Its been a little over a week since my relapse and the possibility of losing Dee forever. I’m riddled with an obnoxious guilt. Dee however is always my main focus. The debilitating guilt can wait a while longer. When I can breathe a little easier I will worry then. It is just the two of us. The way I prefer it. The room has a coolness to it that the metal can feel like ice. I hold onto her left hand. Sometimes I forget just how tight I can be holding. My grip on her at times can be subconscious. Its the way I would hold onto her if she were falling. I’m clenching her hand tight again as I read her some Keats. She loves Keats and I always read to her when she is hurting or anxious. I’m reading one of our favorites, “To”
“And thy humid eyes, that dance in the midst of their own brightness, in the very fane of lightness; over which thine eyebrows, leaning, picture, out of each lovely meaning”
I stop reading. I can feel the tears begin to flood the corners of my eyes. I cant go weak on her again. I have to be here for her. I hear it. Its breathy and labored but I know I’ve heard it.
My sullen body and heavy head spark awake. Her eyes are closed. Did I really hear it? I begin to feel her fingers gently rub against the palm of my hand. Her eyes open slowly. They are light and seek out the details of the room like a newborns first awakening. I can see awareness come back to her slowly. Her eyes stop inside mine. I let her gaze into me as long as she needs or wants.
I know she knows it is me. Her question I know is for reassurance. I”m still holding her and bring her fingers to my lips and gently kiss them.
“Yeah, its me, I’m not going anywhere.” My smile grazes against her hand.
I’ve been blessed with this moment as she has. In my awe of the present happenings, it dawns on me that it might be appropriate to get someone. They may want to know that she is awake and aware, well, aware enough. I rush from the chair and exit the room as quick as I have ever moved. Knocking the stool over in the process and almost busting my ass on the hard floor, I don’t give a shit. I stop at the first person I see adorning any kind of hospital garb. I almost run into a forty something African American woman. Quite attractive. I’m out of breath, heart racing, my words are barely audible.
“Please, come, my friend, she’s waking up.”
She is not startled and appears to know exactly what I am referring to. She hurries to the room, I follow behind her. As we enter Dee moves slowly but uncomfortably. I am sure she is in some pain and the catheter can not be pleasant. Always hated those fucking things. Constant urgency to pee even if you really didn’t. I’ll definitely be there to hold her hand when they take the bitch out. When Dee sees me following behind the doctor she smiles her classic crooked grin. She struggles with pain to smile so it means even more to me. The doctor checks her vitals and asks her a few basic questions.
“Good morning. Do you know where you are at?”
Though struggling still, Dee lets out a classic response I am all too familiar with.
“From the smell of it, the hospital.”
The doctor is not sure whether to laugh or not. I don’t hesitate. I let out a muffled snort.
“Do you know your name sweetie?”
“Yes, Dee Espinoza. My middle name is sexy.”For what Dee can, she lets out a subtle and hoarse laugh.
No doubt in the comic relief that is Dee, the doctor laughs. As the doctor finishes the questions she turns to me to let me know that she will have to let the police know that she is awake. She assures me that she will let Dee adjust for awhile before calling them. “To clear the clouds” as she puts it. The room is ours again. I pick up the stool I had knocked over in my haste. As I sit I ask Dee how she is feeling.
“Was that a stupid question?”
“God Burge, no. I’m hurting but feel like I’ve slept for days.”
Oh god, that’s right. No one has told her she has been out for a few weeks. Good god, I’m not sure I want to be the one who breaks that to her. Pushing the words out Dee asks me one of her usual stud questions.
“How do I look Burge?”
“Well Dee, beat up but beautiful.” And I mean it with the biggest jerk smile on my face.
“You’re a punk. Burge, I’m hurtin.”
“Ok, I’ll be right back Dee.”
Just as I begin to get up the doctor and a nurse come in. They begin to explain to me that they are going to start Dee on a drip to manage her pain levels. After all has been prepared, they explain to both of us how to use it. Mostly they are explaining it to me so I can show Dee later if she is too groggy at the moment. Dee pumps the first couple of drops. As she does that I ask her what we have all been wanting to know.
“Hey Dee, what the hell happened?” Not sure if I wanted to know the response more than I needed to know, Dee slurs
“Ssshinger.” Dee drifts away from me.