“Levi, try that part again, this time get up from the stool, walk slowly over to Emily and reach for her hand as you say your lines”, the director instructs me.
I move to stand up from the stool and quickly adjust my pant leg to cover my brace. Emily catches me and she gapes wide-eyed at my left leg brace, then gives me the uncomfortable pity look. I glare at her with slanted eyes and she clears her throat before fixing her posture and looks away from me.
Great! this is all I need I think to myself. Emily is the leading actress in this particular movie, and I am only in a few scenes. Mark thought it best that I slowly get back into bigger roles, to prove to the producers that I’m capable, I guess.
I follow the director’s previous instructions and get the scene done to his satisfaction. Emily gives me that questioning look, like why am I wearing a leg brace kind of look. I do my best to ignore her, but she decided to follow me up the stairs to the dressing rooms.
“Do you need some help?” Emily asks and grabs my free arm while I make my way up the stairs, one step at a time.
I shake her hand away, trying not to be mean, but I am annoyed at the way she is acting towards me after catching sight of my disabilities. She didn’t treat me this way the first two weeks, so why all the sudden?
“I don’t need any help, this is how I walk up the stairs”, I blankly tell her.
“Oh”, is all she responds in a shy tone.
I sigh loudly. If this can’t get any worse! Where is Charlotte when I need her? Oh right, thousands of miles away because I decided to let her talk me into coming back here so I can pretend everything is back to normal, when in reality, everyone here is treating me like a cripple. Everyone except Landon that is. Great! Here comes Mark walking towards me, probably going to ask if I need any help.
“Hey mate! Everything go alright today? Do you need anything? You look like you are limping more!“, Mark says to me.
I am beyond irritated at this moment. No, everything is not alright, I have been having leg spasms all day, Emily is treating me different, and Charlotte hasn’t spoken to me over the phone in a while...Is how I really want to answer Mark.
Instead, I only reply with, “Yes, everything is fine, no need to worry about me”.
“Good! I will see you tomorrow then! Not much left here, you are just about done with your scenes”, Mark states before leaving.
I’m happy to be done with this small role, this is a better time than any to go home and lock myself in my room for a while. I need to call Charlotte! I miss her voice I miss everything about her.
The following days were not what I expected. Landon tried to keep me occupied, but the only person I wanted to see and hear from was Charlotte. She hasn’t answered my calls in days, only a few brief text messages have been exchanged and I was worried. Worried she didn’t want me anymore; worried she no longer loves me.
I can barely walk on my left leg; the spasms are frequent and cause me so much pain. I had to resort to using a crutch to help me get around. Skipping PT was probably a bad idea, but I didn’t care at the time. Landon is concerned for me and keeps pushing me to see the therapist here, but I ignore him as well.
Today seems to be the worst day for me so far, pain wise. I can’t stand to be in my room any longer, so hiding out on the balcony feels like a better idea. Landon hasn’t figured out I’m out here yet, he probably thinks I finally left the flat, which is fine for him to think. Sitting out here in the fresh air helps, it’s peaceful out here listening to the birds and the small amount of traffic in the distance.
“What!” I hear Landon shout at someone from inside.
I open the balcony door and slowly head inside to see what the commotion is all about. Landon continues to yell at someone over the phone.
“Charlotte! you need to tell him! You could die!“, I hear him shout.
Both Landon and I freeze in place and stare at each other, eyes wide, mouths almost dropping to the floor. Was he really just talking to Charlotte? And why did he say she could die?
It takes me a moment to secure my thoughts before I walk right up to Landon and grab his cell phone from his hand. He doesn’t put up a fight, he lets me take his phone. There is no one on the line, but Charlotte’s name appears on the screen. He was just shouting at Charlotte.
My jaw clenches and my hands ball up into fists at my side. “Why were you yelling at Charlotte? Why were you even talking to her? And what about going to die?“, I angrily question him.
Landon puts his head down; he is visibly shaking. Good, he should be scared I think in my head.
“She is sick Levi, she has been sick for a few months”, he nervously tells me.
“What do you mean Landon?“, I ask him with an angrier tone.
“She has a brain tumor, she is having surgery to try and remove it on Thursday”, he blurts out.
I am not sure what came over me at that moment. Rage, fear, hurt were only a few of the things I was feeling when I lunged at Landon, grabbing him by his shirt collar and throwing him against the wall.
“And you didn’t think to tell me that the love of my life could be dying of a brain tumor!“, I scream at him.
" I’m sorry, I didn’t know how bad it was until now on the phone, I only knew she was sick, and she didn’t want you to know... she didn’tt want for you to worry about her, she wanted you to succeed, to walk, to climb stairs, to be able to go back to acting again!“, Landon yells back at me.
I let go of him and fall back onto the couch. We both stay silent for a while, neither of us knowing what to say. Landon not sure of himself, takes a seat onto the couch next to me.
My face is hiding behind my hands. I feel so stupid. How did I not realize that she was sick for the past few months! No wonder why she was always tired, and her so called flu was not really the flu or food poisoning for that matter. Her headaches too, that was a sign to worry but she convinced me she only needed glasses.
“Why did she tell you and not me?“, I finally ask Landon the real question that bothers me the most.
“Did she not trust me? Does she not love me enough to want me to be there for her? Did she convince me to come back home because I was a burden on her?” I ask him, mostly just rambling every thought that crosses my mind.
“Don’t be daft! It is because she loves you so much that she only cares about making sure you are better. She only told me because she figured through me, she could keep tabs on you, she is always making sure you are ok Levi”.
“What kind of a person am I? I let her spend all of her time helping me to walk and everything else while she has been sick and tired, and probably in pain!“, I ask Landon who notices the tears forming in my eyes.
“I am angry!“, I add.
Knowing full well that I’m angrier with myself for being so naive than I am with Charlotte. I’m upset that she didn’t want me to help her through this. She is the most selfless person I know, sacrificing her sickness and pain so she could help me.
“You can’t be too angry with yourself you had no way of knowing; she was exceptionally good at hiding it. And you can’t be too mad at Charlotte, this is the way she wanted it”, Landon tells me.
“That is exactly why I am upset!“, I retort.
“Levi don’t you see? This girl has unconditional love for you! I have never seen that kind of love before and you have been lucky enough to experience that love firsthand!“.
" You need to get your ass on a plane right now and go see that girl before her surgery”, Landon states after I didn’t respond to his last statement.
“She doesn’t want me there, she has made that clear”, I groan.
“Now you are really being a wanker! She needs you as much as you need her, whether or not either of you admit to it, now go!“, Landon points to the door.
As much as I feel like a twit for having no clue as to what was going on with Charlotte, Landon is right, I need to see her. I need to be there for her like she has always been for me, even if she doesn’t want me there. I can’t let anything happen to her. This surgery she is having scares the hell out of me, I might lose her!