In The Eye of The Beholder

They think I’m depressed because I refuse to leave this bed. I’m not. I put the tray on the table next to me. They want me to eat, but I don’t need food.

The birds chirp on the tree at the window in front of me. If I stare long enough, the voices of the people around me will fade to a background noise, then they’ll stop and leave at the end. But I won’t leave. I tuck a greasy strand of hair behind my ear. They say I’m depressed. I scoff. The only thing keeping me here is hope. Depression is for people who don’t have anything to live for, not me.

I rest my broken arm on the bed, groaning. The action makes my forgotten pain erupt everywhere in my body. The worst is in my ribs. It makes breathing hurt. The car flipped six times, they said, but I only got a broken arm, bruised ribs and some scratches. I’m lucky, they said, which I am, if I don’t count my broken heart and shattered soul. I’d have felt better if my husband were with me, if he takes my hand like he used to and soothes me with words that are effective only when he says them.

I don’t want to die. I have too much to live for. I’m young, successful. I have many friends and a loving family. I have a great relationship with my husband even though we couldn’t conceive for the longest time. We still can’t.

Yes, we drifted away because of work and routine, but not anymore. This car accident is my wake-up call. When I leave the hospital, we’ll go in a second honeymoon. I’ll cook him his favorite meal–I forget how much I enjoy cooking. Work has turned me into a machine. I’ll have that asymmetric pixie haircut I always fantasized about. I’ll take a vacation. Hell, I’ll quit my job. I never liked it. I’ll write the book that lived in my head so long for me to know its characters more than many people in my life, its plot, and every twist and turn. I’ll have a pet, a chipmunk. I’ll name it Chirpy Chip. I’ll try again for a child like he wanted us to. No matter how many times it takes. I’ll let him turn the garage into a man cave like he wished. I’ll even design it for him. I’ll cherish every moment with him if only he opens his eyes.

I reach for his cold hand on the bed, tracing his wedding band. It seems like yesterday I put it there not five years.

“Please, open your eyes.”

I choke on my words, tears flooding my cheeks and drenching the sodden sheets. I lean on the side of the bed that I didn’t leave, bringing his hand to my lips, kissing every knuckle.

“Please, come back to me.”

His broken body stays numb. This isn’t like him to deny me something I want.
A bandage is wrapped around his head, hiding his luscious hair.

Did they shave it? The savages. Don’t they know how much he likes his brown locks? It’s my favorite feature too, among my other favorites of his. I love everything in him. Except this silence.

He has stitches on his lip and at the side of his right eye. He has bright green eyes, closed bright green eyes.

Oh, how I wish he opens them. How I wish he looks at me so I know that there is a meaning to this life.

It’s been three days since they brought him here, saying it’s a matter of time. So, I prayed ever since. It’s hope that keeps me here, the life we had, the life we’ll have, our dreams that we strayed away from.

“You can’t leave me.”

My sobs fill the room when my words couldn’t help my desperation, however, crying is useless too. I sniffle while a headache presses on my eyelids, making it hard to open. His hand twitches, and I shoot up on my seat.

Did his hand—? Did I imagine that?

My gaze run over his body, stopping at his face. His eyes are closed, but surprise and hope curve my lips into a smile.

What should I do?

“Baby, can you hear me?” I laugh while tears roll down my cheeks. I tighten my hand around his, willing it to move again. It doesn’t.

The monitor’s rhythmical sound picks its pace. It becomes frantic. I spring on my feet while seizure rocks his unconscious body.

“Somebody, help.”

I scream, not able to tear my eyes from his shaking form. Foam coated his intubated mouth. His eyes open a sliver, but I wish they don’t. They are white like a blank page, like the single piercing beep that replaces the frantic signal.

Shoves send me away while white, green and blue scrubs take my place. They shut the door in my face, but I already saw everything, the doctor pumping his heart, the nurses fussing around chanting spells I don’t understand, the monitor’s long red line.

I stood in the middle of the corridor. Alone. Because I didn’t lose hope, because we’re young and in love, because we shouldn’t have drifted away. I blink at the closed door, hands numb by my sides until it opens again, allowing the rhythmical beeping to mend the broken pieces of my soul and melt my freezing state. Faces pass by, but I don’t have eyes for them. My gaze outstrips my steps inside the room to assure me that life is still worth living, that it still has a meaning.

“He’s stable. Go home. You need to rest.”

The hand that clutches my arm drops, when I walk inside the room not providing an answer. I drag the chair to its previous place next to the bed. I throw my battered body on it, taking his hand in mine. I rest my cheek on his palm, savoring the little warmth that’s still there. The birds chirp by the window while the branches sway at the rhythm of the breeze. If I stare long enough, he’ll wake up, or I’ll wake up to find it all a dream.

If only it were a dream.

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