The worst thing in the world is feeling helpless. When you realize all you can do is stand there and watch, when you realize you’re completely useless.
When you’re sitting in a dark, gray hospital room night after night, the sun setting and rising, people moving on with their lives, and you’re there, stuck in that room, no where else to go, because your life is in that bed, your life is the one attached to the heart monitor and cords and wires. It’s your best friend, your lover, your soul mate, your life wasting away in that bed, and all you can do is watch the life slowly fade from his deep brown eyes.
We never planned it to be this way. Of course we didn’t, who does? Who wants to have to watch the one they love most slowly slip away from them, to watch them wither and rot, to watch them die, and not be able to do anything?
All I can do is sit. Sit in this uncomfortable, itchy, old blue wooden chair and wait. Wait for him to be taken.
Some part of me wish it would finish him off already, to put him out of this never ending misery. I sit here and gaze at him, wondering how the usual lively eyes have drained so quickly, how that golden smile now is only a shy grin, how his already lean body has gotten weaker, smaller, skinner. I traced the bone protruding from his wrist, missing the time when I couldn’t see it so clearly.
I’d give anything to end this and anything to prolong it, which was completely and utterly selfish. How could I watch Johnny every day and hope the next morning he’d still wake? How could I wish that he’d wake, that he’d be up for another day of being confined to this god forsaken hospital room? How could I do that to him?
“Because you love him”, said the little voice I never listened to, even though it was always right.
Johnny and I never planned anything. We both were adventurous. We loved the little surprises life gave us.
That’s why for our two year anniversary, he decided to surprise me with tickets to Hawaii. A week with the love of my life in one of the most beautiful places in the world? What more could a girl want, really?
So during one hot, sweaty June night, I feverishly packed up a suitcase with shorts and tank tops and bathing suits for the flight the next day. In a few hours we were hand in hand, strolling through LAX, suitcases wheeling behind us. We flew first class thanks to Johnny’s giving parents and I took the seat by the window because that’s my favorite.
There wasn’t a whole lot to see, other than the Pacific Ocean, so Johnny soft lips, touchy hands, and smooth singing kept me entertained for the most part. The five hour flight didn’t last long, and once we arrived in Honolulu, we were off.
Johnny had planned out the seven day trip on a tight schedule. The first night we went to our hotel and got straight to sleep (something might’ve happened before that… maybe).
The second day, he dragged me out to the beach at six am. Don’t get me wrong, the Hawaii is beautiful and I knew I should’ve been thankful for every second I spent on that island, but I am not a morning person.
We stayed in Waikiki for the most part, roaming what locals called ‘The Strip’ which ran through the small city. Little boutiques lined the straight road, from the tiny convince stores like ABC, to huge outlets like Forever 21, there was not one store we skipped. I ended the day with a new dress for our date night and an aching sun burn.
The rest of our days seemed to revolve around this cycle: beach, shopping, dinners at romantic restaurants. But the last day, Johnny wanted to go adventuring, he wanted to jump off Waimea rock.
Naturally, I couldn’t resist his begging and pleading to be a typical boy. The ‘rock’ was nearly an hour and half drive from where we were staying and Johnny wanted to take the bus… in a place we weren’t familiar with… where we could get lost or killed. He laughed at my fears, and gave me those stupid little puppy dog eyes. I remember the way his soft hands roughly, but lovingly, grabbed my hips and pinned me to his body. His breath was cool like the air, fresh like mint. It clouded my senses and made me weak to the knees. “Please, babe,” he murmured, those brown eyes boring into my own. “We can go book shopping and Starbucks drinking all you want when we get back home,” he grinned at me, kissing my nose and then cheek. His lips made their way down my neck, paying special attention to my sweet spot.
“Oh god, fine,” I finally groaned after not being able to deny him any longer. His eyes lit up like a kids on Christmas morning and he gleamed with delight. “I love you,” he laughed, squeezing me tightly.
After making a few calls and wandering around the streets till we found the right bus stop, we were finally on our last journey on Oahu. Johnny took the window seat on the bus this time and my head took its rightful place on his shoulder. My eyes drifted closed while we road down the bumpy roads to the North Shore.
The sun blazed the brightest in the sky that day. It’s rays beat down on my already red back, burning into my skin. That pain should’ve been enough to tell me something was wrong. I could feel it. The moment I stepped off that bus, the wind blew in the wrong direction, the waves crashed too loudly on the shore… it was all wrong.
I took my place in the sand, quickly slapping on sun screen in a poor attempt at protecting my skin. Johnny stripped off his top and my everything was once again memorized by this boy. “Take a picture it’ll last longer,” he sassily, yet cliché-ly said. I giggled watching him toss his tank top into my lap.
He nodded towards the monstrous rock sitting by the ocean. I watched kids running off it, diving into the blue ocean blew them, and rising up with smiles on their face. “Wanna come?” He asked, holding out his hand. I bit my lip, wondering if that was even safe… looking back now I should’ve known it wasn’t. Who the fuck jumps off a rock into the ocean? Who lets the only person they love do something so risky, so foolish? I did…
“Sure,” I agreed, taking Johnny’s hand, walking step by step through the hot sand towards the rock. It was high above the water, but easy to climb up. I wasn’t jumping, I had already made that decision. Heights just weren’t my thing, but Johnny was, so I accompanied him to watch.
I frowned when we reached the top, the sharp rock poking the skin of my feet. We watched together as a few more kids ahead of us jumped off, and soon it was his turn.
I should’ve stopped him. I should’ve never let him do it. Why was I so dumb? Why didn’t I…
He stepped forward, giving me one last huge smile before doing a back flip off the rock, his head directly coming in contact with the rocks below him. I heard a yelp, a cry in pain, a blood curtailing scream…
I snapped back into reality, my eyes full of tears, now focusing back on to the nearly lifeless boy. Today was the day. I could feel it. He barely moved, barely spoke, barely breathed. At this point the only thing keeping him alive were the machines.
I moved my hospital chair over to the bed, my hand finding his own. I stroked my fingers over the blue veins. He was paralyzed from the waist down, suffering from broken ribs, and bleeding in the brain. His body was shutting down day by day. It was only a matter of time.
“Johnny,” I whispered, “Please, please, say you hear me,” I pleaded, my grip on his hand increasing. “I need to hear your voice, just please” I begged. My cheeks were wet, my voice horse, tired, overwhelmed. “Johnny-” I choked out, breathing becoming impossible.
I saw his eye lids flutter, his heart beat speed up on the monitor. “I’m here, Sam. I’m here,” he said his first words in days. “It’s time,” he continued, putting my thoughts into words.
“I know, I know,” I sobbed, into out intertwined hands.
“I love you. So much. You’ve been so strong through this. I’m so proud of you,” his words became weaker with each passing second. “Thank you for sticking around, for believing, for being here, for loving me regardless of what’s happened,” he continued. I could hear the life draining from his voice. “I love you. I do. You’re everything to me, you always will be, please, don’t forget that. Goodbye, Sam,” Johnny’s voice faded all together, the small grin on his face, a hint of life in his eyes, before it all went dark.