a trip to the hospital
Under the crude florescent lights glaring down from the tiled ceiling, Gee’s face looked horridly gaunt, almost corpse-like. He was still heavily sedated from when they reset his arm, which had been snapped in three places. Besides the glaring green cast and the stitches above his eyebrow, he looked seemingly unscathed. 'Lucky', as the doctor put it. Lucky? The sick twist of fate that caused this was far from lucky. I put my head in my hands and let the steady bleep of the heartbeat monitor lull me into an uneasy sleep.
Around an hour later, the curtains of our cubicle were pulled apart and my eyes snapped open protectively. A nurse in her late forties with a severe face and defensive eyes was standing by Gerard’s bed, checking his vital signs. She glanced up at my bewildered face with a look I couldn’t perceive as anything positive. After five tense minutes crawled by, she left again, leaving me to my thoughts and my unconscious brother.
I suddenly remembered Frank was waiting for me still to arrive back home, so I quickly punched in his number. ‘Mikey?! Oh my god you’re alive! What’s happened?’
‘I’m at the hospital it’s –‘
‘WHAT?!’ Frank interrupted, his voice laced with panic. ‘Are you okay?!’
‘shhh, I’m fine. It’s not me that’s hurt, it’s Gerard.’ The phone went silent for a moment and his voice returned barely a whisper.
‘Is – Is he okay?’
‘Uh, I found him unconscious at the bottom of the stairs, my dad pushed him for trying to help me out...’ I could feel a lump in my throat as I forced out the words.
‘Oh god. I’ll get my stuff and I’ll be at the hospital in ten minutes, okay?’ In fact, it was anything but okay. For once, I didn’t want to see Frank. I wanted to be alone, alone with my brother. I wanted to be the first one he saw when he woke up, so I could tell him just how sorry I was. However, I relented - ‘Okay, thanks, see you then.’
I switched of my phone and shoved it in my back pocket, staring anxiously at the door, where in a few minutes my unwanted saviour will materialise.
It was an almost...indescribable feeling, the one I was going through. It was like, resurfacing after staying underwater for a long time. I felt... drained. And my body was impossible heavy. I heard a voice from a far off distance, but it was distorted, impossible to locate it’s source. Gradually, colours got brighter, and the sounds around me got louder. There was an insistent beeping from somewhere, which was like a dagger pounding my over-sensitive head. The voice was still talking, I could now figure out it was a man’s voice, and it was very familiar.
My eyes slid into focus, and I was looking up at a sterile white ceiling, with ugly strips of too-bright light which made me squint in discomfort. I lifted my arm to cover my eyes, but to my surprise it was hideously heavy, and Green. Why is my arm green!? I sat up slowly to get a better view of my surroundings, and the world exploded in hysterically bleeping machines. I looked down bewildered, to see a sucker-electrode thing had fallen off my chest. I hurriedly stuck it back on and the beeping calmed down to a steady pace.
I think after that it was pretty safe to concludeI was in hospital. I glanced back up again, and my eyes instantly collided with the image of my brother. His usually perfectly straightened hair was messy and slightly wavy, which detracted from the bruise-like shadows under his eyes.
‘G-Gee?’ his voice was hoarse and exhausted, and I instantly associated it to the voice I heard earlier. For a moment, my mind couldn’t think of why I was in hospital, or why Mikey was so upset. I was about to question this out loud, when a wave of memories hit me - dad lurching towards me. Falling, pain, darkness. My own dad.
My eyes began to burn as I held out my arms and enfolded my brother in an embrace. Tears trickled from my cheeks and into is hair as we continued to hug and sob for several minutes, with no intention of stopping.
‘I’m s-so sorry Gee. I never wanted you to get hurt. Not for one moment.’
‘ No Mikey. I’m your big brother, it’s my job to protect you, or die trying.’ We didn’t need to say anymore.
An hour or so later, Frank slipped inside the door, clearly awkward in the brotherly moment. ‘Mikey, the nurse wants to speak to you, I’ll watch Gee while you talk.’ Frank gave me a weak grin which I awkwardly returned, as Mikey left the room.
I left Frank and Gerard and walked, with my shoes squeaking on the polished floor, to the nurse's station. I almost sighed with relief when it was not the austere nurse that approached me, but a younger, rosy cheeked lady with a reassuring smile.
‘Mikey way?’ she asked sweetly, I nodded in comfirmation. ‘Your brother, Gerard, is it? Has been here for 2 days now, and the doctor sees him fit to be discharged. He’s still weak and needs looking after, but we’re sure you and your parents can handle that?’ Pffft. What parents? I thought silently. I gave her what I hoped was a convincing smile, and turned to leave.
‘Oh, Mr.Way?’ she called, I turned. ‘Your father left a message, nurse Wood wrote it down for you.’ She held out a smoothly folded piece of paper, and with a hand of lead, I took it. Another tentative smile was exchanged, before I retreated back to the room.
I entered into the room which was filled with laughter, but they soon subsided when they saw my face. I held up the folded note, sat down on the side of the bed, and braced myself to read it:‘Gerard, I’ve gone to go see your mother. The key’s under the welcome mat.’
I practically snorted with laughter. Mum had left us when I was 5 and never came back, we didn’t ever know where she went, not even dad.
‘Mikey?’ Frank looked at me questioningly, and I simply replied:
‘The key’s under the welcome mat.’