His fingers hovered above my skin just enough to tease. It wasn’t until contact was finally made I realized how badly I missed it. I tried to stay as still as I could and kept my breathing shallow so he wouldn’t know I was awake. Once the weight of his head landed on my stomach did I dare peek. His fingers were wrapped loosely around mine and his not-quite-blonde-not-quite-brown hair was all that was visible to me. I didn’t realize he was crying until the vibrations of his movements shook against me. I lifted my right hand, as my left was currently captured within his, and dug my fingers into the shag of his hair. He stilled instantly. I knew he felt embarrassed to be caught crying, but in this moment it didn’t matter. He raised his head slowly and looked up at me under dark lashes. The green of his eyes glistened with tears unshed. He sharply exhaled at the sight of me. If I looked anything like I felt, then it must’ve been hell.
Behind his head, a soap opera was playing on the hospital room tv with the volume turned down. I was so preoccupied with the presence of him, I almost didn’t notice the antiseptic smell. But why was I here, what had happened? My thoughts were cut short, and my eyes snapped back to him as his voice dug into me, “You’re awake.” Two simple words. The two most important words to be uttered since the dawn of man. At least it seemed that way to him, the way he had spoken them. As if two words could never be formed in that order while simultaneously being directed at me. As if stranger things have happened. The most I could do was blink at him. I didn’t realize I was crying until he swiped his thumb across my cheek. I opened my mouth, then closed it. Then opened it again. Nothing came out. There was something so important, something I was forgetting. I pushed that thought aside as he placed his palm against my cheek. I leaned into his touch, “It’s okay, you’re with me now. You’re okay.” But I wasn’t. What was I doing lying in a hospital bed? Why couldn’t I remember what had happened?
“There was an accident. I’m here now, everything’s alright.” The cadence of his voice swam through my veins. The tip of my mouth curved into a smile and he responded with a choked laugh as tears spilled down his cheeks. I gazed up at him in wonderment. I was so happy to see him. He stood over me, one hand tangled in mine, the other cupping the back of my head. He placed a tender kiss to my forehead and urged me to sit up. Slowly, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and lowered my bare feet to the icy floor. All the while, never letting go of his hand. I’d never let him go again. He braced me with a hand on my elbow, “You really should take it slow, you just woke up.” I remained sitting on the bed to appease him, my toes just skimming the floor, “What kind of accident was I in? Was anyone else hurt?” My throat felt scratchy and sounded even worse.
“Here, have some water,” he handed me a glass that was sitting on the bedside table. It didn’t help much, but I thanked him anyway and handed it back. Once he returned the glass to its original spot, he knelt down in front of me with his hands placed lightly on either side of my thighs. I’d forgotten how large his hands were, they extended across my thigh from thumb to pinky. He hung his head and sighed, as if he’d had a terribly long day. I suppose he had, since I had no sense of how long I’d been out.
When he finally looked up at me did I notice the sallow color of his skin and the bruises under his eyes. I grabbed his head, not forcefully, and inspected him, “Were you in the accident too?” He placed one hand over mine and left the other to linger on the side of my thigh. “No,” was the only answer I got. He really must’ve been worried about me, he looked absolutely ragged. Was it a car accident? Who was driving? My thoughts snapped back to him when I saw the look in his eye. My heart started racing in my chest, “What is it?” He took both of my hands in his and held them like he could hold together the pieces of me that were breaking apart.
“I’m so sorry, I’m sorry that I did this to you,” he wouldn’t meet my eye. “Did what? What did you do?” He let my hands fall limply back into my lap. He stood and paced the room. He reached around and scratched the back of his head as if he were contemplating telling me the truth. I know I can be fragile, but I’m not made of glass, “Just tell me!” I instantly regretted losing my temper and lowered my head in chagrin. He was back in front of me in an instant. He placed a hand on my neck, just above my collarbone. I loved it when he touched me there. It was my favorite spot. At first he was overjoyed to see me, but now he just seemed sad. I reached up and tangled my fingers in his hair, the hair that was not-quite-blonde-not-quite-brown, that I loved so much. He stared into my eyes intently, that beautiful green mesmerizing me. He wasn’t smiling anymore, not the way he did when I first opened my eyes. Panic suddenly consumed me, why was he so solemn? He must’ve sensed my rising fear as he firmly grabbed my shoulders and assured me everything was alright. My breath came out in ragged gasps. He touched his forehead to mine and squeezed his eyes shut tightly, “Remember. Please.. Try to remember.”
“You’re scaring me. I’m awake, I’m okay. You’re here now! You’re with me, you’re… here,” Realization dawned on me. I was so happy to see him, I’d nearly forgotten. I snatched my hands away and jerked back from him. Tears blurred my vision and threatened to spill. I raised a shaky hand to my mouth. He just stood there, hands hanging limply at his sides. I scuttled off the bed, nearly tripping over the bed sheets. I backed up until I hit a wall. He moved around the bed toward me, slowly. I had nowhere else to go so I slid down the wall until my butt met the floor. I dropped my head in my hands and choked on my sobs, “No, no, no, no, no..” I could feel him place his hands on the wall on either side of my head, caging me in. I barely heard him whisper, “I’m sorry,” before the metallic taste of blood filled my mouth.
The cool metal had sliced smoothly over my throat, smoother than I was expecting. I’d been wearing a hard armor all these years I had forgotten how soft I really was. I had watched the life drain from my own eyes as I somehow found the strength to remain standing, gazing into the bathroom mirror. I wanted to capture this moment, the defeat painted on my face. Was this how he felt? I tilted my head to the side as I inspected the damage. I was fascinated with the gash I’d caused, gaping right where he had always touched. Blood fountained down my front and pooled at my feet. My vision swam and the room spun. I stumbled to my knees and choked on my own blood. Red, so much red. It was his favorite color. All I could see now was the image of his face. Before, smiling, when he was happy. So happy. The clatter of the knife falling from my hand was the last thing I heard before my body hit the ground.