I impatiently sat in the waiting area of the hospital, wondering if I could possibly sneak in and visit Devin again. The initial visit was awkward, and the other visits were terrifying. I didn’t know what to do with Devin anymore because each time we talked she would drop a bomb on me and let it smother everything I knew about her. The girl I fell in love with never existed—just a façade of a damaged creature.
She was so special, and I desperately missed her.
I combed through my own tendrils and stared at the mauve door separating the rooms from the waiting room. A nurse would pop her head out occasionally and spout a name, and the person would shuffle across the room—some hurried and others nonchalant. People had time with their beloveds while others were forced to observe the dial run down to nothing.
I licked my lips as the mauve door allowed a small group of individuals to leave the rooms. The patient donning an orange jumpsuit manacled to a police officer flickered a minute smirk to me as we made eye contact—my green and blue to his amber. His wet brunette hair slicked back into a smooth style reminiscent of the 1920s, and his cheeks no longer sunk into his face. His right orbital appeared completely reconstructed after the incident. The two policemen escorted him to a set of chairs closest to the check-out counter. The man obediently sat down, his eyes nailed into mine, and his lips quivered with conversation. He hesitantly glanced at the officer signing check-out papers and other necessary forms to take the criminal to his somber cell. The other officer stood to the man’s right, his hand placed delicately on his Taser. The man remained fixated on me as his smirk soon transformed into a maniacal sneer.
I folded my brow in response.
“You know, Ned, you and I are the same,” Jude finally chortled.
“Go to hell, Jude,” I immediately responded. A part of me desired to explode out of the chair and wrap my calloused hands around his muscular neck. The darkness inside my heart longed to destroy the man who was responsible for forcing Devin to implode.
“No, no, listen, Ned.”
The police officers neglected to tell Jude to shove it. I impatiently expected them to turn to him and threaten to take away certain rights if he continued to spit his awful sermons.
“Ned, let’s be honest. I know you raped her. I know you jumped at the chance to get it from her. I know you loved touching her bare skin and feeling that warmth against yours.” He pounded his foot against the floor to emphasize the point, groaning as if he was remembering the way she felt. “Mmm, God, I bet she was good.”
“You raped me like a coward, and you want me to feel sorry for you?”
I clenched my fists, snatching the armrests of the chair to prevent myself from sprinting across the way to attack him.
“You and I are so similar. We both saw her and wanted her. I knew it was bad, I honestly did, but you know…” He made a gesture regarding fellatio.
“Stop it,” I hissed.
“You and I knew that having her was so wrong, but didn’t that make it right somehow? Like maybe if I did it, I would feel guilt or something inside of me. Maybe it would complete me as a human being—I would feel something for the first time. I wanted to feel something besides apathy. I wanted to feel guilt or fascination or something special. I wanted to feel her soft skin slicken against mine, and I wanted to know that that was wrong, but I was lost in the fact of her. I became lost and infatuated with her in a way that taunted my indifference but did not dissipate it.”
I bared my teeth in a grimace as Jude closed his eyes, a smile spreading further across his face, causing a wave of wrinkles to form.
He rested his chin on the palm of his free hand and sighed, opening his slanted eyes. “I bet she said all of these things to you, didn’t she?”
“Didn’t it feel good when you had her in the bathtub back at the house? Didn’t it feel good to hear her scream? I love it when she screams; turns me on.”
I slammed onto the balls of my feet and roared, “Shut your filthy mouth!”
“I wish I could be with you forever…”
“Face it, Ned! You loved being in control of her. You loved throwing her around and getting the piece of her you rightly deserved. I bet she was very unwilling to give it up, but you finally got it. You finally got all of her you deserved. She needed to be humiliated and humbled. She needs that every once and a while. She needed us to fix her.”
I turned to her lazily and noticed the fluorescence of the moon emphasizing her mole just below her lip on her chin. She tilted her chin up as she gently awoke from a short nap. She pushed the heel of her hand into her eyes as she whispered, “How long was I out?”
I turned her chin to me and softly kissed her. “Just a few.”
She smiled as I readjusted and cradled her neck in my hands, pulling her body closer to me. Her perspiration mixed with mine as she wrapped her hands around my neck as I grabbed her leg and hooked it around my waist.
“She is such a disgusting slut, Ned. We had to fix her for her own sake.”
“Are you religious?” I murmured against her cheek.
“What are you doing?” she whispered.
“Because you’re the answer to all of my prayers.”
“With that pick-up line, you better be happy I have a sense of humor.”
“Fine, I thought it was clever.”
She smirked and leaned her forehead against mine, slowly giving me her fruity breaths. I inhaled her natural perfume and slid my fingers through her thin hair.
I took a step toward Jude, feeling the anger congest my chest and my face, reddening my features. I shoved my fist in the air, shaking with fury. I bestially spat, “How dare you.”
“How about when you say ‘love’? That’s the best part. She is so gullible. Just say that one phrase, and I swear to God she gets naked in less than six seconds. It’s the best sex you’ll ever get.”
“Oh my God, how good is she in the sack, though? You can thank me for that. She’s had a lot of practice.” He licked his lip as he began to roar with boisterous laughter.
The police officer beside him finally snapped, “Be quiet.”
Jude leaned back in his chair and nodded his head. “Yes, sir.”
The officer’s eyes turned to me and noted, “Please remain seated, sir.”
I collapsed clumsily into my chair, sulking and letting his words sink in. I ran my fingers through my thick hair and glanced at the door one last time. I folded my brow and caught something in my throat. I was certain that Jude didn’t need vindication for me to see that perhaps we were the same. I took advantage of her, and I persuaded her to keep me because I hesitated to have sex when he asked me to rape her. Did I enjoy that? Did I enjoy hearing her cries and sobs?
“Edwin Mortis?” the nurse announced. She rocked onto one foot, leaning against the wall lazily. Her auburn beehive was falling down into her face like a woman from the 1950s.
I bit my lip, glancing back at smug Jude. I shook my head as I gathered all of my things into my backpack. I pulled it onto my back and stared at the nurse, my hands clawed against the straps pressing into my chest. I shrugged nonchalantly as I opened my mouth to give an excuse for this, but I couldn’t come up with one. I pivoted on my heels and walked towards the exit.
I grabbed the handle of the door, hesitating to leave. I glanced over my shoulder at the overweight nurse as she scoured the room for an Edwin Mortis. I whipped my face back to the exit and opened the door.
I stared at the empty concrete corridor in front of me, waiting for her to close that door. I heard the audible click of the one-way lock to the door leading to the rooms, and I clenched my eyes shut as my foot went through the exit. My heart clenched as I remembered I promised Devin I would visit her today, but I just couldn’t because I was like him, using her, abusing her.
I stared at the door desperately, my knees pulled to my chest. Two policemen passed the door with a manacled man in between them. I heard his voice ring out through the ward as he begged, “My face is still killing me. You can’t take me now.” I twirled my finger around a dark tendril I abhorred. I almost began the nasty habit of pulling my hair out to stop tearing at my cuticles but the doctors assumed tearing at my cuticles would be more socially acceptable. I glanced at one of my monitors hooked up to me, and the clock regaled thirteen o’ clock. I turned back to my doorway.
Ned said he would be here for the visiting hours today. He had promised he would not neglect the visiting hours, and he stood by his word, attending as many as he promised. Even though the visits usually ended with me in tears, I loved them. I loved them because I could still pretend perhaps I was a normal teenager with a friend. I was a normal teenager with someone who cared about me.
After Esther heard the real reason I never warned anyone of my abuse, she seemed to have evaporated. A word was not mentioned regarding my lone sibling. According to the hospital records, she never visited Dad either, which kind of gave me grieving relief. She didn’t visit the man who gave me all of this torture, but she didn’t visit her father she once loved so deeply. I asked Ned one time if he knew about her, and he swore no one mentioned her.
My mom attended visiting hours. She would pass by door wearing her smart suits that gave her a false sense of confidence and assertiveness when all she was was a bystander. She made a point not to glance inside my room or visit me. In a weird way, I at least expected her to give me a passive aggressive threat or a resounding scolding for my actions that would jail her husband yet again.
I watched the minutes tick by, and I wondered if the front desk was giving him grief about the family issue. I just told him to say he was my half-brother, and that usually worked. Of course, it didn’t help when the nurses passed by and he would sit in my bed with me. But I think they all knew the way I looked at him and embraced him. The way my lips curled slightly when he walked into my room.
Either way, I kept observance upon the monitors as the minutes ticked away and then the hour. I only had thirty minutes left to talk to him if he was willing. We could just sit and stare at each other for half an hour, which I didn’t mind. I enjoyed silence recently, just a silence that reverberated off of the walls and plastered itself against our skin.
Another fifteen minutes passed, and I finally brought up the issue to one of the nurses. A rotund nurse responsible for visitors and marking their entrance and exit into the ward shuffled down the hallway. I peered around my door frame and inquired, “Ma’am, can you check the visitor checklist for an Edwin Mortis?”
The woman peeled a bobby pin from her front pocket of her scrubs and pinned it into her hair. She gave me a toothy grin and nodded her head. “I asked for him earlier, but no one came up.”
My heart sank. He signed in, but he just left me. I turned my gaze to the floor, my chin dipping into my clavicle. I felt tears well up in my eyes because he was the only thing that was consoling anymore. I buried my face in my hands and choked back a sob. My cast’s fabric irritated my skin.
The nurse placed a hand on my shoulder and clenched down on me. “It’s okay, sweetheart. Maybe he’ll come tomorrow.”
I whimpered, “God, what have I done?”