Black, then white. I can’t see anything, and then there’s too much.
It even hurts a little when I open my eyes, but somebody says Are you okay? when I do it. I still feel hazy. I don’t remember anything after taking a swig from the bottle, but I look around and see the dull, sterile recovery room that I woke up in. I can feel the thin, scratchy hospital gown on me, and I see I’ve got an IV drip going into my arm.
I can see a middle-aged nurse standing over me. She has the same look Clara Barton does, in all the old pictures – Tough, but gentle. Her dark hair curls around her face, and her eyes shine a little when she sees me move around.
Her voice is smooth and warming, like having tea in winter. You were in an accident. Other guy wasn’t so lucky, and neither were two of the girls you were in the car with. She’s sad to see it happen, but she couldn’t help it.
I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. Who was it?
Let’s see… she rifles through her mind, recalling what the facts were. She’s quick, and has answers within seconds. The first was a Roseanne Arthur, age 25, and the second was Vivienne Westwood, age 28. She was about to get married, I think – her fiancée was here earlier.
I feel rotten. She had something, and just like that – it’s gone.
And here I am – I get to live. I get to go home to my jigsaw puzzle life, and her parents get to finish her scrapbook with “our Angel’s always looking down on us” instead of “and they lived happily ever after”.
Is that fair? I’m not even a person. She was somebody. She had a life. I gave mine up to start over again. Twice. She was a woman with love, family, friends, and a future. Even when we were all drinking and ready to party, she was shining – she was the center of the picture. It was her special night.
Why did it have to be her night to die?
The nurse turns around, and Tre walks in. He looks like he’s been crying in the hall, but he’s happy to see me. You need a tissue? I joke.
He chuckles. Yeah. Glad you made it, though.
Oh yeah, he stops himself, and pulls a card from his back pocket, and puts it in my hands, everybody back at the house wanted me to give you this, they want you to get home soon.
The get-well card’s got a dog in a doctor’s jacket, and he’s licking a patient, and on the inside, it says, Don’t worry, you can lick this! I laugh, because it’s just so, so bad.
Thought you’d like it, he says. Oh yeah, you remember my friend Matt – from the party?
How could I forget? He was gorgeous – at least, that’s what Polly said. I still want to bang him, even if he ran off screaming. Yeah, I remember him. What happened?
Well, he got a little scared after that stunt you pulled – I think everybody was a little scared when I almost broke a guy’s arm, even me – but he also had to skip town for a job on an oil rig for a couple of months, it was kind of his going away party.
Okay, that’s a decent excuse. He got in a couple of days ago, want me to go beat him up for not writing a letter or something? Tre loves saying stuff like that.
Nah. But if he wants to say hi, he’d better bring flowers hmm, I could really go for some good ice cream and strawberry ice cream oh, almost forgot and Peeps!
Hell of a list. I’ll let him know. Tre smiles. Take care, Sev.
He waves bye and half-leaves, before he turns around and says Shit, almost forgot. Here’s your book.
My copy of The Once and Future King is placed gently in my hands. I figured you could use some reading material. Can’t watch soaps all day! He laughs, I do too. But I think it’s because I can’t imagine people watching soap all day, or washing their hands with it.