Looking back I could see the signs of what led us to this waiting room.
You would close in on yourself. You were afraid to speak. When I met you that was never an issue. I loved you just the same in both.
You seemed to get mad at that. I would not take offense because I knew your past. I was able to divert attention away from you when you were in public so no one would ask.
Your friends questioned my actions, rightfully so.
There was one night I remember more than others.
I heard the conversation between you and your friend.
I was coming to pick you up so I walked to the door.
“He is not good for you! How can you not see that!” I hear your friend shout through the thin wood.
I start to turn, thinking you would not want to draw attention to your hurt.
Then I hear, “you have no idea what he has helped me through. He is not the problem.”
I grimace at that. That is the closest you will ever get to admitting that you are in pain. For me, I just make sure I am there.
The comment washed off my back like it never touched me. As far as you knew it didn’t. That was the only thing I did not tell you.
From that day on you and I had grown closer. Your friend would outright look at me with disdain. Must have thought me overbearing at best, an outright abuser behind closed doors at the worst. I know she thought there was something wrong in the way that you shut yourself off.
I never told her. How could I? I did not know what would set you off. I did not want to be the cause for mistrust and that is how I became the cause for something worse.
For this I feel the most guilty. For this. . .
I don’t know.
How am I supposed to feel?
I claim to love you. Had even said so on one knee and put a ring on your finger. We were supposed to walk down the aisle in one month. ONE month.
Yet I did not know about it being this bad. You said about three months ago that the demons of your past still haunt you. You said that you can feel it reaching for you, your memories, all things good in your life.
I remember it as if it were yesterday. . . we were in the car.
“Just please don’t go,” you had said through tears.
I wiped the tears from her eyes, “I won’t.”
“Never?” you asked, lip trembling.
“Never,” I said leaning forward brushing my lips against yours.
You smiled and I thought we were OK. Now you were lying in a hospital bed, eyes closed, hooked up with a bunch of cords, barely breathing.
I hope you know I am still here.
I left this morning and I had seen you already on your computer. I smiled as I saw all of your notebooks spread out, a pen in your mouth, your pajamas all wrinkled, your hair a mess and your coffee right next to you. It was your second I am sure of it.
I could picture you starting to get ready for a video that you would have shot for your YouTube channel. I was so proud to see you work for your dream, to have made it a reality.
I remember looking to the side and saw that you had a meeting with your newest clients for YouTube consultations. I smile and look down at my phone to see if I have time today to be able to go through somewhere and get you some food and have lunch together.
Your typing stops. I look up from my phone and see your smile. I walk over and we connect our lips and as I lean down to give your hand a kiss I see the ring and I can feel moisture build up behind my eyes. To save myself from whatever you may have said, I close them and theatrically bend to one knee.
You laugh and pull my face up with both hands for a real kiss.
“Go on or you will be late,” you laughed walking me to the door.
“Yeah, yeah and you need to get dressed unless you plan to film like that,” I say gesturing to her pajamas.
She snorts, “you need to watch yourself.”
“I’m so scared,” I say with a chuckle as she playfully glares at me.
She cannot keep a straight face for the life of her so we both just bust laughing.
“Love you,” I turn to grab my keys.
“Love you too,” she says kissing my cheek as I go out the door.
I head straight to the garage door and turn to look at her. She is framed by the door and she waves one last good bye as she goes to lock the door and finish some typing before she films.
Little did I know that might be my last wave goodbye.
I was called later that day and the name shown was yours. I was already in the car on my way over from our favorite take out/restaurant style place.
A man’s voice answered and said that you were in the emergency room. I drove like a bat out of hell to be there. I felt like every second that was wasted on a red light, on the speed limit, on not wanting to die before I got the chance to see if you were alright was just the universe spitting in my face.
The first person there, which made sense as she would help be your camera woman, your friend from that night was there before me. I was grateful that someone was. I ran to her to give her a hug and vice versa.
She told me that you had been found with a knife in your hand. It was just a random slash, but you had hit something vital. She did not understand because she thought that you were fine.
Then without even blinking, she turned to me with a seriousness I had never seen on her before. She said that you had never looked happier than when you were with me.
After crying and her putting an arm around my shoulder, I told her that your past was still trying to mess you up. That you had let it. I told her about what your eating led to as far as the chemicals in your body, your condition. I told her your depression spirals.
She cried even harder asking why she did not see.
I told her it was my fault.
Recognition dawned in her eyes as I explained some events of that night months ago and how that was the night you had told me in the car of what was bothering you and she apologized over and over. I forgave every time because how could she have known.
She then berated me for blaming myself. Then we let out a tear-filled laugh at the irony. Laughing was not the appropriate action, but we did not know what else to do.
There were others there, but in that moment we knew we just needed each other. We were the ones that knew her the best. We had each been there for a different time in her life. We both loved her in a way that not many others got to see because she was not overly trusting with all of herself.
We were just sitting near each other. Physical contact was not really our thing, which is another thing that you loved us for. It was just helpful to have her there. For us to see and know the other was there no matter what the doctor was going to come out and say.
I saw your mother and my parents walk in. They started asking questions and it was at that moment the doctor came out.
The room went deathly quiet.
“She was asking for you,” he said turning to me and waited for me to follow.