The next few hours went by in ablur. Not long after I put my phone on speaker, the paramedics barged into the house and took over. They had to push me out of the way to get to Sam.They put her on oxygen and a drip, ensured there was still a heart beat – even though very faint – and then moved her to their stretcher. As they loaded her into the ambulance I tried to get in with them.
“Sorry sir, only family can ride in the back. You will need to follow behind in your car.” I was about to argue but they had already closed the doors, ready to leave.
I raced back into the house to find my keys and phone. I needed to phone my dad; he would know what to do. I snatched my phone and headed back to the front of the house again to where I had dropped my keys on the floor when I stumbled inside. As I bent down to pick them up, her note caught my eye. I folded it and stuffed it into my pocket and ran out the door, stopping only to close it on my way out.
Once in my car Isped off in the direction of the ambulance. I knew where they were going as there was only one hospital close by. Grabbing my phone from the seat next to me, I speed dialed my dad.
“Anthony Gillen, good day,” answered my dad.
“Dad, it’s me Brandon!”
“Oh, hi Brandon. Did you find Sam?”
“Dad, she tried to kill herself!” My voice broke at that moment. I took a deep breath to calm myself and heard my dad ask:
“She did what? Brandon, you need to speak up. I couldn’t hear that last part.”
“Kill herself, dad. She took a bunch of pills and tried to end her life.” At the last word the tears streamed down my face again. Watching the road became somewhat difficult but I just kept on driving.
“Did you phone 911? Give me the address. Mom and I are on our way over now.”
“We are on our way to the hospital, dad. I called 911; she had a very faint heartbeat. Like you really needed to listen very carefully or you couldn’t hear it. They wouldn’t let me drive with her as I am not family. Dad, what if she dies?”
“Brandon, where are they taking her? We are in the car.”
“Little Company of Mary Hospital. I am pulling in now. I can see the ambulance. Dad, hurry, I don’t know what to do.” I dropped the call, parked the car and took off running for the ER. I had to know she was okay. I burst through the doors and ran to the reception desk. I couldn’t see Sam anywhere.
“Can I help you,sir?” came the voice from the other side of the desk.
“I . . . I . . . I am looking for Samantha Preston. She just arrived. She tried to commit suicide.” I wasn’t really looking at the woman. My eyes kept wandering around in case Sam walked out of a cubicle at any moment, and I might miss her if I didn’t keep an eye out.
“Who are you,sir?” she asked. I stopped looking around and faced the women behind the desk. Her name tag read ‘Bridget ’. I took in the thick brown hair pulled into a ponytail; she was a big girl and wore heavy-rimmed glasses. She appeared to be somewhere in her 40s. I must have looked very confused because she repeated the question again.
“What is your relationship to Samantha Preston, sir?”
“I . . . I’m her boyfriend,” I lied. I needed information and if I had to lie to get it, I would. “I was the one who called 911. Now can you please tell me where she is so I can go to see if she is okay?” My voice broke again at the end. The women must have decided that she didn’t want to deal with a panic attack because she quickly pulled up the file on her computer.
“They are busy working on her now. She hasn’t regained consciousness yet. On the way over here they lost her heart beat a few times but got her back each time. They are pumping her stomach now and they will give her some medication to work everything out of her system more effectively. That is all the information I have at the moment. Take a seat, and as soon as a doctor comes out I’ll have them come over and talk to you, okay?”
I didn’t want to take a seat and wait. I wanted to see Sam. But it didn’t look like that was going to happen any time soon, so I began pacing up and down the waiting area.
Sticking my hands in my pockets, my fingers folded around the note Sam had left. I pulled it out, slowly opened it and started to read it again.
Dear whoever finds this:
I really hope it isn’t my housekeeper. If it is, I’m really sorry Mrs. Pou. At least I left the house clean for you.
Someone bumped me and I realised I was standing in the middle of the hallway. I spotted an empty seat and went and sat down to read further.
I have decided to make it easy on everybody in my life (whether you wanted to be in my life or not), for those who didn’t want to be in my life or didn’t choose to be in my life. I’m sorry I was such a mess.
My aunt who took me in when I had no one left and who tried to give me a new start in life: I’m sorry I disappointed you and failed you.
“Brandon, there you are! Are you okay?” Looking up from the letter in my hands I could see the concern on my mom’s face. As I wiped my eyes, I looked between my mom and dad and the tears started to flow again.
“She is in a critical condition, mom. They had to pump her stomach and her heart stopped a few times on the ride over. She tried to kill herself, mom, and it’s all my fault!” By then my mom had pulled me into her arms and was holding me. I must have dropped the letter because my dad picked it up and began to read it.
After a few minutes I calmed down, and my dad left to see if he could find out any new information regarding Sam.
It took Sam three days to regain consciousness. I wouldn’t leave her side. My mom brought me clean clothes and food each day, and the hospital was kind enough to give me a blanket and pillow. I wanted to be the first thing Sam saw when she opened her eyes so that she would know that she is cared for and that I love her and will never let her be hurt again.
Her mom stopped by once or twice. We didn’t speak much. She sat and held Sam’s hand and talked to her softly. After about a half hour she would kiss her on the head, nod her goodbye to me and leave again. I wasn’t sure what to make of it but I knew when Sam woke up she would not be too happy knowing her mom had been visiting.
Sam was under suicide watch and when we finally got hold of her aunt in Iceland, she gave permission to have her admitted to a facility for proper treatment. She was struggling to get a flight home but left my dad in charge of the arrangements.
I was asleep in the chair when Sam woke up.
“Where am I?” Her voice was hoarse. I was lying with my head on the bed. She had to tap me on the head to wake me. Looking up at her confused face and beautiful eyes I couldn’t help but smile. My Sleeping Beauty was finally awake.
“Hey Sleeping Beauty. How are you feeling?”
“Thirsty!” was all she got out. I rushed around to get her a glass of water and a straw. I also pushed a call button so that the nurse would know she was awake. Helping her to drink some water, I told her how I had found her and why she was in the hospital.
“You gave me the fright of my life, you know that? Please don’t ever do that again.”
She still looked confused but nodded her head as the nurse and doctor came into the room.
A few days later the doctor said she was well enough to be released. She hadn’t been started on any new meds yet, as her therapist wanted to do an evaluation when she was admitted to the Depression Centre, to ensure the dosage they gave her was correct. She wasn’t too happy about going there, but by then her aunt had arrived, and after the two of them had a long talk she finally agreed to go.
Not that she could argue. It was either the centre or her mom’s house. And we all knew she wouldn’t set foot in that place.
She even banned her mom from her room when she tried to visit one day. I could see the hurt in her mom’s eyes but I could understand why Sam didn’t want to see her.
Once she was settled at the centre my parents made me go back to school. I didn’t want to go, but since she would be in therapy most of the day and then have special classes to catch up with her schoolwork, I wouldn’t have been able to see her anyway.
So every day I went to school and as soon as it was out I drove to the centre to visit Sam. The first few times she was really surprised that I showed up, but the more I visited the more she accepted it. She actually started opening up to me a bit.
We talked for hours every day, never running out of things to say to each other. We grew closer each day, and each day I had to struggle with myself not to tell her how I felt about her.
I didn’t want to push, as I knew she was still recovering. But once or twice we found ourselves in a position where I only needed to lean in a few centimetres to kiss her. But each time one of us turned away and we would go on with the conversation.
Time was flying past and the time for her release was creeping closer. I could see the old Sam returning. The Sam I saw at the beginning of the year. She was excited about the end of her stay but I could see she was also a bit freaked out about the fact that she would be back to taking care of herself. I assured her I would be there and sometimes it worked and sometimes she would just change the subject. But Sam was happy again and that was all that mattered to me.