“Seeing Beauty” story–Ch.0-4, 8/20/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #254)

“Seeing Beauty” story–Ch.0-4,  8/20/12   Gratiana Lovelace (Post #254)

 

An Original Story Copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace (All rights reserved) 

[(1ab) “Seeing Beauty” story logo]

 

“Seeing Beauty”, Prologue

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” [(2)].   Who hasn’t heard this time worn phrase meant to convey that there are many definitions of beauty?  But in our modern world saturated with mediated images of women and men–whose bodies and faces are optimized, air brushed, and impossible to attain—is it any wonder that beauty is sometimes seen as artificial, superficial, and elusive?  And in our over commercialized world, beauty is often viewed as a commodity to be bought and sold like bars of soap.  Just look at any magazine rack at your neighborhood grocery store with magazine covers containing young, or near young women, dressed in less clothing than their mother’s and grandmother’s would probably want them to be seen in public ‘almost’ wearing.  But experiences and circumstances can change our perspectives of our world and how we define and value our friends and loved ones—and even ourselves.  Sometimes kindness, love, and caring are more beautiful—or make the person giving them more beautiful—to the person receiving them.  And whether that redefinition of beauty can withstand the harsh glare of society’s current norms of beauty is at the heart of this love story.

Author’s Mature Content Note:  “Seeing Beauty” is an unconventional romantic love story set amidst contemporary times.  As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes (R rated) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments.  I will label the maturity rating of those chapters accordingly.  Otherwise, the general rating for this story is PG or PG-13 due to mature situations and topics.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read those chapters.  This is my disclaimer.

“Seeing Beauty”, Ch. 1:  Two Souls to be Transformed by Love

Lilyana “Lily” Sherman is thought by all whom she meets to be a sweet young ladylike woman of twenty eight years of age.  And she has been chubby all her life–but that is changing.  Recently her doctors have figured out her metabolic issues, and they are treating her medically—so much so, that she is losing weight rapidly.  But, Lily knows that she will never be reed thin–and that is not her goal.  Her goal is simply improved health.   After losing sixty pounds, she now weighs 220 pounds and she would like to lose another 50 pounds to hit her ‘comfortable’ target weight of 170 pounds.  Lily has always ‘compensated’ for her chubbiness by her having a cheerful and fun personality.  And, she has a pleasing face, a creamy complexion, and long silky brunette hair, which helps to make her seem sweetly attractive—and almost pretty by society’s standards of beauty.  In another era, Lily’s quiet shapely beauty would have her sought after by renaissance painters to grace their canvases. The beauty of the female form then was in its curves betokening plenty and beckoning of love.

But, Lily’s dating life has been virtually nonexistent, except for a bowling date in junior high, an odd kiss fest moment with her gay male best friend in college, and a two date ‘boyfriend’ kiss fest also in college.  Truth be told the two date boyfriend wanted to do more, but Lily was and is saving herself for her Mr. Right.  To say that Lily is a virgin doesn’t completely do justice to the undercurrent of passionate emotions in her that are waiting to be awakened by the right man who will be the love of her life.  Lily longs to love and be loved, completely.  But for now, Lily contents herself with sharing her love with those in need by volunteering at her local hospital one night a week and on Saturdays.  Lily has a caring, compassionate, and sensitive heart–perhaps born of being on the receiving end of unkind and insensitive teasing and pranks at her expense about her weight throughout her life.  Still, Lily has a faith in the goodness of others that is unshakeable—perhaps because the goodness in her is so unwavering.

In contrast, Keith Erickson by all accounts has lived a blessed and golden life.  Keith has a satisfying and financially rewarding job as an advertising executive–a Creative Director.   Being in advertising, Keith is accustomed to promoting beauty and perfection.  And, Keith’s life has also seemed charmed in that way.  He has an athlete’s toned body and he played on several sports teams in high school.  But running and skiing are Keith’s favorite sports—perhaps because they are done individually, no team to coordinate with, just himself and his thoughts.  Keith is tall, dark, handsome, and charming at his now thirty five years of age.  Still unmarried, Keith has had a string of girlfriends—with a few long term relationships–but never a great romance.  The women in Keith’s life have always been beautiful by anyone’s standard.    The very handsome Keith and his beautiful girlfriends always looked striking together–representing a perfect image, but not reflecting the perfect love match for Keith.  Similarly, Keith’s male friends also prefer to date women who look like they could be models.  Yet, none of these guys are married either.  Keith also has some attractive, but not beautiful (to Keith) female coworkers whom he likes a great deal—all of these ladies are taken, unfortunately, of course.   These women are all happily married to men who adore them, and they adore their husbands.  For a while now, Keith has wondered whether he has put too much emphasis on physical perfection rather than on personality, character, and values because he hasn’t made that love of a lifetime connection yet–but he wants to.

Lily and Keith would each like to find their great love–a love for their lifetimes.  For Lily, she needs to learn to accept herself more as worthy of love and embrace her physical appearance—not to mention her admirable qualities of her stirling character, warm and giving personality, and high moral values–more highly if others are to do so, because confidence is one tangential and tangible aspect of beauty.  For Keith, he needs to rethink what he really values and what will make him happy.

To be continued with Chapter 2

 

“Seeing Beauty”, Ch. 2:  A Brief Meeting at a Valentine’s Day Blood Drive

Healthy and compassionate people donate blood so that those who need it might be brought to health.  And this Valentine’s Day February 14th, 2009 Saturday morning, the hospital where Lily Sherman volunteers is having a blood drive.  So, Lily stops in at the blood drive and waits her turn to donate her blood while filling out the form about her medical history.  The blood drive staff are all busy tending to other donors when Keith Erickson [(3) right] walks in wanting to also donate his blood.  Seeing that the woman sitting in front of him has a hospital name badge he assumes that she is part of the blood drive staff.

Keith:  “Miss?  I’m here to give blood.”  Keith says cordially to the woman seated in front of him, but also a bit self importantly.  “Where do I start?”

Lily:  “Oh, I’m not working the blood drive.  I’m also here to give blood.  I just volunteer at the hospital.”  She smiles warmly at him.  Lily thinks that this tall guy looks quite handsome in his jeans and an open collared button down shirt with his sleeves turned up showing his muscular forearms.  But, he is way out of her league—that is, if Lily had a ‘league’.  Lily [(4) right] hasn’t ‘dated’ for a long time–and then, not ‘successfully’.  And not the least of which, since she was running late this morning, she didn’t put on her make-up.

Keith:  Now looking at the woman in front of him–he hasn’t  bothered to ask her name–he is a bit annoyed because Keith thinks that his time is valuable he asks.  “Well, do you think this will take long?  I’ve got to meet some friends for lunch in an hour.”

Lily:  “That should be about how long it takes with all the paperwork they have us do.  The actual blood draw should take only 5 to 8 minutes.”

Keith:  “Hmmm.  I’d probably come another day, but since I’m AB positive—a rare and needed blood type–they always call to remind me to come in.”

Lily:  “I know what you mean.”   She laughs.  “I’m also AB positive.”  Lily smiles warmly at him and graciously lets him ahead of her in line.  “Here comes a blood drive staffer now.  You go ahead.  I can wait.”

Keith: “Oh, thanks.”  Keith nods at Lily perfunctorily.  He thinks that this woman seems friendly and nice, but of course, she is a bit chubby—not his type.  So, Keith doesn’t give her another thought as he talks with the blood drive staffer and gives blood that day and then has lunch with his similarly dateless male friends on Valentine’s Day.

Later after Lily donates her blood, she goes on to her Saturday volunteer stint in the hospital rehab unit.

To be continued with Chapter 3

 

“Seeing Beauty”, Ch. 3:  One Month Later, Saturday, March 14th, Lily Meets a New Patient in the Rehab Unit

Most of the men and women who end up in the hospital’s rehab unit do so because of illness or injury.  Many older patients have had strokes or falls, while the younger patients—nearer to Lily’s age—have had injuries.  Ladder falls and other household accidents comprise a large number of these patients’ reasons for being there.  Some patients who sustained injuries in car accidents—or were hit by cars while riding their bikes or jogging—also find their way to the rehab unit to exercise and to relearn how to use injured and healing limbs.

March 14th, a month after giving blood, Lily arrives for her usual Saturday morning volunteer stint in the hospital’s rehab unit.  Lily is informed that there is a new patient recently admitted to rehab last night who was a runner hit by a car last week.  He’s pretty banged up physically with his left lower leg having been reconstructed by surgery with a metal plate and pins.  And, since he hit his head and suffered a concussion that caused bleeding and swelling in his brain—which also required surgery—the brain injury has also made him legally blind. The neurosurgeon told him that as his brain heals they might be able to do further surgery to repair the damage he sustained to his optic nerve to see if he can regain some of his sight.  But, that is uncertain.  Emotionally, becoming blind has hit him the hardest, because it means that he must rely on others, when he never had to before.  And, not knowing if he will ever see again—beyond the very fuzzy images of light and color blobs that he is able to see now—has made him bitter and angry at what has happened to him.

And his frustration with his blindness does not make him a pleasant patient to be around for the staff.  The staff are used to people going through the “five stages of grief” as identified by Kubler-Ross [(5)]—“denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance”.  But, with having an athletic fellow who was never sick a day in his life and who now finds himself very injured as the patient, he’s not coping well at all–denial.  That’s where Lily comes in.  She is not a trained therapist—for his mind or his body.  But, Lily has a compassionate way of connecting with people and helping them to bridge the gap from being injured to making peace with their new reality as a social volunteer.

But, the other staff warn Lily that this guy is a tough case.  He has already thrown one tray of food on the floor this morning at breakfast–anger—his first morning in rehab, after they had moved him in here last evening.  So, Lily walks into the new patient’s room with his lunch food tray, hoping to encourage him to eat something–and to start to get to know him.  What Lily doesn’t expect, is to meet the handsome guy from the blood drive lying in bed forlornly—not really looking into space, because he can’t see anything.

Lily:  “Mr. …”   She looks down at the menu patient label on the food tray.   “… Erickson?”   She asks warmly of Keith [(6) right].

Keith:  “Yes, what do you want?”  He sounds annoyed–and looks it, too.  Keith might be too blind to see that the woman is carrying a food tray, but he can smell it.  And since he didn’t have breakfast, he is hungry—but he doesn’t want to admit that.

Lily:  “Well, I’m Lily, your volunteer.  And I have your lunch for you.  But, we don’t want it to end up on the floor again—which is what they told me you did with your breakfast this morning.  You need nourishment if you are to get well.”  She says tartly.  Sometimes you have to use tough love with patients to snap them out of their funk.

Keith:  “I wasn’t hungry and … well …  I don’t know.”   Keith angrily turns his head away from her and scowls.  He knows that he doesn’t have a leg to stand on as the phrase goes—especially since one leg is pinned with screws from surgery and in a brace.   “Uh!”    He grimaces in pain.   “Could someone bring me more pain killer?”  He asks loudly.

Lily:  “Mr. Erickson, your room is several doors down the hall from the nurses’ station–and they can’t hear you.  So, you’ll need to use your call button.”  She sets his food tray on a nearby table—but still out of reach for him, just in case.

Keith:  “Well, can’t you do it?  Isn’t that what you’re here for?”  He asks pointedly in the direction of Lily’s visual blob.

Lily:  “I could.  But no that is not what I’m here for.  Besides, you need to be able to call the nurses’ station on your own–so that when you’re alone, you can reach them.”

Keith:  “You’re really not going to help me?”   Keith asks forlornly looking in Lily’s direction, but not being able to see her.  “Whatever your name is?”

Lily:  “I’m Lily.”  She smiles again warmly.  Lily tends to smile a lot–it is in her nature.   “And, I think you can help yourself, if you try.”   She says pointedly—using a bit of tougher love at the moment.

If he could see, Keith would be staring Lily down at this moment.  But Lily can see, so she stares him down.  The minutes tick by and neither of them budges.

Keith:  “What are you?  A control freak?  I bet you just love that I’m helpless and I can’t do anything for myself.”  He says with obvious frustration.  If he didn’t have a woman in the room, he might just break down and cry.

Lily:  “Mr. Erickson, you’re wrong.  You can do things for yourself—if you try.  And, I’mhere to help you.”  Lily  [(7) right] says this firmly, but sweetly and soothingly.

Keith:  “And what makes you such an expert?  I’m blind, damn it!  I might never see again!”  He becomes even more agitated. Anger.  “The only reason I’m here is  because some idiot in a car hits me while I’m out running.”  Keith would thrash around on his bed if his leg didn’t hurt so much.

Lily:  Seeing his distress—and knowing that he is in physical pain, she walks a few steps closer to the bed and asks him calmly.   “Though I’m sure they told you last night, would you like me to show you again where the nurses’ call button is?”

Keith:  “If that’s the best I can hope for, alright.  Where is the damn button?  Can’t you show me where it is?”   He starts trying to feel the sides of the bed rail to see if there is a button there.  “Well, what are you waiting for?”  He asks her impatiently.

Lily:  “Mr. Erickson, you’ll have to excuse my reticence to get closer to you.  …”

Keith:  “Why?  Because I look like Frankenstein’s monster now?  My family described what my face and body look like from the accident.”

Lily:  “No, that’s not it at all.  Yes, you have some bruising, scrapes, and swelling on your face, but that will heal in time.  I just don’t want you to lash out and hit me since you’re obviously angry at your situation.  I don’t want you to take your frustration out on me.”  She tells him with her characteristic honesty.

Keith:  Sounding offended, he says.   “I would never hit a woman! …”  Then, chastened, Keith says contritely.  “If you knew me, you’d know that.”

Lily:  Walking a few steps closer to him, she says.  “Well, actually, we have met before.”

Keith:  “We have?  When?”   He asks in surprise.

Lily:  “At the hospital blood drive last month?  You mistook me for one of the blood drive staffers. … We both have AB positive blood?”  She adds to hopefully jog his memory.

Keith:  Then remembering, he says more calmly.   “Oh, I remember. … You’re the chubby gal.”   He says pointing in her general direction.

Lily:  Lowering her eyes and trying to maintain her composure after his insult, she says in a quiet but clipped voice.   “That’s right.”    Now taking the last step to stand at his bedside, she rises above his insult and says warmly as she puts out her hand to him.  “Hello, I’m Lily Sherman, it’s nice to meet you.”

Keith:  “Hello, I’m Keith Erickson.”   He shakes her hand—after she grabs his hand.   “Sorry for my temper.  It’s just so frustrating.”

Lily:  “I know.  You’ve had a tough break.  But it will get better.”   Lily smiles at Keith warmly—though he can’t see it. “Now let me guide your hand to show you where the nurse’s call button is.”   She takes his hand in hers and brings it to the spot on the bedrail with the call buttons.  “It’s the big button in the middle here.  Push it.”  He does.

Nurse Sally on intercom:  “May I help you?”

Keith:  “I’m in pain!  I need more medicine!”   He asks stridently.

Lily:  Voicing his request a bit softer, Lily says to the nurse.    “Sally, it’s Lily.  Mr. Erickson needs to have his pain pump medicine refilled.  Will you or someone else please come and do that right away?”

Nurse Sally:  “Sure Lily.  We’ll be right there Mr. Erickson.”

Keith:  “Thanks.  Lily is it?”   He says a bit chastened.

Lily:  “That’s right.”  She pats his shoulder comfortingly.   “Now, can I help make you more comfortable in any way before you eat lunch?”  Lily asks soothingly.

Keith:  “Could I get another blanket?  It’s so chilly in here.”  He shivers.

Lily:  “Of course!  Here’s the extra blanket in your room.”    She says taking it from the chair next to her and unfolding it over him–being careful not to put the blanket on his injured lower leg.

Keith:  “Thanks.”  He sighs and closes his eyes.

Nurse Sally:  Walking in the door a bit hesitantly with more pain meds for Keith’s pain pump, she asks.  “Lily?”

Lily:  “Oh, hi Sally.  Thanks for coming so quickly with Mr. Erickson’s pain meds.”  Lily says cheerfully and positively.  “He just needs to feel a bit of a buzz to take the edge off the pain and then he’s going to eat lunch.”  Lily’s hand is still patting Keith’s shoulder soothingly.

Keith:  “Yes, thank you.”   He says calmly.

Nurse Sally:  Feeling a bit more comfortable with being near her obviously strong and muscular patient, Sally changes his pain meds that drip into the IV in his right arm.  “There, that should do it for you, Mr. Erickson.   Is there anything else I can get you?”

Keith:  “No, thank you.”  He says dejectedly.

Lily:  “Actually, there is.  Though I’ve put another blanket over him, it’s still chilly in here.  Sally, will you please bring us a couple of the warmed blankets for Mr. Erickson?”

Nurse Sally:  “Sure, back in a few minutes after I finish refilling other patients’ meds.”  And she leaves.

Keith:  “Thanks. …”  He says to the nurse.  Then to Lily, Keith says somewhat apologetically.  “I guess I’ve been a bit of a horse’s ass this morning.”

Lily:  “Yes.  So, I’ve heard.”   Lily says wryly, but in a soothing tone of voice.

Keith:  “Well!”  He laughs.  “You don’t pull your punches.”

Lily:  “Rarely.”  She chuckles softly.   “Now, are you getting hungry since you didn’t eat your breakfast?”    She asks solicitously—while not reminding him that he threw his breakfast on the floor.

Keith:  “Yes.”  He says sheepishly.

Lily:  “Well, then let me give you your lunch.”  Pulling the adjustable table over to the side of the bed, and then putting the food tray on it, she says.    “Ok, Mr. Erickson …”

Keith:  “Lily, could you just call me Keith?” He asks tiredly.  “Mr. Erickson seems so impersonal.”

Lily:  “Sure, Keith.  Let’s see what they have for you today.”   She lifts the warming lid from the plate.  “Hmmm.  Yummmm.”  She makes a yummy sound.  “French dip and French fries.   You also have a fruit cup and chocolate pudding for dessert.”

Keith:  “That’ll really pack on the pounds.”   He says rolling his eyes.  Then he checks himself.    “No offense.”

Lily:  “None taken.”  Lily says in a clipped voice–a bit perturbed by his obvious insult about her weight again.  However, she rises above it again and focuses on his needs.  “But you need the carbs while your leg is healing.  Healing uses lots of energy—as do your rehab exercises that you’ll start this afternoon.”

Keith:  “Where is everything?”  Keith asks hungrily as his hand hovers over his plate.

Lily:  “Now, think of your plate like a clock face.”  Lily guides his left hand—the arm without the IV in it–to each item on the plate.  “Your bowl of au jus for dipping is at 12 o’clock, your sandwich is at 4 o’clock and your fries are at eight o’clock.”

Keith:  “Okay.”   He picks up his sandwich, dips it messily in the au jus, and then he takes a hungry bite.  “Hmmm.  This is gooood.”

Lily:  “Do you want me to open some ketchup packages for you?”

Keith:  “No thanks, I better work up to that.”   He smiles as he munches his sandwich greedily—while dripping his au jus on himself a bit.   “Is there anything to drink?”

Lily:  “Yes, you have some milk and also fruit juice to the side of your plate at 9 o’clock.”

Keith:  “I sense a theme here with the fruit.”  He laughs.

Lily:  “Yes!”    She laughs.  “The hospital gives its patients nutritious meals and you need your vitamins to heal.”

Keith goes on to eat his meal as he and Lily chat amiably.

To be continued with Chapter 4

“Seeing Beauty”, Ch. 4:   Keith has his First Rehab Exercise Session and a Return Visit by Lily Later

When Keith finishes his lunch, it’s time for him to have his first rehab exercise session.  The first one is always a tough one—and this one, especially so.

Lily:  Laughing.   “Ha!  Well Keith, I guess you were hungry.  You’ve hoovered everything on your food tray.”   She says cheekily.

Keith:  “Ha!”   He laughs.  “Well, I guess I was more hungry than I thought.  It was tasty.  Thanks Lily.”  He says sincerely.

Lily:  “You’re welcome.  Keith, you’ll get to choose your own meals from now on—within your nutrition plan.”   She says picking up his food tray from his bed table and setting down on another table.   “So after your rehab exercises this afternoon, I’ll come back and take your food orders for you.”   Because Keith is blind and can’t read the menu choices, nor see to write down his request.

Keith:  “You’re leaving?”   He asks with a small pout on his face.  Lily has been the one kind person he has connected with here at the hospital.

Lily:  “Yes, I have another patient to visit—Hazel down the hall.  Besides, you’ll want to do this rehab session with the therapist and nurse alone.”   She says knowingly.

Keith:  “Oh?”  He asks hesitatingly.

Then Keith has some visitors as Myron and Nurse Sally walk into Keith’s room.

Nurse Sally:  “Hi Lily, hello again Mr. Erickson.  I’m nurse Sally.  Myron your physical therapist and I are here to remove your urinary catheter.”  Sally says as she and Myron [(8) right]stand by  Keith’s bedside Lily nods at them.

Keith:  “Remove my catheter?”   He winces, knowing that it will hurt.

Lily:  “Yes Keith, you see your first rehab exercise is to hobble to the bathroom on crutches and pee.  But, remember, you’ll want to always have an aide with you when you want to go to the bathroom–until you become more stable with your crutches.  We don’t want you falling and risking further injury.”   She says while rubbing his shoulder comfortingly.

Keith:  “Well, thanks, Lily.  I guess I’ll see you later?”  He asks hoping that she will be back soon?

Lily:  “Yes Keith.  I’ll see you in about two hours.  It’s been nice meeting you–for real this time.”   says walking out of his room with his food tray.

Lily walks ten feet down the hall and slides Keith’s empty food tray into the food cart.  Then Lily hears a blood curdling scream come from Keith’s room.

Keith:  “Aaahhh!!!!”

Lily:  Looking over at the nurses’ station, Lily says to Nurse Theresa shaking her head and wincing.   “Ooh!  That’s got to hurt.”   She’s talking about Keith’s urinary catheter being removed.  Nurse Theresa nods her head.

Myron helps Keith use his crutches to hobble to the bathroom to pee—Keith will pee sitting down for now.  And it takes Keith about fifteen minutes until it doesn’t hurt too much for him to actually pee.  Myron just waits outside the bathroom door patiently.  Myron knows the drill with patients getting their urinary catheters removed.  Then Myron helps Keith back to bed, repositions Keith’s IV tubing hanger, lays some warmed blankets over him, and Keith gratefully falls asleep—the pain meds now fully kicking in.

***

After Lily visits with a few other patients at rehab this afternoon—including her other official caseload patient, the seventy year old Hazel who had a stroke–Lily returns to Keith’s room toward the end of her five hour volunteer shift.  It’s been a long day and she’s getting tired.  She just wants to go home and relax.  But first, she visits Keith. Walking into Keith’s room around 3:00pm, she sees that he’s still asleep.  And, they still need to order tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s meals.  So, Lily waits around for Keith to wake up, sitting in a chair by his bedside and propping her head up with her hand under her chin.  But Lily is so tired that she dozes off and ends up leaning onto the bedrail facing the same direction that Keith is.

Keith:  Waking up around 3:30pm, Keith hears Lily’s breathing to his left.  But he doesn’t know who it is.  He moves his left arm over the bedrail and touches the top of her head.  Her hair feels silky.  Then he asks softly.  “Lily, is that you?”

Lily:  Slowly waking up, Lily says sleepily.  “Huh?”

Keith:  As Lily sits up more and leans back, Keith’s hand contacts Lily’s head more fully and he kind of strokes her hair.   “Your hair is soft.”

Lily:   Startled, Lily says while now leaning forward—away from Keith’s hand.   “Oh!  Sorry Keith.  I dozed off.  It’s been a long day after a long work week.”

Keith:  “Sorry Lily.”  Keith says pulling his hand back to his side.    “I guess I was tired, too.”   He says sheepishly.  “I don’t know why.  All I do is lay in bed all day.”   He rolls his unseeing eyes.

Lily:   She stands up and turns to look at him.    “Yes, but Keith, you’re healing.  That takes a great deal of energy.”   Then she asks him tentatively–with raised eyebrows in concern that he can’t see.   “How are you feeling?”

Keith:   “Like I’ve been roto rootered.”   He laughs ruefully.

Lily:  “Yes, we heard your scream down the hall when they pulled out your urinary catheter.  Poor guy.”   She pats his shoulder.

Keith:  “Well, at least it’s out.”

Lily:  “Yes, hopefully, they won’t have to put it back in.”

Keith: “Ooh!”  (He says covering his crotch.)  “Bite your tongue.”

Lily:  “Ath orthered.”   She says biting her tongue as she speaks, while also saluting him cheekily.

Keith:  “Ha ha ha ha ha!  You know, I started out this morning feeling very sorry for myself.”

Lily:  “And now?”   Lily smiles at him encouragingly [(9) right].

Keith:  “Well, now I only feel merely sorry for myself.”

Lily:  “Well Keith, that’s progress.  It’s going to take baby steps.  But you’ll get there.  Now, we need to order your dinner and tomorrow’s meals before I leave for the day.”

Keith:  “You’re leaving, Lily?”   He asks almost like a lost puppy dog.

Lily:  “Yes, Keith.”   She says patting his shoulder.   “You need to rest.  And I need to do some errands and rest.”

Keith:  “Right.”   He says despondently.  “It’s just so boring and … lonely in these hospital rooms, Lily.”

Lily:  Saying compassionately.  “I know.  But, the more you’re able to do for yourself in rehab, the quicker you’ll get to go home.”

Keith:  “Home?”   He asks tearing up.   Then, Keith uncharacteristically shares his fears with Lily.   “Lily, how am I going to live at home when I’m blind?  This isn’t the life I had planned for myself.”   He turns his head away from Lily’s direction—but she can see the tears falling down his cheeks.  Depression.

Lily:  Lily says soothingly while putting her right hand on his left shoulder again and clasping his left hand in her left hand.   “Keith, you’re going to be fine.  You’ve already made great progress today.”   Then she says trying to lighten the mood.  “You’re eating your food instead of throwing it on the floor, and you’re peeing without technological assistance.  All in all, I’d say that it’s been a good day.”   She smiles at him warmly.  And though Keith can’t ‘see’ her warm smile, he can hear the warmth in her voice.

Keith:  “Ha!”    He chuckles and then he turns his face back toward her while wiping away his tears.  “Lily, are you always this cheerful about bodily functions?”   Keith shakes his head.

Lily:  “Hey fella, you’ve got to start someplace.”   She says cheerfully—and practically.  “Now, let’s figure out what you want for dinner tonight and tomorrow’s meals.”

Keith:  “Okay.”   Squeezing Lily’s left hand still clasping his, he asks.  “Lily, will you be back tomorrow?”

Lily:  “Oh!  Um.  You see, Keith,”  She hesitates.  “I’m not usually in on Sundays.”    She sees Keith’s disappointed expression.   “Besides, you’ll probably have your friends and family visiting you in the afternoon when they won’t interrupt your exercise sessions.”

Keith:  “Sure.”    Keith says pursing his lips stoically—because he knows that he won’t have any visitors.  His parents live out of state and have now gone home–after being with him the first part of his first week of recovering from surgery—and his friends haven’t visited him yet.

Lily:  Sensing his somber mood, she asks him.   “Keith, are you alright?”   She says stroking his shoulder.

Keith:  “I’m fine.  I’m just tired.”  He smiles wanly.

Lily can sense that the pain in Keith runs deeper than his physical pain from his injuries and surgeries. But Keith is only in his second week of recovery.  Healing the body, the mind, and the soul takes time.  But first, to practicalities–they discuss what Keith wants to eat and Lily writes down Keith’s food orders.

Lily:  When Lily gets up to leave, she hesitates, then says.   “Keith, I have church in the morning.  But, I’ll stop by to see you on my way home around 11:00am.  Okay?”

Keith:  “Okay.”   He says perking up a bit.  “Thanks … for everything today, Lily.”

Lily:  “You’re welcome Keith.  It was my pleasure.”  She says warmly.   “Have a good evening.”

Keith:  “You, too, Lily.”

Lily leaves Keith’s room and heads home for the night, hoping that she is helping Keith move forward.  Lily is helping Keith–but his whole world has turned upside down and he has a big adjustment to make.  And in the hour and a half that Keith [(10) right] waits alone in his rehab unit hospital room for dinner to arrive, he turns his head away from the door to the hallway and he weeps for what he feels is his lost life. Depression.

To be continued with Chapter 5

 

References

 

(1) “Seeing Beauty” story logo is a composite of:
a)    Image representing Keith Erickson is that of British actor Richard Armitage as Lucas North in the BBC’s Spooks (2008 – 2010), series 8 promo, pix 15 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spookspromo/album/slides/series8-15.html

b)  Image representing Lily Sherman is that of American actress Mandy Moore and was found at http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Mandy-Moore-mandy-moore-661788_1024_768.jpg ;  NB:  I chose Ms. Moore to represent this character not because she is fat or chubby–far from it–but because she has a fresh faced innocence and sincerity that reflects the goodness of this character.  Any pre weight loss Lily images could be handled with makeup and costuming.
(2)  “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” phrase quote is credited to Margaret Wolfe Hungerford as found at  http://www.ask.com/questions-about/Beauty-Is-in-the-Eye-of-the-Beholder

(3) Image representing Keith Erickson is that of British actor Richard Armitage in the BBC’s Spooks (2008-2010), series 8, episode 1, pix 21 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spooks8/album/Episode1/slides/ep1_021.html

(4) Image (cropped) representing Lily Sherman is that of American actress Mandy Moore and was found at  http://www.eonline.com/eol_images/Entire_Site/201039/293.moore.mandy.lc.040910.jpg

(5) “The Five Stages of Grief”, Developed by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross is found at.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model

(6) Image representing Keith Erickson is that of British actor Richard Armitage in Strike Back series 1 epi 2, pix 2, http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode1HD/slides/ep1hd_002.html

(7) Image representing Lily Sherman is that of American actress Mandy Moore and was found at  http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Mandy-Moore-mandy-moore-661788_1024_768.jpg

(8) Images representing Myron and Nurse Sally were found at MS Office Clip Art at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=nurse&ex=2#ai:MP900448461%7Cmt:2%7C

(9) Image representing Lily Sherman is that of American Actress Mandy Moore and was found at  http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/i/2011/10/19/Mandy-Moore_320.jpg

(10) Keith Image (cropped, brightened, color corrected) is that of Richard Armitage as Lucas North in the BBC’s Spooks (2008-2010) series 8, episod 4, pix 262 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spooks8/album/Episode4/slides/ep4_262.html

 

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About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
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13 Responses to “Seeing Beauty” story–Ch.0-4, 8/20/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #254)

  1. NB: “Seeing Beauty” will have subsequent chapter installment postings on Fridays and Mondays. Cheers! Grati ;->

    Like

  2. Fabi says:

    Hi Grati,
    A brand new story! It’s always exciting when we get to know new characters and plots.
    I like this promising start. Keith can’t see with his physical eyes, so he’ll have to learn how to see with the eyes of the heart. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • Hi Fabi,
      Yes, “Seeing Beauty” has been percolating for some time now–just waiting for the right time to serialize it. And I love your phrase about Keith, that “he’ll have to learn how to see with the eyes of the heart”. Well said!
      Cheers! Grati ;->

      Like

  3. Fabi says:

    I’m glad you liked. I remembered what Saint-Exupéry said: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
    Have a nice Monday!

    Like

  4. AJ Daisy says:

    Oh Grati this wonderful. Poor Keith but I’m sure Lily Bless Her will sort him out. I love this Thanks

    Like

  5. Brooke says:

    I am now wondering if any of Keith’s friends really want to be there for him. I know that difficult times can bring out the best and worst in people. In situations like Keith’s friends will either walk away or draw nearer to him. I hope they will do what’s best.
    Your main female character is so sweet and wise. I think her journey with her weight troubles will help her to be more beautiful in her personality, more wise, and a stronger woman.
    I have two friends that Lily reminds me of and they used what they faced to help others.

    Like

    • Hi Brooke,
      All will be revealed with regard to Keith’s friends. I’m glad that you like the character of Lily. She has spunk within her sweetness.
      Thanks for visiting and commenting.
      Cheers! Grati ;->

      Like

  6. Kitty says:

    I have finally set aside some “me time” to read this, Gratiana. I am a sucker for romance & this one seems to fit the bill. I like how you have included the link to the next chapters. Will I find similar links @ the end of each of the story posts? The pictures you have included of “Keith” are perfect for imagining RA portraying a blind person. It was like a kick in the gut to associate blindness w/ those particular pics. I’m going to take a little while to read on. YaY! for me and Thanks! to you.

    Like

    • Hi Kitty,
      Thanks for your very nice note! I’m glad that you can kick back and relax a bit–and that you choose to do so with one of my stories. I’m honored.

      I think Richard Armitage can portray any aspect of the human condition with heart and conviction. His artistic storytelling range is boundless as we have seen in his many and varied roles. So as my muse, he is perfect!

      And the character of Keith has to struggle with a life changing event–losing his eyesight. But there are millions of individuals around the world who live full and satisfying lives despite this particular challenge. In fact, the man I take my computer to to be fixed when it has a problem is legally blind–using huge display screens to do his work. To be pithy, I might say that he can’t drive a car, but he works on my hard drive. Ha! His business is thriving so well that he has taken on extra employees to help with the expanded workload. So perhaps Keith might be modeled a little bit after him.

      Cheers! Grati ;->

      Like

  7. Pingback: Meryl Streep Sponsors Workshop for Women Screen Writers 40+, April 22, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #734) | Something About Love (A)

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