This morning I woke up to the feeling of something watching me. It wasn’t the fact that I am going to meet my new nurse. No, that has nothing to do with the air in the room. It was too dark, too blurry and most of all, the scent of nicotine getting into my nostril had me watch front and back of every corner of my room in alarm.
“She’s responding very well to the new therapy. Only if we could have gotten her out of Southside.” I hear the doctor say who I assume is my new nurse. Truth be told, I have already started to miss my old nurse. Though a nonstop chatterbox, she was a pleasant company to spend my days.
Especially on the days, I missed Grace.
My heart clenches again thinking about him. The last time I saw Grace she promised that he was going to be waiting for me at home. And somedays I believed her. Other days I brushed them off.
There was nothing to be liked about me.
I wasn’t just Gwen anymore.
I was a liability. A painful burden he didn’t deserve to bare for the rest of his life. I wasn’t that much of a selfish to hold him off from getting what he wanted. If only he would understand what I was going through. The remainder of what happened...it made me scared of my own shadow.
Now how can I promise him to always be there for him when I can’t even be there for myself?
“Ms. Evans?” My eyes immediately dart to the far end of my door and instead of my doctor or nurse, I see a petite woman beaming at me. She has beautiful red hair tightly secured in a ponytail and a matching red jacket over her white knee-length dress.
“You’re Gloria right?” She asks again when she doesn’t get any confirmation from me. So this time I give her a small nod. When she enters the room, unconsciously I tug the hem of my shirt hard.
Is she my new nurse?
Or is she someone those people send to-
“You look tense. You ok?” She has no idea. But still, I nod giving her a barely-there smile.
“Good! So I’m your new nurse and I will help you from now on. Everyone calls me Ms. Valentine but you can call me Debra.” I think she lost the irony that I can’t utter a word. Still, I act like it’s freaking fine and give her another nod.
Suddenly she has a cute frown on her face. And I’m the one surprised when she says the next words. “Um...why are you just nodding? I want to hear the voice of my patient.”
My eyes widen but I have nothing to say. Doesn’t she know that I-I can’t-
“Did they tried speech therapy before?” She asks me losing the smile on her face. When I shake my head she curses.
“Fuck! This is going to be an even bigger mess.” Her eyes go over to my trembled form and she sighs in frustration or something else that I don’t get to know. “But don’t worry, I will try to give you speech therapy along with the physical one. I can’t wait to get you operated and running on your feet.”
How can she be so hopeful? How am I even hope for an operation when I can’t go to big cities or anywhere far from home?
Those bad people were still after me. In my mind, my dream, my life. They took all of me away.
Leaving only a broken shell.
“I know you feel like this is the end of life.” I’m startled to hear her talk. Her face hardens when she continues. “I know you think that nothing can be fixed again. But it can be. You don’t have to feel all of that awesomeness in one day. You can take just one step at a time. Then one day it will feel like you’ve become whole again.”
I want to. God, I want to break this chain they’ve gotten myself into. But I can’t, I just can’t. My world is too much dull to see an ounce of color in them.
“But you have to believe that yourself.” Her hands capture my folded ones and I see that welcoming smile again. “You have to be the one to take that step. If you take a step back everytime you think you can’t go ahead, then none of us can help you.”
At this moment I am not sure what I feel but I’m sure that the darkness doesn’t take me away in their embrace.
“So, would you like breakfast in bed?” She asks with a grin.
I’m tempted to nod again. To not see the other people in this facility and let them judge me. But I know the dark doesn’t need me for now. So I take its full advantage. Instead of nodding, I jerk my chin towards the wheelchair. She understands quickly cause in a minute she helps me in the chair and starts to take me to the dining hall.
My heart beats with anticipation and fear but I hold them down. My breath quickens the closer we get to the hall door. When Debra opens the door with a big encouraging smile I can only chant-
One step at a time...