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“I don’t think he’s going to make doc.”
“Move out the way! Emergency here!”
“Doc we’re losing him!”
“Damn it! Keep him awake!”
“Richard! Stay with me! Doc!?”
Richard Devez woke up violently, his body sore and wrapped in medical bandages. He couldn’t move from the pain and the bandages that covered almost his entire body. He could remember the crash, the pain that entered his body. It was a container truck that crushed his small SUV. It looked like a serious wreck, his body stuck in the driver’s seat, unconscious and bleeding at all areas. He was supposed to be dead. Hell, he was declared dead by the reporter, but somehow he made it. He didn’t know how long he would last though. There was so much pain in his body, it was like he was being poked by a set of knives all over, making him bleed, killing him ever so slowly. His bloodshot eyes surveyed the room. It was dark, but there seemed to be some light from the moon outside and the beeping lights from the instrument that was monitoring his status.
Beep .Beep. Beep. The sound made him obnoxious. It also made him anxious, in the sense that he thought when it was going to stop beeping and telling him that his life was over, that his life was done. There’s no way he could make it. He can’t even talk, he can’t move, he can’t moan from the pain. There was nothing he could do. He was done. Beep. Beep. Beep. He could still hear it. How crazy it is when you’re monitoring your own life, waiting for that moment when Death knocks at your door, telling you that it’s time. Tears fell from his eyes. There was blood mixed with his tears. It stung and he was forced to close his eyes. Beep. Beep. Beep.
He heard the door opening. It was morning. The sun lit up his room. A man with a white coat went in. He had glasses on his eyes and he was holding a clipboard. He had one of those clean haircuts and hair gel that made him look much cleaner. There was a name tag pinned in the right side of his upper body. It read: “Dr. Matthew Crews, Ph.D”. Richard knows what the doctor was doing there. He was going to tell him that everything is fine. Pure utter bull-
“Uhm, Mister Devez. I don’t know how to say this.” The doctor started. Richard couldn’t speak. He couldn’t do anything except feel the pain from his body. What is he suppose to do? Just tell me the damn thing. Will I make it or not? Richard said to himself. That was all he can do after all.
“Mister Devez. Your body is slowly dying. The painkillers are doing the job, but I understand that you still feel pain. However, that is not the pain that you would feel after we take off the painkillers. The magnitude of the pain you feel without the painkillers would be insufferable. That is why we decided to let you have it for a while, because of the fact that if we take it out from your system, your body, you, won’t be able to handle the pain.” The doctor paused. There was a grim look in his face. “But that is also one of the reasons that you might die. Being exposed to such amount of painkillers can result to an overdose. However, if we take the painkillers off, your body will shut down, resulting to... death. We don’t know what to do, but we have done our best.” Done our best my ass. I can’t believe I’m paying you people. Fuck this, just get it over with. How much Richard wished he could say that.
“We’re trying to contact people who are dear to you.”
For what reason? To tell them I’m going to die? To tell them you’re sorry and that there is nothing you could do? Please. Tears again started to fall, but the doctor didn’t notice.
“We’ll have to hear it from them, before we make any other choice. You’re in their hands now. Or most likely, in God’s hands. I am very sorry, Mister Devez.” The doctor paused. “Also, I shouldn’t be telling you these things, I should be telling you that everything is going to be alright and that we can heal you. But I’m done lying to patients. They don’t deserve lies; they deserve the truth, even if it hurts them the most. I’m very sorry, Mister Devez.” The doctor said and left.
At least you told me the truth. Half the people in the world can’t do the thing you just did. You’re right, I deserved it. More tears came down. The pain was still there, but it was minimized. Die by an overdose or die by pain? I wonder what’s better? He felt himself smiling. He’s in God’s hands now. There was no one dear to him at all. He lost them ages ago. Right now it was him and God. And slowly, he starts to think that it was only him. God has abandoned him.
Rain started to fall when he woke up. There were splats of water in the window and lightning surges across the horizon. It was dark, but the flashes of lightning lighted up the room once in a while. The pain was still there, but once again, it was minimized by the painkillers running in his veins. His head started to throb. He had a strong case of headache now and he didn’t know why. It’s finally happening isn’t it? You’re taking me now. It was a good run, old man and I-
Someone came inside the room. It was a nurse; she wore those white nurse outfits. There was a pin in her uniform. It read: “Nurse Ashley Miles”. She had a blonde hair. The colour was very light that it almost looked like it was white. She almost had white hair. Almost. Her hair was ponytailed tied. She was beautiful, cute, pretty all the things you could ask for a nurse to attend you. Or maybe it was just because Richard was dying. Probably that was the reason why he thought of such things. Dying people always had a strong case of searching for love before they go away to the Almighty. But she was indeed beautiful.
She walked to the right side of his bed and checked the IV bag hanging from a pole. He had no idea what was in it, but it was probably one of things that kept him alive. His head started to pound now. Oh, how much it hurt him. He’s going to die at the side of this nurse who had no idea who he was.
“Nurse!” Richard shouted. He was shocked that he was able to speak even if voice was croaking. But it didn’t matter. The nurse jumped, scared, it was like a dead man shouting.
“My..... my... head, it’s..... hurting.... a lot.” He said. He had a hard time speaking but he was able to let the words out.
“Okay sir, I’ll go get the doctor. I’ll be right back.” The nurse replied calmly. She went out on almost what looked like as a jog.
When his doctor arrived, Richard started to lose consciousness. His vision was blurring out.
“Rich! Stay with me pal!” Doctor Crews exclaimed.
He couldn’t stay with him. He just can’t. His eyes are closing. He felt something from his right hand; it felt like someone was holding it. His head looked to the right, it was the nurse. There are tears from her eyes. She was crying. She held his hand tightly. He looked to his left. There was another nurse, following the orders the doctor was giving to her. She looked Mexican, she had crimson black hair and that’s all he could remember, because after that, Richard lost everything. He was gone.
Richard felt like he was dreaming, but in his dream he only saw pure whiteness. It was like the sun shining in his eyes, burning it, slowly melting it. But he didn’t feel pain, in fact, it felt good. He felt warmth, he felt at home. Am I dead? Is this heaven? God? Questions. Only questions entered his mind. But sadly, no, it’s not heaven, it’s not even close to heaven. He wasn’t anywhere but in the hospital. He opened his eyes. He could see clearly now, his face no longer wrapped in medical bandage. There was still pain in his body, it hurt more than it did before, but the pain was bearable. He was still alive. He lived when he thought that he was being taken by the Almighty or Death himself. But he was fine and once again he cheated destiny and fate.
It was morning, the sun shining and his entire room was at peace. His left arm hurt and he could not move it because of the pain. If there was only a pillow that his left hand could lay on, that’d be great. The door opened like it always does when he wakes up, but this time he wasn’t sleeping, this time the sound of the door opening didn’t wake him up. He saw the nurse from before, the one with a blonde hair. Ashley was her name, if he was not mistaken.
“You saved my life.” Richard said with a smile. The smile hurt but it was worth it. The nurse did indeed save his life.
“No, sir. It was the doctor.” She replied back with a smile. Her smile was pure. It was like the heavens opening its gates to mankind, or so that what Richard thought.
“Well if you hadn’t called the doctor, I could’ve been with the Almighty today.” Richard said and chuckled, for a very long time in his life, he’s happy that he was alive. He could feel tears gathering up in his eyes.
The nurse silently checked the IV bag once again. She kept her eyes on her job, avoiding eye contact.
“Hey, you were there with me, when they were trying to, um, save me.” Richard started. “You were crying beside me.”
The nurse was quiet still. She held her voice for a while, but then she couldn’t. “Yeah, I was. I just never really, had an experience like that before.” She said blankly.
“Really? You’re new here?” Richard asked. Now he could talk, he just doesn’t want to stop. There was a bit of pain everytime he tried to talk but it was fine. He just wanted to keep talking and talking until the sun sets.
“Uhmm, yes, yes I am.” She answered as she change the IV bag.
“Hey favour? Can you like, put a pillow in my left arm? Damn thing hurts like a-“ He couldn’t find the right words. “Whatever. Just place a pillow under it, it’ll make me feel much better.”
Ashley slowly raised his left arm. There was pain and she could see it his face. She placed a pillow under his left arm and there was a sign of relief.
“Anything else, sir?” Ashley asked.
“Just stop calling me sir, cause it makes me feel uncomfortable, call me Richard or Rich, whichever you prefer.” Richard said with a smile.
“Okay, anything else, Richard?” Ashley asked once again.
“A bucket of ice cream and a bottle of whiskey. Also add a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket meal on the mix, don’t worry I’ll pay for it.” Richard said and smiled.
“Okay then.” Ashley replied with a smile and left. It made Richard feel uncomfortable. Well, it didn’t go according to plan didn’t it? At least he made her smile. As the nurse, Ashley, opened the door, the doctor, Matthew, walked in, completely ignoring the nurse.
“Oh! Mister Devez. Glad you’re awake. I have some news for you.” The doctor said with a smile.
“Great. Bad news first doc. Let’s get that out of the way shall we?”
“But I don’t have any bad news for you, Mister Devez. In fact, I have very good news. I’m hoping you would like to hear it?”
Richard was flabbergasted when he heard that. No bad news? Are you freaking kidding me? Aren’t you people hired to say bad news? It made Richard chuckle.
“You’re kidding right? I thought I was going to die, that I don’t have any hope.” Richard said, his smile was still intact.
“Well that was your situation before. Your body was, excuse the language, Fucked. You lost a lot of blood, you had internal bleeding, the pain could’ve been unbearable without the painkillers, and you could’ve been dead today. But no, after yesterday’s incident, we were able to, um, let’s say, revive you. I don’t even know if it was us.” The doctor said plainly. Was it an act of God? Why would he want to save someone like him? He didn’t deserve it. He was sinful, in fact, he didn’t believe in him, until now. Was it because of that? He became desperate enough and believed in him? It’s a selfish act, but probably it was the reason why he’s alive right now.
“Your body is also rapidly curing itself. In a week or two, you’ll be able to go out.” The doctor said.
“I don’t know what to say doc.” Richard said as he chuckled once again.
“Well don’t thank me, cause you’ll still be paying me.” They both laughed. “Anyways, how about one our father and a thousand hail marys? Cause I have to say, that was one hell of a miracle God pulled off on you.” The doctor said and smiled at him. “I am not going to lie this time. Everything is going to be fine.” The doctor said as he pats Richard in the shoulder. The doctor left him alone in his room.
“Everything is going to be fine.” Richard repeated. He was never been this happy before. Where’s that ice cream? He asked himself and smiled. He closed his eyes and let sleep take him.
It was night time once again. The moon wasn’t there, but the stars were enough to light up the sky. He woke up from his deep slumber. He seems to wake up at times when people enter his room, because once again, the door opened. It was the nurse, Ashley.
“Hey. You got that ice cream I asked for?” Richard asked as he rubs his eyes. Ashley smiled at him. She did what she always does and went to the right side of the bed and checked the IV bag.
“I really want that ice cream you know? Forget about the whiskey and the Kentucky fried chicken. That ice cream would be really great.” Richard said with a smile. He stared at her beautiful, very beautiful face.
“Okay, what flavour do you want, Richard?” She asked as she looked into his eyes. She smiled at him.
“Uhm, what flavour do you want? I’m planning to share it.” He answered.
“Okay, great! I’ll get that ice cream for you.” She said, her beautiful smile still in her face. She started to walk to the door.
“Wait! Can you stay here for a while? It’s kinda lonely in here.” Richard asked.
“I thought you want me to get that ice cream?” She asked him back.
“You know what’s better than that ice cream? You being here. You just make me feel that.... that everything is going to be alright.” Richard said, his eyes staring at the window, into the stars up above.
She was silent. She stood near the door and looked at him. “I’m sorry, but I can’t.” She said finally and opened the door and left.
Richard felt tears fall from his eyes. He just didn’t know what to do. What waits for him out there? Nothing. Sure, he has a penthouse a wonderful job, everything a rich man could ask for, but there was always something lacking, something missing. Every single damn day of his life, something was missing. He thought of that car crash. He thought of dying. Dying wasn’t that bad, especially when you have nothing to live for.
For two days or so, his room was silent. He watched shows from the television, it provided some entertainment, but the sight or a presence of another being would be great. His parents died a couple of years ago, leaving him. Family members were never in town. It was just him and knowing his other family members won’t have the time to visit him, even if he was dead and in a funeral. Friends? He didn’t really have any for a long time. He was too busy to have friends. Too busy trying to be rich, making his way up that ladder of greatness. Was that really why? Girlfriend? That, well, one night stands always provided some pleasure to him, but he was tired of that too. He was so sinful, why did God decide to save him? It was a stupid choice of him. And Richard thought that it was only him bad in making decisions, apparently even God has bad decisions of his own.
The bandages were now kind of gone. There was only a few left; in his legs and his left arm. The doctor said that he might not be able to walk around with his left leg for a while. Also his left arm was pretty banged up, so he might be able to use it for sometime, also no driving for quite sometime. Jeez doc, after what happened, what makes you think I would be driving for the remaining remainder of my life? It made both of them laugh.
The door opened. He saw a nurse carrying what seems to be bucket of ice cream. It was chocolate flavoured. Richard hated chocolate, but the nurse? It was Ashley. How could he hate the ice cream if she was carrying it?
“Oh great, you got chocolate.” Richard said with a smile.
“Why? You don’t like chocolate?” Ashley asked, there was some struggle in her face as she carried the ice cream near to his bed.
“No, I like chocolate, love chocolate.” He lied. But there was a smile in his face.
“Doctor said you can’t have much, so looks like I’ll be eating half of this ice cream.” She said and giggled.
“I thought you couldn’t stay?” He asked her.
“It’ll be fine. Plus it’s not that busy here as before. Shall we?” She said as she hand out a plastic spoon to Richard.
“Thanks.” He said with a smile. He grabbed a scoop (even if he hated chocolate) and ate it. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad. In fact it was great. Who knew that a flavour he hated so much tasted so good?
“I haven’t thanked you enough for saving me.” Richard said.
“I think this ice cream is good enough of a thank you for me.” She replied and smiled.
“I’m serious. You saved me.” Richard said.
“Richard. It was you who saved yourself. I did nothing.” Ashley said. “Stop thinking that it was me, cause it wasn’t.”
“Okay then.” He smiled. “Let’s finish this ice cream shall we?” He asked with a grin, ready to get another scoop of ice cream.
“Nooooooooo, the doctor said you can’t have too much!” Ashley shouted and laughed. They both furiously ate the ice cream together. And for Richard, it was the best ice cream he ever had; it was the best day of his life. It felt like a second heaven to him.
A week later, he was able to go out of his room. With his crutches he made his way to the doctor’s office. He opened the door to Doctor Crews’ office.
“Hey there doc!” Richard greeted.
“Hey champ! Wow, I never expected you’ll be ready this early on.” Matthew said with a grin.
“Better than being dead, right?” Richard said and they both laughed.
“So hey this is it huh?” Matthew asked, the smile was still clear in his face.
“Yeah. This is it.” Richard said.
“Until we each other again.” Matthew said.
“I hope not doc, I sure hope that we never see each other again.” They both laughed. The laugh seems to last forever. It made Richard feel much alive.
“Okay then. Goodbye Richard. To not seeing each other again.” Matthew said as he raises his hand to Richard.
“To not seeing each other again.” Richard shook his hand.
He left Doctor Crews office and made his way to the nurse receptionist desk. There he saw the Mexican nurse, picking up the phone and talking to some other person in the other line. Richard waited until she finished the phone call.
“May I help you?” The nurse asked.
It surprised Richard that the nurse was wearing a pink uniform, not the same as Ashley’s white uniform. Probably she’s a special type of nurse or something. He thought.
“Uhm yes. Can you tell me where could I find Ashley?” Richard asked the nurse with a smile.
“Uhm, Ashley, sir?” The nurse asked, confused.
“Nurse Ashley Miles.” Richard said, to clear the confusion.
“Hold on, let me check the list of nurses we have here.” The nurse said and checked the list. It was a long time and it took time. Richard’s heartbeat went really fast. Why is it taking her so long?
“Um, sorry sir, but there’s no one here with the name Ashley Miles.” The nurse said.
Richard was shocked more than anything. He felt tears. What the fuck is happening?
“But, she was in my room. She... was... She was the nurse in my room!” Richard shouted furiously.
“Sir! Calm down! I was the nurse in your room!” The nurse shouted back.
“No, there was... there was someone else. I’m sure, she was there. We... had.... ice cream...” The tears fell. He was losing it.
“Sir, are you okay?” The nurse asked.
He wasn’t. He was crying, he was confused, he was delusional. No, no we wasn’t. There was some sense in him. He knew that. He must go back. He must see her again. He must...
Richard ran. He left his crutches and ran. He didn’t feel pain, he didn’t feel anything.
“Sir!” the nurse from the receptionist desk exclaimed as she get to the phone.
Richard ran and ran. He took the stairs. He was able to run and he didn’t know how. It didn’t matter how. His tears were falling. He made it to the hallway. He ran to his room. He opened the door. And there he saw her sitting in a chair. He saw her tears.
“Ashley!” He ran to her and hugged her.
“Richard.” She said with a smile. “I’m glad to see you.” Her tears fell alongside his.
“I knew that you’re here. I know that you’re real.” Richard said, he tried hard to smile and his tears fell.
“I am real, Richard. I’ll always be here.” She pointed to his heart.
“What? I don’t.... I don’t understand.” Richard said confused.
“Goodbye, Richard.” She said, tears fell. So much tears. Her hair, her hand, her whole body, her everything was slowly fading.
“No! No! Please, don’t go!” Richard shouted. His tears was falling freely now.
“Goodbye Richard.” She was almost gone.
“Goodbye isn’t forever. It’s not.” Richard said as he kneels down in front of her, his tears falling to the ground.
“In that case, I love you, forever.” Ashley said to him with a smile. Then she faded completely. There was only Richard and the sun in his room, the sunlight provided light to whatever’s left of him. He cried and cried.
The nurse from the receptionist desk and Doctor Crews made it to the room.
“Richard!” The doctor shouted and went to him. “What happened?” he asked.
Richard stood up, dried his tears and went to the window, completely ignoring the doctor and everyone else. He touched the glass window.
“This is my second heaven.” Richard said with a smile. “My first will always be with you. I love you...... forever.”