True to the game iii, p.4
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       True to the Game III, p.4

           Teri Woods
 
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  Viola caressed Quadir’s head and nodded.

  “We just need for him to give us some effort, so we can get him walking.”

  “I’m sore and it hurts like hell!” Quadir told her.

  “Just try, baby. Do it for me. Just promise me that you’ll try,” Viola pleaded.

  Quadir nodded. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

  “Good.” Amelia smiled. “Well, I’ll leave you two alone so that you can catch up. I’ll be back in, say . . . thirty minutes?”

  “Thank you so much, Amelia,” Mrs. Richards leaned forward and kissed her on her cheek.

  Amelia turned and left the chapel.

  “How’s Gena doing?” Quadir asked.

  “She’s doing good. She’s just fine.”

  “Where is she? Why didn’t she come here with you?”

  “Baby, after this happened to you, I didn’t trust nobody. I decided it be best and I let her think you were dead.”

  “What? That’s Gena! Why would you do that?”

  “Baby, I know. But it was for your own safety.”

  “My safety? She didn’t shoot me!”

  “Listen, I didn’t even tell your father and no I didn’t tell her. Do you know what could happen if Gena finds out you’re alive? Do you understand that Amelia put her entire medical career on the line to help protect you? If Gena knew you were alive, the entire city would know. There’s no way she could keep this kind of secret. Please trust us, trust me, and trust Dr. Hopkins. Don’t worry about Gena. You just go ahead and get well. I want you to walk out of this place, then go get your precious Gena and get the hell outta Philly.”

  “Get outta Philly? Where’s Rik? Where’s Rasun?”

  “Baby, you can worry about them after you get better! But, son, you got to understand, you’re a ghost to these people. To them, you don’t exist.”

  Quadir nodded. “I want to see Gena.”

  “I know you do. I know, son, but she’s fine; she’s tough, and she can handle herself until you get yourself together and figure out where to go from here with your life.”

  Quadir thought about his money. He knew he had been out of it for weeks. He knew that rent needed to be paid, mortgages needed to be paid, and all his other bills had to be taken care of.

  “I need you to take care of a few things for me.”

  “What?”

  “I need you to pay some bills for me.”

  “I already took care of all that, Quadir.”

  “All of them?”

  Viola nodded. She thought that she had in fact taken care of all her son’s bills, not knowing he had many others she knew nothing about, one important one in particular.

  “Quadir, I’ve taken care of everything. You just relax, do your therapy, son, and get better. Okay, baby?”

  Quadir nodded. He would do as she said. He would focus and he would hurry up and get the hell out of that hospital. Either that or he was going to catch a case for killing Dr. Hopkins.

  Viola maneuvered herself behind her son’s wheelchair and began to push. “I want you to come up to the front of the chapel with me so we can pray together, okay?”

  Quadir looked blankly at his mother. He didn’t know what she expected of him, but he didn’t have any prayers left. He had prayed, prayed more than anyone would ever know. Every time he tried to use his legs to hold him up, he prayed. And every time he tried to take a step, he prayed. Don’t she know all I been doing is praying? He knew his mother and he also knew that even if he didn’t want to, Viola wouldn’t take no for an answer.

  “Okay.”

  Can’t Get Right

  Six Weeks Later

  Dr. Hopkins strolled into her patient’s room pushing a wheelchair.

  “Up and at ’em, sleepyhead.”

  Quadir was lying on his bed, staring out the window. He turned to face her.

  “You are a pest. You should get an award for being the peskiest doctor in the world. Why you won’t stop?”

  “Because, Mr. Smith, you are a fighter. You fought for your life on that operating table, and now it’s time to fight for getting back into the game of life. So, up, up, up.”

  Amelia lowered the bed railing and clasped Quadir’s arm. He snatched it away from her.

  “You’re not even my doctor anymore. And you’re not my therapist. I don’t feel like it today!”

  “Look, Mr. Smith, I didn’t save your ass to see you sit here and wither away. Now stop acting like a little bitch and get your fucking ass in the wheelchair.”

  Quadir frowned at her, trying to figure out why she was constantly calling him Mr. Smith. Damn, she won’t stop; she just won’t stop.

  “You’re like the Energizer bunny. You should wear a bunny outfit and get some Rollerblades,” he said, laughing at her. “Look, you could roll down the hall and shit, in and out of all your patients’ rooms, constantly being a disturbance, you know how you do,” he said, looking at her with his eyebrows raised, waiting for her to agree with his jokes.

  “You know what? You really are an asshole.”

  “And you’re really a pain in my ass. You know what, doc, that’s all the fuck I do feel, the pain in my ass from your constant bullshit.”

  “Get the fuck up, and get in the goddamn chair,” she hollered as she took his vitals chart and used it as a weapon, ready to attack him.

  “Please, you can’t hit me; you’re a doctor and I’m a sick patient.”

  “Get your ass up and get in the chair! I’m not leaving until we’re done.”

  “Fuck, man, come on,” he said huffing and puffing, but he did it because he knew she had to win and she wouldn’t stop. She meant every word she said. He sulked his way off the bed and into the wheelchair.

  She pushed him to the elevator and they made the short trip to the rehabilitation center.

  “Can I just pay you for your services?” Quadir asked.

  “Are you serious?” She stopped the chair and walked around in front of him. “You could never repay me. Do you understand that, Mr. Smith?” she said, looking like Bette Davis.

  “Yo, you ever see that movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? That’s you.” He started laughing at her again.

  This black man must be out of his mind.

  “I got your Baby Jane; shut up before I really show you how Bette I can get,” she said, slapping the back of his head.

  “I’m going file a report against you. That’s the second time you’ve hit me.”

  “Listen, Mr. Smith, I’m really tired of your shit. I know you can do this. I know you can. If you could come back and cheat death the way you did, I know you can make a full recovery. I know you can. Gosh, if you believed in yourself as much as I do, you’d have walked out of here by now. Now come on, it’s showtime.”

  She hit a button on the wall and the double doors to the rehab center in the west wing of the hospital opened. She wheeled him up to a set of walking bars.

  “Okay, here we go. God, do you believe all that energy? You are so draining, Mr. Smith, I mean really,” she said as she unbuckled him, raised the foot bars, and gently set his feet on the floor.

  She set the brakes on the wheelchair, unbuckled Quadir, and pulled him out of the chair. Quadir gripped the bars tightly, holding on for dear life. Amelia made her way behind him, and placed her hands on his waist.

  “How many times are you going to bring me down here to do this?” Quadir said, gritting his teeth. “I can’t do it yet!”

  “You can do anything you put your mind to. You can do this, Quadir. You’re stronger than you even know. I watched a soldier who refused to give in, who stared death in the face and told it to go to hell. You can do this. One step, Quadir, it just takes one step.”

  Quadir closed his eyes and gritted his teeth again. He wanted this pesky, silly bitch gone and out of his life. He wanted to be alone and if he had to be around someone, he wanted it to be someone who would understand what he was going through. He wanted Gena.

  “Don’t look at me like tha
t. Only a coward gives up, Quadir.”

  A coward? Is she calling me a fucking coward?

  “What? You heard me; you’re not even trying. A fucking coward, I can’t believe this shit,” she huffed under her breath, loud enough for him to hear.

  Bitch, please. He couldn’t help it. She must be crazy to offer such an analysis. Quadir had been through more than Amelia Hopkins could ever dream about. He was a soldier, a warrior, and a gangster to the fullest. He ate niggas for breakfast, and bitches like her were nothing but a midmorning snack.

  “You going to let a bar beat you?” Amelia asked.

  “Shut up!” Quadir exploded. “Will you just shut the fuck up!”

  “That’s right! Get angry! But what are you going to do with all that anger? Are you going to yell at me and sit back down and quit? Or are you going to get angry at the people who tried to take life away from you, the people who put you in this wheelchair? Are you going to let them win? Are you going to let them beat you, Quadir?”

  Quadir breathed in heavily and gripped the bars tightly. He lifted himself up as much as he could, while staring at his right foot.

  Move, dammit, move, he commanded.

  And it did.

  The left foot slowly followed, and then the right one. He walked to the end of the track and turned around gasping for air. He was exhausted.

  “Oh, my God. No, no, stay there. Oh, my God. Quadir, oh, my God. That’s good for one day; just stay right there. I’ll bring the chair to you,” said Amelia in amazement and disbelief.

  “No, leave the chair where it’s at,” Quadir told her. He stared at his feet again and willed them to move.

  Amelia cupped her hands over her mouth, as tears begin to stream down her face. These were the moments she lived and breathed for. These were the moments that made every sacrifice in her life worthwhile. She watched as Quadir took four tiny steps and collapsed into her arms.

  “Yes! Yes! I knew that you could do it!” She hugged him as if he were her child, taking his first baby steps in life.

  Quadir held on to her, hugging her back and fighting back his own tears. He wanted to cry, he wanted to cry so bad, but Baby Jane wouldn’t have that on him. He had shown her; he had walked. He couldn’t believe he had walked. He hugged Amelia tightly, kissing her cheek, and he felt her kiss his cheek back. And out of all the hugging and kissing, their lips met, and she kissed him back, a long and passionate kiss. Amelia completely forgot her position and role as a doctor; she didn’t even realize the road that they had started down in that one kiss.

  The next day, after her rounds, Amelia entered Quadir’s room with her trusty wheelchair and was met with a happy face.

  “I take it you’re ready.”

  “Might as well be; I don’t have no choice.”

  “Well, today, I have a surprise for you,” she said, helping him into the chair, as she placed his feet on the foot holders. She pushed him down the hall and onto the elevator as usual, but this time when the doors opened she made a left instead of a right.

  “Where we going?”

  “I told you I had a surprise for you today.”

  Amelia took her patient for a stroll through the hospital’s gardens, hoping that some fresh air would do him good. He had accomplished so much in such a short period of time. His recovery bordered on miraculous.

  She stopped his wheelchair next to a bench in front of a statue commemorating the hospital’s founder. She took a seat on the bench close to him.

  “Are we about to have the conversation?” Quadir asked.

  “And which conversation is that? We have a couple of them that we need to have.”

  Quadir laughed. “I guess you’re right. But I figured you were strolling me out here so that we could talk about why I’m here and why someone would try to kill me. You know, that conversation.”

  “Those things have crossed my mind a few times.”

  “Well, you know my name, and I’m pretty sure you know my date of birth.” Quadir peered off into the distance. “It’s pretty hard to know where to start. I mean, you already know all my personal information. Not to mention, you operated on me; you saved my life.”

  Amelia nodded and laughed. “Yeah, I guess I know a few things. I’ll admit that.”

  Quadir shrugged. “I don’t know. I really don’t know where to start.”

  “Would you rather I ask you?”

  “I don’t know. I guess that probably would be better.”

  “Do you have a nickname?

  “Yeah, sort of, Qua, sometimes Q.”

  “Is that what all of your friends called you? Qua?”

  Quadir nodded.

  “Are you originally from Philly?”

  “Yeah, I was born at Pennsylvania Hospital downtown. I grew up in North Philly my entire life. Where are you from?”

  Amelia exhaled and peered off into the distance.

  “I’m a country girl, straight off the farm in Alabama.”

  “How did you wind up in Philly?”

  “I wanted more, I guess. I just couldn’t see myself working on my parents’ farm for the rest of my life, or marrying some drugstore clerk in the nearest town and cranking out babies for the next twenty years of my life. Not much out there in the country. So, after high school I got accepted to Temple University and then took up my residence at Temple University Hospital. After completing my residency, I got offered a job here at Hahnemann, so I decided to stay in Philadelphia and see how things worked out. I’ve been here at Hahnemann now for five years.”

  “That’s good; that’s really good. You stayed focused. Sometimes, I wish I had stuck it out and stayed in school.”

  “Why, you dropped out of high school?” Amelia questioned.

  “No, I graduated with honors from high school. And I went on to college at the University of Delaware.”

  “Did you graduate?”

  “Yeah.”

  “Really?” asked Amelia. She had never thought for one second that Quadir had a formal education.

  “I got my bachelor’s and after that I wanted to go to grad school to become a dentist. But, I guess I got sidetracked.”

  “What do you mean by that?”

  “Well, I struggled to get through school. It wasn’t like I came from money. My pops hustled in the streets. He did the number game and had speakeasies in the city, and while we wasn’t poor, we wasn’t rich neither. I guess after I graduated and I came back home to Philly, I saw everybody hustling, getting fast money, you know, and I wanted a piece of it. I always said I’d go back to school and become a dentist and open my own office someday. I just got sidetracked and one thing led to another.”

  “I see it led you right here to my operating table.”

  “Yeah, I always thought I was invincible. I never saw myself shot up and in a wheelchair. I have a friend, Christopher Cole, who we all called Forty, and he was kidnapped last year and held for a million-dollar ransom. Even though I paid his ransom, his kidnappers still shot him up and left him for dead. I remember going to visit him in the hospital. His body looked weak and frail and he was all beat up and bandaged up and the doctors said he’d never walk again, and to this day, he’s still in a wheelchair. But I’ll never forget the day I went to see him after he had been shot up and I knew then that I didn’t want this life. I knew then that I didn’t want to end up like that.”

  “So what did you do?”

  “I stopped. I gave up the life, and I stopped selling drugs.”

  “Really?”

  “Yeah, and you know what’s so ironic, I ended up shot and in a wheelchair anyway.”

  “Well, you know we’re gonna work on that, right?”

  “Hey, I’m surprised you let me outside.”

  Amelia couldn’t help but laugh. “Yeah, you’re lucky, real lucky.”

  “In more ways than you could ever know.”

  “I just don’t understand why you would choose to sell drugs. Of all the things you could do to make your life better,
you chose that.”

  “Don’t do that.”

  “Don’t do what?”

  “Don’t judge me. I hate that. People always think of drug dealers being these low-life scum buckets, and that, for the most part is never the case.”

  “I’m not attempting to judge you, Quadir. I’m just trying to understand.”

  “That’s just it. It’s something that you can never understand. The life I live, and the life these brothers is out here living in these streets, can’t be explained or understood. Not from sitting on a park bench on a nice side of town, beneath an oak tree.”

  “I guess I deserved that. I guess I can never understand the world that you come from, but I can learn more about it.”

  “Why would you want to?”

  “Why do you live it? All bullshit aside, you’re smarter than that. You’re a very intelligent man who could do so many things with his life. Really, that’s what I don’t get. You’re smart, you’re fearless, you’re young and handsome. The world would lie down for you, if you asked it to. Why not go out and do bigger things?”

  Quadir leaned back in his chair. He was at a loss for words. He didn’t know how to feel about Amelia. She was drop-dead gorgeous, a dime to say the least. And she was a hell of a surgeon. The fact that he was still breathing testified to that. She was smart, and dedicated, and she was straight up. She didn’t act all high and mighty, like some bourgeois bitches, after they had finished college. And what was really tripping him out was that she really seemed to care about him. Not just about getting him back up and walking again, but about his life and his future. She was challenging him physically, mentally, and emotionally. He had never had a woman do that before.

  “C’mon, let’s get you back inside before those bitches in the recovery ward start tripping.”

  Quadir threw his head back in laughter. “I have never heard a doctor like you before.”

  “I’m the new generation of doctors. We kick ass. We heal it, but we kick it too.” Amelia rose from the bench and began to push Quadir back into the hospital. “Don’t make me have to fuck you up behind your therapy, either. ’Cause you know I will.”

  “And you said you’re the new generation, huh?”

 
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