!" She sighed. "Oh, what am I to do?"
Barley ran outside still in tears. He stopped running to cry some more.
"I'm sorry, Daddy that I didn't visit you in your time of need!" He sobbed to himself. "I didn't know; I didn't know! I was scared."
His mother came out as Barley was still crying. Barley turned to her, and ran into her arms to cry some more as his mom soothed him.
After a little while, they went back inside so Laurel could make breakfast for Barley, and then to arrange the funeral. Both she and her son were now on their own for a while until they wait for the birth of little Ian. But in the meantime, had to be strong, both for themselves, and for Ian.