"Because I'm... I'm gonna look a little weird? And I'm not gonna have all my strength back right away. So... Do you have any questions? Or any feelings?"
He answers honestly; he's always answering honestly. That's the thing they're only starting to get: "I just hope you're gonna be okay. I love you."
He hugs his mother; he asks to visit Mia. Cathy hands him a bouquet of flowers and he asks for twenty bucks; the worry drains right from their eyes and they almost laugh, one voice telling him no. When he's gone, she looks at Paul: The hell was that? Paul thinks maybe crying skips a generation.
I assure you it does not.
Cathy's sitting on the porch with Thomas, looking out over the hole, on the last day of summer. Paul speaks quietly, moves softly.
In the hospital he waits outside, to give her privacy. When Todd arrives he's happy to see him. One of the nurses, one of the ones administering the drug: "When she introduced herself to me she dropped her pen, and then when she bent down to pick it up she stepped on it."
Todd smiles and assures him that the woman, Annabelle, is a great nurse. "I'd let her stick me with a needle any day."
But this is not just any patient and it's not just any patient's husband. And at this second Todd loves Paul more than he could ever possibly explain.
"Look, Paul. I'm not gonna tell you not to worry, all right? But she's got top-notch care. And I'm gonna be here every day."
Paul breathes, and nods, and thanks Dr. Mauer. He's always been so important to Cathy. So significant.
And the tears in Todd's eyes, Paul can't help but clap him on the back, for comfort. At this second Paul loves Todd more than he ever could possibly explain.
Sean comes to Rebecca in a clean shirt, with a speech he's memorized.
"The way I see it we have two options here: Either you can have this baby and leave it on the steps of the firehouse for someone more qualified to raise it, or I can help you fuck it up. But you're not going to raise this baby by yourself and fuck it up alone. If we're going to fuck it up, we're going to fuck it up together. So that's where I'm at. Oh, and I have a house now."
He nearly cries. She watches him.
"So what do you have to say about that?"
He looks stronger. He smells better. He smells good.
"Just close your eyes," says Annabelle. "And relax."