Marcus is all of 15 year old, I’m halfway past my 42 year.
He talks about wanting to play lacrosse, I’m caught up in how my Red Sox will do next season.
Marcus is frustrated with trying to figure out Algebra, I’ve got a stack of paperwork from the office.
I’m trying to make an appointment to have the car looked at, he’s fiddling with his Beats by Dre headphones.
He’s a little kid worn out by life, I’m a big kid worn out by life.
Marcus was introduced to me a while back when one of the duty nurse asked if I would be willing to talk to him about my experiences with the Nephrology Department. He was just starting a new course of treatment and I had just finished yet another round of medication. We sat for an hour while they cleared the backup for the CT machine and I learned that when he got out of the hospital he wanted to be a teacher. Amusingly I had spent some time doing that during graduate school so I told him what he had in store for his life. He talked to me about wanting to understand the math better, I told him that math changes every couple of years. That what he learned today was going to be taught differently tomorrow. We eventually settled for talking about football.
When he left, I found his email address sitting on my jacket. I took it as a sign to reach out. Over the past two years we talked about music [He’s all about Eminem, I’m more about Classic Rock]. We traded some songs time just so each other could hear what the other liked. We argued over his love of the Baltimore Ravens and how they were going to destroy my New England Patriots. He told me about a girl he liked in his Art class, I told him about this girl I loved.
In all of that time I only received one note from his mother saying how much she appreciated the talks. His father wasn’t around very much due to being deployed on a ship. I let her know it was good to help out and that her son was going to be a wonderful person once he got through this part of his life.
Marcus found himself on the transplant list, something I didn’t require. While I was getting stable, he continued to get worse. I used to stop by when I could, but kept writing letters and we talked on the phone a few times. Still pining away for the girl in Art Class, still insistent about his sports teams.
We found ourselves together a couple of weeks ago. He was needing continual dialysis and wasn’t able to leave the hospital anymore. We sat for a while and argued about what car he was wanting when he got out, his 16th birthday just as we enter 2015. I kept talking about something safe, he wanted something fast. Meanwhile the drugs are being pumped into both our arms.
I went home and the weekly email trade stopped. I figured he was just to tired to write, maybe we had argued about all of the silly things and there was nothing left to say at that moment. Then his mother sent me a message :
Marcus passed away this morning. His father was able to be here, that’s why the email stopped. Marcus was too tired after spending what time he could with his father. I know you understand. I’m sending you the baseball card you left for him, he signed it not knowing if it ruined it or not. We’re planning on taking him back to Alabama to be buried. Thanks for everything.
I got to see the sun rise that morning, Marcus didn’t.