Dax couldn't be sure, but he might have been crying. He wanted to believe it was just sweat from being in the humid garage at work. It was suddenly hot again. Just yesterday, it felt as if Autumn arrived. He'd dug through his place looking for anything warm from last year. Of course, his old plaid jacket with the fake wool inside smelled of oil and gas. But then most of his clothes smelled that way.
Now he felt dog tired. He could barely stand. He leaned against the concrete wall, steadying himself. The pain sometimes went in waves. Someone mentioned how bad it was when they had a kidney stone. It could have been as bad as that. Dax listened to a few of his co-workers go on about their ailments. After awhile he wanted to tell them to shut up, but he didn't have the energy to do speak up.
"You, WHO NEVER GETS SICK.." They all laughed as if they liked seeing him in pain.
"He's not a robot, after all." One of the older fellows said.
"Listen, kid, that was pretty stupid pushing that car all the way here." His boss said one more time. "But I won't hold it against you. You go to the doctor, here me? I want a doctor's note. Don't you go taking off to the bar."
Dax, promised he would go straight to the emergency room. It might be cheaper to go to a chiropractor. He'd never used his insurance before. He gritted once more as the spasm shook through him. Suddenly, he felt so old. Who did he think he was?
It was on his lunch break when he saw the car on the side of the road. It stalled. It wasn't that far from the garage. There was a woman and her two little kids. She looked as if she were in shock. So he pulled over to help. She hadn't a clue what was wrong. He was sure the power stirring was out. The car just didn't seem to want to move. But he kept pushing. Pushing when he shouldn't have. It helped a whole lot when he got the car in drive. He wished he'd thought of it sooner. Now he was paying for it.
He didn't want to believe it was that bad. Only a back strain. But it wasn't until now that he knew he'd taken his back for granted. Evidently. Now he felt miserable. Even worse, no one to call. Kramer was his emergency number. How pathetic was that?
Just then the glassed doors opened from the waiting area where it was cool and comfortable, even if there was the pungent odor of fresh tires. Someone was probably hoping their car was fixed. At least, the woman who's car stalled called her husband to pick them up. Her car was still in the garage being tended to.
"Hey, are you all right?" Michelle's voice of concern made Dax all the more weak. He shook his head, no, looking back at the men he worked with. Those sheepish grins. As if they knew something, he didn't. A couple of the guys helped him to the car. Dax proceeded to lay down in the backseat.
It was a quiet ride over the emergency room. She helped with the paperwork.
"Why weren't you going to tell me ....you have an October birthday?" Michelle looked at him.
He just shrugged leaning against the wall.
"Your birthday is two days after mine." She looked at the form again. "In case, you were wondering."
Dax just nodded. The wait was taking forever. It was hard to relax.
"Why don't you go home?" He told her she'd been here long enough.
"The nurse said it would be a thirty minute wait. Its not that long." She wasn't going anywhere. Neither was the sharp pain in his lower back.
Michelle wanted to know how it happened. He told her about the car on the side of the road. His truck was on the side of the road. One more stupid thing to worry about.
"I'm sure one of the guys at work could drive it home, even Kramer could do it." Michelle nodded.
"Kramer?" The pain tensed suddenly, as if someone stuck a knife in his back. "Where is he? I didn't know- I didn't expect you."
"He needed to pick up his kids. Its all right. No big deal." She got up and looked at him as if she might touch his face, but she put a strand of his dark hair behind his ear. "I wish you could sit down."
"Believe me, standing up is better." He sighed.
Finally, he was seen. The doctor told him what he needed. Needles would be involved. Dax didn't like that idea. He wanted to go home. Couldn't he just give him a prescription and let him go? He didn't like needles. But four nurses hit a vein in his arm with a needle and got him relaxed in no time. After all, he had someone to drive him home.