Chapter Eighteen: Chris.
It took me all night to find the right hospital, finally finding it around one in the morning. In my panic to find out what had happened, I wasn’t thinking straight. There was no way they were going to let me in at this time of night. Much to my dismay, I was right.
“I’m sorry, there are no visitors at this time.” The nurse at the front desk said with a frown. She really did seem sorry about it, I must look like a complete and total mess right now.
I ran a hand through my messed up brown hair, it must be sticking up all over the place from me nervously messing with it. “Right, I guess I already knew that. I assume I can come tomorrow during visiting hours?”
“I’m afraid not.” She said, looking at the computer screen. The nurse must had Daisy’s file open. “Due to the reason’s she was brought into us, her visiting hours will not be open tomorrow.”
“The reasons?” I couldn’t wrap my head around that, what could that mean? It didn’t sound good, and it made me feel a little sick to my stomach. “What happened to her?”
“I can’t share that information at this time, I really am so sorry.” I felt my hands curl into fists, she must have been able to sense my sense of panic and agitation. “I think the earliest she will be allowed visitors is Monday. How about you call first thing Monday morning, someone will be able to tell you more about if she is accepting visitors then.”
Monday, it felt like a millions miles away, but their was nothing I could do about it. I thanked the nurse, she had been very patient with me after all. Not everyone would be able to deal with a frantic grown man running in at one am. I would have to sit around until then, hoping that everything was okay. It was not something I was looking forward too.
Being told that she was accepting victors on Monday morning between nine and noon was the best news I had gotten in some time. I didn’t want to show up empty handed, since I barely even knew what I was going to say to her. I wracked my brain over it, finally deciding on what I wanted to get her. Roses, of course roses.
I had sent her that huge arrangement in the past, it felt like forever ago now, and she had no clue who it was from. My fear over telling her seemed stupid now, trivial. So, I ordered another one. Smaller, but the same thing other then the size. Even if it didn’t occur to her that it was exactly the same, or that I was the one that sent those flowers to her work, it didn’t matter. Maybe it would make her smile, maybe she would let us talk.
I didn’t realize how nervous I was until I walked into her room. It was quite, other then the machines beeping at an even pace. Her heartbeat, it was good to hear it. The room was empty other then Daisy sleeping in her bed, and another woman sitting in a chair by the bed. She rose to her feet when I introduced myself, and I realized that I must seem silly. No one in her circle knew about me, most likely, and if they did they may hate me. Because honestly, their was a possibility that Daisy hated me as well. But that didn’t seem to be how the conversation went, it went a way that I never thought it would.
“Daisy… Tried too…” Kill herself? I was at a loss for words. My feet took me to the side of her bed, setting the roses on the table there. She was sound asleep, her skin pale and under her eyes red. Her arms were pulled to her chest protectively, they were wrapped completely with bandages. I fought back the urge to reach out, touching the bandages that must cover something horrible. What have your done to yourself Daisy?
“No one told you then.” Maria said, watching me move to her side. “Daisy has been fighting this shit for a long time. But you wouldn’t know from looking at her, I don’t even see it half the time and I’ve known her forever. I’m sure she always seemed happy around you.”
I nodded, I would of never guessed that she was close to doing something like this. “I never would of…” Not in a million years. “You were the one who…” I couldn’t make an sentences, I couldn’t even think.
“Yeah.” She knew what I was trying to say, which was good. “I found her in a bathtub full of her own…” She stopped, it must be hard for her to talk about or even think about. “Koda was barking, he was frantic. Daisy’s Grams says he hasn’t moved from the door where they took her out. I’m trying to convince them to let me bring him in… No luck so far.” Her tanned arms crossed over her chest, light dyed hair falling out of her bun. “When I got there, she was barely awake or there it seemed. When I called out to her, she thought…” Another pause, “She thought I was you. She called for you.”
I sunk down, my body falling into the chair that Maria had once been sitting in. It was like my legs had given out on me, forcing me to have to sit. She didn’t seem to mind, in fact she looked sympathetic as she looked at me. “Sorry, I know it’s a lot of information.” She sat at the edge of her friend’s bed, “Daisy is… One of the best people I know. I love her. But, she has baggage. She is lost and doesn’t know what to do anymore. She doesn’t realize that she has people who want her to be alive.” I couldn’t even imagine going through life thinking that. “I don’t know anything about you, but you’re someone to her. I don’t know who, but you’re on her mind. You were one of the last things on her mind.”
I finally had the courage to reach out, my hand resting on Daisy’s as she slept. Even though the bandages she felt cold, “Has she said anything… Since she got here.”
“She barely speaks. She doesn’t eat, talk, smile. It’s like she’s stuck in her own body.” It was painful enough to see her like this so seeing her as Maria describes… It sounds like it would kill me or anyone who cared about her. Yet, here she stood.
“You must be someone very important to Daisy, cause you’re still here.” I said, looking at the tired woman.
“I’ve known Daisy for over twenty years, she’s done a lot for me.” Maria said, looking at her friend. “She’s always been the most amazing and brave person I knew. So when I saw things changing, I didn’t know what to do. So I guess I did nothing, and now she is here.”
She blamed herself. “Daisy wouldn’t want you to blame herself.”
“She would kick my ass if she was back to her old self.” She smiled a bit, “But unfortunately everyone is blaming themselves a bit now. Her Grams can barely come around some days, she feels like she didn’t do enough. Daisy was living with her since she lost her last job and apartment. And her parents will be here tomorrow, traveling from Washington. Her mom sounded like a mess on the phone. I think we all saw it coming, but assumed she would always be able to fight it off. We assumed she would be okay, and we were wrong.”
Daisy had this whole life, all these troubles, that I knew nothing about. I wanted too, I had always wanted that, but she just didn’t let me in. “I wanted to know everything about her. For some reason, she seemed like a super hero to me. I never understood why but, now I’m starting too. She had a lot more going on then I could see, and she fought it everyday. I just wish she would of let me in…” But even the simplest of questions she had trouble answering and telling me. But maybe that was starting to make sense now, maybe she was just scared.
“I don’t know what happened to her last job, she wouldn’t tell me.” I looked away from Daisy when she said that, even her friend of this long had trouble getting information then? “But, she had been dating someone from work. Then he became manager, and everything seemed good. Then suddenly it wasn’t. I always assumed that something happened with them.”
It was like a light bulb went off. I had been right about her being scared. If something happened with her boyfriend and she lost her job because of that, and then her apartment, then it was no wonder that she was nervous of getting close to me. Without knowing it, I may have been bringing up some painful memories when all I wanted was to know her. “She thought she was going to lose her job because of me.” I should of seen that, she was so careful about everything.
Maria was quite for a moment, she didn’t say a word. She just looked at me, I could feel her eyes on me as I looked down at Daisy. I wish I knew what to do, or what to say… But I didn’t. “What are you to Daisy?”
The sudden question took me by surprise, mostly because I didn’t know how to answer it. “What am I to her?” I had no idea. It was obvious that I had no clue what was happening in Daisy’s head, painful obvious. “I don’t know what I am to her, I only know what she is to me.” Someone important, someone I care for. Daisy is someone that makes my day better just by walking into my home. She is someone who appeared right when I needed her. A superhero. “And to me, she is someone I love.”
If Maria was surprised, she didn’t look it. After a moment of looking at her, I looked back to Daisy slightly embarrassed. It was the first time I admitted that, to myself none less out loud.
“When Daisy was seven she was terrified of Jurassic Park.”
“She watched it and it scared the crap out of her. While she was afraid of dinosaurs I had just been forced to watch piranha by my older sibling so I was terrified of man eating fish. We spent a sleepover talking about how scared we were, listening to a CD we had gotten out of cereal box in a blanket fort. We were ridiculous. I was afraid of something from the amazon, she was afraid of something extinct.”
I didn’t know why she was telling me this but I found myself smiling. I imagined a small Daisy, blanket pulled over her head talking about raptors and trexs. “For the record, she loves Jurassic Park now and much to my dislike she also likes the piranha movie.”
It was little tid bits that I would of never know about her otherwise, and maybe that was the point. Daisy had wanted me to know about her, or so I hoped, but had been to scared. And now, for some reason, Maria had decided to let me into parts of her life. I didn’t know what I did to deserve it, but I was thankful.
She told me stories of young Daisy. Of how she loved to climb trees, eat buttered noodles, and even about how she went through his phase where she would bark at people. “It was the worst.” She said, “She would get mad and instead of reacting like a normal human she would bark at people.”
“As we got older she just became an older and better version of herself. Sometimes it seemed like she had more confidence, which I was glad to see. I always thought it was somewhere in there.” Maria laughed, “One time we went to a bar and this guy was flirting with me, and Daisy didn’t like him. He had been causing drama all night, flirting with me in front of his ex just to stir things up. And Daisy stepped in, flat out looking at him and saying she didn’t like him. She told him if he tried anything she would punch him so hard he would go back in time to a period in his life when he still had a full head of hair.”
She was laughing and I found myself laughing. The more she told me the more I felt I knew her. I had seen it all in her before; the spunk, the kindness, the passion. But hearing about it in real life from someone who knew her, it was really nice.
By the time she was done talking about, I felt like I knew so much more about Daisy. I knew she liked coffee, even though it gave her the jitters and sometimes messed with her anxiety. I learned her passion for writing was stronger then I knew. It wasn’t just a hobby, it was what she wanted to do with her life. I learned that when she get’s drunk she gets passionate about strange things, like oil spills and how oil companies doesn’t take care of there employees. She also wanted to add that Daisy has never worked for such a company, or known anyone who did. It was a passion that came out of no where. Maria said she once ranted to a man about the best stock to buy that no one ever does, leaving at the end of the night laughing about how she had no idea what she was talking about and it wasn’t even a real company. Her favorite TV show is Parks and Recreation, and she loves any move with Mark Walberg in it. Sushi is her favorite food, she hates birds, and her favorite time of the year is around Christmas because Christmas is her favorite holiday and her birthday is the day after.
She named her car Pee Wee Herman. She knows more about the Kardashians she will ever admit out loud. When she goes out with her guy friends she likes finishing her shot first because she thinks it asserts her dominance. She’s independent while her parents are extremely republican. She started working the summer before high school. She had been a unicorn for Halloween eight times because she owns a unicorn onsite.
And that was only the beginning. She said if things worked out, if I got the chance to talk to her, then I would learn more an more everyday. The closer I got, the more Daisy would let me in. Maria said that once Daisy let me in, it would feel like the best moment of my life. And I really believed that.
I was there for over and hour, yet Daisy didn’t arise from her sleep. “Sorry you didn’t get to talk to her.” Maria said as I as getting ready to leave. “They have her on a lot of drugs right now, she sleeps like this most the time.”
I nodded, “It’s okay.” Maybe this wasn’t the best time to talk anyway. As much as I wanted too, she wasn’t well. I wanted to talk when she was out and better. I would wait as long as I needed too. Because Daisy, well, she was worth it. I wrote my name down with my number, handing it to her. “I think it would be better if I saw her… Maybe after she was out. Would you call me when she’s released?”
“Yeah, I will.” I looked down at Daisy one more time, leaning down to kiss her softly on the forehead. If she needed sleep, then that’s what she should be doing it. She needed to get better, she needed to start healing. It would be a long road to recovery, for now though let her sleep.
My mind was buzzing with ideas as I went to leave the room, before I could go though Maria spoke one more time. “How old are you Chris?”
I had been waiting for a question like that. I pursed my lips a bit, looking at her over my shoulder. “I just turned 40 not long ago.”
“The big four o huh?” She nodded her head a few times, before speaking again. “During two of Daisy’s most miserable times she called out for you to be there. Their wasn’t fear in her voice, she wasn’t speaking the name of someone she was scared of. She was calling out to someone she thought could make that pain go away.” Her hands were in the pockets of her sweat pants, “I don’t think age matters much when you’re the person she thinks can make her pain go away, do you?”
I smiled a bit, “No, I don’t think it does.” And just like that, age really was just a number.
“Text me her address tonight.” I said as I walked to the frame of the door, tapping on it a few times. “And meet me at the door tomorrow at the beginning of visiting hours.”
She was confused, which was to be expected. “How come?”
“I’m gonna make Daisy smile.”
She looked at me unsure, but she didn’t say no either. Maria wanted Daisy to be happy, I’m sure she was willing to try anything. “Hey, one more thing.” She said, “Those flowers, she got the exact same only bigger delivered to her work… Was that you?”
I didn’t say anything, I only smiled as I left the room. I’m pretty sure I saw Maria smile too.