WHITE CEILINGS AND WALLS
Beep. Beep. Beep.
I slowly opened my eyes. It took me a few seconds to read the room. White Ceiling and walls, light-beige blinds rolled up, Wires attached to my body, a machine beeping, and the ugly hospital gown.
I shifted my head in different directions but saw no one. Then I heard a slight movement from the doors. I tried to push my body, but it was too much. Rohan came into my mind. How was he? How is Mom? Where is everyone?
The door opened, and some doctors and nurses walked beside him and entered the room. “Good Evening Ms. Gill. I am Doctor Massod. How are you feeling?” said the tallest man. “I don’t know,” I replied in a low-toned voice. “What happened to me? Where is my family?” I asked. My head ached too much for me to focus on anything.
A nurse approached me with a temperature scanner. She took some time reading the weird numbers on my machine and noting them down on the paper. Doctor Massod explained the whole car accident. He said I was in a coma for four weeks. Because I was driving and the truck hit my car from the left, I suffered a head injury and a few minor injuries on my body. Doctor Massod asked the nurse holding some paper to pass the file. “This is Nurse Gulnaz. She is very competent, and she will be taking care of you. If you need anything, feel free to ask her.” I looked at her. She looked like a woman in her late 20s, dark-skinned, with short curly hair, about 5’5, and an alluring smile. I nodded my head. I was still curious to know where my family was.
“Can I ask you a question?” I asked politely. Doctor Massod replied yes, without looking up. “Where is my family? When can I go home?” The doctor closed the file and passed it to the nurse. “Well, your family is quite a hassle. We only allow one person to stay the night with a patient. Your family they are debating who is going to stay tonight. It seems they all want to.”This is my family. Crazy. Loving. Over protective.
“As for discharging, we must keep you under observation for now. It was a long coma. We need to run some tests, and according to the results, we will decide.” The doctor puts on an assuring smile and exits the room.
I was alone in the room for a long time. Then, finally, my younger brother, Rohan, rushed to open the door and hugged me.
“Ouch” I screamed in pain.
“Sorry, Sorry, Sorry,” Rohan said, wiping his tears. If it were any other day, I would not believe Rohan was crying for me. We fight all the time, and we disagree on every topic. So to see him shed tears for me brought tears to my eyes. Rohan pulled a chair next to the bed and sat on it. I got my hand on his face, and he started crying.
“Rohan, Hey. Talk to me. What’s wrong?” I cupped his face with my left hand. He sniffed and tried to hold back tears. Then, he went in for a hug again. This time, I used my arms to hug him back.
“You were not waking up. I thought you would never wake up. You know I’m sorry. I fought with you and was being an asshole on the phone. You got distracted, and the whole accident… It’s my fault.” Bending his head downward, Rohan was caressing my hands. Tears kept flowing down his face.
“Rohan, it was not your fault. It was me. I should’ve paid attention. I was too invested in our conversation. Hmm,” I brought his face closer to my body and wiped away his tears. He sniffed again, and a smile formed on his face.
Rohan helped me straight back and sat up. I asked him, “Where is everyone?” Without looking up, he said they were outside. He was going to stay the night with me.
A few minutes later, my whole family entered the room. I looked up at my Mom. She hugged me and kissed my cheeks. Hala, my younger cousin, started to caress my hand. I looked at them. Rohan was sitting on the bed, Eman, my cousin, was holding my left hand, Mom ran her fingers through my hair, and my Dad stood at the rear of the bed. My uncle and his wife- Sohail and Sanam- sit on the couch near the window.
Their swollen eyes brought tears as if someone had opened the fountain in my eyes. But then, there were silent tears from both sides for a minute. Then, finally, my Mom asked, “How are you feeling?” in a broken voice.
“Ma. I’m sorry. I am fine now. The doctors said they would keep me here for a while.”
It was 7 am. I looked around the room, and Rohan was sleeping on the sofa. I was parched. I couldn’t find the bell. I tried to call Rohan, but he was sleeping soundly. I was helpless, as I could not move my body. Finally, with extreme pain, I lifted my legs and stood up. Unable to stand correctly, I fell. My arms hit the sofa.
Fortunately, Rohan opened his eyes and held me tight. “Are you dumb? What the hell, yaar! You could’ve called me.” Rohan started shouting at me. My head was spinning badly. My hands were on my ears. I couldn’t process what had just happened. Rohan swept me off the floor and laid me back on the bed. He rushed out to the hallway.
Within a minute, Nurse Gulnaz and Doctor Massod entered the room. There was Hustle and Bustle. Doctor M asked me to follow the light emitting from his pen. “Everything looks good. You have to be more cautious, Ms. Bajwa.” I nodded my head. “Well, how are you feeling now?”
“My body hurts. I feel the world is spinning right now.” I laughed.
“Get some rest. Four weeks is too much. I am glad you don’t have amnesia. Usually, in these cases, patients have amnesia or PTSD. I am prescribing some medicines. Let’s keep you under observation for now.”
Suddenly everyone left the room. Rohan moved closer to me and pulled my hands onto his. “Api, This all happened because of me. I am sorry. I’ll disclose everything. You do not need to be a cover for me.” I kept staring at him. This little kid is all grown up now. He finally accepts his mistakes. My mind went astray for a minute. Finally, my voice cracked and came out as a whisper, “ Rohan, It was not your fault. Don’t you ever repeat it? Understood?” He protested, but at last, He nodded in confirmation.
“By the way, about Umair Bhai. When you were in a coma, He visited you every week.” Hearing about Umair, I was shocked. Why was he visiting me? All I remember is that I said I would only think about Umair to mama. So what’s with the sudden visits? Are my parents eager to get me married to a random person?