Lein stood in the hospital waiting room in a blue haze. Debi was there, as was Blaine, as was Ronnie, but Lein was unaware of everyone. A Tyrannosaurus Rex could have been in the room about to eat him, but he wouldn’t have noticed or felt its serrated teeth. All that he was aware of was that his wife had gotten drunk and had slit her wrists. She had finally gone down the road toward the ultimate escapist route. Thankfully enough, she was alive at that point, but he didn’t know how long she would be if left to her own devices.
A doctor finally appeared and told the group that Perion would make it, but she had come close, very close, to dying. If Blaine had waited a few minutes longer before getting inside the bathroom, she would have surely died.
Lein was allowed inside to see her, and reminded [again, painfully] of the last time he’d seen her in a hospital bed.
“I’m sorry, Lee, sorry,” she said groggily.
He noticed with a pang of anguished hurt that both wrists were bandaged up, and an I.V. tube ran into her arm, transfusing blood. “You need help, babe, the kind I can’t offer. You need professional help.” He felt like a failure. He was her husband, for God’s sake, wasn’t he supposed to protect her?
“I know,” she whispered, “I know. I thought I could handle it, but I can’t.”
“You’re going into this program the doc mentioned, it’s for your own good. Debi’s going in, too, for her grief and drinking. I really think it’ll do wonders for you both.”
She nodded silently, like an obedient child confronted by a livid parent.
He approached her and took her in his arms, mindful of the I.V. line. “I never want to come that close again, Perion, never.”
“I’m sorry, Lee, I’m so sorry,” she said, crying against his chest.
“I know. It’s going to get better, you have to believe that.”
Did she believe it? Did she?