It was a Tuesday. For some unusual reason, unfortunate events always seemed to happen on Tuesdays. It was also raining and there was a large cabinet being dropped off to the Apothecary. Anytime there were dollies involved with deliveries, mixed with rain, it was always an ordeal. David was directing a shipment of products from Elmdale into the side door while Patrick guided a furniture drop off through the front French doors.
They’d been an anniversary gift from David. They had been budgeting for a while and never quite had the money. David had asked around and offered a 25% discount to the vendor for their furniture commission as a trade. He was able to get the doors Patrick wanted, which led to a very thorough back and scalp massage. David was proud of himself. Even if he had received nothing, David would be content to purchase something nice for Patrick. His husband deserved nice things.
The other cabinet had been moved to the new location in Elm Grove. It was perfect for the atmosphere there, and what a proud moment it was when they used the giant scissors to cut the red tape, Patrick at his side, giving him a celebratory kiss on the cheek.
There was so much commotion while the movers unloaded the furniture, that David could barely think. He was going through the orders to make sure the shipment of body milk had arrived unbroken. While they were dancing the cabinet to its new home at the back of the 225 store, one of the feet to the cabinet came off as it wasn’t screwed in tight enough.
"I can fix it!" Patrick said emphatically as if he were Fix-it Felix. Everyone in the room laughed. David was still signing the paperwork to get the truck driver out of the door in an effort to keep the mud and rain out.
It all happened in a flash. Patrick was bent over attaching the upper left foot of the cabinet to the base, a technician from the furniture company lost his footing on the slick hardwood floor, and the dolly slipped out from under the two-thousand pound cabinet. Patrick let out a blood-curdling yell he’d never heard before. It was as if the world stopped and David was operating in slow motion. One Mississippi. David heard the scream coming from his husband, pushing against the cabinet and turning red with effort. Two Mississippi. The furniture movers tried frantically to lift the cabinet off Patrick’s foot. Three Mississippi. Patrick pulled his foot from under the cabinet. By four Mississippi, David was cradling Patrick’s head. It had hit the floor after he’d passed out.
"Patrick, wake up," David pleaded, his husband limp in his arms, "I have you."
David held him and spoke to him gently over and over. The movers were able to, inexplicably, get the feet all properly screwed in to the cabinet. They helped an almost incapacitated David Rose pick up his husband and carry him to the car. Although panic always seemed to be David’s forte, he sobered himself up enough to burst into caretaker mode. He rushed over to the hospital just outside of Elmdale, giving them a twenty minute drive. He glanced at his husband, who was going in and out of consciousness. Patrick’s foot was crushed, he knew that much. For some reason, he wasn’t bleeding externally, which David thought was a temporary win for the moment. They reached the hospital making good time, Patrick writhing in the seat.
“Hurts, David. Hurts so bad. Please.” Just a few simple words; it was breaking David’s heart to see him in such agony. David grabbed the keys and leapt out of the car, snatching a wheelchair that had been conveniently left outside of the Emergency Room drop-off doors. He ran to the other side to get his husband’s door. He threw the keys at an orderly and handed him a $20.
“Keep the change!” David yelled over his shoulder, pushing Patrick through the automated doors. The orderly shouted back at David that it wasn’t his job.
Patrick wheezed into a laugh, which, rude. But then again, David was relieved to hear joy coming from his injured spouse.
“David, there’s no valet at the ER. That was an orderly. You can’t just throw the car keys at someone at the hospital.” Then he gasped in another round of pain, clenching David’s heart. Patrick was quickly wheeled into the examining area after he’d lost consciousness a third time in the waiting room. David filled out paperwork and urged the staff to take his husband back to be fixed. What happened when the Fix-it Felixes needed to be fixed? He dismissed that thought. Soon the paperwork and insurance cards were safely with the staff, car keys back in David’s hands from a disgruntled orderly who mumbled something David didn’t care about. Why didn’t the hospital have valet?
He didn’t know how he would feel when the staff directed David to the room with the sliding glass doors. Instead of feeling immediately annoyed that his husband wasn’t getting proper privacy while being cared for, he thought only of how it could have been so very much worse. Seeing his husband being attached to tubes, medics cutting apart Patrick’s perfect jeans, and hospital staff all around him made David uncomfortable. He rushed inside the room to sit next to Patrick while the nurses pulled the curtains closed to give them privacy.
“Mmm, hey David,” Patrick choked out. Whatever medication he was hooked up to hadn’t set in yet.
“They’re going to take good...good care of you,” David said, wiping the tears from his eye with one hand. He was trying, and failing, to stay brave for Patrick. He reached out a hand for David to take, which of course he did.
They had a secret way of telling each other, ’I love you,’ by winking, established early on after the initial confession of their love. It eased David’s anxiety anytime they were in the store and Patrick couldn’t verbally tell him. The wink worked magically.
That day in the ER, in their small room, they winked at each other so many times that even the doctor started doing it, which, ew. David took care of everything once Patrick was put into a cast and given his prescriptions. From the store to the mock bedroom arranged downstairs by Stevie and Ronnie, to purchasing a wheelchair and crutches, David had it all mapped out and delegated so Patrick wouldn’t worry. Before too long, they were home.
“I’m so sorry, David, I really thought I could fix it,” his voice low and sincere. Tears pricked in David’s eyes.
David patted his knee, “I know, honey, but let’s leave the fixing to the professionals from now on, okay?”
“Okay, David.” His voice picked up a little more and he reached for David’s hand, lingering on his knee.
“Mmhm, yeah, because I’d like to keep you around for the next 50 years.”
“Oh,” Patrick said, humor in his voice. “So you think we’ll be together 50 years from now,” he said, intertwining their fingers.
David looked at him with a knowing grin on his face, “I do.”