Aug 19, 2011

When The Fireworks Begin (Chapter VI)

Chapter VI

James was slowly walking home. The beer did not help him at all, talking to Sam definitely did not help him either.  He just made James feel more crappy and guilty.  He should have never left her alone.

He could hear Sam’s words slicing through his head.

“You’ll choose pride over your wife?”

Sam’s voice was not the only thing reverberating in James’ head.  He could also hear Devon’s harsh question.

“Why are you so selfish?”

Am I really selfish, James asked himself. All I wanted is to have her longer, James thought. All I wanted is too have her forever.

James stopped in front of their apartment door.  He bowed his head.  I will tell her,  he decided.  She deserves to know.

He turned the knob and was surprised to find the doorknob unlocked.  He was more surprised to see Devon lying on the foot of the stairs, with blood trickling from her forehead.  She was unconscious. James rushed to her side, afraid to touch her.

“Baby,” James mumbled, his voice trembling. “Oh my God.”

Devon slightly opened her eyes, looked at James and started to close her eyes again. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” James kept on saying. “We’ll call for help.”

James immediately dialled his Ninong’s number.

“Don’t move her, I’m on my way,” Dr. Alvarez instructed.  “You can cause more damage. Don’t let her fall asleep.”

James dropped the phone and immediately lied down beside Devon.

“I’m so sorry, Devon,” James said in tears. “I left you alone, when you most needed me.”

Devon feebly smiled but did not move. “We’re gonna be okay.”

James cried more. “Don’t sleep baby, don’t sleep.”

Devon felt her eyes closing. She could hear James begging her to stay. She could hear James’ sobs. He rarely cried, she thought. I’m sleepy, she thought.

“Don’t sleep baby,” James was begging now. He was squeezing on Devon’s hand. “Don’t you dare sleep baby, don’t you dare.”

Devon answered weakly, “I’ll try.”  But she could not barely open her eyes, the last thing she heard were footsteps and James calling her name.

James has been sleeping on Devon’s bedside for two nights now. He did not even bother going home.  Aling Linda, Devon’s mom, has been begging him to get decent rest. But he would not go home.

“It was my fault,” James kept insisting. “I left her. I left her alone.”

“It was an accident,” Aling Linda countered.

But reasons fall on his deaf ears. He would never let anything happen to her again. He would never leave her alone again.  

Aling Linda stayed for a while in the hospital.  She insisted on James eating his meals, and talked to the visitors and friends that visited the couple.  James was nodding and shaking his head to answers, but offered no effort to converse with the visitors.

Dr. Alvarez walked into the room, while Aling Linda was putting the basket of fruits that James’ workmates have brought.  James stood up and walked towards the doctor.

“Good morning,” greeted Dr. Alvarez. “How is she?”

“Still asleep,” James answered. “Is it okay for her to sleep this long? Isn’t she supposed to be awake by now?”

“I think she is,” Dr. Alvarez answered while looking at Devon.

Devon was stirring on her bed and slowly opening her eyes. James rushed to her side and held her hand.

“Devon,” he asked. Aling Linda approached the bedside and looked softly at her daughter.

Devon slowly opened her eyes and faintly smiled. “Hi,” she greeted.

James felt his heart is going to burst. He held Devon’s hand and could no longer contain himself. He leaned towards Devon’s hand and sobbed. “I am so sorry baby, I should’ve just stayed home.”

“It is not your fault,” Devon tried to reason out. “It was an accident.”

James tried to stop crying. Devon raised her other hand and touched James’s cheek. James was lost for words and he held Devon’s hand tighter. I will never let you go, James thought to himself.

Dr. Alvarez checked on Devon’s vital signs and smiled. “You are going to be fine, young lady,” Dr. Alvarez commented.  Dr. Alvarez gave last instructions and he was about to leave the room when he called James. “I will just take your husband away for a while. Don’t worry, I’ll bring him back.”

James stood up and followed Dr. Alvarez outside the room.

“What is it,” James asked.

“Test results came in this morning,” Dr. Alvarez slowly explained. “It is really ALS. We need to tell her James.”

James bowed his head. He was expecting better news. “Why us? Why should this happen to us?”

Dr. Alvarez held James’ shoulder. “Everything happens for a reason.” Dr. Alvarez was about to walk toward Devon’s bed, but James held on to the doctor’s arm.

“Let me tell her,” James pleaded.

“Are you sure?” Dr. Alvarez asked.

James nodded.  Dr. Alvarez tapped on James’s shoulder again and walked out of the room.

Devon’s father arrived later in the afternoon, he was from work and was very happy when he saw his daughter already leaning on the bed, drinking water.  It was already after visiting hours when they left the hospital.  In a couple of days Devon would be able to go home, according to the hospital nurse in charge of her care.

Once her parents have left, James snuggled besides Devon on the bed.  Devon meanwhile, snuggled closer to James.

“I will never do it again,” James started.

“Do what,” Devon asked while James cradled her head on the crook of his shoulder.

“Walk out on you,” James answered.

“You always do that,” Devon said.

“Do I?” James asked, pulling a strand of Devon’s hair back.

“Yes you do,” Devon explained. “Whenever you receive a call from your father, heard bad news, caught in the argument, you always tend to take a walk after.”

“I feel a lot better when walking,” James answered.

“It appears to me that you are escaping,” Devon countered. James looked at her, expecting to see her usual smile but she was not smiling.

“Are you serious?” James asked.  Devon nodded. “Was I really escaping?”

“You are running away from confrontation,” Devon answered.

James pulled Devon closer. “I would never do that again, I would never run away from you or from anybody else, anymore.”

Devon smiled and snuggled closer to James.  James was thinking, is this the right time?

“What are you thinking?” Devon asked, she slowly pulled herself up and looked at James.

“Nothing, really,” James answered.

“Well, there is obviously something bothering you,” Devon commented.

James pulled himself up and sat besides Devon, I am not running away.

“Devon, there is something that you should know,” he said and pulled Devon’s hands. “Your falls were not insignificant…”

His words drifted, explaining what the doctor has explained him. Devon sat there listening, trying to absorb everything. Was she in shock, James could not tell. After telling her about the disease, there was a deafening silence in the room. Only the humming of the airconditioning could be heard.

Devon looked down at her lap and spoke in a barely audible voice, “Does it mean I am going to die?”

James was trying to keep himself from choking in his tears. “We will look for the best doctors out there that can help us.”

“Will I die James,” Devon asked, tear streaming down her face. James cannot answer.  Sobs racked Devon body and she was shaking from the fact that she has heard.

James pulled her towards him and embraced her.  His own tears falling down, “We will look for ways.”

“How many years do I have,” Devon asked.

“Don’t ask that,” James answered, holding her tighter against his chest, as if somebody will rip her out of his arms any moment.

“I want to know James,” Devon asked, trying to pull herself out of the embrace.

James looked at Devon, his voice was trembling. “The doctor says ALS patients would normally live 2 to 5 years.”

Devon placed her palm in her hands and cried. 

“I wish I was the one who has the disease,” James whispered. “I can’t lose you in two or five years. I can’t. I won’t.”

Devon was sobbing really hard.  James could not do anything. He just pulled her closer and embraced. He raised Devon’s tear-streaked face and said, “You will not die, baby. I swear I will not accept that I only have two years with you. I will look for ways, look for the best doctors, best practices.”

Devon held James face and pulled his forehead against hers. She tried to smile weakly, “Or we could look at it the other way.  Good news is that I still have two years.”

James closed his eyes and pulled Devon’s lips on his.  He tasted tears, he does not know if it were his or hers. James passionately kissed Devon and whispered against her lips.

“Two years are not enough,” he whispered, not just talking to Devon but to the most omnipotent person that could hear him.


caneelparagas said...

grabe,,,nakakaiyak sobra....ang ganda po!sana magampanan nila ito sa big screen...

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