"Long road," Eleanor says, looking down at sk8rboi. It's the quietest this show has ever been, especially this week with the awful music all the time bing-bing-binging, but now it's just silent, with the sound of the machines breathing for him. Eleanor is quiet, and Jackie is quiet, and the only people who see them like this are them.
Then it's later and she goes to sit with the mom, give her the update that the kid is critical, but at this point, stable. Her voice cracks at the end, there. Mom knows this is good, right, but does she understand that this is going to be a long haul. And also, you already know this and it's hard to make them do it, but you gotta make him wear a helmet. It's comforting, a lecture and a litany we all know, something we can say back and forth; it's a way to get her thinking about the future, the day when things will be normal. It's a comforting story, then it changes.
"I know, I know... It was only one ramp," mom says. "And it wasn't that high. He booked the cover of Pottery Barn Teen and I asked the photographer to get a couple without the helmet..." Jackie's jaw drops. "I wanted them for his portfolio," mom blathers on, "Now that he's got longer hair. Took him a year to grow it out." Nancy smiles so she won't hit her, a thin smile, and heads for the door. Loses another bet with herself, and turns.
"It's gonna take him a year to learn how to walk again." Mom takes that in, and Jackie smiles hatefully at her: "You took his helmet off. It's your job to protect him." She shakes her head, mom is speechless. When she leaves, she slams the door. Hard.
(Which seems really self-righteous and pretty silly, I thought, until I started thinking about how maybe my mental image of the ramp's size was not sufficient to the danger thereof, like the lady talked about him falling as though it were a descent, like out of the sky, in which case I am now imagining a ramp from my second-floor windows, even, and yeah, should have given him a helmet, you dumb lady.)
Then it's later and Jackie is outside staring at the sky, still perturbed, so she doesn't throttle that woman. She notes Eileen, the burned-face budding slash-fic writer, sitting in her wheelchair trying to flag a cab. She cannot. "Passing me by!" she admits to Jackie, who runs off toward a stopped cab and starts screaming at the driver: "The fuck? Pretend you didn't see her sitting there?" But oh, the guy's having a heart attack: wheezing and clutching and moaning, the whole bit. "Are you fucking kidding me?" she asks, then rolls him out of the taxi onto the street, on his back, where he says he's been having the chest pains all day.