Before the accident, Manny rode his bicycle to work. The morning it happened, the story was taking over the news across the country. By the time it was over, when Baby Jessica finally emerged from the well in the arms of firefighter Robert O’Donnell, Manny was already in Intensive Care. While waiting for the ambulance, the soap-scrubbed Christian woman who stopped for his crumpled form on the side of the road was praying. Kneeling over him with her hands stacked on his chest, she was not performing CPR, but beseeching a holy intercession on behalf of the young man’s broken body.
Manny never returned to work at the restaurant. Long months of recovery in a county rehabilitation facility, a nursing home. passed as the puzzle of broken bones slowly shuffled back into a functional form. His brain remained in a hazy twilight of conscious hibernation. He awoke to eat. He walked slowly between the parallel bars, a cast of nurses shadowing him, a sheet bridled about his waist for support. Like his body, his brain was negotiating new avenues of moving ketones and lactate from neuron to neuron. When the doctors signed off on his discharge, Manny was outwardly healed, and inwardly re-ordered, his personality and cognitive scope both exponentially more grand.
7 months after the world forgot about Baby Jessica, Manny was just learning again of the miracle.