“Excellent news, Mr. Truman! The test results have come back and it all looks good. Congratulations, you’ve beaten this thing!”
The doctor’s cheerful words rattled around Harry Truman’s brain while he lay sideways on his hospital bed. The man had made the announcement minutes ago and it was still resonating in his mind. Harry knew he should feel something in response. He should feel happy or relieved. Maybe he should laugh or cry. But all he felt was numb and tired.
Harry was tired of being tired. He’d been tired for weeks. Not the sleepy kind of tired; no, this was a bone deep weariness. Of course, a lengthy illness could do that to a person. So could being stuck in a hospital bed for days on end.
Harry sighed and closed his eyes. He couldn’t sleep, he’d slept too much the past several days, but he could drift along in a hazy doze. He was still drifting a few minutes later when he heard the room’s door open. Assuming it was a nurse coming to check on him he didn’t open his eyes as footsteps made their way to his bedside. Then he heard the grating sound of a chair being dragged along the floor followed by the sounds of somebody sitting down. Out of nowhere Goosebumps broke out all over his body. Harry opened his eyes.
Harry slowly sat up, staring at the man in the chair beside his hospital bed. For twenty-five years he’d dreamed of seeing this man again. Now that he was here, Harry was unsure if it was real or just another dream. “Is it really you?”
Cooper smiled gently and reached for Harry’s hand. “It’s really me, Harry.”
Harry’s vision of the beloved face blurred. “Coop-” His voice wavered and he could not finish.
“I know, Harry.” Cooper wrapped his arms around Harry as the sick man broke into soft sobs. “I know.”
Harry clung to the other man and buried his face in his neck. He felt wetness on the back of his own neck and upper back and knew Cooper was also crying. The two men embraced for several minutes while they both cried.
Finally the two men slowly broke apart. Harry wiped at his eyes and laughed when he noticed Cooper doing the same. And suddenly the numbness was gone. He felt his heart warm with a happiness he hadn’t felt in a long time.
Cooper cleared his throat. “I spoke with your doctor. He told me you’re going to be fine.”
Harry nodded. “Yes. It didn’t look good for a bit, but this last treatment did the trick.”
Harry shook his head, done with sadness. “It doesn’t matter now that you’re back. You-You’re not leaving again, are you?”
Cooper reached over to stroke the side of Harry’s face. “I’m not going anywhere, Harry. Not without you.”