Five years later
Time flies when your life seems to drone on and on.
Liam is now 15 and is been doing great in high school. The only problem is how he had few friends…the workings of what happens when you have AIDS . But he still had Addy, thankfully. The “Meanie Girl” of 1st grade ended up being his closest friend. They’ve gotten so close that now she reminds him to take his AZT when he forgets. If they could get any closer they’d be dating.
As for my beautiful Hazel….she’s practically been in the hospital all these five years. Every time she would come home shortly after she’d get sick and would have to go back.
But she still wore that engagement ring, which waited patiently for a real wedding band to join it.
But the words from Hazel’s doctor still ring in my head, like some sort of warning bell:
Joel…I’m sorry….but there’s nothing else we can do but hope she’ll get better. But as of now every new day is hit-and-miss for her. I’d think about saying all last words to her soon.
I sat in the cubicle of mine for the newspaper I currently worked at. I didn’t move, I barely breathed for fear of upsetting any sort of balance. The phone rang and I didn’t jump, I closed my eyes, knowing I was expecting this call. I slowly picked the phone up and put it to my ear, “Hello?”
“Hello this is Hazel’s doctor. I think it would be best to come to the hospital now.”
“Yes, I’ll just go get her son awhile first.”
“Alright. I will see you shortly then.”
“Joel what’s wrong?” I ignored Liam’s voice and the fact my car was slowly climbing above the speed limit, “Joel! What’s wrong?!”
I kept my foot on the gas pedal only to find Liam’s young strong arms grab the steering wheel and veer us off the road, “What the fuck is wrong Joel?!” Liam was shaking with fear.
I began crying, knowing that only made Liam more nervous. I looked at him, “Hazel,” I chocked, “Hazel is dying.”
“Hey, it’s my two favorite men,” Hazel hoarsly said while smiling. “Why does she sound like that?” I whispered to the doctor, whom merely shrugged, “The thrush is getting to her in her throat.”
I stood while Liam went up to his mom, “Hey mommy,” Liam quietly greeted.
“Hey honey, how’ve you been?”
Liam shrugged, tears streaming down his face all the same, “Same old same old.”
“That’s good, what about you Joel?”
“Same here. Nothing changes anymore.” Until now… I thought to myself. Then Hazel and I continued talking to each other, laughing at times, pausing for Hazel to cough. Liam sat silently in one of the chairs.
It was when Hazel and I were talking about good books that Liam jumped from his chair, “Stop acting like nothing is wrong both of you! She’s fucking dying and you’re just talking about good books!” Liam broke down then, falling to the floor in tears. “Liam honey…before…before I go,” Hazel choked a sob from the words, “I need to tell you something.”