I don’t remember much. Just remember blinking blearily as my eyes opened for the first time, only to be blinded by a bright white light. I fleetingly thought that was it. That was my calling to the other side. Its amazing how spiritual or religious a person can get when on the brink of death.
The blinding light caused me to quickly close my eyes again. Then all I could hear was the hustle and bustle of the room around me. I vaguely remember a rhythmic beeping filling the room, but after a while there was only silence.
I didn’t wake up properly until day six I was told. Six days I was lying on a bed, motionless and hooked up to numerous machines which were reassuringly beeping. Casting a cursory glance around the hospital room, I noticed someone sitting in the corner. He looked like he hadn’t slept in six days. I imagine he looked worse than me, and I was the one in the hospital bed.
Calvin Fitzgerald falls under the large category of people who talked around me, never to me, and probably about me when I’m not around. Calvin is the kind of guy who loves to be adored by all. And usually he is. I once adored him. In fact I used to borderline worship him. Calvin is the guy who made me believe in the notion of love and also made me see that love is actually all one big joke. Calvin led the cavalry into being my support group after my parents passed. He was also the first to stop noticing my existence. You could say I was more than a bit surprised to see Calvin freaking Fitzgerald looking haggered and sleep deprived when I awake from my death bed.
He didn’t say anything when he noticed I was awake, except breathe a massive sigh, of what I’m guessing was relief. He then left the room, leaving me even more confused, only to return five minutes later with a nurse and doctor in tow. They did doctor-y things and left pretty quickly. When I looked back around the room, I saw Calvin sleeping soundly in the corner.
I was discharged a few days after that with a signed agreement that I would have therapy sessions once a week. According to the professionals you can’t accidentally almost commit suicide. They think it will make me emotionally stable so that I don’t seek out another desperate cry for help in the near future. All I remember thinking at the time is ‘yeah we’ll see’.
Calvin drives me home. In fact Calvin never left my side. I’m pretty sure he went without basic things like regular meals or showers. It looked like it pained him to even leave the room to go to the bathroom. He didn’t talk though. Like ever. The only sounds I heard coming out of his mouth were the soft almost snore like noises he made while he was sleeping.
The fact that we didn’t actually talk didn’t seem like a problem until he was driving me home, which at the time I was still surprised about. I honestly thought no one knew where I lived. It was awkward. Almost impossibly so. I kept sneaking glances over at him to try and gage whether he was a t any point going to start a conversation. It kind of seemed like he owed me an explanation, but I wasn’t prepared to open up that can of worms as I had just been discharged after a suicide attempt.
It was with these continual glances that I finally noticed them. The tiny faded marks that covered his wrists and forearms. Scars. The particular kind, that you only get when you design your own wound. The kind you get when you relish in the pain that also brings sweet release. The kind that if you press too hard you risk doing yourself serious damage. Like ending up unconscious for six days with a very large bandage to cover the wound.
My mind went into overdrive and then it all clicked. Not the how Calvin knew where to find me, or how he sensed that I had done something particularly stupid, but everything else.
He always wore long sleeves, even in summer, although summer as a season doesn’t necessarily exist here. He always had a smile on his face, but if you looked at his eyes, which I can say I did fairly often, then they seemed almost dead. He was never truly the centre of attention, and if he was then he was very good at deflecting.
I wondered briefly if he had ever tried to do what I had. I wondered if he got help and who noticed. I could tell he hadn’t done it recently as none of the scars were pink enough. I wondered what the most recent addition to his intricate design of scars was. It was hard to figure out without making it obvious that I was staring. It dawned on me as I was looking away from his arms firmly gripping the steering wheel that he had intended me to see them. That was his way of communicating. Eventually we would have to talk because I had a lot of questions. But in that moment his decision to wear a short sleeved shirt and show me was enough.
As I settled more comfortably into the passenger seat and stared out the window. I noticed the awkwardness around us dissipate. Out the corner of my eye I noticed Calvin’s grip on the steering wheel loosen slightly. He knew I understood.
Watching the world whiz by on my way home in Calvin’s car I felt something I hadn’t in an awful long time. Less alone.
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