A Bit Like Praying



Scene Title A Bit Like Praying
Synopsis Joseph isn't sure if Kaylee is listening, but…
Date April 24, 2019

Elmhurst Hospital

"I don't know if you're listening, but…"

This is a bit like praying, is what Joseph reflects on in the short pause that follows. The difference is, normally he has a good idea of what to say. You pray for the health of your family, for people in your community who are suffering, and for your own resilience and strength. You pray for your kids to have good dreams, and maybe not to wake you up in the wee hours for a glass of water or a sandwich or a nightmare.

He's not sure exactly what to say, just that the ambiance of the hospital demands something to fill it, even filtered as it is through four walls, a closed door, drawn curtains. The nurse had suggested he try.

He's holding her hand, but not really looking at her. Kaylee is rendered into an angelic blur on the white sheets in his periphery.

"But, uh," he clears his throat. "Don't know if you really thought you could get away with this. This whole thing. Doing stupid things and getting yourself hurt and figurin' it wouldn't hurt us back. I'll say, the scenery's improved. Drafty castles, and— freakin'— underground railroad tunnels." He brings his other hand up to slide glasses off of his face, and rub the bridge of his nose, banishing back the exhaustion that has nothing to do with epic heroism and everything to do with just.

Work. Children. Comatose ex-wives.

He's silent for another length of time, before looking to her. Her serene expression, and whatever nightmare turmoil might be happening in her brain.

"They're gonna look for someone to blame, you know. I won't let it be you, but I can't stop it if it is. Might be me. I reckon— I think Carl might blame me, one day. But only if they don't take to blaming themselves. I dunno about you, but kids can take on a lot of that. More than we can save 'em from. Even if you're a mind-reader."

Joseph issues a sigh, and squeezes her hand. Dimly, stupidly apologetic. Maudlin. "Sorry.

"I'm tired. And worried."

And sad, and helpless, and his mind keeps circling to the unbelievable fact that he is alone, and Kaylee is alone. It hasn't felt real, just yet, like the nonstop stress of his life hasn't allowed it to sink in, but maybe it is, a little, now. "I've done this before, you know," he says, quieter. "Exactly this. I never complained, Kaylee. Never blamed you about it. I just wanted you to be okay. I always— I just always wanted to make sure I'd be here when you wake up."

But there's a reason, he's sure, that she risked whatever it is she risked, when she risked it.

He's careful to lay her hand back down on the sheets, as if he'd never been there. Considers leaving something behind, but he doesn't have anything. The double crucifixes seems dramatic. She has her own pictures of their children. He puts on his coat and quietly shuts the door behind him, and when he passes Richard Ray by on impromptu tag team, he just says: I'm sorry, I can't.

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