The ball keeps rolling down the hill into the trench of despair. Will it be picked back up?
“Can we say goodnight to Mikey?” Over the course of a month or so, Lindsey had realized how valuable Mikey was to her. He always looked out for her and supported her through everything even though he didn’t know her that well. Just the fact that she was married to his brother had made Lindsey somewhat of a real sister to him, and now that she had found out that he had actually donated a piece of him so that Gerard could live, she didn’t know what she would do without him. Frank led Lindsey to the PACU and opened the door for her, letting her inside. Mikey was asleep on the bed, connected to an IV drip and a few other machines. He wasn’t connected to nearly as many as Gerard was, but Lindsey hated to see him remotely in the same way her husband was. He did such a valiant thing, he didn’t deserve to be in the pain he would be in once the powerful painkillers wore off. Lindsey walked over to Mikey’s bed and gazed at his peaceful face, breathing faintly through his slightly open mouth and pushed his brown hair from his face. It was long and unkempt, and Lindsey decided that she would take him to get a haircut after he fully recovered.
“Thank you, Mikey…” she whispered. Mikey was fast asleep and did not hear her say this, but Lindsey meant it more than she could express. He gave Gerard life. He gave part of himself so Gerard could cheat death.
“Lindsey, we should go, Bandit’s about to fall asleep.” Lindsey turned and walked out of the room with Frank and Bandit. She doubted she would be able to sleep that night, anxious to find out how Gerard was in the morning. The left the hospital silently, immersed in their own thoughts and went back to Lindsey’s apartment.
They all clambered out of their respective cars in the parking garage and made their way up the stairs to the apartment. Upon approaching the door, a white piece of paper caught their attention. Lindsey removed the paper from the door and read the print, her eyes darting frantically back and forth, re-reading and re-reading the words.
“No…” she breathed.
“What? What is it?” Frank walked over and glanced over her shoulder. At the top of the paper, in bold letters, Frank saw, “Eviction Notice. Vacate in 3 weeks.” He gasped sharply.
“Oh my god…” he said. The paper was shaking, vaguely at first, but grew more violent.
“Lindsey, Lindsey. Lindsey! Calm down! It’s okay. It’s going to be okay,” he soothed.
“No, it’s not,” she sobbed, “I haven’t paid rent in months because we couldn’t afford it. We’re completely broke, Frankie. I don’t know what to do any more.” Lindsey was crouched on the floor, her head buried in the crumpled eviction notice in her hands. Frank leveled himself with her held her to help her back up.
“Lindsey, you have to be strong. Be strong for Bandit. Be strong for Gerard, Mikey. Be strong for them.”
“I can’t do this anymore…” she gasped between sobs.
“Don’t ever say that, Lindsey.”
“What am I supposed to do then?”
“You’ve been looking for a job, right? Well, once you find one, you can stay at my house for the time being. I’m sure you can get back on your feet pretty quickly. Once Gerard recovers, he can get a job, and everything will go back to normal, okay?” Lindsey sniffed,
“I can’t stay at your house. You’re already paying for most of Gerard’s operation, taking care of Mikey. It’s just too much. I shouldn’t be taking more from you.”
“Lindsey, I don’t think you have any idea what’s going through my mind. To put it bluntly, I have more money and space than I know what to do with. I’m glad I can give my wife and kids practically anything they want, but something’s missing. If I know that my close friends are in trouble, and I’m sitting in my mansion doing nothing about it, I’m going to feel selfish. If I have money that I don’t need to spend, I’ll go and help my friends, and now, you need my help, and I’m sure Jamia would be happy to house you, too. Please, let us help you. I’ll do anything to support you.” Lindsey was leaning against Frank, staring into the distance, still sobbing quietly. “It’s going to be okay, Lindsey,” he repeated. Finally, Lindsey balanced herself and went to open the apartment door. Once looking inside of the apartment, she saw everything inside differently. She imagined how everything would be sold, and the whole apartment; the place where they had called home for so long would be barren and meaningless. A new person would move in, unknowing of the family that lived there before, the vices and virtues they had experienced while living there, and the love they had for each other. All of it would be gone. Bandit was put to bed and Frank readied himself to go to sleep while Lindsey just crawled into bed, unable to process everything that had happened. Her cellphone service had been cut off, her gas had been cut off the day before, and now, the worst had come: eviction. Her mind was all over the place, and with all of the stress of Gerard being in the hospital, she had not remembered, let alone had enough money, to pay the bills or rent. Gerard had not been paying the bills, which was his usually his role, and Lindsey was too absorbed in her demising self-worth to notice. Hopefully, they would get some money to start off with from selling all of their furniture and appliances. All the stress and pressure disabled her from even thinking of going to sleep. Every time she tried to close her eyes, the thoughts of remorse and worry grew more and more intense until she eventually stopped trying to fall asleep.
The next morning was slow. Frank was the first to wake at 8, followed by Bandit who woke around a half an hour later. Lindsey was still in bed; she had fallen asleep at around 5 in the morning, the sleepiness finally getting to her and overpowering her feelings of guilt and self-doubt. At around 10, Frank knocked on Lindsey’s bedroom door before entering.
“Lindsey, we should get going,” he said. Lindsey groaned and rolled over in the pile of blankets she was covered in. Grudgingly, she got out of bed tied back her hair with a hair-tie. Frank left the room to allow her to change clothes and went to entertain Bandit until they were ready to leave. Once Lindsey came out of her room, Bandit ran to get her shoes on, already familiar with the everyday rituals since her father was in the hospital. Frank watched as Lindsey herself put her shoes and coat; her movements were tired and heavy, not only with sleep, but with the burden of culpability.
Gerard was barely awake when they arrived at his room. The medication that was given to him for pain made him drowsy and he was constantly drifting off. His consciousness seemed to have vastly improved from before the operation. He was barely himself, with all of the machines attached to him, but thankfully, he did not need the ventilator stuck into his mouth anymore. Lindsey stood beside Gerard, holding Bandit in her arms, and spoke with him softly, telling him what had happened, and what was going to come.
“How are you doing, Gee?” she asked.
“Good…” Gerard smiled weakly, looking up at his wife, “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too. Bandit did, too.”
“Hi, B. We’ll play soon, okay?” he whispered to his daughter, his voice growing weaker. “I’m going to sleep.” Lindsey couldn’t bring herself to tell Gerard about their eviction. Something that serious and upsetting was far from what she should be talking about to a recent donor recipient. She decided to visit Mikey to avoid the dreadful thoughts. Frank and Bandit stayed behind in Gerard’s room. She opened the door to Mikey’s room.
“Mikey?” she knocked on the open doorway. Mikey lifted his head,
“How are you feeling?”
“Good. Are you okay?” Lindsey hesitated to answer.
“What? Is Gerard okay?”
“Gerard is fine… Last night, when we got home, there was an eviction notice on my door.”
“Yes, but… Frank said he would house us, too, until I get a job and can pay for a place of our own. I’m going to make an appointment with a caseworker at Human Services and apply for the welfare program. We probably won’t be staying at Frank’s for long. Actually, I was thinking I could take a break from coming to the hospital and focus on getting out lives back together before Gerard is discharged. There’s nothing to do here, and I’m sure Gerard is going to be fine. The worst is over, and if anything goes wrong, they can just call me. Hopefully, you’ll be out in a week or so, and you can come back to Frank’s, but I just need to clear my mind. I’ll find a good rehab for Gerard and get everything in order.”
“Whatever you want, Lindsey, is fine. I think that’s a great idea, but you should visit from time to time so that you can check up Gerard, see how he’s doing.”
“Of course I will. I just hope that he’ll be able to cope without me.”
“I think he’ll be fine. I agree, though, maybe you should just concentrate on getting everything together. Once Gerard recuperates, the last thing he should experience is more stress.”
“Thank you, Mikey,” Lindsey smiled, acknowledging everything that he had done for over the time.
“Oh, no, Lindsey. I can’t explain how glad I am to have met every one of you.” Lindsey lightly hugged Mikey and returned to tell everyone else her final decision.
Gerard was still asleep, Frank was making small talk with a nurse, and Bandit was quietly sitting in her chair, playing with the hem of her shirt.
“Hey, Frank?” Frank turned his attention to Lindsey, ending his conversation with the nurse.
“What’s up, Lins?”
“I just wanted to ask you something.”
“Go for it.” Frank stood up to talk to Lindsey. Lindsey explained what she was planning to do and told asked him whether he thought this was the right choice to make. “That’s sounds really smart. Besides, all Gerard really does here is sleep. I think he should be fine.” Lindsey sighed in relief. She really wasn’t sure what she should do in the situation she was in, so she was glad that she had Frank and Mikey to support her the whole way.
Her disposition at the beginning day and the night before had drastically changed throughout the day. Lindsey set up an appointment with a caseworker to apply for Welfare and started to plan to sell furniture and appliances. She could tell that she was beginning to accept everything bad that had happened and was motivated to have everything perfectly sorted out to start a completely new life. She was done with ignoring everything to prevent anxiety. She would try hard this time to have everything go the way it should so that they would never have to go through something like this again.