Margie Wendt looked at the charge sheet and realized that she did indeed have one more patient to work with before she could give in to her day long, no, week long, anxiety and go home to worry with Dale, her son, about the fees for his med school education.
It had been so totally on her mind lately that it was almost the whole of her mental environment.
It's just that med school was getting more and more expensive and they were only barely keeping up with it as it was. The prospect loomed for the two of them of having to go to the bank to see about a mortgage on the house to pay for it.
Margie was determined not to leave it up to Dale and his wife Susie alone. She had pledged herself to aid her son's education as far as he needed.
The baby, little Sylvia was one of the complications. An unexpected surprise, she was the joy of their lives but still it had meant that Susie had to take time off from work to have Sylvia and care for her initially and then the job just wasn't there anymore.
That marked the true beginning of their worries. And now it was looking like the worries were big time.
She was having a cup of tea with one of the other physical therapists, Janie Raymond, and complaining about the pressure of it. It was a topic that she'd been free to go over with Janie before.
She was in the middle of describing her worries, when she saw that her next, Foster Wayne was waiting for her. She checked the clock and said to Janie:
"Gotta go, my Foster is here for his hour."
"Such a gorgeous man," Janie said.
"Yes, he is," Margie said, casting a glance at the tall elderly man waiting for her.
(It is possibly not fair to call Foster Wayne 'elderly'. He was, indeed, in his early 60'as but that's not, by our current standards any longer considered 'elderly', is it? So, that's the last time we'll call this gentleman 'elderly'.)
Margie set her tea cup down and said: "Thanks for listening, Janie; I appreciate it. I just hate to have to go through with this mortgage thing but I will not abandon Dale and Susie in this. I've made that promise."
"You are so good," Janie said, "Someone needs to notice that and take care of you!"
Margie smiled at her friend and said: "I know but fat chance."
Margie Wendt, physical therapist at a major mid west hospital, was, at 39 about as lovely as a woman could hope or expect to be. She was compact but in absolutely excellent shape. She worked out almost daily. She was small breasted and fairly broad hipped but very, very pleasing nonetheless.
She had an outgoing personality and was fierce in her allegiance to and defense of those whom she loved. Her concern for her son's medical school education is a case in point. She had married a high school sweetheart and had Dale already at the age of 18. Of course, the sweetheart turned out to really be a meathead, which he proved in a short amount of time. Margie never had time for a man in her life after that.
Right at that particular time, Foster Wayne, her next patient, the 'not so elderly' gentleman, had heard the conversation between Margie and Janie Raymond.
As Margie used the loo, Foster casually wandered over and engaged Janie in a conversation about Margie's son and his school.
He found out that way that Dale was in medical school at the local university. He was a second year student.
At 62, Foster Wayne was in possibly the best shape of his life. He had taken to exercising ever since his mild heart attack that had occurred some sixteen years earlier. They were years during which he devoted himself to a cardiac rehabilitation program and worked out, pushing himself always, ever since that time.
He was 6'1" tall and carried his 190 lbs very well. He had white hair, and had had such since his mid thirties. He also sported a white beard and mustache. He was a fairly dapper dresser. All in all, an attractive man.
His wife, a flighty, fidgety woman, had committed suicide years before even Foster's heart attack. He had no other visible family, and as an only son had inherited from his parents his father's company and, using that base, had increased that until he was worth in the billions.
He led a simple life, was not a womanizer and was a very outgoing person. He was in PT at this point as a result of a knee replacement. He had struck up an easy and good friendship with Margie Wendt, almost as soon as he was assigned to her as his therapist.
She came for him then, apologizing for being a few minutes late.
"Margie," he said, "You look all in!"
"Last of the day, Foster, sorry!" she said.
"Hey, you never have to apologize to me," he said, smiling, "We're friends, after all."
"Yes," she said, smiling back, "Friends."
She realized then and there that she really believed that, and genuinely liked this distinguished looking man.
"Well," he said next to her, "What kind of torture do you have devised for me today."
She gave him a thin smile and said: "Oh the usual."
"But Margie," he said, "What's wrong; you look so worried, so down."
"Oh, it's stuff at home," she answered, not aware that he already had information on her problem from Janie Raymond.
"I'm sorry," he said, "I shouldn't pry."
"Oh, you're not prying," Margie said, "I know that; it's just that my son's bills for medial school have me, have us, on the ropes. I've promised to help him and his wife with this and she had the baby, then she lost her job and they're having a tough time. It's just time to step up to the plate and go to the bank to see what has to be done..."
She trailed off then and apologized to him for unloading her grief onto him.
"Not unloading, dear! Friends help friends that way," he said.
"Thank you, Foster," she said, "You are such a caring person."
"And you're going to hurt me now?" he said grinning.
"Exactly!" she said returning the grin, "It's what I do!"
They let it go at that but Foster was already thinking ahead.
He had a meeting the next afternoon with the Dean of the medical school. They had been cultivating him for a good while for a possible donation and he'd decided to do what they wanted.
He was in the office of Dr. Cherry, the Dean, who'd been in touch with him through a mutual friend.
They had some pleasant chit chat and then they got down to the business that Dr. Cherry wanted to talk to him about. They were asking for a donation of a quarter of a million dollars.
"Dr. Cherry," Foster said, "I will make that donation, and be open to more in the future but on one condition."
He smiled at the Dean who smiled in return and said: "Mr Wayne..."
Then Foster interrupted the Dr and said: "It's Foster, please; excuse my interruption."
"Foster, of course, thank you; but what I was going to say was that there is always a condition. We can probably live with that," the Dean said.
"Here it is," Foster went on, "You have a student, Dale Wendt."
"Yes, I know Dale; he's doing excellent work," the Dean said.
"Well, I want all of his bills sent to me; I will make you out a check now for what is owed," Foster went on.
"That's very generous, Foster," the Dean said.
"I am a friend of his Mom," Foster clarified, and went on: "She is my physical therapist for this knee replacement."
"Ah, I see," the Dean said.
"Will you do that for me?" Foster asked.
"Yes, of course," Dean Cherry said, "Am I free to tell Dale about this?"
"Yes, I won't make it a secret," Foster said, "I know that at some time I will have to be answerable to his Mom for doing this but I can handle that."
The Dean smiled and said, "I'm sure you can."
"Then we are agreed?" Foster asked.
"Yes, we are, and I'd like to thank you both for your donation to the school and also for your support of one of our students; both are very handsome gestures."
He then turned to the intercom and asked that his secretary bing in the file with Dale Wendt's material.
"This will tell us what we need to know," the Dean went on.
"And in the future, his bills will come to me?" Foster asked.
"Yes, unless he or his family object," the Dean said.
"As I said," Foster went on, "I'll deal with that."
"Fine," Dean Cherry said, and then there was a knock on the door and the secretary brought in the file. It gave them the information that they needed.
"I will have that donation ready for you tomorrow," Foster said, "I'll talk to my banker and I will have a check for all of these fees and costs for Dale Wendt."
"And you don't mind if I tell the family?" Dean Cherry asked.
"No, not at all," Foster said.
They shook hands and left it at that.
It was toward closing time at the therapy suite at the hospital. One of the technicians strolled in, on his way out the door. Margie and Janie were left there, still talking. Margie was still worrying out loud about what she was going to do.
"Hey, guys," he said, his name was Les. "Who's the rich dude who was here today?"
"Rich?" Janie asked.
"Yeah!" he answered. "There was a gigantic black Mercedes in the lot, driver and all. Mucho denaro!"
"No idea," Janie said.
"Nor do I," Margie said also. She laughed, "Maybe it's someone who's looking to shower money on us!"
All three of them enjoyed a laugh about that, and Les left for the night. Janie and Margie talked for a bit longer, not thinking any more about Les' question.
The next page in the unfolding drama came, when Margie got home. The phone rang and it was Dale on the phone.
"Mom, I have to talk to you!" he said, sounding urgent.
.... There is more of this story ...