Five Fifteen

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IX

Someone finally came in right before I got the chance to go out of the room and look for someone who could tell me what happened and why I passed out. She looked like a nurse or maybe a doctor? I didn’t wake up the guy beside me for the reason that I myself don’t know. Perhaps I was a little bit embarrassed? Even though there’s nothing to be ashamed about, I felt like I somehow caused him inconvenience and that I disrupted him from attending his class, but to be fair, I didn’t ask him to stay, it was his own choice. I thought a lot about that and just stuck to it. A coping mechanism to make myself less mortified than I am feeling right now.

The attending physician who just walked past through the room’s door looked like she’s in her thirties but she seemed kind and sweet, not like the other attendant at my previous school, they looked horrifying. Aside from those words I couldn’t think of anything else to describe her. But I know one thing; I know that someday, I’ll get to be like her. Quite unbelievable aren’t I? After passing out and waking up with some stranger beside me holding my hand and that’s all I could think of.

Moving on, the lady approached me then she asked, “How are you feeling honey? I’m Dr. Rachel.”

“I’m feeling just fine. I just felt a terrible pain a while ago before I fell down. It was somewhat unbearable.”

Her face showed me empathy then she put her hand on my shoulders then she said “You poor thing. Where did you feel it?”—I pointed to my abdomen.

“What did you eat for breakfast? Have you experienced this before, or was this your first time?”

“I didn’t have anything, I don’t usually have breakfast. I mean, I rarely eat three times a day. I always feel that I don’t have an appetite to swallow foods but sometimes my parents force me to eat something but when the food is about to enter my mouth, I feel like throwing up. And this was the only time it ever happened to me.”

“When did you start feeling this way?” she asked in a very concerned way and it started to scare me.

“Not long ago. Just this summer, maybe.”

“The pain you sensed previously was probably caused by appendicitis since you said that you rarely take something to eat. But I’m still not sure. I suggest you come and see your family medicine, if you have one. Just to be sure, ask him about what kind of laboratory test you should get. Also you’re excused from attending your classes until after lunch. You need to eat something dear. Go to the cafeteria and have some fruits if you don’t want anything heavy.”

I looked at her face as I smiled kindly, “I’ll make sure to do that. Thank you.”

Our conversation didn’t last long and right after she left, the man beside me finally woke up. He didn’t realized that he was drooling while he was asleep so right after he lifted his head up, I saw the bed was a little bit wet and he noticed that I was staring at it so he instantly covered it, feeling anxious and nonplussed then he fixes his hair together with his face. He stared at me as if I demeaned him so I didn’t know how to react. When he’s done combing his hair with his fingers he finally spoke to me.

“Hey! I didn’t know that you’re awake already. How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine. Looks like you’re the one who passed out instead of me. I think you slept much more than I did.” I poked borax at him then he chuckled and for some reason I could get Jack’s vibe from him. Especially when he smiled after chuckling. It was one of the prettiest smiles I’ve ever seen, it extends beyond my eyes and deep within my soul.

He extended his arms to me then as I shook it, his hand felt so soft and once again he reminded me of Jack, how his touch was really gentle as it slid through my skin “I’m Michael by the way. Michael Hendrix. What’s your name?”

“I’m Tyler.” I replied to him concisely.

“Uh-huh... that’s it? I’m certain that you have a surname. Or am I wrong Mr. Tyler?”

“Tyler Cohen.” I said to him as I looked him in the face—“So why are you here Michael? I mean, I know that you’re the one who brought me here but why did you have to stay? Not to mention, you were also holding my hand while you were asleep.”

He took a deep breath before he explained himself to me “First and foremost, I saw students were gathering so I was curious why they were circling around so I decided to take a look. That’s when I saw you unconscious, laying on the floor like you’re a dead-man. So I brought you here and I didn’t plan on staying but Dr. Rachel asked me to stay with you since she had to run some errands.” He paused for a second then he continued, “Second... I didn’t mean to hold your hand, I must’ve dreamed—”

I don’t know why I’m like this but I really love interrupting people as they are speaking, so obviously I punctuated him as I tell him, “Stop. You don’t have to explain yourself. Thank you for bringing me here. I appreciate it. And also, thank you for staying.”

“It’s nothing, my pleasure. Just don’t get sick again. I don’t want to see you laying around the floor and I don’t want to carry you here again, it was tiring, you know? How can you be so heavy with that frail body?”

Couldn’t believe he’ll get his revenge from me from teasing him first. Talking to him was fun but I started to feel that it was just a one-time thing, that after we leave the clinic we’ll be strangers again. But nonetheless, fun is still fun whether it lasts or not. He then stood up and said his goodbye to me, “I’ll head back to my class. I’ll see you around.”

Just as the doctor instructed me, I bought an apple from the cafeteria and I decided to roam around campus; to register each faculty in my mind. Since I’m a new student here, the first thing I don’t wanna happen to me is to get lost, that’ll be so embarrassing. It’s like being disoriented to some place you should’ve been familiar with. I know that sometimes asking for directions isn’t something to be embarrassed about, but what can I do? I’m shy. I haven’t really talked to anyone aside from Jack and the guy who helped not long ago.

The whole university has one of the most prestigious constructions in all schools in Canada. It has an extraordinary environment, the air that you breathe in there feels so refreshing. As I roam around I can feel a cool breeze and as it touches me I could feel how pure and untainted it is. University of Toronto have three campuses namely Mississauga, Scarborough and my favourite of all the campuses there is called St. George. Don’t ask why, I think it’s already obvious. But aside from the reason it has Jack’s name, I also love its structure because it looks like a real castle built somewhere on the 1890’s. I could imagine living there with Jack, me being his king and he being my queen. But unfortunately we’re both guys so the concept of “King and Queen” can’t be applied to us and on the contrary we’re just normal people and living on a castle isn’t really our thing. If ever we get to choose between living normal life or a bizarre one, I know we’ll both choose to be ordinary people because we don’t need anything special in our lives to be happy, I have him and he have me; that’s all that matter to us. That’s all we need.

My afternoon class will start at 1pm and it’s already half past noon so instead of continuing my momentary little tour of mine, I decided to head to my assigned room for my next class. When I got there my fellow students were already entering so I also made my way in. I couldn’t find a vacant seat because a lot of my classmates entered earlier than I am so each seat has been taken over quite fast. I mean I can see some vacant chairs but I know that those are reserved for some learners who’re friends with the people sitting beside it and I couldn’t just take it away from them. I’m not an empathic kind of person but I just don’t want to ask them if I could stay there. I’m trying my best to avoid any kind of conversation because as you know, I’m a diffident person. When I couldn’t really see any vacant seat I decided to approach my prof and ask if I could get some extra chair from the other room but then, a silvery voice of a male student called out my attention, “Tyler!”

Right before I saw who it was I got the feeling that it’s the same guy who helped me and when I looked at his direction, I was right. He’s seated at the tail-end of the room and I saw an unoccupied seat right beside him. It must’ve slipped through my eyes and I wasn’t able to see it awhile ago because it’s way too far to where I am standing. I approached him “Hey Mike!” then he said, “It’s Michael actually. Anyway, If it’s okay with you, join me here. I purposely reserved this space for you.”

“What?” I was confused why he did that but I won’t deny the fact that I am really happy that I’ll get to know him more and probably become his friend—“You know that we’re in the same class? Since when?”

“Don’t you pay that much attention to your surroundings? I was your seatmate in our very first class. You actually looked ignorant when I first saw you so I didn’t try to open a conversation. But you were different when I finally got to talk to you. You’re somehow easy to talk to.”

Right before our class started I had the urge to ask him if he wants to hang out sometime, “How about later? After school?”—he asked on the spot as I sat beside him.

“Yeah, sure. I’m at your fingertips later.”

We then sat side by side as we waited endlessly as time ran slower and slower for the both of us. This is one of the moments when you get to know someone then you realize that something’s deep inside you is also buried in them. It’s like meeting a stranger that you’ve known in another life. I feel light hearted around him. He found me at my most vulnerable time but I know he won’t take advantage of me. He’s quite beautiful in a way he makes me forget all of my troubles and doubts. Michael understands me and for some reason, just thinking about how we will spend time not just later after school, but for the rest of our college years makes me beam. Because of him, the smile that I lost when Jack left was brought back to me, I don’t get to feel more awful and lonely too. And lastly, I won’t feel home sick anymore because the person that I just met feels like home to me, a warm and welcoming one. It feels phenomenal to find somebody who’s like my reflection, as if when I look at him, it’s like looking at myself in the mirror. The way we met was like the better version of how Jack and I second encountered inside our classroom. He’s really down to earth and that’s why I’m captivated by him, but not in a romantic way. Or at least not yet. Who knows, right?
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