Remember the first time I was admitted? When I was slowly passing out on the cold cover on the hospital bed, you were the one to call and say you’ll be right over. And you were. And you grasped my clammy hand and it made me stop shaking so violently. Your mother was there on the chair, and I remember my mother going out for a cigarette and then my head started spinning again. But your presence seems to cure the vertigo. You left after a while so I curled inside a blanket cocoon that smelt of disinfectant. My eyes stung so much that I couldn’t shut them so instead I curled there in a gaze, staring at the sadly feeble distractions for children with broken legs and bad stomachs. Fishes swirled and projected majestically on the clinically white walls. Sometimes I wonder, why can’t we be fishes, Floyd? Why can’t we spend our whole lives swimming in simplicity, travelling to undiscovered crevices with complete ignorance?
I texted you at 3.45am, sat bolt upright in an ambulance, telling you that I loved you because it felt like I’d never get a chance to say it ever again. It felt like I was selling my soul to the devil; giving up what freedom I had left. I was scared but I was more scared of my text waking you up. I guess sometimes it’s easier to think about the small, insignificant things. It makes it feel like things aren’t too difficult.
You called me four times a day without fail. I loved laying in the corridor, the stone floor pressing against my skin and listening to you play guitar. It was my biggest comfort. You told me in detail about your day, which made me happy because then I could pretend that I was you and pretend that I wasn’t confined to four walls. Night time phone calls were almost my favourite; I dreaded the times after 8pm. It was too early to go to bed but too late to distract yourself. So I used to go so deep inside my head I felt like I’d never be able to resurface again. You made the time pass smoothly; you made it easier to hear the clanking of the locked door behind me, to sleep in the clinical aesthetical bed.
You took two trains to get here; lugging a shoulder bag with you to see me, but you couldn’t because you were only 16 and were too honest for your own good. So instead you delivered the bag and went back home. You packed my favourite jumper of yours – Jimi Hendrix – which smelt like your house, which was the closest to a home I had. You sacrificed your beloved iPod and £100 headphones for me to use. You even had given me your journal so I had somewhere to draw and doodle. That night I laid on a beanbag and listened to the Dark Side of the Moon for the first time and I knew that my life had changed in that moment.
And when I got discharged my mum took me to Southend for some food that wasn’t grotesque. And you were so excited, and I remember hugging you for what felt like years outside Southend Victoria station. And in the comfort of your lanky arms, I felt like everything was going to be okay, and going home wasn’t going to be too bad because I had you. And – in that moment – that’s all I needed.