“It’s okay,” I tell him. But it’s too late for okays.
He yells “Fuck!” again, and unleashes all of his anger and frustration in one burst. Smashing a fist into the nearby wall like it’s done something to him. I can hear the crack of bone against the solid wall, and I gasp out, “John!”
“Don’t call me that! Don’t fucking call me that!” he yells back, as if I, and not the wall, have physically hurt him.
The elevator dings in the distance and I can hear the thunder of boot clad feet. “No, let me…” I start to say.
But my words are lost in the clamor of bodies shoving past me. Two large orderlies and a security guard. All yelling words at John Doe.
I watch them haul John back into his room and strap him to his bed. Then the needle comes out, and that’s it for this episode of Amnesia Horror Story.
“No…” I say. Maybe out loud, maybe only in my head as I watch him collapse into a sleep I know he doesn’t want.
S o John’s episode buys him another few days at the hospital. But unfortunately he’s moved to another floor where he’s put on psychiatric hold. Which means I can’t see him because the visiting hours are for family members and spouses only.
I spend the missed lunch hours loading more brain games onto the iPad and downloading more songs onto the iPhone I’d been planning to return to him on that fateful afternoon. C-Mello, some Colin Fairgood tracks, and the very few country songs I know and like. Songs I think might be “old” to him.
Of course, I’m not there to see him when he’s released back to the eighth floor the following week. But I swear I just about run to the stairs like a Whitney Houston song as soon as the clock strikes twelve on the first day he’s back.
I’m a panting and sweating mess by the time I get to his new room. But I hesitate in front of his door, not sure of what I’ll find inside. He was so crazed the last time I saw him, so out of control…the way he’d yelled at me… Who knew if he even wants to see me now or if it will only upset him further?
With a deep breath, I enter the room, braced to be thrown right back out.
Which is why I’m surprised to find him scribbling in his journal with one hand, while the other, now encased in a white cast, rests on his folded leg.
So he did fracture it , I think with a heavy heart just as he looks up.
He stills when he sees me, his blue eyes so intense I find it hard to look at him.
Hard to squeak out, “Hi! I just, um…” I search my mind for a valid reason as to why I’m here, and finally settle for the plain truth. “I was worried about you. And I wanted to make sure you were alright.”
A beat passes during which he only stares at me. Then he says, “You came back. I didn’t know if you would. I didn’t think you’d want anything else to do with me after what happened.”
I step forward, almost unconsciously. “No! You had an episode. It was completely understandable. And it wasn’t your fault. The only reason I stayed away is because they would only let family visit where you were, and I didn’t want to upset you. I almost didn’t come here today, because I was afraid it might—”
I stop speaking when he reaches out, his good hand curling around the back of my head, pulling me down toward him with surprising strength. Before I can even register what’s happening, his lips have claimed mine.
Wait. What? Who? How? When?
My mind blanks out as his lips draw on mine, drinking me, savoring me. Making it so I can do nothing but stand there as I risk my entire medical career on one very inappropriate moment.
“No!” I whisper, finally finding the strength to protest.
I push away and put as much space between us as possible in the tiny room. “That’s not why I came here. I only wanted to make sure you were okay.”
Even though I’m several feet away from him, his blue stare is just as relentless as if he’s still kissing me, still holding
Anna J. Evans, December Quinn