We’re in this together. That’s what we’ve said all along. I was broken and you were struggling and we decided to be a team.
When no one was there for me, when my own father broke me down, you said, “fuck it, you’re moving in with me.” And each day after that, every time I left, you said, “Call me if you need me.”
You were my new normal. I don’t know how to do this alone even if its only for a year.
But the call came. He hit a deer. The ambulance is taking him. My mind didn’t believe the words, but my heart felt them all. I can see the tendons, he’s bleeding from his ear. Each call I made. Each rang that came through and each voicemail that picked up only made my heart beat faster. By the time the first person answered the other end, my voice gave it away.
I lied and said I was your mother. They weren’t going to keep me out. Still, all we could do was wait. We were too early. You weren’t even stable. I thought I might suffocate in that space. I walked in and out. Mostly out. The sky was clear that night. A few clouds would drift over the moon from time to time. It wasn’t full yet, but it was so bright. It felt so quiet.
They took us to a room. I looked around to see the pastoral box and the bible. Fear sat in my stomach like a rock, but I couldn’t say a word for fear the tears would begin to fall out of my eyes. Maybe it was a fluke. The first room was in repair. They would have taken us there if they could. But what if it was a room just like this one?
The doctor walked in. He sat down. He has skull fractures and a bleed, just a minute. If I thought for a second the phone call he took wasn’t about you, I would have taken it and thrown it across the room. I now know what it means when a second costs an eternity.
He’s going to be okay. Did the doctor really say that? That’s not allowed. I know this. If he said it, it must be true.
Now we wait. They shuttled you to a room upstairs, much better than a transfer for the bleed that turned out to be more stable than anticipated. But if a second lasts an eternity, what’s a minute, or a day, or a year? I don’t know if I can handle a year.
Each milestone is a miracle. You opened your eyes, you can move your limbs on both sides of your body. I wanted to stop time when you looked at me and squeezed my hand. You can talk. You know your brother, you know your dad, you know who you are. Finally you know you are in the hospital and not on a boat. I’m sure the whooziness from a swollen, bleeding brain probably mimics the waves in the ocean and is the reason you feel sick every time you sit up.
Today you ate something. You told everyone to leave you alone, that your head hurts and you don’t feel good. You asked if my boys were up and if you could play games with them. You asked where your brother was, you broke his heart when you couldn’t explain to the nurses how it feels to be in the pain you are in. He loves you more than anything.
And then I went home again. I did some of your laundry. I washed some of your dishes. I looked outside and thought it was you. But it wasn’t. I hate that my mind forgets that you’re not here. It expects to see you doing what you always do. I don’t think the others understand that. They might feel sad for you, but do they miss you? I want you to come home.