For the first time ever, it’s not actually raining. It’s warm. I know that is definitive proof it’s the end. Sun in England, who have thought it? The wheelchair isn’t exactly comfortable and stinks of vomit but it serves a purpose. Getting into it was difficult. My legs were numb after spending two weeks not being allowed to move so even moving an inch is pretty much impossible. I feel like I have undergone temporary paralysis in my legs, my only salvation is that Rita has shoved a pin in my foot many times which has made me react. A sign that I am not paralysed.
Roman had to lift me. By the waist. Where my scar is. You can imagine how that went down. It’s all fun and games until someone touches the scar, then all hell breaks loose. The pain was pretty bad but I played it up, giving Roman the guilt trip of a lifetime. I think I convinced him I was dying again. I still get so much pleasure bedevilling his ass. I should probably stop...Nah.
Once I finally got into the chair, the smell made me gag. How many people have puked up onto the chair? How do you do that anyway, when you are actually in the chair?Do you part your legs and then just release the contents of your stomach? It smells so bad, so bad. It’s vile, on the verge of setting off my gag reflex which, when unable to escape from the aforementioned smell, you can imagine. I understand such items as wheelchairs are a rarity, I understand that, but really? Can you not replace it? I don’t know, get a chair and attach wheels to it. I can’t be the only one that is bothered by it. When they’re not trying to give me hypothermia, they’re trying to make me vomit my damaged organs up through my mouth.
Rita was saying, earlier, how my intestines did suffer quite severe damage that may ‘cause discomfort’ for a while. The organs’ functions may be impaired which means there is still the chance of an internal infection. C’est magnifique. Oh the irony; surviving the initial impact to die because of my body fighting against me. I’ll be fine; I always am. I’ve been eating and everything seems to be in order which is a positive sign. However, I have to face that possibility. My body can turn on me at any time. I was shot with a magnum for god’s sake. I’m lucky I didn’t have a chunk blown out of me. I’m lucky I didn’t die right then and there. Carpe diem, right ?
The landscape is fairly minimal but I finally have the distraction I’ve been looking for. The garden is relatively small in comparison to the dimensions of the house. Yes, I don’t think this place is going to be looking like Old McDonald’s farm anytime soon. The garden’s borders are marked by a large wooden fence which makes the garden seem like a corridor. When there is the rare occasion of a warm day, it seems somewhat darker than it should. It’s been painted white so that helps reflect some of the light and heat but it is still a minimal amount. The grass is well maintained but then again, John always was fond of a garden he could be proud of. During the warm days, he would have all of us out in the garden tending to it. Cutting the grass, dealing with the weeds, tending to the vegetable patch. Ah, the infamous vegetable patch.
John was so determined to make that patch work. A natural supply of food ; living off of ‘the fatta the land’, if you’ll pardon the Steinbeck quote. He had everyone out in force, planting and maintaining these little cabbages, carrots and pea plants. I was about thirteen at the time. I went through a kind of existential crisis at that point. Everyone does ; what is the point in living ? I’m an insignificant little blip in the grand scheme of things, I can be eradicated without any repercussions. Yeah, we all have that thought at least once and if you haven’t, you are lying through your teeth. Anyway, tending to this garden, this insignificant item that could go on to do things bigger than itself. What I mean is that one of those plants could feed a person that would go on to change the world, conquer the virus. They could give someone the strength to survive. Shame they could keep up their end of the bargain.
If you’re wondering what happened to the plants, if you are so enamoured with the story of the vegetables, they may have been drowned. By accident. They may have been trodden on too. Well, I say trodden, I mean stamped on. Fire may have been involved but that’s not important. John never found the assailant. The assailant who murdered his poor little plants. Oh, how my heart breaks for those poor minute...vegetables.
I really have needed fresh air. There is something liberating about being outside. I can’t exactly run away or do anything but appreciate things. I’ve felt so stifled lately; the air seemed to be becoming heavier, pressing down on my lungs and suffocating me. I feel like I can breathe again. I can breathe again. I’m surprised the kids aren’t out here but from what I can tell, they’ve been sent out to try and find John. I should be out there, looking for him, but I’m pretty bloody useless being incapacitated. I just feel...so incompetent. Everyone’s been out there...everyone but me and it’s my fault that he left, I think.
It’s Spring. It must be either April or May, it’s always difficult to tell. No watches, no calendars. Time is really no object anymore. It could be one of three months; the seasons seem to fuse and merge. Spring is one month that fuses into summer and then that fuses into autumn, ending with the death of life and vibrancy in winter. It feels so asinine. The seasons are months, clumps of weather patterns and changes. You could relate the seasons to life; spring being birth; summer being the peak of life and a person’s vibrancy; autumn representing later life and the disintegration of everything. Then comes winter which robs everything. Ability, love, life. Winter is the end of days, a profound thought. Ah, seasons being a metaphor for life, how cliché. But, it’s undeniably true.
I always hated the spring. Spring, the season of perpetual rainfall and romance. It was sickening. I always preferred the autumn. It always seemed more...refreshing. The beginnings of the cold, gripping onto life and forcing into submission. I prefer it because it’s not too hot, not too cold. Just perfect. Also, there is something quite relaxing about watching something so immortal succumb to the will of the planet. Nature versus the ideas of science. Space versus nature.
Roman steps out of the kitchen to join me.
He pulls up an old deckchair and places it next to me and just links his hand with mine.
We just sit in silence for a while. For seconds, minutes, hours. He can sense that I just need to be alone with my thoughts. When I become engrossed in my thoughts, nothing else seems to matter anymore. All I can think about is John. If he’s okay. If the kids are okay. I have to know if he is safe, it’s like torture to be in ignorance. Is this what it was like before ? When I was waiting for my parents to come home? Did I yearn for them like I yearn for John’s return now? Is there really anything more to say?
There is no way to break the silence. I can’t help it. My eyes begin tearing up ; I am too tired to stop myself. I think Roman and I have overcome that barrier, I mean I’ve kissed him now. I guess he can see that I am human, not the detached little soldier he thinks I am. How can I be a soldier ? The war’s already been lost. I just let the tears rush down my face. What’s the point in keeping a false pretence ? I’ve seen Roman at his weakest and he’s now seen me at mine. I can’t be strong anymore.
He looks over at me. He has no idea what to do. I can’t stop the tears but I don’t even know what I’m crying about. John? The fact that I killed a man in cold blood? The pain that courses through my venom like an inferno?
Roman gets up from his chair. He’s going inside; even he can’t handle female emotions. That might be another reason, I’m just being an over emotional female. But he does something that I have not anticipated. He bends down and picks me up, out of the chair. The ache in my abdomen starts again but I can’t bring myself to care. I am bloody useless, incompetent. He then sits down on the deck chair, with me in his arms, and just rocks me. I snuggle into him. I just need someone to be there for me right now. I need someone to understand.
“It’s okay baby, let it go. It’s alright, I’m here. It’s going to be alright.”
That’s when I break. Great, ugly sobs are released from deep within my chest. The amount of saliva, tears and snot on Roman’s shirt is quite impressive, I must say. He doesn’t seem to care. He just keeps rocking me and comforting me. How have I been so wrong about someone for so long ? He’s a decent man who I really do not deserve. The things I’ve done ; the things I can forget.
We stay like this for hours. I continue to snuggle into Roman, it’s getting a lot colder and the shivering is only making it worse. I just need to calm down ; reclaim use of my own lungs when grief is threatening to steal them.
“Are you cold ?”
I nod, unable to utter a syllable for fear that when I open my mouth, nothing will come out. He moves me slightly forward and takes his jacket off. He then places the jacket around my shoulders and brings me further in, placing his arms around me like a protective barrier.
“Thank you,” I whisper. I think he heard me because he smiles.
I just want to sleep. It’s right what they say, crying is exhausting. I feel emotionally exhausted but I don’t want to leave the comfort of Roman’s arms. For the first time in a while, I feel safe. Secure. I don’t want this moment to end.
Roman is still awake, stroking my hair and gazing into the distance. He’s here. He’s not exactly going anywhere at the moment. I allow myself to succumb to sleep.
I am sure of only one thing. I cannot lose Roman. I won’t let that happen. I’m going to start by finding John.