[39] Two Sides, Angeline Schellenberg

The pain is worse today. At least it’s not on his right, so not a ruptured appendix. But looking over at Silas clutching his side, Lydia’s mother-heart feels queasy.

When her son limps down the hall with the specimen cup, an image flashes: her brother Simon, both hands pressed under his left ribs, moaning. That was their last Thanksgiving, the night the ambulance took him. Too late for chemo.

In the exam room, the doctor has Silas stand on one leg, palpates his belly. Lydia takes deep breaths.

The X-ray shows nothing: no kidney stones, no bowel obstruction. No hepatocellular carcinoma.

Probably just a pulled muscle. Lydia books him for physio.

Monday morning, as Silas grabs his backpack from the trunk, she leans out the window. “Bye, Simon!” No one turns to wave.

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