It would be another day before I was allowed to see her, and even when I did, it wasn't really her. Lying there motionless, she looked like a corpse smothered in hospital sheets. At first I couldn't bring myself to walk beyond the door frame, only doing so, when her mother grabbed hold on my hand, and lead me. Looks like I wasn't the only one who needed help through this.
Giving a tight squeeze, she released my hand, and took a seat next to the bed. Alone now, I stood at the foot, taking in the image of her. "She will get better." her mother spoke up after a while. Her words of confidence not spoken to anyone in particular. In fact, I would have thought she was talking to herself, if not for Gavin.
"The worst is over." He agreed.
"Indeed." Her mother added.
After a while, one by one, they had all left the room. Except for me. Seated now by her bed, I held her hand like a babies, fragile. She was still sound asleep, the drugs taking their time to wear off. Around seven, a nurse came in the room to assess her. Slowly, she maneuvered her way around Airee's lifeless body, checking, and replacing bandages along the way. When finally she came to one lower along her chest. Before carrying on, she asked if I had wanted to leave the room. When I said no, she nodded her head, and spat off a pre-warning for whatever was to come.
Ignoring her, I kept my eyes glued to the bandage, and watched as she peeled back its layers, revealing three tubes and a whole lot of blood and gunk. Turning away, it took everything I had not to throw up, or worse, faint. Just then, Kyle walked through the door.
"What the hell is that?" he yelled, the nurse rolled his eyes then, and quickly replaced the bandage.
"Drainage tubes," He smiled. "and a lot of drainage."
"Sick!" Kyle retorted to the nurse. "When do they come out?"
Turning back to Airee, I caught the slight movement of her eyes, and her lips. "They will come out as soon as the Doctor believes its time." Was all the nurse offered.
"Gee, how informational." I bit off a remark. This guy has been a royal class dick this whole time. Honestly, if it were anyone else, I would beat the shit out of him but, since its not, I would dare take the chance he might become careless with Airee. A snide, presumptuous dick, was better than a careless one.
The nurse just rolled his eyes, for the second time. Then another movement from Airee, caught his attention. "Shit," Was all he said.
"What?" Kyle and I said together, but the nurse had either not heard, nor cared to answer.
Everything after that, went in slow motion. Him hitting the emergency button on her bed, the alarms going off. It took all I had to hold back, as he jumped on her bed, and began pinning her down! "What's going on?" I heard her mothers voice come from somewhere behind me. Suddenly nurses, flooded the room. Emergency crash carts, being wheeled in. That was when it started. That was when Airee woke up, or so it seemed.
The next thing I knew, we were back in the lobby. The answers to all of our questions trapped behind those stupid doors! When finally, one of her doctors emerged. "Everything is alright," He assured Airee's parents. Together they clung to each other. "It was a seizure." he continued. "I know how it looks but, its perfectly normal. Sometimes air can get trapped inside the abdomen. What you saw, was the airs way of releasing. All is good now."
Hearing that, I noticed a distinct calm wash over us all. Even people we had only just met, were rooting for Airee's recovery. Only she could manage such a thing, and she didn't even know. Pushing my hands through my hair, I stood up, and walked to the long row of windows overlooking a seating area outside next to the parking lot. As if delayed, my mind drifted to a car parked out in the front. To a man and a woman, who were rushing towards the entrance. In that moment, I pushed off the window, and ran back into the lobby. My parents, almost colliding into me as they came in.
I didn't speak, I didn't have to. Instead my dad pulled me into his arms, and everything else drifted away. All the stress to be a better player, all the fear I had that I could lose Airee. It all drifted away, now that he was here, and for once I felt okay. "How did you know?" I asked before pulling away.
"Your friends texted me. Hayden, I'm so sorry."
We joined the rest of the group after that. I went to sit with my friends, while my parents introduced themselves to Airee's. Memories played along my thoughts, and I let slip and exasperated laugh.
"What?" Kyle and Gavin asked at the same time.
I was just thinking about Airee," I smiled truthfully. Thinking about her laughing with herself, as she read a book about love, and how clueless guys can be. I was remembering the way her hair looked as she laid beneath me, the feeling of her hands against my chest. The way she smells of summer and coconuts, and how no matter what you did, she only saw the best of you. I thought of Count Pees A lot, and her place at the clinic, and what they all must think about what's happening. I thought about her willingness to get out and try things, and her stubbornness when you would try to tell her no- you could never tell her no. Hesitating, I laughed again to myself. And how damn green her eyes always are, I smiled. No ones eyes should be that green! "I think," I said but stopped myself as if not sure I should continue.
"Yes," the two urged me on.
"I think, I love her."