“Do you care if I eat this whole box?” Leo and I bring coffee and donuts into the kitchen.
“You two hate me.” Jenny says, taking a donut out of the box.
“It was her idea.” Leo takes another one.
“It’s your car.” I take a donut, and a sip of iced coffee.
“Touche.” Leo sits at the table next to me.
“Take some of these home for the girls if there’s some left.” Jenny chimes in.
“There won’t be any left, she’s gonna eat them all.” Leo jokes.
“Shut up, Leo.” I say, while grabbing another donut before heading upstairs.
“You tired?” Leo asks, as I snuggle in close to him, and wrap him into a hug.
“Yeah.” I yawn.
“Let’s take a nap.” Leo kisses my forehead.
“You wanna go to the mall?” Leo asks, after our nap.
“Yeah.” I grab a change of clothes, and get ready to get dressed.”
“You wanna go to lunch, and then we’ll bring something home for the girls, I work at four today.”
I look at the clock on my phone. “Yeah I think we’ll have enough time, it’s only eleven.”
“Are you nervous about your surgery?” Jenny asks, the day before the surgery. We’re sitting in the living room, waiting for Leo to get dressed.
“I’m not nervous about the surgery, but I’m nervous about what it’s going to look like, because it’s going to take six weeks to get the prosthetic.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Jenny hugs me. “You’re going to be beautiful, good luck honey.”
“Thank you.” I hug her again, and Leo and I head out to lunch.
“You ok?” Leo asks. He can tell I’m upset.
“I just don’t know if I’m making the right decision.”
“What do you mean?” Leo slings his arm around me.
“I just wanted it to get better.” Tears stream down my cheeks.
Leo takes my hand, and kisses it. “I’m sorry, my love.”
“And I’m just afraid of what I’m going to look like, I had to quit my job because I have to take two weeks off.”
“I’ll take care of that.” Leo runs his fingers through my hair.
“What do you mean?”
“Well after your eye isn’t swollen anymore, I found another job for you.”
“Where?” I’m suddenly defensive. “Are you that upset that I don’t have one?!”
“Alex.” Leo says calmly. “I didn’t say that. But I do know how ambitious you are, so I got you another opportunity.”
“The hospital has a rehab center right next to it, have you ever been there?”
“No, what’s it for?”
“It’s a rehab facility that provides vision therapy and PT and OT for babies and children who have vision less than 20/200 uncorrected, like without glasses.”
“Wow.” I smile. “That’s amazing, thank you.”Leo kisses my hand. “I know you’ll love it.”
“Lexy?” Mom comes into my room, and turns a small lamp on. “We have to be there at seven, and remember you have to take shower with that soap they gave you, my love so let’s go.”
“Okay.” I rub my eyes. I barely got any sleep last night. I go to my closet, and and grab a fuzzy shirt and sweatpants. Hospitals are always freezing.
“You okay, honey?” Mom asks.
“Yeah, just tired.” I yawn.
“Hey,” Ashlynn comes into my room after my shower. “Are you nervous?”
“Not about the surgery, but about what it’s going to look like after the surgery.”
“Yeah, I get it.” Ashlynn hugs me. “Sorry I can’t be there.”
“It’s okay.” I smile and hug her. “You have cheer practice today, and school comes first, you know mom doesn’t let you go to cheer if you miss school.”
Ashlynn rolls her eyes. “Yeah, anyway I’ll see you later.” Ashlynn hugs me again. “Good luck.”
“Thanks.” I hug her before quietly leaving the house so I don’t wake Mady up. It is only five AM.
“Are you nervous, baby?” Mom takes my hand before the surgery.
“Just about the outcome.”
Mom kisses my cheek. “I know honey, but you know this is the best option.”
“Yeah.” I give mom a reassuring smile. “I’ll be fine.”
Five minutes later, an Anesthesiologist walks in. “Good morning.”
He smiles and checks my chart. “Alexandria?”
“Yeah.” I smile.
“Hi I’m Dr. Green, I’m going to be with you during your surgery.” He places a few more electrodes on my chest.
“Are you nervous?”
“A little.” I answer, truthfully.
He puts his hand on my forearm. “That’s understandable.”
“Hi, love.” Dr. Calloway comes in to talk to mom and I.
“Hi.” I offer a small smile.
“You ready?” He asks.
“Yeah.” I answer, nervously.
“Are you nervous?” He puts his hand on my forearm.
“Yeah, honestly.” I sigh.
“What’s going on, love?” He puts his hand over mine.
“I’m just nervous about what it’s going to look like after surgery.”
“It won’t be as bad as you think, it’s going to look a little red, but you’ll be able to get your prosthetic before you know it, and it’ll be worth it, because you won’t be in pain anymore.”
“That’s true.” I smile.
“Everything will be fine, love.” He smiles.
“I’m ready when you are.” He smiles at Dr. Greene.
“Alright, we’re ready to go.” Dr. Greene smiles.
“Okay.” Mom kisses my forehead. “Good luck, honey I love you.”
“I love you.” I smile.
I’m wheeled into the anesthetic room, and I’m out in about two seconds.
“Alex?” I see mom as soon as I wake up.
“Hi, honey.” Mom strokes my cheek. “You ok?”
I realize that there’s a patch over my eye, and it’s really hurting.
“My eye is hurting.” I say, trying not to whine.
“I know, I’m sorry honey.” Mom runs her fingers through my hair.
“Would you like some juice, Alex?” The nurse comes into the room.
“Honey, drink some juice, or they won’t let you leave.”
“Why?” I ask, groggily.
“Because they want to make sure you aren’t throwing up, before they send you home, my love.”
“Okay.” I take the juice, and finish it in two seconds flat. I’m thirsty.
“Good job, honey.” Mom lays my clothes out.
“Are you feeling okay to go home?” the nurse asks.
“Yeah.” I nod. “Just tired.”
“Okay, sweetheart, I’ll step out, and let your mom help you get dressed.
The drive back is mainly spent in silence, but I’m starving. I can’t eat too much, because of the anesthesia. I settle for some chicken and rice, but pretty soon I vomit that up. This is gonna be a long night.
“Alex?” Mady, my little sister comes into my room.
“Hey.” I try to sit up.
“Are you ok? Mom says you’ve been getting sick.”
“Yeah, from the anesthesia.”
“I’m sorry.” Mady comes over to my bed. “You want something to drink?”
“Yeah, some Gatorade would be really helpful. My throat is dry.”
“Okay.” Mady hugs me. “I’ll be right back.”
“Alex.” Dad comes into my room, before leaving for work. “You gotta wake up.”
“I wish I could sleep more.” I yawn,
“I know, but you have to go to Dr. Calloway, to see how the surgery went yesterday.”
My eye is in a lot of pain today, I don’t even want to see what it looks like.
I grab the first thing that I find that matches, and tie my hair into a ponytail.
At least I don’t have to keep my head down this time.
“Ready honey?” Mom asks, after making sure the twins are up and getting ready for school.
“Yeah.” I yawn.
“Are you still nauseous?” Mom asks
“No, but I’m not hungry.”
“Okay honey, will you try to eat later?”
Mom and I walk out to the car, and she drives to Dr, Calloway’s office.
“Hi, guys.” Dr Calloway’s assistant, Dr. Birmingham comes into the room, to remove the patch over my eye.
“You might feel some pain.” He says, gently taking the tape off of my skin.
It feels like hell, and I’m sure I don’t look too good either. I don’t even want to look at what my eye looks like.
“Would you like a mirror?” Dr. Birmingham asks.
“No, thank you.”
“Okay, Dr. Calloway will be in shortly.”
Dr. Calloway comes in and explains the recovery time, and how I have to sleep basically sitting up. That’ll be fun.
“Do you feel a little better now that he took the patch off?” Mom puts her arm around me.
“Yeah, but I’m afraid to see what it looks like.”
“It really doesn’t look that bad honey, it just looks really swollen.”
“Okay.” I sigh, getting in the car.
I really hope this doesn’t look too bad.
I take my phone out of my purse, and look at the huge purple and blue bruises that overtake my eyelid.
“I can’t even open it.” A tear streams down my cheek.
My mom takes my hand. “It won’t be like that forever, honey. Just give it some time to heal.”
“Okay.” I sigh.
I hope she’s right.
“Did I tell you about that job opportunity Leo got me?” I’m eager to change the subject off of my painful looking eye.
Mom pulls into the Starbucks drive thru. “Yeah that sounds very rewarding, what would you be doing there?”
’He told me I would basically be assisting the Occupational Therapists.”
“Don’t you need a certification for that?”
“They told him that my Bachelors in Early Care and my Master’s in Child Life would qualify.”
“Oh, cool.” Mom smiles. “So, when would you start?”
“Probab;y as soon as the swelling goes down, because I’m obviously going to have to wear a patch.”
Mom takes my hand. “Wearing a patch won’t be so bad, we can find a heart shaped one for you.”
“Okay.” I sigh. “I just can’t believe I have to go through this whole process again.”
Mom leans over and kisses my cheek. “I’m sorry honey, let’s try to make the best out of it.”
I smile. “You’re right.”
“That’s my girl.” Mom picks up our drinks, and hands me my Chai Tea. “Things will get better.”
“Hey.” Leo calls me on Thursday morning.
“Hey.” I smile.
“Do you want me to bring you and your momsome lunch today?”
“Yeah, but I don’t want you to freak out when you see me.” I laugh, trying to brush it off.
“I won’t freak out.’ Leo says, sympathetically. “What do you want for lunch?”
“Chick- Fil-A.” I smile.
“Oh yeah.” Leo laughs. “I didn’t even have to ask that. Do you want nuggets?”
“Yeah, and can you get my mom a sandwich, she hasn’t eaten lunch yet.”
“Sure. I’ll be there in about an hour.”
“Okay thanks, love you.”
“Thanks for lunch Leo, I really appreciate it.” Mom clears the table.
“Alex, do you think you’ll be okay here for a while, I have to pick up the girls, because it’s pouring out, and I don’t want them to get sick walking home.”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine mom.”
“I won’t leave until you come back, so she won’t be alone.” Leo reassures mom.
“Thanks Leo.” Mom hugs me before heading out. “I’ll be back, sweetie.”
“Okay.” I watch mom leave, and put a movie on in the living room for Leo and I.
“Are you sure I don’t look bad?”
Leo strokes my cheek with his thumb. “No my love, you don’t look bad at all.”
“So you don’t feel any differently about me?”
Leo takes my hand, and kisses it. “No my love. I don’t. At all.”
“I love you.” I smile and kiss him.
“I love you too.” He puts his arm around me, and kisses my forehead.
I kiss him again, running my fingers through his hair.
I feel like I’m falling so much more in love, because he truly accepts me for who I am, even when I look like I got beat up.
It doesn’t matter to Leo what I look like. He truly loves me for who I am.