The Irony Of Choking On A Lifesaver
“Front page of a magazine says don’t believe a word you read,
I’m just telling lies, just telling lies”
Instead of going to see Alex and Jack first thing in the morning, I went to Zack. I’m not sure what possessed me to after the events of last night, all I knew was I needed to help him. He was a patient just like the other three boys I’d met; I couldn’t neglect him like the rest had.
While the receptionist was sleeping (another sign of how much she loved this job), I stole Zack’s papers so I knew exactly where he was. It didn’t take me long to find the room, it was the most isolated place of the hospital. How cruel.
Gently I opened the door and peeked through, but the lights were turned off so I couldn’t see anything. With a croaked voice I called his name. No reply. He was either ignoring me or asleep. Deciding it was the latter, I switched on the lights and was once again shocked by what I saw. You’d think I was passed this by now, yet this scene was not normal. I couldn’t bring myself to understand it no matter how much evidence was slapping me in the face. I needed to do something.
Zack’s hands had been tied to the sides of the bed, along with his legs. His pose mirrored that of crucifixion. Ghastly. Within minutes I’d tore the tape away and was left looking directly into his eyes. He hadn’t been sleeping at all, his lips were tied. There was no way he could have answered me. If this was equal treatment then the universities were teaching it wrong. Did Rian do this to him?
“Who did this to you?” I questioned, lost in his petrified face. Not wanting to speak even after the muzzle was removed, he turned his body to face the opposing wall. Again I tried to speak, this time sitting on the bed and putting my hand on his. “Zack, I’m not going to hurt you, please. Trust me.”
Still he didn’t speak. He moved his hand away from mine to place it on his face. Moments later I heard sobbing sounds, clearly he was crying. Trying not to start myself, I diverted my eyes away and focused on a photo lying on his side. It took seconds for me to realise who was on there. Jack and Zack were standing on a cliff with two smiling adults, oblivious to what their future would hold. They were brothers, maybe adopted, it was hard to tell. Needless to say, it was clear that the other people were their parents. If they were so close than why had Zack glared at Jack in that way?
“You confuse me, Zack,” I tried a third time to get his attention, this time startling him. Finally he looked at me, obviously curious as to what I meant. “You and Jack look so close here, why did you look upon him like a stranger last night?”
“You confuse me, Rhinae,” He replied, ignoring my question. “Why haven’t you left yet? They always do after a few hours, after they realise what’s going on,” now he was standing up, staring at me. It reminded me of last night, nevertheless this time the aggression was gone.
“Zack, I am not going to leave you. Don’t think that way ever again. I'm not like the other nurses, whoever they may be,” I pleaded, trying to get the boy on my side. Nothing seemed to be working.
“Nobody else is here,” He ignored me once more, “don’t you understand? We’re all that’s left, because…because...” Whimpering, his voice drifted off. His eyes were no longer on me; they were glaring at the floor. Under his breath he whispered something, though I couldn’t make out what it was.
As the room quickly descended back into silence, I stood erect and did something no one else in this place ever would; I gave Zack a hug. That was what he needed, compassion. I knew it had been awhile since he’d received it. Probably before his parents died. It was a good thing I specialised in mental illnesses.
“Whenever you want to speak to someone Zack, ever, come to me. You can tell me what you know in time, I don’t care about that. All I care about is you, and the rest of the patients, being okay. I won’t leave until I’ve achieved that.” Deciding that he’d want to be left in peace, I unwrapped myself from him and started to walk towards the door. Before I could leave he grabbed my wrist.
“Be careful,” was all he said, then let go.
In an attempt to get my head straight, I decided to go outside. Even though it had only been a day since I’d come here, it felt like months. Time passed so slowly here. Realistically, as a medic, you’re just waiting for everyone to die. Sad but true. That wasn’t the main problem though, no, what bothered me most was how everyone was so secretive. Not one of the patients had told me anything, except Zack. And not even he’d given me much hope.
Outside it was a cool day, much like those I’d spent at home. Although most of my childhood was in isolation I did have some good memories, this weather being one of them. It was cold like this the day I decided to be a doctor.
That dream started like any other, unexpectedly. Dad and I were walking along the beach on one of our American vacations, minding our own business, looking at shells, when there was a scream come from the other side of the shore. Pushing me back, telling me not to follow, he began to run towards it. Being the curious child I was however, I disobeyed.
Lying on the floor was a young girl, around ten years old, hands covering her foot. Knowing what to do dad opened up his bag pack and retrieved some cream, which he applied to where she was holding. He declared it was a jellyfish sting. It may have only been a small injury, but watching the way dad helped her and the smile she shone in his direction afterwards planted something in my heart. A flower bloomed within, one that was destined to become a doctor.
That flower, which still burned strong now, was the reason I couldn’t leave this place. If I were to go, I’d be going against everything I stood for. Dad would have been ashamed if I walked away.
As I went to re-enter the building, a sudden sound helped me decide my next move for the two boys. I’d almost forgotten what I’d mentally promised Jack. From above a seagull was calling, bringing me once again to that moment on the beach, thus giving me an idea.
Consumed with life, I waltzed into Jack’s room, wanting to share my elaborate idea with him. Today he seemed much better, sitting on the bed playing a guitar. Alex sat opposite him, singing into the sombre air. When they realised I was watching, the music they were creating stopped. It sounded strangely beautiful. They weren’t the best musicians in the world naturally, but surprisingly better than some of the famous. This was their past time. I knew it.
“Hello Rhinae,” Both of them greeted in unison, beckoning me to come over. All was going to plan.
“Hi Boys,” I replied, starting to do their daily checkups. Alex was looking healthy today, still fairly pale, but okay nonetheless. By the look of it he’d already taken his medication, mainly because he was so used to doing it by himself. Meanwhile Jack was also in high spirits, smiling more than he had done the previous day. His cancer had ceased temporarily, he deserved the closure. Deep down I knew that this wasn’t going to last forever. Someday both their diseases would take a violent turn, taking their lives at the end of the line. You can’t think that way though. I may have said earlier that you’re just waiting for them to let go, but you can’t live your life thinking of the day that they do. No matter what a doctor has to stay strong.
“Geovani you zone out a lot,” Alex laughed, knocking me back to reality. That was something else a doctor shouldn’t do, live in a dream.
“Sorry, I was just getting ready to tell you boys my big plan,” Calmly I announced, hopping up to enhance my enthusiasm.
“What?!” Again they screeched together, curious to know what was going on. This was why I loved children so much; they wouldn’t let anything get them down, even fear of their demise. If only adults acted in the same way.
“Well I was thinking of taking you guys to the beach. You all deserve a day out seeing that you haven’t left this place in ag-.” I didn’t even need to finish. The boys had already vacated the room, ready to tell the other two boys of my plan. At least they were still oblivious to my true intentions.
The beach was part of my plot to get those two boys together. Like me, being there would make Alex realise what he wants in life. It was foolproof. All I had to do now was make sure Zack and Rian kept out the way, although at that moment I wasn’t quite sure how.