Hospital Chairs

I don’t want to write today.  In fact, I’d rather do anything but write today.  However, I recently made a pact with myself to write every single day.  I have a deep, dark, black hole in my center that will suck me in if I’m not careful. I know it’s there. It’s always been there and I’m fighting it. Words are the only thing that combat it, so I write every day. Even if my eyes are on fire and stained red from crying, even if I can’t breathe through my nose and my mouth is stinging dry, even if I’m more drained than I’ve ever been, even if I can’t feel anything but pain now, I write.

I just got back from the hospital. It was my 5th or 6th visit to that horrible, wretched place since Tuesday night when I rushed to the emergency room to find a floor and a nurse covered in his blood. Today, I spent two hours in an uncomfortable hospital chair trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to keep myself from crying while maintaining a minimum level of banal chitchat with his family. I sat with a box of hospital tissues in my hand at the foot of a hospital bed, staring him in the face.

This is the man who, when I was going through a rough time a few months ago, whisked me off to the top of a mountain, literally, to give me some perspective. This is the man who said he would always be there and that he would save me. This is the man who put his big hand over my heart, pulled my face up to his, looked me in the eyes and told me everything would be okay, and I nearly believed it.  This man and I made a pact to be completely honest about everything always. This man sat there today, in pain, in a hospital gown, hooked up to beeping, flashing things. He had waited to take the pain medication until I got there so that we could say goodbye.

He is going away. He is going away. He is going away for a little while to get the help that he needs. He’s going to get medical attention, away from me. We haven’t been in good places lately, neither of us. We tried to save ourselves by saving each other, but in the end, we just weren’t strong enough. We fumbled and faltered. We failed. I wasn’t strong enough to save him. I can’t even save myself, but he’s gone now and I have no choice but to try.

I’m afraid for him. He has let go of the reins. I’m afraid that he’ll just end up in that hospital bed again. I’m afraid that he’ll never pick up the reins again. I’m afraid for myself. I’m afraid that, without him here, I am an undefended castle. Without him here, I am afraid I will crumble.

He didn’t have to tell me anything. I could see the fear and anger and hate and helplessness and love and concern all mingled together when we were looking through each other at matching tear-stained eyes. I could feel the people and the room and the city and the earth drop away under our feet as we awkwardly clung to each other. I could feel it in his arms when he grasped onto me, like he was hanging on for dear life and probably was. I could taste it in the tears on his lips as he kissed me. I could hear it in his boyish voice when he whispered, “I’m sorry.” I could hear the trepidation in mine as I whimpered that everything would be okay; that he would be okay. I hope he believed it. I hope I believe it myself.