He sat quietly by the window.
It was weirdly beautiful- a picture in white, the light of the winter sun and the pale skin of his knuckles in contrast to the dark that was the roots of his hair finally showing through the red. He was calm. Eyes grey with every trace of sadness he’d gone through. The color had faded. Cold and white and pale. He blended perfectly with his surroundings. A nurse came in without a sound. She walked over to him and gave him something to swallow. Colorful pills and a glass of water. He only opened his mouth halfway. Eyes still gazing out the window. She put the pills in his mouth and placed the edge of the glass to his lips. When she left it was as if she’d never been there. He breathed. He blinked ever so often. Once I saw his fingers move. As if they suddenly remembered what they were for, they moved inwards as if to grip something. Barely a centimeter. Then they relaxed and stayed still.
I stayed with my back against the wall. I had given up on trying to talk to him. Hours of one sided conversation had gotten the best of me and all that was left was pleading. And he had never one to heed to begging to begin with so what was the use. I settled with reading as I waited for visitor hours to end.
They had given me his things to look through but I hadn’t. I didn’t want to. Even though the bag had a note with my name written on it. I didn’t want to look through it. Only feeling it hanging on the back of the chair was enough to make me remember and I… I didn’t want it. I knew he’d make me re-live it all if he could. I wouldn’t look in that bag. He couldn’t force me. Watching the side of his face with a scowl I told myself- he could not make me go back there again. Once had been enough to ruin my nights sleep and twice had broken me.
And just look what it had done to him.
Reliving that moment over and over again. Realizing every time that there was nothing to be done. No matter how fast he ran or how kind and attentive his words were, it would never change what had already happened. He couldn’t save any of them by looking back and wishing he’d done something different. He didn’t even realize that while he was sitting here, in another dimension cloaked in white, they were all dying out there. I would visit him for that sole purpose. To remind me what I wasn’t missing. To remind me what I was fighting for. To remind me where my goal was: anywhere but here.
But I couldn’t do it by myself. My hands weren’t enough. And what could I do when some of them even refused to take them. I could only watch as all of them blurred and faded. Sunk back into the shadows and became what they had feared to face for so long. It was all bad and no sunshine forcing is way through the clouds. The skies were dark and heavy and I was tired. Tired of having to pull the weight all on my own. Tired of having to smile when no one else did. Tired of knowing…
Eight o’clock a weak bell rang and I closed my book. His head shook to the side ever so slightly at the sound but I missed it. I only saw it through the outer corner of my eye and assumed it was my mind playing tricks on me. I took my jacket and put it on in no hurry. I put the book in my pocket and fixed my glasses. All the time with my back to him. When I finally turned around he was facing me. Body turned and head leaning on his shoulder. For a moment his eyes were bright blue and deep green. His hair seemed to move from his face as he looked up at me. I breathed shallowly and heard only the beat of my heart as he opened his mouth to speak. Two words and then he sat straight. Slowly, as if he was moving in water. He turned to the window. His hair fell over his face and I couldn’t see his eyes. I breathed out and took a step backwards. My eyes fell on the bag still hanging on the chair I’d been sitting in.
Something hurt unbearably bad in my chest. I wanted to cry.
I took the bag with me as I left.