David pressed the “End” button on his cell phone and carefully folded it shut before placing it in the back pocket of his sandblast-washed jeans. He examined the many anxious faces that lingered around the lounge, all hoping to hear some news about the unfortunate plight of their co-star.
“That was Mr. Green. Said Russ is to have some tests done on his brain. A CAT scan, I think, and a brainwave monitor or something…” he said, trying to remember exactly the terminology Russell’s dad has used.
The onlookers were supremely interested and worried about the severity of their friend’s condition. David felt it natural that all the rest of the kids would be concerned (especially since they were about the same age as Russ and began to inquire if it could happen to them too), but was uneasy upon seeing how the adults reacted. Adults weren’t scared of anything, right?
Aaron inhaled deeply and ran his hands roughly through his dyed-black hair and then tied it back into a crude ponytail. His only son was grown and now lived in New York, so after working with the Harry Potter cast for so long, he came to regard them as family. Russell in particular had always been one of Aaron’s favorites because of his delightful sense of humor, and his malady certainly took its toll on the older actor.
Aaron looked as if he wanted to say something, but he kept quiet. His intense gaze begged David for more information, but it was Travis who spoke first.
“Wow. That sounds really serious. Do they know if he’s going to be all right?”
David had absolutely no idea what to say. He wanted to assure everyone that their friend would be perfectly fine, but even he had his doubts. “Err, I don’t know. He said he’d call me again when they find out the results.”
Amy wrung her hands for so long that if her skin hadn’t been attached, she surely would have worn it all off. Travis poured her another cup of coffee so at least she had something to do besides rub her hands raw. David wanted to do something to help calm her, but his brain was just as tired and wearisome as theirs. He didn’t think anything he could have said would make the situation any better.
“Can we go see him?” Amy asked softly. “I really want to get out of here. I can’t possibly think of filming at a time like this, especially when everything around the set reminds me of him…” She glanced around the lounge and fixed her gaze on the Prisoner of Azkaban promotional poster, which Russell had used to play one of his many pranks. She reminisced at Russell’s smiling face, though was still disturbed seeing the faces of her and David switched on each other’s bodies. At first she was embarrassed at the poster and had wanted it fixed, but now it seemed almost a tribute to her friend’s spirit. He was such a lively, fun-loving guy…
Her heartbreaking frown prompted David to remind her, “I think eventually we’ll be able to go see him, but I’m not exactly sure when. He’ll be out of it for a while after the tests, so it might be a few days.”
“Do you think he’ll ever come back to work?” Travis questioned.
David became frustrated with all the questions. Why does everybody think I have all the bloody answers? Yet he couldn’t leave Travis hanging; he at least had to try.
“Only time will tell. We’re not even sure if he’ll be able to function in the real world again. I guess we’ll find out after his tests. Why do you ask?” David really didn’t want to discuss it anymore, but it seemed that Travis needed to talk.
“Well, you two get to go see him, and I don’t. Most likely he’ll still think I’m Malfoy so I won’t be able to express any level of concern for him at all, which means no visits to the hospital. The only way I’d get to see him is if he came back to work,” he explained.
“Oh. You’re right…” David suddenly felt even more sorry for Travis than he did for Amy because at least she could go and visit their friend.
An awkward silence filled the room as each occupant drifted to his or her own contemplations of the matter. As much as David had previously wished he didn’t have to talk about it anymore, the noiseless void of the room seemed much worse in comparison. David played in his mind, trying to think of something to say, when he was reminded of Aaron’s presence at the sound of his deep voice.
“Then it goes to say that I am in the same position as Travis. I guess Russ would probably have a fit if ‘Professor Snape’ showed up at the hospital.” A quiet chuckle escaped his lips, contradictory of his cheerless expression. “Send my regards to his parents when you see them, will you Dave?”
“I will, however long that may be.”
Russ laid down on a cold, stiff body support and heard it rumble and buzz as it began to move. His eyes were closed, but he felt the vibrations of movement all through his body. He felt a slight chill through the room, as the thin hospital gown he was wearing didn’t cover much. The intimidating machine normally would have sent Russ into a fit, but the calming medications that had been forced down his throat made him uncharacteristically aloof.
Mr. and Mrs. Green watched through the glass window as the machine slid their son’s head into the scanning device. The doctors in the control room explained exactly what was going on through the whole process, but they might as well not have even bothered because none of it made any sense to the couple. Ian peered over one doctor’s shoulder to look at the complex controls and the screen that began to blink with a jumble of incoming data.
“This won’t hurt him, will it?” asked Mrs. Green fearfully.
“Not in the least. It’s a perfectly safe procedure,” Dr. Curtis answered.
Mr. Green embraced his wife around the shoulder as they continued to watch their son. How much longer would they have to endure this torture?
Once it was all over and the nurses had returned Russ to his room, Dr. Curtis beckoned the parents to her office so she could discuss treatment options. After all the tests and examinations had given no useful leads, there really wasn’t any other choice…
The Green’s three youngest children waited in the family room while their grandparents kept watch. ‘Granny’ and ‘Grandaddy’ Green had taken the earliest flight available out of their retirement haven in Northern Ireland to be with their family in this hectic time.
“Mum! Dad! How’d it go? What happened?” Delilah wasted no time bombarding her parents with questions as they joined Ian’s parents on the large couch.
“The tests went fine, but the doctors didn’t find anything significantly abnormal with his brain. In fact, his brain is fully functional and healthy which is a relief. Dr. Curtis suggested that we take him to a psychologist for some counseling. The only thing we can do now is hope,” her mother replied.
Mr. Green bent down to kiss his youngest daughter on the head and excused himself to make a phone call, and Grandaddy Green went to spend some time by his eldest grandson’s bedside.
“What else did she say, Mum?” Alexander asked.
Mrs. Green furrowed her brow, deliberating how much she wanted to disclose to her fledgling children. After nearly developing a twitch in her left eye, she decided that since they were all going to have to live with Russell’s condition, they might as well know the truth.
“Russell is going to need a lot more help than we originally hoped would be necessary. He’s still very confused about who he is, so for the time being we’ve been instructed to play along until the doctor has a chance to help him reconstruct his memory.”
“You mean we have to keep calling him Ron? That’s silly,” Annie giggled as she playfully patted down her grandmother’s poofy curls.
“Yes, we’ll call him Ron. And we also have to pretend that we know he is a wizard. See, Russ thinks that he has magic, so if we want him to stay calm without having to be medicated, we’ve got to pretend like everything is the way he knows it.”
Alexander laughed at the thought of his big brother having magical abilities, but imagined it to be quite fun. “Then I’m a wizard, too!”
Mrs. Green smiled at her son, realizing just how much he looked up to his older brother and wanted to be exactly like him.
“When Russ…I mean, Ron…gets home, we’re going to play magic! He’s going to teach me how to do spells and make animals talk and turn things into gold and hide all my candy from Annie…” he rambled excitedly.
His mother’s smile faded as she listened to his fantastic plans. She hadn’t finished telling the group everything that Russell’s treatment entailed, though she now couldn’t bear the heartache this news would cause. Her four children were actually very close friends, despite the never-ending bickering and occasional sibling rivalry. They would be devastated to be separated from their brother, their hero.
She hesitated as long as she could and then drew her son into her lap and hugged him. “Honey, Russell won’t be coming home with us for a while. The doctor says he needs to live in a special place that will help him get better, but we’ll be able to visit him all the time.”
Alexander dropped his toy train; it landed with a crash on the floor and went rolling underneath the couch. Annie didn’t really understand that her big brother wouldn’t be living with her anymore, so she looked puzzled at Alexander and continued playing with her doll. Delilah’s eyes filled with water as she snuggled herself between her mum and grandmother on the couch. Her throat constricted and she could hardly breathe as the two women hugged her, yet she was determined not to cry.
David got home after a long day at the set and noticed two missed calls on his cell phone. He dialed his mailbox number and heard the voice of none other than Ian Green.
“Hello, David, this is Ian. We’ve just spent all day at the hospital with Russ. His CAT scan went well but they couldn’t find anything that might have caused his condition so they referred us to a psychologist, Dr. Alena Miles. She and some other therapists have a special home for teenagers with psychological disorders, so Russ is going to stay there for a while until we can figure all this out. I know-” Beep.
“Hello, Dave, it’s me again, Ian Green. Sorry, your phone cut me off. Anyway, I was saying that I know you and Amy want to visit him, but I’m not sure exactly how long it will be before you will be allowed. Deerfield Home has some rules about visitors, as it can interfere with the therapy, but I’ll let you know when I find out more details. If you have any questions about all this feel free to call. I’ll be in touch. Goodbye.”
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