I've started posting the chapters of Resolution 786. I'll post each successive chapter roughly every 3 or 4 days. Here's Chapter 17:
Two days later, Fatima smiled from her hospital bed. Her dark eyes beamed. Rosiness had caravanned back into her cheeks. “How was the dinner, Adam?” she asked, a lively tone.
“OK. We missed you. I wish you hadn’t asked us to have the dinner while you’re in the hospital. I wasn’t comfortable. Becca did some great cooking. We really missed you.”
“Our losses hurt more than our gains please,” Fatima laughed, cheerful. “Choose to be happy,” she counseled, adding in her native Punjabi, “You should get married.”
Adam deflected, replying in English. “You need to get better and back home.”
“I want to hold your baby. I want to hear his silly questions,” said Fatima, eyes twinkling. “I want to see him talk back to you and push his mind against the world and against God, like you do.” She put her hand on top of Adam’s, lovingly. “I want to see him make you crazy like you made me.”
“They’re running a set of follow-up tests, Mom. I think they got the infection.”
“Becca is a good girl.” Fatima began to sound weak again.
“I’m going to go check on those test results,” said Adam.
“When you come back, bring me my hairbrush. I want to brush my hair,” she said, speaking Punjabi again.
Adam left, walking about the wide, bright halls, lost, one ear listening to the disembodied voices over the hospital intercom, the other catching snippets of this or that conversation as he moved past room after room. He stopped, looking down a moment, wondering whether the doctor’s office was on this floor or on the one above. He couldn’t remember and decided to go back to the room and ask his mother.
The hospital room was different when Adam returned. Fatima was convulsing in pain, a nurse by her side.
“Where does it hurt?” shouted the nurse.
“Everywhere!” Fatima said, writhing. “Pain is here, here, here,” she said as she placed her inwardly curved fingers above her breast, on her sternum, on her stomach, noting each locus of suffering.
“I’m going to give you something for the pain,” the nurse shouted to Fatima. “Tell me when it stops.”
Fatima winced, crying without tears while Adam watched through terrified eyes, frozen. A doctor burst into the room, rushed to Fatima and began moving her arms about feverishly, her back to Adam.
“Less pain?” the nurse yelled.
“No,” said Fatima, a small, scared voice.
Adam heard his mother gasp. The women over her shouted amid a heightened shuffle of unseen motions. A sorrowed scent of musk and sandalwood moved through the air, mixing tenderly into the unobservable blue radiance that had begun parting from the world in yielding sighs of echoed pulses. Adam watched everything in the room suddenly tighten into a crisp, hard focus. The floor gave way abruptly, tilting under Adam’s feet and the razor-sharp images of the hospital room dulled into a tear-soaked blur.
Fatima was no longer in the room.