Arriving at the apartment, she ran in, changed into her jeans, tennis shoes, and a thick sweater. Grabbing her backpack, she put in some snacks and her notebook, then grabbed her cell phone and wallet and went back out the door. It was only one pm and the hospital was a good forty minute walk from her apartment. She was much more focused now, and grabbed an apple to eat as she walked there. About halfway, she threw the apple away and got out her cell phone. Checking it, she saw that there were no missed calls, whcih did not surprise her, but did dissapoint her just the slightest bit. Maybe someone could talk to her... no, she was insistent that she needed to make changes and stand up for herself. It was her life, and she needed to try to take charge.
This morning's momentum and confidence ironically started to bleed through to her present attitude, despite the fact that this morning had been all about beig perfect for Chad and this afternoon was more about becoming her own person and taking contol of her own life.
When Chrisitne arrived at the hospital, she reached for her notebook and found a place that she had written the name down. Asking for Steven Jones, she was directed to the third floor of the building. Without hesitation, she headed for the stairs, still trying to tame her energy, even after walking two miles. Before opening the door to the hallway of the third floor, she paused. Was this the right thing to do? She gave her head a quick shake and took a deep breath. With a second thought, she reached for her phone and turned it off before leaving the stairwell.
Chrsitine slowly waked down the hallway, looking for the room number and trying calm her nerves at the same time. She was not sure if her heart was racing because of all the physical activity, or if it was from anticipation. She saw a few people sitting in a waiting area with the tv on just before finding the door listing Jones as the occupant in bed "B". The door was open, and she saw an older man sitting up eating crackers watching tv. She almost turned back, before realising that there was another bed on the other side of the curtain. Blushing at the mistake, she nodded her head at the old man, stifly, since she did still have the neck brace on.
When she got to the curtain, she peered around it and saw a person with many white bandages wrapped around his midsection. He was wearing a breathing mask but his right hand and arm were outside the bandage, and he appeared to have his eyes open, looking out the window. She cleared her throat, not sure what to say. He slowly turned his head toward her, and small look of confusion went across his face. To her surprise, he reached up and took the mask off.
"Hi. What do you want?" It was not a rude question, more one that someone would ask if they thought the other person was lost. She stepped in the room and cleared her throat, for real this time.
"Hi... um, Steven? My name is Christine..." She waited to see if there was any reaction, and felt even more nervous when there was not one. "I, uh. I just wanted to come and meet you, and... see how you are doing." She noticed that he had put the oxygen mask back on his face when he stopped talking. He nodded his head with eyebrows still clustered, and this time he spoke a little slower.
"Christine... sorry, but i do not think i know you."
She siged and came around the bed to sit in the chair under the window. "I was driving the car that hit you, Steven. The accident was my fault." She spoke quietly, not worried that the old man on the other side would hear her, but not wanting to admit it out loud. She had also looked away from his face when she said it, looking at the cast like dressing around his body. When he did not respond, she slowly looked back up at his face to find him staring at her steadily. He blinked once, but did not atempt to speak. Something about his look made her feel nervous, anyway. Or maybe it was just what she felt. "I am sorry. I never meant to hurt anyone... I do not even know why I did it. I am having a really hard time recovering from the impact of what I had done." She looked at him again.
He rolled his eyes away from her to the ceiling, then looked back at her and removed teh mask.
"I am seventeen years old. This is my senior year of high school. I just met a girl and I think I am in love with her. When I graduate we plan to get a place together and I am going to work full time. I do not have insurance. I am poor. My mother is poor and tired. My girl spends all of her time here with me when she should be at school." He was starting to have a hard time, struggling with the pain of each breath. He was also getting louder. "I do not know why you thought you should come here, but you need to leave! HOW DARE YOU come in here thinking you could be my friend and everything would be okay. What if you ruined my life? What if you ruined my future? YOU are having a hard time? YOU are looking for answers? I have nothing to count on." He looked like he wanted to say more but he started coughing and put the mask close to his face. She stood up and was not sure if she should leave or try to help. A nurse appeared and tried to settle him down. Christine felt like she was in the way, so she did leave. When she got to the stairwell, she started to sprint down them. When she got outside the hospital, she started to run.
A couple blocks down the street, she slowed her pace, but did not stop. The brace around her neck had been bouncing on her collar bone and it was hurting her now with every step. Halfway home, she stopped and gingerly took the brace off, placing it in her backpack, careful not to turn her neck in the process, then ended up wearing the backpack in front of her body so that she would not twist anything the wrong way. After all, she was supposed to weat the thing until her doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon.