So school took over my life this semester. Sorry that this was long overdue. Hopeful to have more updates now that I'm on break! Thanks for all of your feedback! It motivates me to keep writing, knowing that someone is reading this! It's shorter than usual, but I wanted to save more for later!
I couldn’t control the bouncing of my knees as I hugged myself in one of the many chairs that occupied the private waiting room located in the ER. After I handed over Hailey’s license to one of the nurses at the desk, she immediately did a double take at the picture. She knew who Hailey was. If the last name didn’t give it away, it was the fact that she was known by most of Pittsburgh. She immediately led me to this room where she promised that no one would bother me and those that would be coming in. The nurse tried to calm me down for a while and just rubbed my shoulders as I cried out of guilt and fear, but eventually I sent her away as soon as I was certain that no more tears could leak out.
I couldn’t bear the silence that occupied the room as I impatiently waited for a doctor to come in to report Hailey’s condition. It wouldn’t be good, that much I knew. But I just prayed that it wasn’t going to be something so…sudden. As long as she was alive, I would be fine. I kept telling myself that she was still here and that it was gonna be okay. But this dark and evil voice always would fight back with a ‘What if’ question that sent me back to the feeling that I could have prevented this from happening. Why does shit like this happen to good people all the time? It’s not like Hailey deserved this. I just wanted her to walk back here and laugh at how ridiculous I must look right now. Then, she would make a suggestion about going to Ross Park Mall for some retail therapy. But I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I knew that this hospital would most likely be her second home for at least a few days.
I heard a knock at the door, and I turned my head quickly hoping to see a doctor. But instead, it was the same nurse who had comforted me earlier and looked like she was still trying to as I saw a coffee mug in her hand. She occupied the chair next to me and offered the mug.
“I know you’re probably not up to drinking anything right now, but I find that any form of chocolate can subside the pain for at least a little. I even threw some marshmallows in there.”
It even surprises me that the marshmallows are what sold me in on the hot drink. I thought only kids got excited about stuff like this. I thanked her quietly as I gently took the mug from her hands and began to drink. After a few sips and burning my tongue a little, I stared into space as my finger traced the rim of the mug many times. It had been a while since I called Marc, and it made me even more anxious than I already am wondering where him and Sid were.
“Honey, you can’t beat yourself up like this,” the nurse interrupted my thoughts. “All you can do is hope for the best.”
I stayed silent and continued to stare straight at the wall ahead of me as the nurse quietly left the room. What did she know about what happened? She didn’t cause this. She doesn’t know the hell I’m going through along with everyone else. How can I just let this go and say that this was an accident? I want all of this to just be a dream or at least something that everyone can walk away from in order to return to our daily lives. But I just had that feeling that this wouldn’t be the case. That we would have to adjust our lives from now on. And I dreaded that. I hate change. I avoid it as much as possible. If everything happens for a reason, there better be a damn good one behind this.
Another knock on the door interrupted my thoughts again. I looked up to see a doctor with a blank look on his face.
“Hello, I’m Dr. Johnson. Are you a relative of Hailey’s?”
“No, but I’m a good friend of hers. I was with her when this happened and rode in the ambulance with her.”
He nodded, “Does she have any family on the way?”
“Her husband’s supposed to be here any minute…I don’t know what’s taking him so long.”
I began to get real antsy, not realizing until now that I was gripping the chair tightly and taking deep breaths. “Tell me she’s all right…just.. please..”
He sighed, “I don’t mean to be a pain, but I’m really not supposed to release information without a family member here..”
“Please! You have to tell me at least SOMETHING!” I stood up as I cried. “ My God, I was there…I watched the whole thing happen! I’m going out of my mind wondering if she’s gonna walk out of here so the least you can do is tell me if she’s okay!”
I turned around to see Marc, Sid, and Billy run through the door and just stand in place. I ran over to Marc and hugged him tightly.
“I’m sorry, Sid! I’m so sorry!” I yelled through my tantrum as I buried my face in Marc‘s chest. “I shouldn’t have left her side! Please don’t hate me! I’m so sorry..”
Before Billy even put the car in park, I was already running towards the Emergency Room entrance. My mind wouldn’t shut down as I continued to think of all the possibilities that could face me when I entered Mercy Hospital. While I feared the worst, I still believed that Hailey was going to be okay, that this wasn’t the end. Hell, for all I know, she probably just sprained her wrist or something. But something told me that it was far more serious considering Marc’s comment about Vero screaming through the phone.
Not worrying about who might notice me, I rushed towards the front desk only to have a nurse already motioning me to follow her. We were led to a private waiting room where Vero seemed to be in the middle of an argument with a doctor. As Marc called her name, she ran into his arms. All I could do was look around the room for Hailey only to find her missing.
“I’m sorry, Sid! I’m so sorry!”
My eyes directed their attention towards Vero in her fragile state. All I could think of was why Vero was apologizing to me.
“I shouldn’t have left her side! Please don’t hate me! I’m so sorry..”
I tried to speak, to ask her what had happened, but I couldn’t. I don’t know why. Maybe I was dumbstruck by the entire situation and how we possibly got to this point in time. Maybe I was waiting for Dupes to wake me from this nightmare I was having while our team was on the road. Maybe I was just too scared to know what reality was about to hand me.
“Are you Hailey’s husband?”
I turned around to face the doctor, completely unaware of his presence before. I nodded my head as he introduced himself to me. He then advised everyone to have a seat. Well, if I wasn’t alarmed before, I sure as hell am now. Nothing like those words can lead to good news.
I took a deep breath and leaned forward in my chair, “Just tell me she’s gonna be okay.”
A silence enveloped the room for a few seconds, but it felt like moments. Dr. Johnson sighed, “Well, so far, she’s going to be okay. She had a nasty hit on her head and while the scans are looking okay, we won’t know for sure if there is any damage. So right now, she just has a nice bump on the head. She also has plenty of bruises from all of the cinderblock falling…”
“Cinderblock? Vero, what the hell happened down at the Consol?” I interrupted the doctor as I looked at her for some clarifications.
Vero explained how they had walked around the restaurant together with the construction workers until they left the two of them. While Vero answered her mom’s call, she turned around and tried to get Hailey out of harm’s way, but all she could was helplessly watch her be buried. I immediately became angry, “Why the hell would they leave you guys alone while that place is under construction?! And what the hell are they doing if the ceiling isn’t stable enough to begin with!? Do they realize who they’re working for?! Just wait until they hear from me about this-”
“Sid, there’s nothing you can do about it now,” Billy said as he grabbed my shoulder. “The only thing you need to worry about right now is Hailey and being here for her.”
I shook my head as I looked up towards Dr. Johnson, “Is that all that happened to her?”
He nodded, “As far as we can tell. We just need to wait for her to wake up to finish examining the amount of injuries she has sustained. You should all count your blessings that she’s still here with us.”
I silently sent a ‘Thank You’ up above, leaned back in my chair, and sighed deeply. “Can I see her?”
Dr. Johnson nodded as he led me out of the waiting room, leaving the rest of the group behind, towards Hailey’s room. So everything was going to be fine. Granted that she would be really sore and would have to take it easy for a while, she was still here. I could hardly wait until she was awake so I could take her home and get back to our lives. She probably won’t appreciate the nice words I have for the construction company, claiming that it was just an accident. One accident could have cost me my world. And if these workers are getting paid as much as they are, it’s only right they hear what needs to be fixed.
As we were about to enter her room, a nurse came out. “She’s awake, doctor. Just to warn you, she’s a little confused.”
I looked at Dr. Johnson as he gave me a reassuring smile, “Not to worry. This is normal, especially since she’s somewhere she’s not used to.”
I tried to ignore the horrible feeling in my gut as I followed him into Hailey’s room. Luckily, all of my fears and worries disappeared as I saw Hailey breathing. I smiled as I headed towards her, thankful for this moment. I leaned forward, placed my right hand on her cheek, kissed her forehead, and whispered, “I love you.” I then sat down in the chair next to her bed and held her hand as I waited for Dr. Johnson to finish his examination.