They arrived to the hospital running from their homes, the news was so shocking that they were not able to stop for a minute to take a taxi. They were holding hands as they have always done in every crisis they have been through.
Unable to breathe, sweat covering their red faces and tears falling down their eyes, they entered. A nurse was passing the hall when she felt Ahmad's hand grabbing hers.
"Are you crazy?" the nurse yelled at him, looking shocked.
He did not leave her hand.
"My son, ehhhh, my son had an accident, ehhhh, our sons, our sons… ehhh…"
The nurse's face softened and she tried to calm him down, she did not pay attention to the other man who was holding his hand.
"Please sir, calm down, I am sure that your sons are in good hands, give me the names and I will go and check for them."
He told her the names, she looked at his hand around her arm hoping that he will get a clue and leave her, but he did not.
"Why are you still here? Go and ask about the children..ehhh"
"You need to leave my arm sir."
He looked at his hand holding her arm, waited for a couple of seconds and let go of it.
When the nurse left, Ahmad started crying…
"Oh my God, Oh my God.."
Rami, holding his hand, put his other hand over his shoulder and pushed him closer to him, Ahmad put his head over Rami's shoulder and continued crying…
"Don't worry, our sons will be right, I am sure that they will."
Ahmad and Rami have been best friends for twenty years, their friendship started when Ahmad got divorce and moved into Rami's building with his son, Jamal. At that time, Rami had been widowed for less than a month and living with his only son, Emad.. They found comfort in the presence of each others, they shared their feelings of loneliness, depression and sadness.
Raising the two boys up took all of their time to the extent that both of them neglected the idea of a second marriage. They worked hand in hand in order to survive and provide all the needed care for their two children who became best friends and family members….
One hour passed…. They were holding hands…
They were sitting on a bench in the hospital, Ahmad was wearing a black suit and a loosened red tie around his neck, he had just arrived to Rami's home from his work when they heard the news, they were preparing a surprise party for Emad. The plan was for Jamal to take him out for a while, while Rami and Ahmad prepare everything at home and then surprise him.
Ahmad felt a lot of pain in his foot, he thought it was because of all the running, but when he looked down he found out that all that time he had been wearing one shoe, he must have lost the other one while running. Rami was in his pajamas, when he heard the news he was just decorating the house for the birthday party. He looked at the pants of the pajamas and found some glitter that he was using for decoration. That day was supposed to be his son's birthday, and instead of celebrating it in their house with their beloved ones, they are in a hospital praying for him to be alive…
Suddenly, Rami started screaming…
"Sir, please calm down." A hospital employee told him.
Ahmad looked at the employee angrily."Calm down, you think he should calm down!! well, his son is now in the operation room and he knows nothing about it and you want him to calm down! NO!! Scream Rami, SCREAM!|"
Two hours passed… they were holding hands..
In situations like this one, flashbacks always find their way into people's minds. Ahmad did not sleep but somehow he fainted for a couple of minutes, he got up feeling Rami's hand squeezing his. He remembered the first time they held hands. Jamal was ten years old, he was chosen for a part in the school play, he was extremely nervous and scared to the extent that he had nightmares about it. Rami was there for them, all the time he helped Ahmad in talking with him and strengthening his self confidence.
In the day of the show Ahmad was a mess, moving from place to another without any destination, yelling at everyone and smoking a lot. Rami held his hand, they did not even talk, Ahmad used to believe in the 'tough guy' theory that says a guy is not supposed to express his feelings, but he felt endless comfort touching his friend's hands.. his gesture was a clear message that he will always be there to support and help him.
It became a ritual, whenever someone is facing a problem the other one would hold his hands until it is over no matter what, and in their case, both of them are facing this crisis, and they need each other more than any other time.
Rami also remembered a story of his own, when a man who has always hated him decided to bring a group of people to hit him in his own house. When Rami opened the door he was terrified but his fear vanished the moment Ahmad showed up, held his hand and managed to terrify the man and his gang and push them to leave the place immediately.
They knew for sure that being together is a blessing…
Three hours passed… they were holding hands…
"What if something bad happens to our sons? What would we do?" Rami asked.
"It will be God's will , we will be strong and handle the situation no matter what it is." Ahmad answered.
"I don't think I can handle it."
"Maybe you cannot, but we can."
Six hours passed… they were holding hands….
The doctor came out of the operations room, Ahmad pulled all his strength to stand up, Rami couldn't, he remained on the bench.
"Tell me doctor, what happened to Jamal and Emad? Are they ok?" Ahmad asked.
The doctor was confused for a second before he answered:" I am sorry, but I do not know which one is Emad and which one is Jamal."
"It doesn't matter, what happened to both of them."
"I am sorry to tell you this…. One of them has survived, but the other did not . So sorry."
They were no longer holding hands….