I stayed at home the entire day while Sarah was at work. There was no way I was going to visit Arista with a hangover, so I just sat on the couch, staring blankly into space. Everything was a blur.
At 3:16 in the afternoon, my cell phone rang. No matter how hard I try to forget, I will always remember that moment. It was Sarah, and for a moment I considered ignoring it, since there was a good chance she was just calling to yell at me again. But something inside me told me to answer it, so I did.
"JASON!" She was screaming, and I heard the sound of a car horn, so I knew she was driving. "Go to the hospital right now. I'll meet you there."
Her voice shook violently. "It's Arista. She just went back into a coma, and it's worse than before."
I hung up and dashed out the door in just a T-shirt and sweatpants, wearing flip-flops on my feet. The Taxi I took there couldn't go fast enough, no matter how quickly it went.
Sarah was already in the waiting room, her face stained with tears. Doctors and nurses came in and out of the intensive care room Arista was in, and I watched helplessly through the window and listened to the incoherent ramble of voices floating around me. A beeper that tracked her heartbeat began to slow down, and then sped up again.
After a while, I don't know how long, a doctor came out of the room and turned to us. "I'm not sure what else there is to do. Part of her body seems to have given up. She just regained consciousness and asked for you, but I'm not sure how much longer-- you can go in now, but be careful."
Silently Sarah and I stood by Arista's bed. The white rose was still there, young and fresh in it's cup of water. Arista lay on the pillow, her face white and her hair stringy and pale.
"Daddy," she whispered. "Daddy, my rose. My rose is dying."
Sarah leaned down and kissed her forehead. "Hush, darling. Everything is going to be all right."
Arista closed her eyes, and after a moment the beeping of her heart moniter slowed, and then stopped all together.