Thursday, March 01, 2007
The Saga of Baby Toby: The Conclusion
----->Click here to start at the beginning.
Start here today at Tales From the Womb.
6 Months Later
“Well, today’s the day they should get their subpoenas,” Tom said to me on the phone. “I can’t wait…those bastards, doing what they did to Toby.” I knew better than to say anything more to Tom, since I didn’t want to incense him in any way. We hadn’t agreed on the lawsuit. I felt it was a simple error and well, let’s just say, Tom didn’t. I just wanted it to be over. My life hadn’t been the same since Toby arrived and Tom and I did nothing but fight since his birth. I was sure it wasn’t good for Toby and it certainly hadn’t been good for me. We had just celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary last week, but somehow, things just weren’t the same. Tom and I talked some more and suddenly, the doorbell rang. I told Tom I had to go. “Tom, you have a good trip now, O.K.” “And a safe flight home.” I always worried about Tom and his business trips. I was always relieved when he walked through that door; and maybe even more now, after I had quit my job to stay at home with Toby. It just gave me more time to worry.
I opened the door and it was Brent. “Hi!” “How’s Toby’s beautiful mother today?” he said. “I am just fine.” Brent was cute like that, always looking out for me, especially when Tom was gone. I think Tom put him up to it really, but it didn’t matter, since he was always welcome. “I was just wondering if you might be up to some lunch?” “Well, Toby’s sleeping, I am not sure it’s a good idea.” “Come on.” “I’m really hungry and I thought you might want to share some dessert with me,” he said with a huge grin. Brent and I always shared dessert when we went out since Tom and Brent’s wife didn’t really care for them. “I guess I could use a break today,” I said. With that, my voice cracked just a bit and Brent picked up on it. He wanted to know what was wrong. I didn’t want to say anything. He knew that Tom and I had it rough these last few months and he felt a little guilty since he was caught in the middle. It was nothing he did actually, but rather, just the fact that I wanted to use a different doctor. Brent understood; it was Tom who wasn’t so keen on the idea.
I finished getting Toby ready and we got in the car. “So, are you going to tell Dr. Brent what is wrong today?” “Us doctors are pretty good listeners you know,” he said with a smile. “Well, I really shouldn’t. It’s just that today’s the day the doctors will get the subpoenas, or so we think.” “I don’t know why we had to sue…it was a mistake…and they were sorry…and Toby’s doing o.k.” With that, I began to cry. Brent put his arm around me to console me. Toby was quiet which was unusual for him lately. He had been so irritable lately that nothing seems to quiet him down. Maybe it was the car ride or maybe, it was the fact that no one was arguing, as Tom and I did frequently now.
“I think it’s time you knew the whole story,” he said. “Story?” “What story?” I said. “About Tom,” he said. I looked up and was very surprised. After all, there wasn’t anything I didn’t know about Tom. We had a long courtship and he was my soul mate. “I am going to tell you this story and I need you to never repeat it to Tom. If he knew I told you, I think he’d kill me,” he said. “O.K.” I said. “Let’s hear it.” I cringed as I said it, not knowing what to expect. I didn’t have a great feeling about this.
“As you know, Tom and I go all the way back to the first grade, that’s when we met. What you don’t know, is that Tom had an identical twin. His twin brother meant everything to him. Tom’s brother was severely disabled at birth, due to oxygen deprivation, and had cerebral palsy due to a physician error. Tom, on the other hand, was the picture of health; good looking, athletic, etc. His brother, who looked exactly like him, would spend his life in a wheelchair. While Tom could run and play sports, his brother could do nothing but lie down all the time. He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t stand, he couldn’t do much of anything. His father, not wanting any part of this, put him in an institution and never told Tom about his twin.”
“When we were in the first grade, Tom got a call at school and his parents came to pick him up. They had to go to the hospital to make arrangements for his twin brother. He had died of aspiration pneumonia. It was the first time that Tom learned that he had a brother. When they got home, he asked his father about his brother and why he never told him. His father said that they were poor and they couldn’t afford to take care of Tom and him too, especially with his disabilities. So they gave him up. Tom was shocked. He asked to see some pictures of his brother and his parents showed him “one”. It was the only one he had, the one that they took at birth. Tom never forgot about his brother and would ask his father questions about his brother, but his father refused to talk about it. Tom was very angry and never understood how his father could do this to his brother.”
“When Tom was in high school, he did some research and found the institution where he brother was raised. He went back and talked to them. One of the people that cared for his brother was still there. She remembered his brother and told Tom all of the stories about him. He asked for pictures and she showed him pictures of his twin brother. As his twin, he looked just like Tom, except that he was much thinner, in a wheelchair and had a buzz cut for a hair cut. He asked her lots of questions and learned that his brother was never able to walk, couldn’t talk and could never stand. Tom was terribly upset and shaken by this and never could forgive his father for giving him up. He also never forgot about it. He went home and asked his mother about his brother one day and why they didn’t sue the hospital for the error. She explained that they were very poor and at that time, couldn’t afford an attorney. Tom never forgave him for that. It was then that Tom really focused at school. He was determined to never be poor again, since he paid a high price for his father being poor. That’s why Tom never misses a sales quota. He never wanted to be in a position like that.”
“Now then, when you delivered Toby, Tom wanted to be there, but his flight was cancelled. He paged me and I assured him that things were going to be o.k. When he found out there were some problems with Toby, he was determined to get to the bottom of it. After the doctors told you two what happened, Tom went ballistic. It brought back all of those memories, of his twin brother, of his father, of the care taker and those pictures of his brother in a wheelchair, the brother he never knew.”
I was so involved in listening to Brent’s story, that I hadn’t paid attention to where we were. Here we were, smack dab, in the middle of a cemetery. “I think it’s time you see this,” he said. We walked over to the tombstone and there was his brother’s name, “Toby A. Riddleton.” I looked at the tombstone and then looked at Brent and I started to cry. Suddenly, it all made sense.
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