“So give it to me straight, Doctor Everett,” she said, flipping her hair over her shoulder to glance at Doctor Everett. “How bad is the pain? How long will my darling honey child have to endure it? When will I be allowed to take her home in peace?”
Doctor Everett smile matched mine, drawn tautly across his face to avoid a snarl. He’d had the pleasure of dealing with my mother before today and he must know the pain that I was feeling now. “Your daughter has all the necessary information, ma’am, and she’ll be able to fill you in on everything.” He gestured for Doctor White to hand him my chart and flipped it open when it landed in his hand. After a quick glance at the front page and a scribble with the pen in his front jacket pocket, he snapped it shut and looked at me. “I’ll give you some alone time with your friends and family.” He exited with Doctor White, leaving all of us in an uncomfortable silence.
Now that there was no one of reasonable importance around any longer to witness anything, my mother released me from her grasp with a hard shove and pulled her phone out of her purse. She discarded the expansive jacket, placing it on top of the radiator, and revealed the sharp business clothing underneath; her hands moved quickly as she placed a call and began chatting eagerly with some similarly bubble-headed friend of hers while she paced around the room. Molly sat in the corner just under the television, stealing the only armchair in sight. Her feet were curled up on the cushion, so her knees acted as a wall between her and the rest of us. Every few seconds, she frowned and the clack of her acrylic fingernails against her phone’s keyboard echoed through the eerily silent room.
Luckily, Nova and Simon were still here and I wasn’t alone with the women who called themselves family. My best friends, my true family, took up the places that my mother and Doctor Everett had vacated on either side of my bed. Simon cracked his neck quickly before leaning forward on his rolling black stool with clasped hands, as if he were preparing to listen to a particularly interesting story. Nova sat down on the edge of my bed, letting her hands fall eagerly over mine in excitement. “So what was it like?” she asked.
“What was what like?”
“The surgeries! Waking up! What you remember from the crash! How long you’re going to be stuck in here! And you have to tell us everything, because we’ve spent our summer sitting in a hospital so far, so you owe us big time.” She smiled warmly, reminding me of the time I’d show n up to school with a broken arm after Molly had poked a stick in the spokes of my bike back in fourth grade. She always was a fan of a good war story.
“Nova, you’re the smartest person I know. And you know hospitals the best. You should know better than any of us that I don’t remember a thing about the surgeries or when I apparently woke up. But other than that, I get out of here as soon as physical therapy says I’m ready to go. Although, I do have a question.”
“Shoot,” said Simon, rolling closer so that he was able to clasp one of my hands in between his own.
“Who was driving the car? The last thing I remember is driving along with one of you but I can’t remember who was driving for the life of me.”