Heaven help him?

by Lewis

It was a unusual fact that Lawrence Olderthann had no father. It was unclear if this was due to a heavenly intervention or a biological mishap, depending on if you asked his doctor or his mother.

The missing part of his upbringing was replaced often and to various degrees by passing father figures. This began with shopkeepers, whom Lawrence would follow around wide eyed, while his mother shopped then the waiter at their local coffee shop, that watched him when his mother finished work late. But his favourite was the Postman and he would wait anxiously each morning for him to arrive. He was allowed one difficult question each ‘visit’ and would spend the whole of the next few days thinking what he could ask the next time they had post. To a 5 year old it was a game that taught him more about the world than most fathers would have at that age. When the postman, an alleged serial dater according to his mother and a confirmed over sharer with a limp from a childhood wrestling accident, wasn’t delivering parcels of inappropriate knowledge, it was the turn of the primary school’s only male teacher, the miserable Mr Guest; a man who bitterly extemporised like an 80 year old war veteran but in the body of an overweight 50 year old primary school teacher.

Lawrence didn’t have many friends his own age; his worldly knowledge separated him out from the other boys. His ‘friends were the older men that he visited. At aged 10, when his mother was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder it was Lawrence who found the specialist Dr Hartman online. It was Lawrence whose overly mature demenaur and in-depth medical knowledge of her condition, that made the Dr think he was emailing her husband not her son.

It would, these days be called a bromance, but the 6 months before they moved to Vienna, was a whirlwind of emails that swiftly moved from professional interest to endearing friendship. Lawrence was smitten.

On arrival Dr, Hartman, though at first affronted by his own misreading of the relationship, Lawrence never having lied in any email, was soon brought round to the family's plight and swore to do all he could. Alas a short while later Dr. Hartman who had to deliver the news that the condition was both terminal and heridatry. The disease, which affected the kidneys, could be slowed by transplants. But the waiting list was long, unless they had a match from a deceased or sacrificial friend or family, of which they had neither. The Dr.’s questions of a father went unanswered. Lawrence’s mother was given weeks, Lawrence months.

In the end it would be another heavenly intervention or bilogical mishap, that changed the situation. Since there was no father to donate to the son and the only match for the mother was a son with the same problem, it appeared an unsolvable situation. Until out of the blurb a donor was found. A chance match, the Dr. told Lawrence, between the quiet intense conversations the Dr. had with Lawrence’s mother. When she died, shortly after, Lawrence cried not as a confused child but with the deep grief of knowledge.

It was months later on a trip back home to clear the house, that Lawrence was surprised to see a new mail-women at the door. And even more surprised to hear that the old one had died on the operating table. It was unusual, she explained, because he had seemed so healthy at the time. Dr. Hartman, who had travelled with Lawrence, had quickly ushered her away, and they set to the task of clearing the house.