Air. It was the first thing I felt when I opened my eyes. Air shooting through a plastic tube into my nose and my lungs expanding...bright lights...sounds...air...I was alive.
“Friend. I’m here friend.” I heard Lyric. My Lyric, she was here. I had so much to tell her. I reached out a weak arm to her but that felt like someone had poked me in the side with a metal pitchfork.
“Lyric…” my voice cracked trying to call to her. “Lyric…” She jumped up, damn near falling as she made it to my bed.
“Oh my God girl.” She hugged me, sending more pain through my sore chest but I welcomed pain…pain meant that I was alive, alive when I thought for sure I was dead. I thought the python had finally won. But I still screamed a low grumble because any extra movement or breathing hurt.
“Oh shit I’m sorry,” Lyric apologized. The stale grey walls and a ten-inch mounted television on the wall told me I was at the hospital, I knew it so well as if it were my second home but I wanted Lyric to confirm it.
“What hospital am I in?”
“Good, you know where you are.” She sighed, and laughed slightly. “Presbyterian General.”
“How long…” She frowned at that. I could tell it was too long and she didn’t want to tell me.
“Three days.” I closed my eyes trying to stay calm but deep inside I wanted to kill everything in sight.
“Three.fucking.days.” I had to get out of here. “Shit…” I hissed and breathed through the pain as I sat up in the bed.
“You need to lay down. The doctor said you need to rest.” The doctor wasn’t going to support me or take these classes for me.
“I don’t care. I have to…” I fought to pull myself up. “I have to go talk to my professors. I have to pass. I have to pass my classes.” That’s all that mattered to me. I pushed myself up over the rails of the hospital bed. My hands were shaking and my chest was burning but I had to do it. “I gotta get home. I gotta take my exam…” I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking. This was my worst nightmare, to sleep through my finals and wake up in a hospital where I’ve been for days. There was so much that I needed to do but like a leash, the IV kept me tethered to the bed. “Shit…” I grabbed at my midsection. I felt like someone had punched me in the side with the fury of Mike Tyson. “My chest.” I squeezed the side of the bed as the pain shot through me. After having an asthma attack, being able to breathe isn’t the end of it. The aftershocks of pain were way worse than the attack itself, but this pain was far worse than any other I had felt.
“Rya...You have a broken rib.”
“How the hell did my rib get broken?” Lyric shook her head and tears seemed to fall down.
“We thought you were going to die.” She cried, her tears forming a river down her cheeks.
“You stopped breathing. That guy...he had to do CPR. Then when the paramedics got there they continued. They said one of your ribs got broken. You had a pulmonary embolism.” I heard her words. I listened and tried to understand but I couldn’t. I couldn’t imagine my lifeless body receiving CPR…and what did she mean they got me back...did I die? And a blood clot in my lungs, how the hell did that happen?
“You're telling me that I died?” I sat back in the bed as she explained further about things I was present but not conscious for.
“You stopped breathing and while I was panicking he got right in there and started trying to resuscitate you. By the time the paramedics got there you were pretty much breathing but it was very shallow.”
This had to be the worst asthma attack I’ve ever had. I glanced around the room expecting to see my boyfriend but there was noone there.
“Oh...he had practice. He said to call when you woke up.” What if I didn’t wake up? Did he think this was some type of joke. I was almost killed and he didn’t even bother to come see me.
“I can’t believe this.”
“I can call him later.” I shook my head no. “I don’t care about talking to him.”
“Why? He wants to know about the baby.”
“If he cared about the baby he would be here,” I told her. It was simple, if it didn’t have anything to do with Chance personally then he didn’t give a damn. That’s why I had already made the decision. I didn’t want to tell my best friend like this but I looked at her straight in her eyes. I hated to lie to her but it was something I had to do on my own.
“I got an abortion, Lyric.” The room went quiet as if all the machines stopped as well.
“What...what do you mean?”
It was something I was going to tell her but I was so busy with studying and finding time to breathe that I put her and Chance off. I didn’t tell either one of them. I just did it.
“Last week I got an abortion.”
“And you went alone.”
It wasn’t my proudest moment. I wasn’t going to put on Facebook that I was going to have an abortion and ask people to volunteer to come.
“Yeah you were busy and I didn’t want to wait,” I told her, lying. I couldn’t tell her the truth, she didn’t need to know about all the things that go through my head.
“And you didn’t tell Chance.” I rolled my eyes at that.
“Chance is not ready to be a father. He’s been making that clear and him not being here right now shows it even more. I was talking to him right before I got robbed. I could have died and he’s not even here. All he did was send some damn flowers.
“Calm down...you're hyperventilating.” I didn’t notice I was breathing hard until Lyric said it.
“Here...drink this.” I took a drink of water, taking a deep breath but she smiled.
“Chance didn’t bring the flowers. The guy did.” I perked up when she said that.
“Yeah your friend that brought you in the house.”
“He’s not my friend. I don’t know him.”
“Oh...so what happened?” I tried thinking back and I didn’t know where to start, but that wasn’t important right now.
“Wait a minute...So he has been up here? The guy that helped me?”
“He came yesterday. You were in and out but he left these for you.” There were no other cards, flowers, or balloons, just this one. “What do you mean you got robbed? What happened?”
“He hasn’t been up but I’m sure he will be when he finds out you're awake.” She handed me the card from the flowers.
“Hope you feel better. No more walking at night okay ;)” He signed it P…. P what...what did that stand for?
“You're finally awake. How was the slumber, sleeping beauty?” I looked up to doctors and nurses filing in like it was an amusement park. Meanwhile I was crying, the tears trickling down as I held the card from the man that saved me.
“Oh are those tears of joy.” They caught me off guard bombarding my hospital bed as I tried to regain the last three days of my life. “We’re so glad you're awake. How do you feel?” The nurse asked.
“I’m in pain.” I barked. Lyric passed me a tissue as they went on like I wasn’t human.
“Where does it hurt?”
“Oh that’s probably from the chest compressions and your broken rib.” I didn’t understand what the doctor meant. Broken rib? Chest compressions?
“Compressions. What do you mean?” I looked from the doctors to Lyric but she wouldn’t
look me in the eye.
“I wasn’t able to tell her yet about everything.” Lyric tried
“Everything.” For the next ten minutes they told me about how I lost consciousness, stopped breathing, how I had to be resuscitated. I was dead, dead and brought back.
“Yeah P, he did CPR on you until the paramedics came. He really saved your life.” She had no clue the depths that he had gone through to save me. She didn’t know about the robbery yet, he had saved me from way more than just an asthma attack.
He saved me not once but twice in one night. I had to thank him. “I can’t believe this.” My head was spinning, I almost missed being asleep. I’d rather be knocked out than try to absorb all of this.
“Will somebody tell me what happened to me?” Why was I being left in the dark about my own health. I wished my ribs didn’t hurt so bad or I would feel ready to feel around the bed for my legs to make sure they were still attached.
Through the group of doctor’s one shorter guy with stubble for a beard as if he had just burst into puberty was the only one to step
One of the doctor’s stepped closer to my bed side to speak. “Yes ma’am. You are lucky to be alive. You do have a broken rib but we have been able to get your lung functions working again.” Working again? “So I stopped breathing.” I’ve had bad attacks before but I’ve never been unconscious.
“Were you in a heightened state at the time. Tell us what brought on the attack if you can remember.” I tried to remember. Thinking back to the library.
“I was walking home from the library and this man tried to rob me.” Lyric gasped and ran to my side. “This man came from nowhere and beat the guy up. After the fight was over I just…felt really bad. And my allergies, the heat, everything.” I could still smell the musk of his sweat as he told me he was going to kill me.
“Friend your shaking.”
You breathe and I’ll kill you. Oh God…” My shaking hands turned to fists as I imagined that musty deer piss smelling motherfucker that tried to kill me.
“The police will need to hear that statement. Have you spoken to them?” The men in front of me looked unfazed. No one cared to comfort or console me but Lyric.
“I just woke up. When do you think I had time to talk to the police?” I wanted to curse them out but it would hurt too bad. Every deep breath came with a price that my chest and lungs were paying for.
“Our apologies ma’am…we just wanted to come in and see what may have caused this for our medical research staff…” They talked but stopped listening. No one cared about me but Lyric, everyone wanted to use me to their advantage, taking from me whatever they wanted and leaving the rest as if compassion and decency weren’t meant for me.
I was trying to understand how I almost lost my life, how I had cheated death a few times in one night and now the man that I loved wasn’t even here to check up on me. “I should go find some other pussy.”Those were the last words he spoke to me.
“When can I leave…?” I blurted out. Getting out of here was the most important thing to me right now.
“Well we are going to release you in a day and have you follow-up with your primary care doctor since you are doing so well.”
“I want to leave today…now.” I didn’t have insurance or the money to pay for what would probably be a five figure hospital bill. “I’m a college student. I will lose my scholarship if I don’t take my final. AND…I can’t afford any of this.” I pointed to the IV’s hanging from my arms.
“Well, you aren’t critical and the rib pain can be eased with pain killers. So…we can probably allow a release today.”
“That would be great. I’d rather get home to my bed,” I told them, trying not to sound too rude but if they wanted to get paid I had to get out of here.
The doctors and nurses filed back out to the next peep show, leaving Lyric alone with me and a dozen questions.
“They said you need to rest,” Lyric told me. But I was done resting. I was getting up out of the bed, my legs dangling over the side as I willed myself to take a step, pulling the IV pole with me I slugged my way towards the bathroom.
“You heard what they said. They are releasing me. I don’t have time to rest, I gotta call my professors to try to get a retest on my exams.”
“I already did that. They all said give them a call when you are out of the hospital and you can do a retake.” That helped my anxiety a little but I still felt lost.
“I can’t believe this. I almost died.” I tried hugging myself but that didn’t feel good. I just wanted someone to wrap their arms around me and hold me. Chance should have been here to do that, not Lyric.
“Best friend...give me a hug.”
“I just can’t believe it. The shit was so scary…” She hugged me and I squeezed her. We both cried but my eyes were on the flowers.
“Did you get his number?”
“P...the guy. What’s his whole name.”
“Oh I don’t know. I was so sick and distraught when he came. I didn’t ask him for anything.”
“You….the woman with a million questions.” She frowned at that but it was true. Lyric was always so thorough and prepared.
She could squeeze blood from a turnip and a confession from a monk. The girl had game but maybe she was in shock and didn’t think about getting his information. Understanding her mistake still didn’t make me feel better. .
“So I don’t have a number to call and thank him?”
“I didn’t think about a number because I thought you knew him.” She had no idea of the story of him and how he saved me, he probably didn’t share that bit of news with her.
“No girl...I just met him that night when he saved…” my chest felt a little grip like the python was warning me. “Shit.”
“You gotta stay calm.” I was calm...as calm as a broke person who nearly lost their life could be. “Let me call Chance and let him know you're okay?”
“Hell no…” I was done with him. I had almost lost my life and here it was a complete stranger that came to see me, not my own boyfriend.
“I’m done with Chance. You don’t have to let him know anything.” A smile crept across her face. “Go ahead and say it.”
“Say what?” She had been telling me since we got together that I should leave Chance and now here I was about to do it and she was trying to spare my feelings.
“Because he doesn’t care about me dammit. You were right and I didn’t see it until now. He’s not even here. You're here...this P guy. He doesn’t know that I’m not pregnant anymore. I could be in here with his baby in me...” I was breathing hard again. My chest heaving and the pain so bad that I felt myself sweating.
“Be calm remember...take a deep breath.” I did as she said, breathing in deep and exhaling.
“Chance doesn’t give a damn about me. I’m not wasting any more time on him.” The tears came again and I wiped them away. “Fuck him and anyone else that can’t be there for me.” All I remember was his brown skin, the brown sugar scent of his neck as he carried me home, the way he punched and beat that man, but was so tender to help me. I could smell him now, and after what I’ve been through I realized something.
“Chance just isn’t man enough for me. That’s why I got the abortion. Last night a total stranger saved my life and made me realize what I want” And now his face was burned into my memory. All I had was an initial P. “I really wish you had his number. I just want to thank him for what he did.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t thinking about it. I thought you were going to die.” I immediately felt bad. “I’m sorry Lyric. Thank you for sticking by me.” She was a true friend.
“I know. He was really nice...like your knight in chocolate armor,” is what Lyric called him, and he was just that. A savior and a friend, and if it was the last thing I did, I was going to find him.
To Be Continued...New Installments Every Tuesday and Friday
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