Eyes wide open
“Welcome back, honey. John, John! Woah, take it easy you’ve sustained massive internal trauma.”
The light burns my eyes. I did it. I opened my eyes. I blinked. I’m awake.
Roman is the first to rush through the door; he’s like an excitable puppy. He just looks at me in shock. I’m not sure if he’s going to cry or faint or both. I’m still trying to find my voice but I can still open my eyes and I can move. I daren’t try to get up without incurring Rita’s wrath. I am still in discomfort but that’s good. Discomfort means I’m alive. My victim is not my murderer, even though the irony would be overwhelming. It would be fitting.
“Hey Ellie, you’re looking radiant. Don’t ever do that again; I thought I was going to lose you, “ he bends down to hug me “Don’t ever die okay.”
I hug him back. The pain is torture but I don’t care. I am loved. What a gratifying thought.
He pulls back and just stares at me. His stare is intense, so intense he seems to be analysing me. But then again, I’m analysing him. His eyes are red from crying and there is the reminisce of snot on the top of his nose. There is also a red mark on his cheek; it looks like he’s been slapped. I wonder if it was John that walloped him when it was my fault for leaving him.
I don’t want him to let go. How can my opinion of him alter so drastically in a matter of moments? Maybe the others were right with their distorted views of an ‘apple pie’ life in these times. That may Roman and I were meant to be.
Am I in love with him or the idea of him? It’s not important anyway, I need time to understand what I’m feeling. Maybe something will come of it or maybe not. I don’t know if I could even involve someone in my life in that kind of degree. It’s difficult enough when friend after friend perishes but a lover dying...I don’t know how I would cope with that.
“You scared us all. John buggered off and no one has seen him. Erin went to see if she could find him. A bit of good news at last; turns out you are a little ray of sunshine miss invincible.”
My eyes have to do any form of communicating because my vocal chords are out of bounds. There are so many things I want to say: I want to say I’m sorry that I left Roman after he fainted; I’m sorry that I contemplated dying and I’m sorry for being a weak, pathetic, detached little bitch with delusions of absent strength. But now...now I get to make up for it in some regards.
“Elektra, I’m going to give you some morphine for the pain and some Valerian to help you sleep. Do you understand what I’m saying? Squeeze Roman’s arm if you can understand.”
I squeeze his arm without thinking about it.
Drugs. I need drugs.
John used to tell me about the way drugs were moderated; growing herbs like cannabis were prohibited and making drugs such as cocaine and various opiates were also illegal. John told me how his unit waged full-on war on the UK drug trade. He said he won but then again, he would say that. He was a policeman.
Thank god for poppy cultivation. Rita injects me with the newly extracted morphine; it takes a while to take effect but once it does, I feel somewhat peaceful. The pain in my abdomen begins to subside and make way for other sensations. Sensations like hunger; I am absolutely starving, and the sensation that I have to pee. Great, I’m famished and I’m at risk of pissing myself. It just gets better and better, I swear.
However, at this moment in time, I am just relieved at the distinct lack of pain. The pain spread through my bloodstream like a venom, a fire that never subsides. But, I don’t want to sleep. After the whole debacle, I don’t really want to close my eyes because I’m scared that I won’t open them again. Rita still hasn’t told me what she’s done to fix me up which worries me. I was like an apprentice, I can take whatever she has to say. Why wouldn’t she tell me when I woke up? Why?
Calm down Elektra, you’re being paranoid. Oh god, am I talking to myself now? That’s when you know things are going downhill when you find the only adequate company and reassurance comes from yourself. Oh lord, this is only going to get worse. I see it now. Insanity. Straitjacket. Me. Padded cell. Ah.
Uh, I need to talk to someone. Anyone. I’ll take talking to an animal at this rate. Am I insane? Or bored? Or both?
Uh, maybe I need sleep or rest. I have just nearly shuffled off of this mortal coil. I think I deserve a few hours of peace before everything begins again. Is it strange that I still don’t want Roman to leave? I just want my bloody Valerian. It’ll look better in the morning. If I can survive the rest of the day, I will make it. I am tired. Tired, hungry and bursting for a piss. Yeah, greatest combination available.
I can hear Rita grinding the roots in the old pestle and mortar. I just focus on my breathing. In for 5... out for 7. Roman has pulled up a chair by my head and just sits, stroking my head. Usually, I’d bash him for even thinking about touching me but I can do with the comfort. In for 5...out for 7. The last time someone stroked my head was so long ago I can’t remember. I tend to bite people when they get close.
“Okay, just chew the paste and you’ll begin to feel sleepy. What am I going on about, you know the drill don’t you? It’s all going to be alright now. As long as you stay still and don’t rip your stitches. Not that that will happen.”
I open my mouth and begin to chew. I’ve always hated the taste of Valerian. I’ve only taken it when it was absolutely necessary. I went through an insomniac phase when I was about twelve years old. It’s all that I could do not to go insane through sleep deprivation.
“I’d better go and make myself useful. Sleep tight Ellie.”
He bends down to kiss my head again and I grab hold of his arm. He was about to flinch, whenever I’ve grabbed him before it’s usually been to inflict pain. But now, I think he can see what I want to say in my eyes.
Please don’t leave.
“It’s okay Ellie; if you want me to stay I will. God, if near death experiences make you so affectionate, I should have tried this years ago. Spare years of animosity hey, angel?”
A smile creeps on my lips. Only he can make me smile at a time like this.
However if he does try to kill me in the future, I will not be responsible for my actions. As if he would dare.
He moves his chair around and keeps a hold of my hand. His hands are still clammy. If I could talk, I would tell him to wipe his hands or something. I can’t complain though, even if I wanted too. It’s my fault. I can see that his hands are still covered in my blood. He just keeps looking at me intensely, as if holding onto me was a way to keep him alive; letting go would lead to his demise.
My vision starts to become extremely hazy, making it difficult to define anything whatsoever.
A sure sign of my impending slumber.
Everything looks so pretty when nothing is in focus. It hurts my eyes to keep them open but I want to. No definition. No edges. The colours seem to blend into each other. Temporary miosis.
I must have relinquished my grip on his hand because Roman begins to squeeze my hand even tighter to compensate. It’s nice to feel his presence. Roman is a man of his word so he won’t leave. At least, not until I’m in a deep enough sleep for him to leave unnoticed.
I think I’ve caused more than enough chaos and disruption for one day. Ha, more action have I brought today than has been seen in years. Can’t accuse the end of days of being boring or stagnant.
Ugh, I’m getting so tired but I just want to hold on a tiny bit longer. Why am I fighting sleep? I shall answer that now. Darkness is no longer a safe haven for me. The colours and vibrancy of life far shadow the darkness of isolation and fear.
I want to relish in the blurred and smudged colours.
The off white walls blurring into the emerald shades of the light shade. The grey of the sky blending into a barren horizon. The peach tones of Roman’s complexion blending into the dark of his hair.
Life, when you think about it, is beautiful. The way water rushes down its course, undeterred by circumstance or time. The way the birds sing. The way the blades of grass seem to sing on a summer’s day. The way life continues after the worst catastrophe.
Survival is the most precious and heavenly.
Oh god, I am becoming delusional. I’m drugged up. I have the right to be completely out of my mind. Ha. I’ve survived more than I could have anticipated. Bitches can come at me if they think they can but they have to be prepared to shed blood for the privilege.
I just have to...close...my...eyes...