“Don’t ask me what I believe. I’ll just tell you what I don’t believe.” -JSM-
I didn’t really hit a doctor with a chair.
That would have made me a monster.
I wanted to. My mind went there. For a fraction of time I tapped into that primitive side of me.
Eyes bugging from the sockets I scanned the room searching for the closest object with which to do the most immediate damage, and I truly wanted to exact some kind of vengeance, but come on now… I’m not that kind of person.
The logical, rational part of the brain kicks in a half a second later.
Instead of smashing the doctor’s face and having him join in all the suffrage, I hung my head, stared at the floor, and tried to breathe normally.
And allow her sleep.
She was unconscious for roughly three more hours.
I felt like life was beating us down. We couldn’t get ahead. We were happy with our current paradigm but the world was winning again. We couldn’t seem to catch a break. We couldn’t make lemonade from the lemons.
The next string of words that came from her mouth later that afternoon, changed me forever. The kind of gut punch that’s felt for all of eternity. The sentence was uttered twice to me over the next five or so months, and the moment she was able to speak, she slowly turned her head, licked her lips, looked me dead in the eyes and whispered, “You don’t deserve this.”
I couldn’t move.
I was at her side, paralyzed in the chair, dumbfounded and silent.
All those ugly little demons of self preservation hiding within the deep recesses of my brain swarmed the space around me. They crawled onto my shoulders, clamped their invisible claws into my skin and the disembodied voices of Joe, and all my imaginary friends conjured up over the past year whispered in both my ears, then screamed at each other like madmen, and my mind went to war with itself.
She accidentally opened a door, and I was inundated with negative power.
“She’s right. You don’t deserve this. With everything you’ve…”
“Shut up! You know you love her.”
“She doesn’t deserve this! It has nothing to do with you.”
“What do you deserve?”
“She really cares about…”
“… you didn’t ask for this.”
“Take some advice for once. She’s telling you to leave. To end this. You have her blessing.”
“It will be difficult, but we can get through it.”
“Why!? Why is this happening!?”
“You know what you have to do.”
“You were never going anywhere, you fool. This is just the next phase of the journey.”
I might have blanked out for a minute or two when her eyes shut again. She spoke the words to me and I never replied. Then her lids fluttered closed.
I couldn’t tear my stare from the wall beside her bed.
It was by and large the most selfless thing I have ever heard spoken to me by another human being. Especially considering she had been torn open from throat to navel, breastbone broken, insides moved around, and then stitched back together with surgical wire.
I didn’t feel worthy of her presence.
She never said, “Thank you for being here for me.” Or, “I’m so glad you’re here, can I have a hug?” Or, “Help me sit up.” Or, “I’m thirsty.” Or, “It hurts.” Or anything that resembles “normal” everyday dialogue after undergoing major surgery.
She could have said a thousand different things. But through it all, she remained her true self.
“I” believed, that “she” truly believed, “I” didn’t deserve all this heartache, struggle, and pain.
And the difficulties to come.
She wanted me to live my life. Free from those hardships. She was sincere in her statement.
And it literally blew me away.
Regardless of her philosophies on the matter, I internally stuffed away all the dark shadows and taunting demons. I buried all the whispering evil voices back into the deep dark void accompanied by all the other negative energy, and I then knew what I had to do.
I had to help bring her back to life.
When she opened her eyes again, I grabbed her fingers and whispered, “This will be a cake walk. baby. We got this. Do you believe that? I believe that.”
“I’m gonna go talk to work and tell them my plan. Then I’ll move things around downstairs, take care of the mutt, and then I’ll be back. You keep resting. If I’m not here, I won’t be far.”
She nods again.
“I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me, and I’m going to help make you better.”
“I know.” She whispered.
We’d get our vengeance on this cruel world, by winning this battle, and the battles unforeseen along the way.
I closed the hospital room door, and the next five months are a disjointed blur.
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