When I finally get to leave the hospital, it is in a wheelchair, being pushed by Eilidh. In the end, they kept me in a full week longer than they thought they would. It was horrible, being stuck, useless, in the hospital while Eilidh was at home on her own.
She had heart cancer... The idea is still new to me, and my heart hammers when I think about it. Heart cancer? Shit. What would I have done if she had died of it? I gulp, and my breath comes in short bursts. I can't bear to think about it. If she had died... if she had died...
"Donny? Are you listening?" I realize Eilidh has been talking to me this entire time I have been away with the fairies.
"Yes. Sorry. I was just... distracted." I say slowly. I have an itch on my left arm, and it is killing me. I try to move my right arm to scratch it, but a burning pain shoots up it with every millimeter I move it. "C-can you.. scratch my arm?" I hate this. I'm so feeble, so helpless...
I frown as she reaches down and lets her nails scrape gently against my scarred skin. There are several scabs on the length of my arm, and a bandage peeks out of the end of the leg of the loose trakkie bottoms I am wearing. I am never going to look the same. I'll always have these scars. I'll always have the proof of my own stupidity. Seeing my frown, Eilidh puts a hand on my shoulder.
"Don? Whatcha thinking?" We are nearly home, and people, people I recognize, are staring.
"I... I'll tell you once we're home. We need to talk." I say, slowly, aware that as we turn onto our street, every single one of our neighbors is at their windows, staring as Eilidh pushes me down the pavement. I grimace.
Once we are inside, Eilidh wheels me in front of the sofa, then slumps onto it. I notice the tiny signs of her cancer. Her hair is much sorter, only just down to her chin. It always has grown quickly... There are horrible shadows under her eyes, and she is breathing heavily.
"You wanted to talk?" She leans forward, her eyes searching mine.
"Yeah. Baby.. I thought about your heart cancer earlier, and... and how I would have felt if you'd died. And... now.. now I realize how you must have felt, when.. when you heard I'd been in an accident. Scared for my life, when you should have been worried about your own. I.. I'm sorry Eilidh. I was a stupid twat. I.. I shouldn't have pushed you. I should have just let you tell me, in your own time. I SHOULD HAVE LOOKED WHEN I CROSSED THAT DAMN ROAD!" I yell angrily. I want to punch myself. "Why am I such a dick, Eilidh? Why do you still love me?"
"Oh Donny..." She says, simply. Then, she slides her arms around my neck, and perches, putting hardly any weight on me, on my lap. Her mouth touches mine, and I loop my unbroken arm about her. "I will always love you, Donny."