Another day has passed and her patience grew less and less bearable. It was more of a constant reminder of what she was living for and couldn’t have. All the changes, all the work that went into helping others was at a stand-still now. Her whole life has turned upside down, too many things were up in the air… She was losing her house, her own company was not doing so well, her savings were depleting like there was a huge hole in the middle of it, just draining it out. She was lost. There was no focus, no will, not even the slightest desire to keep going. Everything she worked so hard for was slipping through her fingers and she saw no end to it.
She came home after 16 hours in her office wondering what did she do so wrong to deserve this. Board was after her for explanation how could she let things get so bad. Her own blood relative stole incredible amount of money from the company and fled country. Nobody knew where to even look for him. There was no trace of any kind. IRS was after her for past due taxes. Seven years of past due taxes. The seven years her cousin worked for her and forged the books so no one knew. Nobody suspected anything until three months ago when he disappeared from the face of earth. And everything changed then.
“I just have to stop thinking about all this, just for a moment”, she thought while poring herself a glass of red wine. “I have to find a way to relax, to unwind, or I’m going to go insane”
Annoying green light was flashing on her answering machine, but she walked right passed it. She drew herself a bath with Lavender Epson Salt while lighting candles all over her nice bathroom thinking that maybe this would help take away the stress of her day. In reality it was lot longer than a day. She’s been putting countless hours in her office trying to find the ways to save the company, her employees, her name…
Unbuttoning her white silk blouse and throwing it on the floor, she slipped her three inch heals off her tired feet, unzipping black cotton skirt that hugged her curves, she slipped off her red silk lingerie looking at the mirror at this exhausted girl starring back at her. She couldn’t even recognize herself anymore. The bright light that used to surround her was gone, sparkle in her eyes was just a little dim twinkle. Her once beautiful red hair was put up in a simple bun. She looked old. And sad.
Turning away from the full length mirror she walked to the bath tub with a sigh lingering on her lips. Slowly sliding in the hot water, her skin went into shock. Pleasant shock. It’s been months that she even thought of indulging in the sweetness of relaxing time. It was all foreign these days. There was just no time for that. With that thought still in her head she let her body sink in. Every cell of her overworked body savored every little drop of hot heaven. Little whisper escaped her red colored lips. It felt so good. She took another sip of her red wine glancing at the clock on the wall. It’s 11:11. Where did the day go? She closed her eyes just for a second trying to think of the happy times. Her best friends face came into her mind. For a moment she felt happy. The sound on her clock chimed in at midnight and startled her. Falling asleep was so easy for her these days. It was more like passing out she thought to herself. Water was cool now and she was wide awake, so she decided to submerge herself under, to quiet her mind perhaps. With her nose still above water she focused on her breathing that was shallow now, and all she could hear was her heart beating. For a small amount of time right there and then she was back in time, floating in the Mirjam Lake, back in her country. She was a little girl with no worries in the world. Slowly her conscience kicked in again and she was back in her house, in that bath tub… “I suppose I should get out now and try to go to sleep. In few short hours I have to face the press conference and another long day in the office”.
She wrapped her body in the bathrobe, her favorite one. Same bathrobe Shane bought for her when they were in Florence on a vacation. Her heart smiled thinking of the times and little trips two of them took in the past. Best Friends Forever they swore to each other.
“They were only 16 when he took her hand in his and crossed his heart and said: “You will always be in my heart, there is no one that will ever be able to replace you”! She laughed, she felt the same way, she’s known him since they were seven. He took a small knife and cut his hand a little and then did the same to her and said: “Swear, swear to your life, you will always be there for me, nothing will ever break us apart!” She heard herself say: “I swear, BFF’s for always”. They both laughed out loud and laid down on the beach talking about dreams, wishes, lovely girl he was so hot for and that mysterious boy in her French class she really wanted to get to know better. Little did we know what was ahead for us in a short year that was coming… “
~ It's torture knowing that I can't be with you. I never thought it could be this hard to tell someone how I feel. It's not that I'm scared to say it, it's that I'm scared to scare you away. Maybe, just maybe, I have to sacrifice love to save our friendship...
Putting the pen down, she glanced at the picture on her nightstand and just like every time she saw his smiling face, her heart skipped a beat, she smiled with her sad eyes when the ring from her phone blasted out in the silence of her house. She looked at the clock showing 2:30am, who in the world would be calling me now she thought. Her cellphone flashed unknown number as she reached for it. “Hello” she spoke into it hearing some unidentified noise in the background.
“Miss Kim?” she heard come through. “Yes, this is she”, she answered.
“This is nurse Shmidt, calling you from USCS emergency department, I have someone here who is asking for you, his name is Shane, he was in a very bad car crash and we’re not sure if he is going to make it. I would advise you to come as soon as possible please. He will not give us permission to operate on him and every second counts. Please hurry”.
Her whole being went numb. NO, her brain screamed, she was cold, frozen in time. “How could this be? This can’t be happening…” She came back to and whispered in her phone: “I’ll be right there”.
Gust of adrenalin rushed through her and this girl has gotten all the energy in the world to get there, to be there for him, to save him. She had to save him. There was no other way. She pulled her jeans and purple t-shirt on, pulled her wet hair up, grabbing keys off the table next to the door, she ran out to her car. Her eyes were stinging from the tears falling down, but she knew deep inside she had to be strong, brave for him. Driving to the hospital was a big blur, she couldn’t remember exactly which path she took, but she found herself in front of the red emergency sign shining bright in front of her eyes. She glanced in the rearview mirror in her car and saw her eyes still red from crying, strands of her hair fell out of the lose bun, taking a deep breath she thought, “this will have to do”.
Running through the hallway to the nurse’s desk, she thought hard of what she would say to him when she sees him, but nothing seemed appropriate or even slightly like a good thing to say. Nurse send her to room 407 in the ICU. The elevator seemed to be way too slow, so she ran upstairs. Trying to catch her breath at the top of the stairs she opened the door and walked into the lobby. Scanning the signs on the pale green walls she followed the one displaying 400-413. The curtain was pulled down in his room and she could already hear the beeping instruments. As she collected her thoughts and strength nurse approached her and grabbed her arm gently. “Miss Kim?” Yes she nodded slowly without any sound. “I’m Sandy. Sandy Shmidt. I’m the one who called you”. Nurse Shmidt looked tired, but even under all that tiredness and pale blue eyes she had the kind soul. She didn’t look any older than maybe 45, her dark brown hair was up in pony-tail and she wore light blue scrubs.
“I need to warn you about something, she whispered. He is hooked up to many machines sustaining his life right now and it might look scary to you. His face is scarred and bruised, swollen too” her voice disappeared in the noise of the beeping machines coming out of Shane’s and surrounding rooms. “He keeps coming in and out of consciousness, I can’t guaranty he will even recognize you, there are lot of pain medications in him as of now.
“Can I please go in now?”, Leila whispered.
Nurse Shmidt nodded gently with a weak smile on her full lips.
Leila pulled the curtain open and slid quietly into Shane’s room, but she was not prepared to see him so broken and his body lying there so lifeless. Walking around big monitor she stumbled over some cords and wires to get to his side. Quietly she sat on the edge of his bed, bending down and giving him a kiss on a cheek she grabbed his bruised hand into hers.
“Cherry Blossoms”, very faint whisper escaped his lips.
She looked at his swollen face and smiled trying very hard not to let her eyes let down the tears and pain she was feeling at the moment. “Hey handsome”, she whispered, her voice cracking. “Listen, I’m here, everything will be ok, you have to be strong for your surgery, I will be here when you come back”, she forced a smile on her tired face, moving his hair off of his forehead.
“Promise me, you will take care of Maggie if I don’t make it”, he said with pain washing all over his face.
“Of course, that’s not even questionable”, she answered.
“Go to my house, there is a letter in my safe addressed to you… you’ll find everything needed in it…”, he said with a sigh drifting off into coma again.
Feeling numb, she bend down and kissed his bloody lips gently with tears framing her face and falling down like a river. All she could think was that he had to make it. She wouldn’t go on without him, she couldn’t… She needed his strength to live, to be happy, to love him, to be alive…
Tiny, almost inaudible whisper left his lips saying: …Love You Nells…. Her chest got heavy with pain and weighted like a hundreds of bricks were placed there. All of a sudden a high pitch steady noise came out of his monitor and she froze. She knew what that sound was, but at the same time she could not comprehend what it meant. About half a dozen of nurses and doctors rushed in Shane’s room, one of them pushing her out in the hallway… She stood frozen in front of his room listening to the yelling and different sounds of machines and clicking of all the instruments rubbing against each other. Everything became hazed in her mind, in front of her eyes, and she felt her body sliding down onto the floor. She kneeled down, and while everything started looking dark and black she prayed. She prayed to the Lord and Lady. She begged them to save Shane. If anyone deserved to be given second chance in life it was him. Lost in her thoughts, with swollen red eyes and a huge hole in her heart, she got startled back with nurse yelling in her face. She looked up at the blurry face and tried to focus… “We were able to bring him back, but he is very weak, we need permission to operate stat…. He is losing large quantity of blood, definitely will need more, his heart is failing… “Save him, take him and operate, do what needs to be done, please… bring him back to me” Leila raised her voice to the nurse. Blonde haired nurse just slightly nodded her head and ran back into Shane’s room. After some commotion in the room, Leila heard squeaking wheels of his bed coming out of his room. She jumped up off of the floor and said: “Please stop, just for a second”. Bending down once more she kissed his bloody lacerated, swollen lips and whispered in his ear: “I love you Shane, please come back to me”. She saw his lucky necklace, shimmer in the hallway light, turning around to nurse Shmidt she said: “That is his lucky necklace, don’t remove it… please! Nurse just nodded gently with a small smile framing her face. My blood, take my blood she said in shock, we have same blood… B+… In the next few seconds they were gone behind huge gray doors with a sign reading Personnel Only….