The days that passed since that night spent in the hospital were sluggish. The sun lazed in the sky for far too long and the moon glared down at the darkened world without remorse. Seconds, minutes, hours, days were spent without Lexy as she stayed night after night in the hospital. 

A week after Lexy's mom had gone into the hospital, I'd watched Elena sitting alone on the sand from my window. Her back was elongated by the shadows falling around her as the day finally retired. The waves hummed in the stillness of the impending night as they rolled, pushed, and stained Elena's toes.

She didn't even react when I came up behind her and sat just a few feet away from her. Her eyes were drawn to the tangerine sky, while her fingers crushed the infinite sand particles beside her. I sat there until she stood and walked away, the backdoor of her house shutting softly behind her. 

More days passed full of nothing, save for the brief walks on the beach every night with Lexy before she had to go back to the hospital. They'd finally moved her mom out of the ICU and into a private room, but she was still impossibly sick. Whenever I offered to go along with her, Lexy would give me this lingering look, like she was already leaving me behind. I hated to think I was losing her, but I knew that this was beyond whatever we'd become over the span of the last few weeks. 

I finally had my chance to spend some day time with her the weekend after I'd seen Elena on the beach. Lexy, who wore tattered jeans and an old, stretched t-shirt, led me up to her room. Given her situation, I expected nothing but darkness on the walls, bed, and desk. Instead, the room looked the same. The story she'd been writing sat forgotten and unfinished on her desk and the typewriter had a new layer of dust over it. Her bed was neatly made, but a few shirts were scattered on the floor. Her yellow curtains were both pulled and tied back, while the windows sat open, letting the salty wind in. 

"I have some news," Lexy began timidly from her spot on the bed, her hands playing with the blanket. "But I don't know if I should rely on it."

I raised my eyebrows, prompting her to continue.

"My mom's doing better."

I smiled at her and I felt the constrictions around my heart lessen a tiny bit. 

"That's good," I said, sitting on the desk chair. When she still looked unsure, I added, "Isn't it?"

"I don't know." She looked up and gave me the barest hint of a smile. "I don't want to hope too much."

I nodded.

"This has happened before in the last year," she continued. "Mom's gotten better, before getting worse." 

We sat in silence, the tinkling of wind tickling the wind-chimes by her windows was the white-noise to our thoughts. I scan the pages of smudged ink and crossed out words beside me. The description that resembles me so much is in blind sight, but it's hard to think that this Lexy wrote something so innocent--a story of a girl meeting her perfect guy. It felt surreal to have such a token of the past caught in this moment, that I tore my eyes away and watched her instead. 

Green eyes, blond hair, and beautiful. But in the short time we'd been friends, I'd learned so much more. In Toronto she would have been a prize, here she is a gift. A beautiful girl who doesn't seek acceptance, but life itself. 

"Elena thinks that mom will be okay."

"Do you?" 

She sighed. "I don't know."

"What do you want, really?"

Her eyes narrowed as she looked at me plaintively. Her lips puckered and her cheekbones, a bit more prominent than before, sank as she bit down on the inside of both her cheeks. "I just want her suffering to end." 

The silence was so thick, that it reminded me of the summer heat just outside her window: promising to swallow us whole if we didn't escape it.

"I just want her to stop hurting," she said. "What I want most of all, though, is for her to be my mom again. But that won't happen, not ever. Even I know that. Even I, who cared so little before she got sick, who had rotten friends and thought that the wrong dress would cast me into a social outcast zone, know that she will never be the mom I neglected and ignored." She inhaled deeply, her small body shaking with the intensity of the hurricane building inside her.  "So all I can ask for is for her pain to stop."

The End

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