Chapter 1

Ronald:

When did I get so interested in women's feet? It's not that I have any sexual fascination with feet, I don't want to stick my dick between their toes or suck on the piggies or anything like that, but sitting here I have been girl watching and the weather is cool enough that the only thing uncovered is their feet. I have discovered that the proper sandal can display feminine digits in such a way as to be beautiful. In the last few weeks I have seen all kinds of feet and shoes.

I started out looking at faces and hair styles, but the scornful looks I got back made me cut that out quickly. I just looked down after that and discovered the feet. I have always been attracted to shapely legs and ankles, but the feet were just the attachments at the end. They had no real attraction to me. I still like legs, especially with raised heels, but now I find that I enjoy the look of the feet as much as the legs they are attached to and sandals with heels are the best.

I've been here at the hospital waiting for my mother to die for over three weeks now. It may sound cruel, but I just don't expect her to survive the trials she has undergone since arriving here. She is in intensive care where they are trying to get her strong enough to survive surgery, but she gets weaker every day. I don't think she wants to go on any more.

The last two years have been hard on the poor woman and on me as well. Mom and her close friend Margot had an apartment together and helped each other out with expenses and such. When Margot died suddenly Mom just couldn't live on her own. I didn't want to put her into a 'home', so I moved her in with me. There was plenty of room since my wife had wanted someone more fun to be with and left me ten years ago. I'm too old to try the dating scene and if even Charlene didn't want me, I can't see a reason why anyone else would either. As a result it was nice to have some company in the house for a change.

Mom began having trouble a few months ago and I spent much of each day taking care of her. I had to feed and bathe her as well as making sure she got her medicine. Three weeks ago she had trouble breathing and even the oxygen I had available wasn't enough to help, I had to call the ambulance to come get her. I'm told that her heart is failing, and is getting worse. They want to put in a mechanical pump, but she isn't strong enough for them to operate. Now I spend my time in the ICU waiting room until I am allowed to visit. After each visit I go down to the lobby to wait for the next opportunity. Down here I read, work on my computer, and watch all the people walking by. The first thing I usually see of an attractive woman is her feet.

Most mornings I am here observing the flow of people coming in to activate the daily life of the hospital. I have trouble just going up to the third floor ICU waiting room without some kind of preparation. Sitting in the lobby is my prep.

This Saturday morning it was a bit warmer outside than the last few days so more women were wearing skirts, shorts, and sandals. I was seated across from the fountain with my computer in my lap. From this location I could watch traffic down most of the aisle. Right now there was a group coming in that included some possible viewing pleasure for me. As they got closer I could see some sneakers and flip-flops like normal, but the woman trailing the group was a show stopper. There was bare lightly tanned skin up to the mid-calf white slacks current fashion requires. As she got closer I could see that the feet were nicely formed without the bends and knots caused by wearing shoes that are too tight at a young age. The nails were lacquered with white pearl polish and the sandals with three inch heels had only two narrow white straps across the lower arch to attach them to the comely feet. Marvelous!

Oh shit! The woman has changed direction and is coming toward me. I slide my eyes to the screen of my computer and try to act as though I had not been looking at her. As she gets closer the temptation is strong to look up to see if she is angry, but I attempt to act as though I have not seen her at all.

"Any news Mister White? Have you heard anything about your mother?"

The woman was standing next to my chair addressing me, so I look up to see whether or not I know her. Ahh, I have seen her in the ICU waiting room the last few evenings. She was visiting Burkhauser in room five. She was not his wife though, as another woman had declared herself to be that.

The Intensive Care Unit waiting room is a microcosm with little in the way of privacy. When you want to visit a patient during weekdays you are required to announce who you wish to visit to the volunteer sitting at her little desk. She will then phone back to the nursing station and let them know which patient is requested. The nurse will ask the attending nurse and let the volunteer know when it is acceptable to the nursing staff for visitors to come onto the ward. The volunteer then informs you and you go through the doors to the ward and walk on down to the patient's room. On evenings and weekends there is no volunteer present. You then have to use the intercom located on the wall behind the door. You press the button and wait for a response. You tell the unknown voice your business and wait for permission to go back. While you wait, you talk to the other people waiting to see their friends and family members. There is also a lot of time spent in the waiting room during shift change and when there are too many visitors for one patient. Usually there are only two visitors allowed into the patient's room. I tend to keep to myself, but some folks talk to try to help with nervous energy. I have been forcibly entered into conversations with people I would normally never speak to under the strain of the ICU waiting room. To my surprise, I have enjoyed some of these conversations. At other times I have been delighted to be interrupted by the nurse calling to say that I or the other person could go back to visit a patient. As I examined the woman beside me I tried to think how much about my situation she could know.

"I haven't heard anything today yet, but at least I was not called during the night, so that is a plus," I say to her calmly.

"Ohh, oh yes. My brother Robert is supposed to be moving to the step-down ward tomorrow or the next day, but you aren't expecting a call like that, are you?"

I look her in the eyes, "No, I don't expect her to go in that direction. I'm not sure that mom wants to go on any longer. She doesn't have any friends or family left except for me, and she thinks she is being a burden, so yes, I expect a call one night soon."

I figure that my honesty will halt the conversation and she'll find an excuse to leave. Most people don't want to get that intimate with a stranger, but I am surprised when she leans down and gives me a hug. "You poor man, I can't imagine how it would be like to be in your situation. Is there anything I can do to help?"

With the smell of her perfume still in my head I examine her a little more carefully. When I had seen her before she had been wearing business attire such as pantsuits and below the knee dresses, even when she wore a dress her hose had been dark and the shoes sedate. Today she was being casual with the calf length white slacks and a blue striped pullover blouse. Her short cut dark hair was showing a little bit of grey much the same as mine. There were some lines in the face as well, that gave character to a face that would otherwise be plain as dishwater, but today there was also some makeup highlighting her high cheekbones and dark eyes. I'm pretty sure that had not been there before. As I contemplated her she settled on the chair next to me.

"That hug goes a long way, miss. I'm sorry, but I don't know that I've heard your name, I am Ronald, but I prefer Ron."

"Okay, Ron, I'm Hanna Steele, and you are welcome. If my husband had appreciated my hugs that much he would probably still be around. I haven't seen anyone else here with you, are you all alone?"

"Sounds like your husband and my ex-wife would have gotten along well together. Mom is all I have left and I'm really going to miss her. I understand your brother had some bypasses done. Do you think he will be here much longer?"

"He should be home pretty soon. If the dumb shit would just eat one serving at each meal he'd do a lot better." She looked at the watch on her arm, "It's about time to go upstairs, are you going now?"

"Yes, I am. Give me a minute to shut this down, Hanna, and I'll go with you."

Hanna stood and waited while I put my laptop into its case and then I followed her to the elevators. Hanna kept a conversation going and I learned that she was a lawyer in a firm in Durham. She had married while in school but they split up shortly after she started working. She claimed that she was working too much and he had looked elsewhere for affection.

"That's no excuse, Hanna, if he loved you he would be willing to support you. If the situation were reversed, he would expect you to be faithful. You are better off without a fool like that."

By now we were at the waiting room and we each made our statements to the intercom. We were both told to wait, again, and when I sat down, she sat right across from me.

All the way there and even now I was having trouble looking away from her feet, they fascinated me. There were a couple of other women in the waiting room wearing sandals and I would glance at them from time to time, but they didn't even come close to Hanna's appeal.

"I told you about my failed marriage, Ron. Would you be willing to tell what happened with you?"

"Not much to tell. I met Charlene at work and we dated for a few months. When she said she was pregnant we got married. There was no great love or anything like that, but I figured why not? I didn't have any better prospects and we got along good enough to survive each other's company for a while. It turned out to be a false positive, at least that is what she told me, but I didn't really care. Six months later Charlene told me that I was boring and she wanted some fun, so she was leaving. The last I saw of her was on the back of a motorcycle heading out of town. After she had been gone for a year I was able to sue for divorce, and did. At least I didn't have to pay alimony because no one could find out where she was. Thus ended the one great event in my life."

I was saved from further inquires then as Hanna was told that she could go back to see her brother. I looked around and saw that the people in the room had changed almost completely while I had been talking. I didn't have much time to look though, as I was called back to see mom.

It was an interesting visit. Mom was a little more lucid than she had been for the last couple of days, but at the same time I could see that she was weaker as well. About fifteen minutes into my visit Hanna walked into the room. The ICU rooms are open into the hall unless there is the possibility of infection. The whole of the hallway wall is glass and is usually kept folded to the sides. Hanna was able to see that mom and I were just sitting and talking so she slid in and greeted my mother.

"Hello Missus White. I wanted to compliment you on how well you raised Ron. He is a good man who cares for you very much."

"Why thank you my dear," mom swatted my shoulder with all the force of a butterfly wing. "Introduce me to your friend, Ronald." She turned back to Hanna, "Ronald's father was only the first of three I'm afraid, my dear. My name is Alexander now."

"Mom, this is Hanna Steele. She is here visiting her brother. We met in the waiting room."

The two women talked of nothing for a few minutes before Hanna excused herself.

"Ronald, she is lovely. You should not let her get away. I bet she won't treat you like Charlene did."

"MOM! I barely know the woman. What makes you think she would want anything to do with me anyway? Hell, she spends more on a suit than I did on my truck. Charlene did not do anything to me I didn't deserve, Mom, and all I've done since she left is get older. I'm still the same boring guy she couldn't live with."

"The woman is interested in you, Ronald. All you have to do is give her a reason to stay interested. Now I'm getting tired and I need a nap. Will you be back later?"

"Okay, Mom, of course I'll be back. See you later," I bent and gave her a kiss on the cheek before turning away.

As I left the room I caught a glimpse of Hanna stepping around the corner toward the waiting room. Odd, I thought that she had left several minutes ago.

Hanna:

That poor woman, she is so tired. I have to agree with Ronald that she won't be around very long. All the fight has gone out of her.

I stopped just outside the room and overheard what she and Ron said about me. Ron is so cynical to think that a woman is only looking for a man's money. My experiences with the men in my family and my ex husband is that they only think of themselves. No man I know would be willing to drop everything to take care of his ailing mother. I would like to know more about a man who would do that.

He's not the most handsome man I have met, but then my husband was, and that led to heartache. I know I have downplayed my own appearance lately, but there hasn't seemed to be a reason to look good. It would be different if I stood in front of a jury, but I work mainly with wills and dowries and such. I haven't been into a courtroom since my own divorce. I just dress as people expect me to I guess.

I think Ron may have a foot fetish. He spends so much time looking down, and my feet seemed to fascinate him today. I had seen how he looked at the other women in the waiting room, but had not given it much consideration. When I am not at work I like to dress light, those dark suits and dresses I wear can get tiring after a while. Today's outfit seems to have caught Ron's attention, now all I have to do is to find a way to keep it without acting like a slut. It's too bad my idiot brother is getting better. I won't have a reason to be in the ICU waiting room anymore. Maybe I should visit Ron's mother. Three husbands, ehh, I bet there are some juicy stories behind that.

I saw Ronald heading past the waiting room almost as soon as I sat down. I waved at him, but he apparently did not see. I struggled for a moment with the idea of running after him, but I was afraid that it would be over the top. I don't want to scare him away. This is the first time I have ever tried to catch a man and I have no idea what to do.

I wait for another half hour or so, and then my sister in law, Phyllis, tells me that Robert wants to talk to me so I can go on back to his room. All blubber butt wants is to make sure that I have his will up to date and secure. I handle all of the family's wills and such and I am the executor for most of them, except Daddy of course. He would never trust a woman with that much information; he has one of the other lawyers in his firm handle his financial affairs. After I left Bobby I wandered on down to see if Mrs. Alexander was awake.

She looked up at me and waved as I approached her room. I went in and she reached her skinny arms up to me for a hug. The poor thing was nothing but skin and bones. I could feel her ribs through the thin hospital gown as she trembled from the exertion of sitting up.

"Are you going to make my Ronald happy? He'll be so lonely when I pass. I hate to leave him, but I really don't have any choice. The Lord says it is my time."

"I think I want to Missus Alexander, but I'm not sure how to go about it."

"Call me Momma for the short time we have, Hanna, that slut Charlene never did. Ronald is just like any other man, if you leave the door open, he'll come in. Talk to him when you can and become his friend, everything else will follow that."

"But I'm so plain and unattractive, how will I get him to notice me?"

"He noticed you all right sweetie, he's just cautious is all. Ronald doesn't need or want a model, and heaven knows Charlene was no beauty queen."

Just then the intercom buzzed and the nurse on duty asked if Mrs. Alexander was ready for a visitor. I knew that had to be Ron, so I waved at the nurse and asked to give me a couple of minutes. She nodded okay and I turned back to Ron's mother, "But what should I do, Momma? I don't know how to act like a seductress or anything."

"Just be yourself, Hanna, if Ronald is going to fall for you it'll be your honesty that does it."

"Thank you, Momma. I'll go now and let him visit with you." I gave her another hug before I left. It is ironic that the end of her life may well be the beginning of mine.

I smiled and waved when I passed Ron on my way out of ICU.

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Story tagged with:
Romantic /