Apr 25, 2013

When The Fireworks Begin (Chapter XXVII)

James rested his head on Devon’s hand.  Devon was lying on the ICU bed, her face covered with a mask.  For James, it seems that all known medical equipment to man is attached to Devon’s fragile body.  The only part of her free from tubes and needles was the right hand and James has attached himself to it.

Devon’s been in ICU since they arrived from Singapore, and has been drifting in and out of consciousness. Once in a while, she would open her eyes.  Sometimes it has that glassy look on it, as if she was still asleep.  Sometimes, her eyes would show recognition. They would tiredly search around the room, looking for a familiar face.

This is why James refused to leave the ICU despite the nurses’ insistence for him to leave.  There are specific visiting hours inside the ICU, but James won’t budge out of his seat.  The nurses are already considering calling security when Dr. Alvarez intervened. Eventually, they decided to leave James alone. 

James won’t let go of Devon’s hand.  Whenever Devon will wake up, he would immediately stand-up and let her see him.  He’s the familiar face she was looking for. Amidst the white, sterile room, and humming sounds, James knows that he was the only link to reality she has right now.

During the brief visiting hours, one at a time, Devon and James’s family will go inside the ICU.  They would plead for James to rest or at least eat, but he refused to leave Devon’s side. 

“Please,” Mrs. Rocafort pleaded his son. “You’re going to get sick.”

James shook his head. The last time he left Devon’s side, he almost lost her.  He promised himself that it’s not going to happen again.

Now a few hours after her mother left, he is still holding Devon’s hand.  He is now starting to feel tired, his body’s energy now starting to wane.  But he promised himself, he’s not going anywhere.

He bowed his head on Devon’s hand. He started to feel sleep creeping, he let his eyes close for a while. A few minutes of shut-eye would not hurt, he admitted to himself.

Slept came in fast the second he closed his eyes.  James saw his surroundings changing, his felt his feet burrowing on soft sand.  He glanced around.  He was on a sandy beach, with the early morning sun rising in the horizon. 

You’re tired, a voice sadly told him.  He knew that voice anywhere.

James looked around and saw Devon walking towards him. Like him, she was also barefoot. She was wearing her wedding dress.

You’re walking, James exclaimed.

Well, you’re dreaming, Devon answered back.  Anything can happen in dreams.

James slipped his hand through hers, the moment she stood beside him.  He marvelled at the magnificent view next to him. Devon has this healthy and radiant glow.  The early sun’s rays were caressing her dark hair and bronze skin.  She’s utter perfection.  James leaned towards Devon and took her in his arms.  He kissed her deeply on her lips. 

The waves crashed on their feet.  Devon smiled against his lips.

I will miss you, Devon whispered against his lips.

What are you saying, James asked. 

Waves crashed on their feet again.

You’re the only person I ever loved, you know that do you, Devon asked.

What are you saying, now James is feeling panic. What are you saying.

But Devon did not say answer, instead she pulled him again towards his lips.  Another waved crashed on their feet, this time James feels like the water is getting higher.  It has now reached his knees, the waves are getting stronger. Another wave approached them, now it was bigger, ready to engulf them. James pulled Devon to his chest and then the waves crashed on them.

James shot up from his chair. He was jolted out of his sleep. 

Just a dream, he calmed himself. That was when he noticed that Devon was awake.  He stood up and leaned towards her.

“How are you baby,” James asked while stroking her hair. “Can you see me?”

Devon feebly raised her eyebrows, acknowledging him and as if it was saying “Yes.”

“I’m just here sweetheart,” he whispered tenderly.  “I will never leave you.”

Devon’s eyebrows rose again. 

“I dreamt of you,” James said, bringing her hand towards his lips. “We were on the beach.”  Devon’s face remained expressionless, but he knows that she was listening.

“You told me that you love me,” James whispered, smiling. “You know that I do love you, right?”

Devon’s eyebrows slowly rose. 

“You know that I love you with every fiber of my being, right?” James continued.

Devon’s eyebrows remained unresponsive, but her eyes were focused on him.  As if to say, yes, I know.  James kissed her on her forehead. Her eyes showed gratitude and love, and then he thought he saw a flicker of pain and panic in her eyes, making them lose focus for a short time.  And then they started to focus again. Holding his own stare, but now he can see sadness in them.

James heard an insistent buzzing sound. It sounded so shrill in his ears.  Then he felt like everything was happening suddenly but in slow motion.  The nurses came rushing inside. Somebody ran outside to call the doctor. The doctor barged in. 

One nurse started to talk to him.  James looked at the nurse blankly.

“You have to move outside sir,” the nurse stated calmly. 

He saw Dr. Alvarez entering the room.

“She’s having a cardiac arrest,” the other doctor told Dr. Alvarez. 

In James’s eyes, everything is starting to blur.  He was unable to understand anything. Dr. Alvarez was sharply giving out orders, nurses are rapidly moving.

“No pulse,” the nurse reported.

“You have to step out,” the nurse in front of James repeated.

He was now standing up, but refusing to let go of Devon’s hand. “Not yet,” James croaked, finally finding his voice.

“Sir,” the nurse repeated.

“Not yet,” James pleaded. “Please, not yet.”

The nurse started to pry James’ fingers out of Devon’s hand. 

“Please,” James was pleading, tears now streaming down his face. “Not yet.”

“You can’t stay here,” the nurse insisted, trying to take Devon’s hand out of James’ grasp.

“Not yet,” James was already breaking down.  He felt like screaming. “Not yet.”

He saw Dr. Alvarez, barking orders. “C’mon Devon,” Dr. Alvarez panted.  “Don’t let go.”

The nurse was finally able to dislodge James’ hand.

“Clear,” a nurse said before shocking Devon.

The nurse started to guide James out of the room.  Dr. Alvarez on top of Devon was the last thing that James’ as the doors closed.

“Please, not yet,” James whispered against the closed steel doors.  “Don’t leave me, please.”


James has been trying to get back inside the ICU, but everybody held him back. Until, James finally gave up trying to get in.  He slumped down on the waiting chair and prayed.

James closed his eyes and leaned his head on his hands.  The tears have stopped a while ago, but the panic was still there.  He has no idea how many minutes has passed since the nurse asked him to leave the room.  But somehow, everybody was able to make it to the hospital quickly.

Sam and Aleli were sitting beside him. In the far corner, Shey and Ivan were sitting with Dianne and Danica.  They were huddled in a prayer.  James’s siblings, Malcolm and Jacqueline, were sitting across him with bowed heads and probably praying on their own.  Aling Linda’s tear-streaked face leaned on Mang Tony’s shoulder, his hands trying to calm his wife down.  Mr. and Mrs. Rocafort were seated on James’ other side, waiting patiently for the doctors to come out. 

The steel doors swung open and everybody lifted their heads.  It was Dr. Alvarez. 
James immediately stood up as the doctor approached.

There was silence, as if the good doctor was searching the right words to make things easier.  He looked down, before looking straight at James again.

“I am so sorry, she didn’t make it,” Dr. Alvarez began. A soft wail came out of Aling Linda’s lips.  Diane and Danica started to sob. Shey began to cry in Ivan’s arms.

“We tried our best,” Dr. Alvarez continued, his voice fading in James’ ears.  But everything seems to echo, in his mind. 

I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry.

He stared at his ninong. “You’re lying,” he accused.

“James,” Dr. Alvarez approached him and tried to touch his hand. James brushed it away  angrily.

“You’re lying,” James said again, almost screaming.

“James,” Mr. Rocafort tried to calm him down, hugging him. “She’s gone.”

“You are all lying,” James accused all of them, pushing his father away angrily.  “She would never leave me.”

Then James started to run. He heard footsteps running behind him. Malcolm calling out his name. But he continued running.

They are all lying,  his heart thumped.

He found himself on the hospital parking lot. He ran towards his car, went inside and drove. He does not know where he will be going, he let his hands take control of the wheel, while his mind wanders off.

And then the pain growing in his chest exploded. He just can’t breathe.  And he stopped driving. He has never been so blinded. He has never been so deaf to his surroundings.

Was Devon really gone, he started to question himself.  She can’t be gone. She can’t.

He almost fell out of his driver’s seat as he gets out of his car.  He fell on his knees on the grass.  He looked around and noticed that he was on their hill.  His erratic driving has brought him here.

She’s not gone, James assured himself.  She promised me, she’ll be back. She will be back.

She said she will be back before fireworks, this is the best place to watch the fireworks.  I will stay here and wait for her, James calmed himself. 

She will be back, he whispered to himself. Denying himself of the truth. His wife is not dead. 

In a short distance, tolling of the bells resounded through the night.  The houses were still lit by the beautiful lanterns. Christmas trees can still be seen from their windows.  Dancing lights still brings joy to children’s faces.  Yesterday was Christmas and today, James lost the one person he loved most. 


Anonymous said...

ahhhhhhh!! sobrang nakakaiyak to!!!

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