For the longest time I lay with Sarah against my chest. It felt so good to finally have her back. “You!” it was mum, she had appeared from behind the curtain while I had closed my eyes in contented happiness. “Get away from my son!” she said in a high-pitched voice.

My grip tightened around Sarah possessively. “Do you really want to put me through that again mum?” I asked, pressing my cheek up against Sarah’s head.

I felt Sarah’s chest tighten and a whoosh of air against my chest. It was bad enough she had to see me…in this state…she didn’t need to see me and mum talk this over as well. I sighed, “Not now mum.”

“What do you mean ‘not now? Look what she’s done to you!”

“I said not now mum,” I replied with iron inflecting my voice.

She almost killed you!” mum spat angrily.

“She came back, I’m sure she has a good reason.”

“That’s what they all say Joshua, that kind of reaction is so typical of kids your age. Trust me, I know what I am talking about! I went to university and got a doctorate in this field!”

“You’ve mis-judged Sarah.” I said in a dangerously quiet voice clutching Sarah to me to reassure myself she was still there. She had tried several times to get up, she was obviously very uncomfortable right now, but I wasn’t so weakened that I couldn’t keep her close to me.

“Look at what she did to you!” Mum tried again desperately, “you can’t even sit up by yourself!”

I stared at mum angrily. Slowly, determinedly, I began to rise up. It hurt and sapped almost all of my energy, but I did it. I rose up into a sitting position then scooted up so that I could comfortably rest back against the wall behind me. I stared at mum defiantly and held Sarah against my chest. Mum stared at me wordlessly before turning in her heel and leaving. I hated seeing her so ruffled, but Sarah didn’t need to deal with all that. I couldn’t imagine the guilt she must be dealing with already.

As mum left a doctor came in and started at me. “Did you have help sitting up?” he asked. I shook my head. “Then you are doing much better than any of us expected, you haven’t lost nearly as much strength as you should have!” He exclaimed, sounding like I was something completely out of the norm.

He performed a few quick tests on me, including one for my blood pressure and one for my sight before leaving the room for a consultation with some other doctors. When he left I glanced over at Sarah who was seated beside me. Her time…wherever she had been…had been good to her. She was clean, her hair was brushed. She was still dressed in the clothes that I had bought her that time, it seemed so long ago now, when we were still getting to know each other and she had just been that girl that had caught my eye.

I could still see the signs of stress etched across her face as she stared into space thinking about who-knows-what. I reached out and brushed a stray strand of hair from her face. “Sarah, it’s going to work out fine,” I whispered, “I’ll get better soon, and mum will forgive you…it’ll just take a little time is all. I already feel much better than I did when I first woke up.”

Sarah was about to reply when the doctor from before re-entered the room. “We still have to do a few more tests, but we think that we over-estimated how badly you had been effected by the lack of nutrition. We don’t think that your body has really begun to consume itself yet, so you should be able to make a full recovery in just a couple of days. As a matter of fact, you should be ready to leave here by tomorrow.”

I nodded and thanked the doctor as he moved in to complete several other tests. Sarah had brightened up considerably when the doctor had finished his speech and I was happy to see that she was almost smiling. When the doctor finished his tests he gave another speech. “There has been little to no muscle damage, however, all of your bodies energy reserves have been completely eaten up. That means that you should be eating a lot, probably even in between meals for a while. If you don’t you will start to feel weak, tired, and used up. If you do start feeling like that just drink some juice or something else sugary and that should hold you off until your next meal.”

I nodded. “Thank you doctor.” The doctor nodded and made to leave the room. “Hey,” I asked just as he was about to leave, “could I have a board game or a card game up here please?”

The doctor nodded and then left. A few minutes later a nurse came up carrying Monopoly and a deck of cards. She left them on a table between me and Sarah then exited the room. For several hours Sarah and I had some fun playing a friendly game of Monopoly. Once we finished that I switched on the TV that was on the wall opposite my bed and scooted over so that Sarah could climb up and sit on the bed with me. As she did the logical side of me cried out that I was letting her to close and the risk was too big. What if mum was right? What if Sarah really didn’t have a good reason and really just was playing with me? But I hid behind the fact that this was Caleb’s idea and that I could trust him. Over and over again he had proved to me that he was worthy of this kind of trust; so trust him I would.

Sarah curled up against me and I wrapped my arms around her as A Little Princess started to play. We had caught it just in time. The movie was perfect, it fit so perfectly. It was a story of hard times, good friendship, and never giving up. It was immediately one of my favorite movies. By the end of it I was clutching Sarah tightly against my chest and we were both crying silently. The ending had created hope where there had seemed to be none at all. Only at the very end had happiness finally reigned.

About ten minutes after the movie ended a nurse came in with a tray of broth for me. I looked at it dubiously, “Don’t I get anything more…solid?”

The nurse shook her head. “Your digestive system couldn’t handle it right now, you would just throw it all back up.”

I sighed heavily. “Well, bring some real food up for Sarah at least…she hasn’t had her tea yet.” The maid nodded and, after depositing the tray of soup on my lap left to get some more food for Sarah.

After tea Sarah leaned against me and sighed. It had been an emotionally tiring day for both of us and we were both pretty tired out. “Are you sure your parents won’t miss you?” I asked.

Sarah shook her head. “Nope,” she murmured sleepily into my chest, “they’re…” she yawned heavily and trailed off. Her breathing soon evened out and I figured she was asleep. I was quick to follow her example. 

The End

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