By J.D. and M. Blais
Even before he finished consenting to the walk he had turned in preparation of standing, then reached for the crutches. His actions more fluid as he seemed to be getting
used to them. Once on his feet he balanced both under one arm so he could reach for his tray with the other hand.
"I can get the trays." She took up hers and reached for his. "And I can just walk you back to.....whereever you want to go."
"I have it...thanks though."
She shrugged, then turned to take care of her own tray.
He unconsciously bit his lip as if that might somehow affect his balance as moved towards the waste area. The tray held a bit unsteadily but not so much that it would spill, he seemed to reach the table set aside to hold the dirty trays none to soon.
She emptied hers and took care of it, then patiently waited for him by the door.
Once he had cleared it and deposited the contents in their proper places he slid the extra crutch under his arm and walked over to join her.
"Where would you like to walk?"
He offered a shrug.."Wherever you want to go is okay."
She nodded, holding open the door for him, and stepping outside. "How well is your leg holding up, for a walk?"
"It's not too bad...we can walk." He stepped outside and paused to wait for her. "When do you leave?"
She looked out over the camp a moment. "In the morning."
"Pretty fast..you'll go home?"
She nodded. "Actually, I think I may need to leave tonight...depends on when the next set of trucks go out. Can't fly out of here," she said, with a half smile.
"No...just over..." He dropped his eyes to check the path in front of him with the statement. "Be good for you to go back..yes? Hot showers...a real bed?"
"Sure," she admitted. "But I won't be doing any good over there." She sighed.
"I think you'll find someone to take care of..." He gave her a sideways glance...
She rolled her eyes. "No one back home needs me to take care of them."
"You can't help in a hospital there?"
She shook her head. "I can, but it won't be the same. I'm still in school, technically. I could do a residency. Hopefully I would really get to work."
He seemed less bothered by those around them then he had on earlier walks...though he still kept his eyes mainly on the worn path. "You will find out when you get there?"
"Yes. I'll need to apply for a residency, because the spots may all be filled right now. I think I'll have a month or two to wait for a new program. But...I can study. Rest, I suppose. That's what Angelique says to do."
"But your Father won't go back with you?" His question was more one of concern that she would be the one left alone.
"No...he had agreed to a certain length of time here, and he doesn't want to go back on his word. Plus, he has good surgical skills. Not all doctors here have that."
"It will be hard for him I think."
She glanced at him as they walked. "Hard?"
He wet his lips...for a moment his thoughts drifting to the lonliness he felt at not having his family with him. "To be away from family."
"Oh." She walked in silence a moment. "I don't know....maybe. He's very into his work here."
"I think he will still worry about you...and miss you." He kept his eyes on the ground a bit longer then raised them to look off in the distance. "I've been thinking I should try to find where my Tata has gone...it's been a long time since we got word to him."
She looked at him, hopeful. "I think that's a great idea. I'm sure I....well, Poppa could help you."
"I sent word with someone leaving Vukovar after..." He paused. "I don't know if he got the message...and with all the bombings...I'm not even sure he was in the same place."
"I know you can find him again. He's probably looking for you too."
"There are a lot of places to look...many camps...yes?"
"Right," she nodded. "So it takes some time...but if you are both looking, it would go faster."
He nodded..."I should write another letter...see if it will find him."
"I think I might be able to help, but you won't have the letter in time," she mused. "I know that the Red Cross has been compiling lists of all refugees, but they haven't gotten here. They should be soon, but I can send someone this way..."
"I'll write something tonight..."
Someone was calling her name from a farther point on, insistently, and she looked in that direction. One of the other interns was coming their way.
He stopped as she did and looked towards the approaching man.
The man gave a brief nod to Luka, correctlyassuming him to be a patient. In quick tones, he told Claire that they had to move the transport up because of troop movement, and they were leaving within the half hour.
"Go ahead..I can get back on my own."
The intern jogged off, and said they'd be waiting, and she turned to look at him.
"You probably need to finish packing."
"There's not much.." she started, then released a breath, figuring it was foolish to draw out any farewell. "Alright, then....I guess I have to."
"I'm not sure what to say..." He fumbled a bit with his words..."Thanks seems not enough...so I'll say be safe...it'll be strange not to have you push at me."
She smiled, a little forlornly. "Maybe a relief, not to have me pushing you around. But...I'll be safe, as much as I can. Okay?"
"Okay..." He remained standing where he was, his hands tightening and loosening on the grips.
"Take care of yourself, Luka," she added, quieter. "You know...just one last thing for me to bug you about."
"Sure...you too." He offered a weak smile himself at her words.
She put a hand on his arm, squeezing gently. "Thanks too...for, you know....listening." It was clear she was having a hard time too, thanking him for comforting her when she was upset, and she withdrew her hand to run it through her hair.
"It's okay..."He let his eyes settle on her. "You should go...before they get mad...."
She looked back up, her eyes searching his for a moment, then she smiled, self-conciously. "I'm really bad with saying goodbye I guess. So....I'll just say, see you later." She started to move off, then turned to walk backwards a moment so she could wave. "Hopefully sooner rather than later," she called back, then turned to go.
He gave her a smile..."Yeah..sure..."
He remained where he stood long after she had disappeared into the camp, it was time to move forward, for both of them, or at least to try. With a sigh he straightened and slowly began the walk back to his tent.
To be continued....
Friday, September 30, 2005
For One Life Finale
By J.D. and M. Blais