It was a dark and rainy day in February when I was hit by a small red pick up. February 15th. I was told I flew 15 feet before landing smack on my head. Apparently the driver was drunk and didn’t see me crossing.
I don’t remember that day at all.
Four weeks I slept, in a coma that many feared I would never come out of. I was placed in a ward of children and teens with major bodily harm or disease. My roommate was a boy named Mason. I never did find out his last name. For the time in which I slept, he found out bits and pieces of me from my various visitors. My favorite color, what music I liked, and other random things.
The day I woke up, I was showered with love and attention from my family and it took me almost an hour to realize the presence of the boy laying in the bed beside me. He flashed me a lopsided grin and quietly went back to the book he was reading.
Eventually I was left in peace and after about 20 minutes of mental debate, I spoke up and asked him his name. His voice was smooth and low and never failed to make me shudder. We spent the rest of the evening playing 20 questions and becoming familiar with each other.
Eventually, my doctor would break our quality time and give me the low down on my injuries and what the healing process would be like. He told me that when I was hit, not only did I give myself a nasty concussion, but my legs were also broken in my oh so gracefully landing.
They said I had a 60% chance of ever walking again.
We became close instantaneously. The nurses would laugh and say we already looked like an old married couple bundled up in bed watching whatever soap opera happened to be on television. Mason would just flash me his trademark grin while I blushed and buried my face in his chest.
We both had our good days and bad ones, Mason and I. On a particularly tough day of treatment for him, we both lay together with him trembling in my arms. I’ll never forget the feeling of his soft hiccups or the knot at the pit of my stomach. I finally got up my courage and asked him the million dollar question.
He had Hodgkin’s disease. I don’t think either of us slept that night.
While my legs were transitioned from casts to braces, Mason’s chemotherapy began. However, without fail, when I’d come back frustrated or in tears over a difficult session of therapy, he’d be there to comfort me with soothing words and reruns of I Love Lucy.
Over the weeks, the chemo began to take it’s toll. His brown curls thinned to almost nothing, dark circles took permanent residence under his eyes, and his skin turned as pale as snow. As my legs grew stronger, the day I was released no longer seemed like something to look forward to.
The day we decided to shave his hair was the day I broke down. I told him I would do anything; give blood, bone marrow, anything to make him get better faster, but he just shot me his smile that instantly made me melt and wiped my tears away.
60%. Mason had a sixty percent chance of beating his demons. Same as me.
On May 12, I was officially released from room 104. I would walk with a limp most likely for the rest of my life. Every other day I would visit Mason. Each time I would leave we would take a picture together. Over the months I could compare our first picture and our most recent one and see how much he was deteriorating. It was heartbreaking.
August 17 was the first time I lost him. Overnight a high fever had broken out and his heart stopped for 4 1/2 minutes. Those were the worst minutes of my life. I sat outside his room in an uncomfortable plastic chair watching the nurses I knew all too well scrambling back and forth attempting to save his fragile life.
I didn’t leave his side until he squeezed my hand, winked, and told me to go home and take a shower.
After that, I vowed I would never let him leave me alone again.
I guess the odds weren’t in Mason’s favor for by the time Thanksgiving came around, he was almost a skeleton. But I didn’t care.
He confided in me that night, accepting the fact that his time was almost up and promising to wait for me on the other side. I begged him not to go, but he just lightly shook his head and rubbed soft circles into my back. He wasn’t going to survive to see Christmas.
That was two months ago.
No longer being able to bear to see him hooked up to all sorts of machines, we decided to steal away in the night together. I bundled him up and we drove away in my mother’s car until we arrived at an old cabin my family would stay in during the holidays. Mason and I couldn’t be any happier. I don’t care that I’m on the news every night, or that every cop in the county is looking for me.
All I care about is being with Mason forever.
Even if his flesh is crawling with maggots and beginning to peel off his bones. Even if the smell off his rotting cadaver never fades from my skin. His lips are still warm at night and he often whispers sweet secrets into my ear before we sleep. No one, not the police, doctors, or anyone else can ever separate us. I’m ready for them when they come.
I made sure to bring the sharpest scalpel I could find when we left the hospital.
But until then, I’ll lay in Mason’s arms, or at least what I think were once his strong appendages, and we’ll talk all night until he takes me away.
We’ll be together forever.