Through the foggy haze of words, she managed to ascertain that the woman standing before her was Billy’s sister and she had firsthand knowledge of her! Now, she knew at this point she had to restrain herself from doing cartwheels in the middle of the ICU, so she pulled Clarissa Walsh to the side.
“I really cared about your brother too. I’ve thought about him over the years. What is he doing now….is he married…does he have kids?”
“Wow. Now you are beginning to sound like my brother!” she chuckled. “Look, Billy had always been the slacker type and he wasn’t a stellar student; I’m the one who inherited the brains in my family” she smiled. “But, a lot changed for him during his senior year in high school.”
"He became much more serious about where his life was heading and that he wanted to do something that would make a real difference; so he joined the Peace Corps after graduation and spent almost five years building housing all over the world for the underprivileged. He said that he wanted to do something that his family could be proud of." "It wasn't a 100% altruistic endeavor though. He told me later that he felt that people didn't take him seriously, that while he was very popular, he still felt very empty on the inside so he was doing it for himself as much as anyone else.”
“You must be very proud of him. I have to admit that this is a bit of a surprise to me, not that I knew him that well……”
“Well, he certainly seemed to know a lot about you. He had just gotten back from the Peace Corps and he had made the decision to look you up. I can’t tell you how disappointed he was when he found out that you had gotten married. I think that it broke his heart because he said he should have…..”
“Ms. Walsh, excuse me your brother has regained consciousness. Would you like to see him?” asked Dr. Stinson as she flew through the double doors of the ICU.
“Yes! Thank you, I would. Dr. Morris, it was so nice talking to you.”
“No, the pleasure was mine. Thank you for sharing your memories with me. I appreciate it.”
“Shit! Terry!” September rushed to the heavily populated cafeteria where she saw an impatient Terry glancing at her wristwatch.
“Hey, I’m so sorry. Guess who I was talking to just a few seconds ago?”
“You know how terrible I am at this! Just tell me…who?”
“Clarissa Walsh…..Billy’s sister!”
“Ummm…what? I don’t understand….why was she here?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m so excited and befuddled that I’m confusing you. Billy was the victim of a hit and run. He just got out of OR not too long ago. He’s going to be just fine, but Clarissa just dropped a bomb in my lap that weighs 800 megatons!”
“What? What? Will you tell me before my ovaries turn to powder, dammit?!” she chortled.
“Apparently, he had a serious ‘love jones’ for me. I am almost like a walking zombie because I can’t believe any of this. I heard what she said but I can’t really wrap my head around it. It’s surreal and god, I am scared to death to go anywhere near that man. I might collapse!”
“Ok, hold on there, tiger. Are you sure you got the Intel right? She wasn’t just being polite was she? Is the guy even single? Did you think to ask that?”
“I did ask, but Dr. Stinson interrupted us before I could get the information. Billy is out of recovery and his sister wanted to see him, of course. He has a long road to recovery still. What if he doesn’t feel that way anymore? The only thing that I do know is that he wanted to look for me but heard about Brian and apparently gave up.”
“Well, that is the noble thing to do.”
“Was it? God, I would have….nothing, forget it.”
“No. Say it. At least, be honest with yourself. You would have what?”
“I would have left Brian in a second had I known….if I had any idea that he wanted me. You must think I’m horrible to say that, I know. Especially since Brian was such a good man. But..”
“You didn’t love him. Not the way that you’ve always loved Billy. I think somewhere deep inside, he knew that and understood.” Terry offered, reaching over to console her weeping friend.
“This is the opportunity that you’ve longed for. The two of you have a second chance now….just see if the man is available first, ok?” Terry chuckled.
“I will. Thanks for being such a dear and supportive friend. I love you.”
“I love you too….now I’d better get back to work or poor resident or not, you’re going to have to support me if I get fired!”
After saying goodbye, September decided to stop by the room that Billy had been assigned to. To her surprise, he was awake and was talking to his sister. She tried to step gracefully out of the room sight unseen, until Clarissa glanced her way.