I’ve just come from the security wing. Sebastian arranged a temporary release and, with an escort, I accompanied him into a kind of control room. Two security guards were there, both of whom sat in front of a large array of monitors and screens. These screens looked in on every room and hallway from a variety of angles. Several of them were focused on the special care nursery, where Jonah was in an incubator fighting for his life. I could see Liz on the central monitor, sitting next to him. She wasn’t moving. She wasn’t speaking. She wasn’t reading anything. She was just staring at our son, willing him to live.
“Stay here, my friend,” said Sebastian, wheeling out of the room. He was only gone from my sight for a moment when he reappeared in the nursery. A nurse helped him through the door, and he pulled up beside Liz and began to massage her shoulder.
She didn’t even notice.
The security guards adjusted a few settings, and the feed from the camera with the best angle of Liz and Sebastian grew to take up a large part of the screen. I was watching and listening to their conversation like it was live television.
“How are you, ma chere?” he asked Liz, but she didn’t answer. “The boy is a gift from God. A miracle.” Still, nothing from Liz.
Sebastian pulled his chair back just a little, to impede Liz’s vision slightly. He was between her and Jonah and he reached his thin hands into the incubator through the little window and held my son. “Allo, bebe,” he called, accent thickening with emotion. “Je suis votre grand-pere.” He withdrew his hands, rubbing them as if cherishing the lingering feel of youth.
“What do you want?” Liz asked, finally.
“Your perfect happiness,” he replied. Even in this weakened condition Sebastian’s love for Elisabeth was a power in the room. Joy slithered in through the door, rubbing against her leg. Liz kicked her away gently, but I had never seen her do that before. Joy went to Sebastian instead. “You do not want Joy?”
“Don’t be cute. I want to be with my son.” It hurt to see Liz treat Sebastian so poorly. I knew how she had once cherished their friendship. “Why are you here?”
“His life hangs in the balance. But so does yours. That is why I am here. To remind you to live.”
“I hate him,” she said, the knife driving a little deeper.
“It is to be expected. Will the boy need to hate him too?”
“If he lives.”
“Elisabeth, where is your belief in providence?”
Liz looked furious. “Do you have any idea what I’ve been through? How dare you ask me about God!”
“I am not religious, chere. You know this. But you were gone a long time. You left without a family, and have returned a mother. David mourned a wife he did not lose.”
“Don’t start with this crap…”
“Ha!” He clapped his hands together, softly. “How quick we are to disbelieve when the evidence is almost perfectly infallible. I will soon go to God and leave you here with your son. I may see heaven. But please, do not make your own life hell. There is no need. You are surrounded by grace. Let it in.”
Liz didn’t say a word. She walked past Sebastian, roughly scooting his wheelchair out of the way so she could be closest to Jonah again. Sebastian sat there for a time, waiting to see if she would re-engage. When she did not, he turned to the camera and nodded at me through the lens. He left and I was escorted back to my room in the medical center to consider the true nature of grace.