Chapter 1 (Part 2)

The narrow seat of the plastic chairs in front of the emergency ward creaks as Evan sits up straighter. His eyes have a wild look about them, the pupils dilated by fear. His big hands twist around each other, pressing hard. There’d been a car accident. A car accident that has sent his Tilly into this miserable place.

The operation has already started when a breathless Evan follows Shanyn through the doors of the emergency ward. Pulling on the required scrubs, Evan rushes into the operation room, to the side of his Tilly. There she is: her heart-shaped face a lifeless grey, her fiery red curls a knotted mess on the operation table, her petite frame so lost between the myriads of doctors and nurses trying to save her life.  And the blood. So much blood. Her blood. Spilling uncontrollably out of her like spilt wine, the wine he never got a chance to buy and share with her.

 “Sew her up!!! Sew her back up!!! What are you doing? So much blood...” Even shouts to the operating surgeons while taking the needles himself, determined to save his wife, to fix her.

“Get out Alexander!!”

“You’re going to kill her!!”

“Are you insane Evan?!?”

Shouts of protest come from the surgeons, while the nurses try to wrestle the needle from Evan. Shanyn succeeds, and manage to back Evan out of the operating room. She takes him by the arm to the row of plastic chairs, where he plunks down like a ragdoll, defeated. Head in hands, all he could see is the dreadful scene of his wife on the operation table, on the brink of life and death.

“Evan?”

He looks up with pained eyes at Shanyn. She holds out a cup of coffee, the instant crap that comes from one of the pathetic vending machines here. It takes a few seconds for Evan to realise that she is offering him the coffee. Slowly he shakes his head. Who the hell drinks coffee when their wife is half dead?

“Take it Evan. Trust me, it’ll help.”

He shakes his head again, but Shanyn is already pressing the coffee cup into his hand. Too tired and too pained to refuse her, he wraps his shaking fingers around the cup and nods a thank you to Shanyn. He looks down at the floor, willing Shanyn to go away, before he could hold the pain no longer and shatters before her. Is this what they all feel, when their love is battered and bruised on an operation table?

Eventually Shanyn leaves, her shoes tapping out a soft rhythm on the cold and hard floor. Evan holds in his hand a cold cup of coffee, a cup of coffee that is supposed to help him through the fact that his wife might die. Tilly might die. Evan Alexander haven’t cried since his mother died 5 years ago, but now fat salty tears stream down his face. He jerks up a shaking hand to wipe away the tears. Hold yourself together, Evan Alexander. Tilly will be fine. She will be just fine…

Evan tries to calm down his wild heart, to match the rhythm of the tick-tock of the clock opposite him. Staring intently down at the coffee cup in his hand, Evan tries to clear his mind of fear, of death. His hands shake, and the dark brown liquid ripples in the cup, splashing and staining its cheap white plastic rim. Splosh goes the coffee, a black with no sugar or cream by the look of it. Tilly would’ve never given him anything like this. She knows he has a soft spot for lattes with two sugars and a dollop of cream. God damn it! Evan thinks as the thought of Tilly’s name brought fresh tears from his eyes.

The sound of the operation-room door squeaking open makes Evan looks up from his ever-so-fascinating coffee cup. A man in blue scrubs and covered from head to toe steps out. He tries to hide his bloodied gloves in one hand while approaching Evan.

“How is she?” Evan whispers, his voice hoarse.

“Oh, she’s alive. But…” the man in scrubs replies, his voice muffled by the mask he’s wearing.

She’s alive. She’s alive. Tilly’s alive! But what? A million images of Tilly flashes into Evan’s mind. Oh god. What if she’s paralysed? In a coma? Near death, but not quite dead yet? The horrible thoughts make Evan cringe hard, and the cup of coffee falls onto his lap, staining his shirt, his pants, and the coat that he never fully put on. The touch of cold coffee on his skin chills his heart.

“…I’m so sorry,” the man in scrubs continues, after seeing that Evan is in no state to speak, “Evan… your baby’s gone."

The End

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