It felt like I was caught in a dream, it felt unbelievable! I leaped out of the car before it even came to a complete halt. I stormed through the electronic doors frantically running down the endless hallway which led to the elevators. But the hallway felt mirrored at the end for it seemed to be endlessly long.
My movements felt slow and heavy like droplets of lead raining from above, crashing to the ground in slow motion. I wanted to run faster, I wanted to search and to scan each room, each bed until I found Saara, but my body was defying me. My legs felt as if they could not move on their own and it took great effort to lift them off the ground with each step that I attempted. At moments it felt as if I was paralyzed, dragging my body with me as my eyes, heart and mind searched for Saara.
Everything took excruciatingly long. The elevator took much too long to arrive, every floor that we stopped on seemed to hover in mid-air for longer than usual as people got off and some more got on, all of them milling about with no rush at all. I wanted to scream! It felt like I was losing my mind. And all the while my heart pumped furiously. Beads of sweat broke through my skin like suction cups, attaching my skin to my clothes. It felt like I was having an anxiety attack as I wiped beads of sweat from my forehead.
Questions were flying through my mind like poisoned tipped arrows, one by torturous one. Questions that I had no answers to.
What had happened to Saara?
How did it happen?
Would it not have happened if I didn’t leave her?
Where was she exactly?
Would she be awake?
How much did she miss me?
Was she going to be ok?
The elevator doors buzzed open after what felt like an eternity and I made my escape, brushing passed the patrons abruptly….
I sifted through the hospital beds looking for Saara’s face and it felt like time was dripping much too slowly as each second felt more like an hour….
And then finally, I was silenced in every way when I saw her lying there, asleep, peacefully floating in a land of dreams. A true sleeping beauty seemed to lay there, extracted from the pages of a fairytale.
I asked her all the questions that plagued my mind but she gave me no answers, not even one. I kissed her cool, pale hands gently but she just lay there on the cold steel bed, her chest heaving up and then down rhythmically in synchronization with the orchestra of beeping monitors and dripping plastic bottles surrounding her. A tube made its way into her mouth and a few more made their way up her nostrils. Her face looked peaceful, like an angel was lying right before me. I traced my thumb along the bruised outline of her once rosy lips but she didn’t even flinch. My heart pumped harder, faster for that moment and then it let out a silent shriek, a cry of pain as it broke….
Saara? I stared at her in disbelief.
Are you even there, I asked her silently.
Have you forgotten me, my mind screamed at her yet my lips were pursed tightly with tears pricking at the corners of my eyes. I caressed her face slowly as her doctor explained to me the events that led up to her lying in this unsightly picture. I barely heard much of what he said and caught only a few phrases here and there. There was an accident, a bus, trauma to the brain, broken bones, a coma, 50 percent chance of survival. Eventually I blocked his voice out and I fixated on Saara’s bruised yet still perfectly formed face.
My mind wreaked havoc with me as I imagined her unspoken words, and as the echo of my guilt bounced off the walls within my mind, I began to self reflect and wage a personal attack on myself….
More tears threatened to trickle out of the corners of my eyes but I blinked them back furiously as they burned beneath my eye lids like molten lava trapped in a volcano. I gritted my teeth until they felt like they would bleed, my nostrils flared with each breath that I drew in and my veins pulsed with a venom which fed me one worthless thought after another. I felt like a failure, I should not have left her. I should never have boarded the convoy. If I were here she would not have been driving that day, the bus would not have rammed into her and she would not be in a coma. It was all my fault.
And no matter what anyone tells me or how much they try to console me, I will live with the regret of my choices for a lifetime. I will live with them until Saara’s eyes open and blink again.
But will she wake up?
What if she doesn’t make it?
Do I stand still, frozen and halted as I wait for her to come back to me?
And what if she wants to wake up, but she just can’t pry her eyes open?
What if she hears me and feels my presence? What if she’s screaming my name but no one can hear her? What if she’s afraid wherever she is? What if she’s trapped!? My legs felt like jelly as I collapsed into the empty chair next to her bed.
“I’ll give you a few moments…” Her doctor said to me, “but please keep in mind that she needs her rest. You look like you could do with some yourself”. He tapped my arm gently with what looked like a look of sympathy or was it pity? Perhaps he knows what a failure I am as well.
I ran my fingers through my disheveled hair and it felt like I had aged decades in the span of a few short moments.
The beeping of the monitors ring in my ears and they feel like needles plunging in and out of my brain. I closed my eyes and prayed for Saara to return to me, healthy and well.
Like an unwelcomed companion, dread slapped me hard on the back and then settled on my shoulders heavily and a little too comfortably. I placed my head on her lap never letting go of her hand.
I promised Saara that I would sit beside her and hold her hand until I felt her fingers grip into their perfect mold around my own fingers, however long it took….
Even if it takes forever….
But people forget that forever is a long time to sit in wait, isn’t it….
And time is a commodity that escapes every man yet it is my only weapon, my only option …
So I sit beside Saara as I stare at her peaceful face. I sit in wait…