This is a first meeting of a slightly different kind. Ostia Farrell is lonely, lives alone and works hard as office manager for a large law firm. She never knew her father and recently lost her mother. Suddenly, her father reappears in her life, begging for her to donate bone marrow to a brother she never even knew she had. Determined to meet the boy, she heads to the hospital on her lunch break.
Adhering to her plan, Ostia headed to South General Hospital at lunch time and asked about Wyatt's room at the front desk. She had a number, she simply needed directions. She followed the map the woman at reception gave her and found him with only a couple of wrong turns.
The face that gazed up at her from the hospital bed might have belonged to Richard, their father, forty years ago. His blue eyes widened with surprise in his too pale face.
“You must be Ostia,” he croaked.
She rushed to the table and handed him a glass of water. “Yes.”
“Dad said he came to see you. Did he spring it on you or did he at least give you some lead-in?”
“Blind sided me,” she replied, taking the chair next to the bed.
“Figures. Subtle, my old man. Our.... I imagine it's all kind of surreal.”
“You're very well spoken for a fifteen year old,” Ostia remarked.
“Not a lot to do when you're hooked up to poison,” he replied, showing her his IV. Instead of going into his arm, the line led to a spot on his upper left chest, just above his heart. “I read a lot. Classics, graphic novels, lots of sci-fi. How about you?”
“I love to read. I grew up reading those stupid Goosebumps things. Then I switched to the Series of Unfortunate Events books.”
Wyatt laughed, nodding. “Me too, on both. Now I'm hooked on Narnia. I'm up to A Horse and His Boy.”
They talked a while longer, until Ostia noticed he was getting visibly tired.
“You're going to help, aren't you?” his voice sounded to plaintive, Ostia almost cried.
“We don't even know if I'm a good match,” she replied. “Please don't think I'm horrible, but I had to meet you first.”
“To see if I'm worth saving?”
She gulped. She wouldn't have put it that way, but it was surely an accurate assessment.
“I wanted to put a face on the request. This isn't because your father asked me. This is because you're a great kid and you deserve every chance you can get. I'll talk to your doctor before I go. May I come see you again?”
“Yeah, I'd like that. This is usually a good time. The parents go have lunch and leave me on my own for a couple hours. I don't imagine you really want to see the old man right now.”
“Not much, no,” she admitted shyly.
“I'd like you to meet my mom sometime,” he said quietly. “She's a pretty cool lady, even if Dad's kind of intense.”
“Maybe later,” Ostia assured him. “I'd better get back to work. It was great meeting you, Wyatt.”
“You too, Ostia.”
“My mom always called me Ozzy,” she said.
“She doesn't anymore?”
Ostia shook her head. “She died last year.”
“I'm really sorry,” he said quietly. “Can I ask how?”
She shook back her bangs, wiping her eyes. “She just didn't want to live any longer.”
He nodded, biting his lip.
Bidding farewell, she went to the nurses station and asked for Wyatt's oncologist, Dr. Maureen Riley. They had a short chat about what needed to be done and scheduled tests the following day.
“Don't tell his parents,” Ostia said. “This is for Wyatt, not for—our father.”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes