Diaries Magazine

Ch 5 - i Was Never Alone, Anyway

Posted on the 01 March 2013 by Mavie
“Where am I, Zac?” A handful of his shirt was crumpled tightly in my palm.“Still isolated. They took some scans last night when you were still sedated.” His hand brushed over my hair comfortingly.We lay together on the narrow bed listening to early morning activity out in the hall. Zac had stayed with me all night solidifying my reasoning that the nurses were the ones who were delusional. Zac was here, warm and breathing lying millimetres from me, how could his beating heart be imaginary? “Em? Are you up? The nurses called me first thing this morning,” Mum pushed the door open letting in a fresh breeze of Dettol.Releasing Zac, I straightened up horrified that my Mum should see me in bed with a man, albeit it being as innocent as it was. But Mum didn’t notice, maybe she hadn’t seen him behind my blanketed body?“Hi Mum.”“Oh dear, Em you sound awful. Are you alright?” She stepped closer and took my hand. Zac’s chest pressed into my back reminding me that he went invisible in the presence of others, I couldn’t fathom how Mum could miss him. She had never been rude to my friends before. Deciding to test the theory, I sat up allowing her a good view behind me. “Mum you didn’t say hello to Zac.”Mum’s eyes widened as she paused for thought, “Em, darling. There is no Zac.”“He’s lying next to me, Mum. His hand is on my back, can’t you see?” Her eyes pooled with tears and a small sob betrayed her, “Em. Please, stop this. There’s no one there. You’re sick, you have to stop seeing things that are not there.”“He’s there Mum.” I insisted closing my eyes against her agonised face.There was a moment of silence, Mum’s breathing shifted attempting to hold back another distraught sob that was trying to escape.“Good morning ladies!” Doctor Matthew’s cheerful tones fell flat.Mum sniffed loudly and requested an update.“I’m afraid we have some bad news,” he began delicately.  “It appears Em has a small tumour on the back of her brain. It is relatively small and thankfully, we have caught it in time.”Mum inhaled loudly gripping the edge of my bed for support.“But, we can start a course of medication straight away, the nurse will be in to explain the treatment thoroughly.” He ended his diagnosis beaming, as though he had just announced me the winner of the national lotto.“Is this why she keeps seeing this Zac?”“Possibly. Right now we have just established the tumour. Emaan is booked in for a couple more tests this morning so we can get definite results.”“Is the tumour life threatening?” Zac whispered beside me.When no one answered, I repeated the question out loud. “At the moment, the results say no. If the tumour doesn’t shrink, we can operate to remove it.” He turned to Mum, “I have some papers for you to sign, would you mind coming with me?” The doctor led Mum away leaving me contemplating in thought.“Zac, they can’t see you.” I wasn’t sure if my sentence was a question or statement.“No, it doesn’t look like it.”“Are you imaginary?” My heart thudded erratically, its frantic beating almost drowned out his next words.“No, all I know is that I am here for you.”I twisted to stare at him. “You keep saying that. You’re here for me. I know that, your support is crucial to me. But I need more, I need you to tell me why I am the only one who can see you.”“You wouldn’t believe me, besides I’m not allowed to say. You’re clever enough, figure it out.”“What’s that supposed to mean? Just tell me.”He sighed and pushed himself up to lean against the pillows. “I can’t. Just remember I’m here for you.” He raised his eyebrows meaningfully.“Maam? Are you ready for some tests?” A small Philipina nurse poked her head around the door.“Okay, just give me a minute,” I threw the thin blanket off my legs and stood up.The door closed and I turned back to Zac, but he had disappeared. The bed was empty leaving the pillows slowly inflating as though a weight had just lifted off them. ***The machine was small, it rotated around my head as I lay partially reclined on the comfortable leather armchair. The square shaped room was dark, lit only by the bank of computer screens that lined a pale green wall. The nurse had said the scan would take an hour, my brain was being mapped to monitor various levels of something or other and I had to lie very still to allow the small wires attached to my temples to send volumes of data back to the main computer on the other side of the two way mirror.With my body relaxed, my mind occupied itself with Zac’s words, spinning them around and around forcing me to break through his meaningful code. “I’m here for you. I’m here for you…I’m here….for….you.” I feverishly chanted the mantra, quickly at first and then as time progressed and the tiredness took over, more slowly, “I’m… here… for you.”With crushing force, the message hit. I sat bolt upright causing the machines to beep angrily at me. A nurse hurried in, “Maam, please lie down. We are almost done.”“No!” I didn’t want to lie down. I had finally figured it out. Zac was here for me. Not as in support of me, but in the other way, to fetch me, to collect me. Zac was here to take me. Take me somewhere other than here, where exactly I didn’t know but I had to find out. I ripped at the electrodes, my eyes wild and glassy. “I have to go.”“What? No! You can’t. Maam. Please wait, don’t pull the wires.” The nurse batted my hands away but I resumed pulling until I was free of the machine. Swinging my legs off, I hurtled from the room. The nurse grabbed at my gown but I ripped it away hurrying into the bright corridor. My feet carried me towards the emergency exit, begging me to escape the confines of the hospital. I didn’t need drugs or tests or anything that would impair my thinking. I needed Zac, I had to get somewhere quiet for him to come find me.Out through the fire exit doors, a wide staircase led down to the lower floors and I took them two at a time emerging into the main hallway that led to different wards. Wondering further into the maze of corridors I found myself outside a room that read, PRIVATE – DOCTORS CALL ROOM.Pushing through the door I was grateful for the room being empty. There was a desk and a bunk bed with unmade sheets, I wobbled over to the bed and sat down pushing my hands through my tangled hair. “Zac? Where are you? Zac? Are you here?” I pleaded with the thin air hoping he would show. I felt a bit foolish for talking to myself but with his words still lingering in my mind I was desperate for answers.My eyes rested on the two lockers near the desk, one stood ajar allowing me to peek in at the clothes that hung inside. It gave me an idea, I would go home, away from here where I could think straight. Pulling at the clothes I found everything I needed to get away, there was a pair of jeans and a jacket. I looked around for some shoes and spotted a pair of white nurses’ shoes under the desk, they were a size too small and I stuffed my feet into them wearing them as slippers. “What are you doing?” Zac’s voice made me jump.“Where have you been? I was calling you.” I whipped around glaring at him.“And I’m here. So where are you going?” He crossed his arms stubbornly.“I figured it out. You keep saying you’re here for me. But it’s not in the way I thought, is it? You’re here to take me away.”He raised an amused eyebrow at my accusation.“So? Admit it. You’re here to kill me aren’t you?” I jabbed a finger at his chest.“Kill you? Eh… Em. No. If I wanted to kill you, I would have done it that night at the carnival.”My fingernails dug into my palms, “if you are not here to kill me, then where are you taking me?”“Em. Please. Think about what you are saying. I am not here on my own will. I was ordered to come and get you, to help you with the transition.”“Ordered? By who? What transition?” I shook his arm uselessly for answers. “Em! Stop!” Zac pulled away and held my arms tight forcing me to look into his eyes. Suddenly the pieces fell into place and my voice dropped to a horrified whisper. “I’m dying aren’t I?”The relief on Zac’s face was obvious.“It’s the tumour? Its killing me? Right?”Zac didn’t answer, his grip loosened on my arms but his eyes still held mine.“Right Zac? Am I dying? Tell me, please just tell me!” I shoved at his chest.“Em, I’ve said too much already. I’m here to help you prepare for the transition, your mother will need you to be strong.”This words were like electric, my breathing grew shallow and my mind spun. “I’m dying,” my voice was like chalk, dry and arid. “Mum! Oh Mum, how will she cope?” Angry tears filled my eyes, it all made sense now, the headaches, the dizziness and the fatal tumour that would eventually kill me. “Not many people have the chance to say goodbye, count yourself lucky that you figured it out in time. Spend this time with her, prepare her. It will make it easier on the both of you.” Zac drew me closer and held me in a tight embrace.His presence dampened the rising panic that threatened to engulf me. Zac was right, at least I had a chance to make things right before my time came, at least I could spend the time appreciating what others took for granted. Everyone had to die, no one was immortal. So what if I was going a little before I had thought? So what if I didn’t get to graduate? What was a piece of paper in the grand scheme of things? “Zac? What’s the point of life? Why was I born? Why do I have to go before even having children of my own?” Questions that I never contemplated before rushed from my lips.Zac had no answers. His revelation hit like a ton of bricks instilling fear that had gripped my insides, turning everything once warm to ice. Fatigue washed over my exhausted body and I lay down to give in to the wretchedness that would soon end my life.

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