Chiara was jaded, all the things that had brought her pleasure in the past she had out grown. Stilted she sat at the park after her jog no longer feeling the endorphin’s rush through her head, today it seemed nothing worked.
Shuffle, shuffle… Chiara could hear the gravel being beaten by a pair of jogger’s shoes off to her right. She didn’t move she sat despondent…
Shit! Some poor bastard landed face down at her feet. Limbs poking out from beneath his torso like a bent wire hanger. He had taken the fall face first. Jolted out of her stupor Chiara bent down to offer her aid. As he lifted his head somewhat dazed she was horrified to see blood pouring down his face. “Wait stop – just a minute, don’t get up” she tried sound and remain calm. Whipping a freshly pressed handkerchief from her pocket Chiara; as if with one of her children held the clean cloth to his face and braced the back of his head with the other. Slowly the two got up and sat together on the park bench, suddenly he shot out an enormous stream of vomit; it splashed her legs and found its target all over her runners. As it splattered Chiara thought This does not look good he man is starting to curl up on the bench .AUTO PILOT!
Grabbing him by the arm she escorted him to her car reassuring him all the while. Buckling him up she ran around to the drivers side flicking as much vomit from her feet as she could, she smeared them on the bitumen and jumped in the car. Ok drive to the nearest hospital. En route the stranger seemed to drift in and out of consciousness. Don’t vomit in my car buddy! She was alert and not at all worried about the fact that she didn’t know the guy in her car she just wanted to know he was alright. His head had been resting firmly in his hands till now; as the car lurched forward his head his head jerked back revealing his ‘INT’ face.
SHIT, SHIT, SHIT! Now she was surprised! How did this happen? Darting in and out of traffic she managed to check her hair and teeth in the mirror whilst negotiating a very busy roundabout.
Pulling into the ambulance bay at the entrance to the emergency department staff had ‘INT’ on a gurney before she could think. Move the car they beckoned with flailing arms and animated mouths while wheeling him away. Now what? Parking the car she had to see how he was. Entering the emergency department she was debriefed and ushered into a waiting room while staff tended to him. Watching the team of nurses and doctors she marveled at their strength for now she wanted to cry. The commotion had shaken her up. What time is it?! 10.30am – phew! She could afford to sit and wait, he had no ID and she was presumed his next of kin. So sat she did.
Watching the nurses shuffle past in their navy uniforms and an array of comfortable shoes Chiara began to muse on this very strange day she found herself in. You couldn’t wish for a better into’ she thought selfishly, but now their meeting was pending she found herself questioning her motives…
What am I thinking? Why and if so then what? It isn’t the most glamorous of circumstances but I am indeed the hero here, sweaty, grubby looking, housewife hero with two kids and a manic possessive husband…Ugh The kids! Making a quick call on the public phone, (she never took her phone while running) to David she was greeted with his usual panic and disgruntled agreeance to help when he was forced to. Taking her seat once more in the waiting area of the emergency department she began to stew on the dysfunction of her marriage. Chiara’s train of thought was interrupted by the male nurse tending to ‘INT’. “Chiara your friend has woken and has lots of questions, he wants to see you now. He wants to thank you for bringing him in” he was a large man about 40 years old, the kind of guy you would assume was more a truck driver than a male nurse – a gentle giant, his name tag read Greg.
“Oh of course” Chiara nodded; following Greg into the small curtained room she felt her tension rising. Greg gave a polite smile and left. Now seeing him she felt the anxiety leave her. The doctors had stitched up the gash across his top lip and had cleaned up the gravel that had been embedded in his forehead, propped up with pillows he looked positively harmless. A wave of relief washed over her and Chiara managed a weak “Hi”. “It’s you” his voice was weak “I thought I remembered you at the park today, thank you so much I don’t know what I would have happened if you hadn’t given me a hand…what did happen? One minute I was running then I woke up here”
Retelling the story Chiara mercifully omitted the vomit incident from her factual recount and subsequent washing it all off her legs and shoes in the loo bit and the two fell into a cozy dialogue much to her delight.
He said he had recognized her from the café and recalled her in her green dress, perhaps in his stupefied state he had forgotten to be guarded, she loved this fact, it was after all her favorite dress and the first time she had noticed him. Sitting propped up by one arm she conceded that he was a most charming person, even when sporting a bandage and stale blood. Greg poked his head through the curtain “Excuse me Dillon” Dillon that’s his name what great lengths it had taken to get this info’ she thought. Dillon and Chiara both lurched back creating more space between them; this embarrassed all three of them. “Well Mr Tanner the tests have all come back and you are fine to go, you can head off when you are ready – but you cant drive mate, Chiara you’ll see him home safely I expect, give you time to get acquainted” Greg gave a sly grin as he turned to help Dillon from the hospital bed.