Sitting on the bed near Leo's head, I reach over and lay my hand over his forehead. I wonder what he is thinking, if he too wonders if I am thinking of us while in my coma. Ignoring his phone calls hadn't been easy, each "missed call" was a fragment of my broken heart. If only I hadn't been so quick to judge.
If only I had trusted him.
I stand up and move away from him, unable to see the torture on his face. He blames himself and I can read that from him, just like I could always tell when he was happy, sad, mad, or annoyed. He was, is, my other half after all.
"Do you remember the Branches?" he mutters, his eyes still closed. "I went there every day after you found me and Gloria, hoping that you'd be there."
I bite my lower lip and inhale a deep breath. The Branches was our spot, other than the now dirtied washroom, outside of school. Since Burlington, Ontario isn't as busy as Toronto there is a lot of room for trees and parks. My house, sitting close to Lake Ontario, boasts a large backyard where there are trees amongst trees feasting on any sunlight that falls on them. Beside the trees, near the end of our yard, is a tiny path that leads down to a fence by the beach, but barely anyone knows about it. Leah, James and I had explored it when we were little, but now only I visited it frequently.
After we'd been dating for a year, I'd shown Leo my especial place. He'd gasped at the privacy of it, but gaped at the beauty of the trees high above us as they reached majestically up into the heavens. The path is visible from my bedroom, but only if you look through the right window.
"You never came," his voice crumbles into soft sobs that are quickly drowned out by the blanket around my lap. "I'm so sorry babe, I didn't... I could never..."
"I know," I say in a rush. "I know now, don't worry Leo, I know now."
His strong shoulders shake with grief and every choked sniff makes me weaker. Damn this situation. How cruel could life be to trap me in something that I can't control? To make me believe that no one loved me so that I would take only the most desperate, cowardly step to end my life? If this was what my fate wanted for me, to see the one I would give everything for, suffering at my hands then maybe I don't deserve a fate at all!
"But," Leo's words break through my mental tirade and my eyes focus on his blotchy face. He is now looking at my sleeping face, almost admiringly. His hand moves from my hair and cups my cheek, his sun-kissed hand a perfect balance against my pearly white skin. "You will make it through this; you have to. Just because you showed pain in one instance doesn't mean that it has to haunt you for the rest of your life." He stands up and kisses my forehead softly. "You--we will recover from this. I love you," he then pecks my lips, almost lingering for a sign of life in my body by waiting a few seconds longer than necessary, before exiting my room.