Diaries Magazine

Ch 3 - i Was Never Alone, Anyway

Posted on the 17 February 2013 by Mavie
Zac stood over my slumped form, his face partially hidden from view as I took in the thick crown of wavy brown hair from somewhere high above. My soul had briefly left the confines of my body as it lay crumpled and motionless on the kitchen lino, and wandered heavenward giving me a perfect birds eye vantage point of what was happening below. Zac was rocking on the balls of his feet, his hands stuffed deep in his coat pockets. Why wasn’t he calling an ambulance? Why was he just standing there? My liberated self edged closer to the ceiling, almost pushing through to the bedroom that lay beyond the patterned white rose from which suspended a single light bulb.
I watched my body stir and then it all went black. Short moments later a key in the lock turned and light footsteps entered the hall.“Em? Em?” Carrier bags rustled and there was a thud as something heavy hit the floor. “Emaan!” Mum’s screech rose in alarm as she called me by my full name. She dropped heavily to her knees and shook my limp shoulders.But my eyelids struggled to open, the pain behind them was too strong to put up much of a fight. The inert muscles of my body begged my brain to give in to the dull void that beckoned, but my ears remained defiant. I could hear Mum’s panic fueled voice incoherently trying to explain my condition to the operator over her mobile. Ah, there it was, our address was finally given and I knew help was on the way.“In here, she’s in there. I didn’t move her.” Mum’s frantic plea sounded far away, I guessed she had just opened the front door to the two paramedics in. “Em? Can you hear me? Em?” The uniformed man raised his voice and spoke directly into my ear. Ouch, his voice is so loud, I squeezed my eyes against the pain, hoping he would stop shouting. My jaw ached as it rested against the cold floor, making it impossible to answer the man whose hands now encircled my neck checking for signs of broken bones. When he was satisfied that my body was intact, a hard warmth gripped my shoulder and flipped me over releasing the lock on my jaw. The blood rushed to the back of my head and my eyelids fluttered fighting the dizziness that made the room swim. Bright light sifted through my lashes and I squinted up at Zac whose patient eyes bore into mine, he stood so still I wondered if he too had died.“Zac? Am I dead?” I whispered barely moving my lips.“No Em. You are not dead. My name is Simon, I am a paramedic. Can you tell me what happened? Did you fall?” Simon’s head came into view blocking out Zac’s ashen one. “I don’t know.” I reached up past him to where Zac had been but my hand grasped empty air, Zac had vanished. “Where’s Zac?”“Zac? Whose Zac?” Mum bent down and took my outstretched hand.“Zac,” I whispered allowing the dizziness to sweep in once more cutting off the rest of my sentence. When I woke up again I was on my back strapped onto a gurney, nurses bustled around me and a sharp needle pierced my skin.“Mum?” I mumbled groggily. “What’s happening?” “Ssh. You’re okay. I’m just doing some tests.” A nurse taped something sticky to my hand and didn’t meet my eyes.“Mum!” I called louder craning my neck to see around her.“She’s in the waiting room Emaan, you can see her shortly.” She patted my hand and disappeared through the grimy curtains without a backward glance. “Where’s Mum?” I asked another nurse who was setting up a drip.“She’ll be here in a minute.” And she too scampered off leaving me alone and confused.I closed my eyes and tried to stop the tears that spilled through my lashes. I felt awful, my head hurt and my stomach was raging into a storm that threatened to send a load of vomit racing up my throat. The curtains rustled and I opened my eyes hoping it would be Mum, but the bay was empty, on my left was a small side table that held various medical implements and to my right was pale green wall that stretched into a dark corner just above my head. I twisted my neck to get a better view and gasped as my heart thudded in fright. A tall shadow stepped out of the shadow and grinned down at me.“Zac! What are you doing?” The tremor in my chest lessened to a surprised thud.“I’m waiting for you, you had me a little worried there.”“What happened, Zac?” “You fell.”“I know that, did I bang my head? It hurts like mad.” I pushed a cold palm up against my feverish forehead.“Em, I’m here for you, you just take all the time you need.” Zac sat by my side and pulled my hand away holding it steadily in his.“Zac, why are you looking at me like that? And why didn’t you help me when I fell?”Zac’s eyes widened. “Help you? I did. I cushioned your fall.”“You didn’t call the ambulance.”“Your mom did. I stayed with you,” he stroked the inside on my palm.“No, I saw…” My head throbbed again, taking the rest of my sentence in a loud groan.“Ssh. You must rest. I will come back later,” Zac released my hand and stepped away.“Zac! Wait, Zac!” I blinked back the tears but he had gone already, leaving the bay without a sound. “Did you call me Em?” Mum stepped through the curtains cautiously.But I didn’t hear her, my mind had shut down bringing a wave of subconscious sleep with it. My head sank deeper in the lumpy pillow and darkness filled my eyelids once more. It must have been hours later when the sound of the machine woke me, the constant beep beep filled the room muffling the hushed whispers from the end of my bed. “She’s awake!” “Oh Em. You had me so scared,” Mum cradled my head against her wet cheek.“Mm.” I inhaled her familiar smell and felt at peace, the throbbing in my head had gone and the nausea had dwindled into a slow barely there churn. “Em! Are you okay?” Aunt Bushra placed a hand on my arm. “I feel better now, thanks.” I sat up and attempted a carefree smile.Mum watched for any signs of discomfort and seeing there were none, she stood up. “Okay, that’s good. Will you be okay if I go home and change?”“Change? What for? Are you going somewhere?” Puzzled I peered down at my own dressing gown that was tied at the side of my cold body.“No honey. I’ve been in these clothes since yesterday morning. It’s almost six in the evening now.”I stared dumbfound at her explanation. We had been at the hospital two whole days? Where had the night gone? I nodded mutely, watching the two ladies close the curtain behind them. Focusing I tried to remember snippets of information about the night before, I must have drifted in and out of consciousness as muddled images clouded my brain, there was Mum sobbing quietly by my side. There was Aunt Bushra holding onto my hand and stroking my hair. And then there was Zac. The tall shadow that stood silently in the far corner observing the scene with a detachment was strangely chilling. A shudder confirmed that there was something odd about Zac, the man I had only met a few days ago. I had to ask him why he was really here.The curtain rustled and as if my magic, Zac poked his head around. “I was wondering when they would leave.” “Were you standing there the whole time?” I sat up trying to control the uncomfortable feeling within. “Yup. I’m here as long as you need me.” In two strides he was by my side, taking my fingers between both his hands. “You’re so cold.” I murmured. “Have you been home yet? Have you eaten?”“I’m fine, Em. My job is to be here with you.” “Why? Why do you care so much? We’ve only just met Zac.”“Have we? You don’t remember me do you?” he said cryptically peeking from beneath his thick lashes.“No…why?” My eyes swelled as his gaze pulled me under. Then in a sudden burst of images, memories flooded my once dormant mind, and it was summer again. Zac. Me. Scorching hot days, sandy beaches and the west coast sea breeze. We were very small, four or maybe five, playing in the sand at the edge of the water which lapped at our sandcastle. There was Mum and Dad sitting further up the beach with their best friends, Zac’s parents. The adults were drinking coffee from a tall thermos and eating grilled chicken freshly cooked on the small barbeque they had set up.Zac and I had been childhood friends, inseparable that summer and every summer after until the age of ten when Dad had left us. His sudden departure meant we never had the chance to visit the west coast again, I doubted my mother would want to either as it would have brought back painful memories of losing her husband. Another image replaced the west coast shoreline, this time Mum came into my bedroom late one afternoon, she sat with me at my dollhouse and helped to put Barbie to sleep. It was clear she had been crying, her voice shook as she made small talk and then eventually told me that Dad had left us. He had gone to a better place, high up in heaven where good people go. I didn’t understand death back then, I cried asked why he didn’t take us. Why did he leave without saying goodbye? But Mum had no answers to console me, all she said was that Dad went to help his friend when his car broke down miles from home. Dad picked up his friend and his family and was driving them home when the bus hit them straight on. The last words I heard before falling into a grief stricken sleep was my mother’s soft voice telling me that no one survived. Not dad, not Zac’s parents and not Zac who had been sleeping across his mother’s lap in the back seat.

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