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“I am so, so sorry, Peggy.” Kassy whispered, squeezing my shoulder with the lightest of pressures.
My stomach bottomed out, and I looked up at her with haunted eyes. “Did he..?!” I wasn’t able to finish. I sounded like I was choking.
“No, no!” She exclaimed, realizing my assumption. “But the doctor was just talking to his parents, and well…they’re giving him a less than fifty percent chance now.”
Tears sprang to my eyes, and I blinked them back impatiently. “I’m going back in.”
“Okay, Peggy.” Kassy said gently, “I’ll be right here.” She claimed my chair and I rose unsteadily to my feet.
Taking a deep breath, I prepared myself for the sight I could hardly stand. I crossed the hall, placed my hand on the doorknob, and let myself in as silently as I could.
Nate’s hospital room was empty and silent, save for the quiet beeping that assured me his heart was still beating steadily. I sat down in the frayed fabric chair beside his bed, and loosely grasped his cold left hand in both of mine. It was the only part of him not covered in wires and gauze. He was hardly recognizable to me now; his vivid blue-green eyes were the only things that had remained unharmed and familiar.
It was so easy now to imagine that he was comfortable -- in his slumber, I couldn’t see the pain, torturous and unhidden, in those eyes I dreamt of so often. That motorist could not have picked a worse boy to hit. Nate shifted then, and the awful sound that came out of his throat sounded like a muffled cry.
Tears rose once again to my eyes, and this time I did not to interfere. They flowed freely over my cheeks as I bent over his suffering body, and sobbed.
Falling in love was not something easily described. I felt as though there were not enough words in any language to fully communicate the surreal beauty of it. Suddenly I could believe in anything -- if magic such as this existed, then surely there were other treasures half the magnitude waiting to be discovered. This magic had come when I least expected it to; but at the same time, it came when I most needed it to. It had taken a hold of me, and suddenly, everything was put into a stunningly different perspective. Without him, life as I now knew it would be a bleak and desperate place. It was not that I needed to be loved -- it was that I needed to be loved by him.
Nate stirred again, but this time I could have sworn that a smile crossed his face. I squeezed his hand more tightly.
“Please, Nate.” I whispered hoarsely. “Please, you’ve got to make it. For me. Please!”
At that moment, the dream catcher we’d hung on the railing of Nate’s bed fluttered slightly, as though caught in a sudden breeze. To this day, I can’t say exactly why. Both the door and window remained solidly closed. But what mattered was that I spied the movement in my peripheral vision, and my attention was drawn towards the object. It was supposed to catch dreams, was it not? I wasn’t usually superstitious, but at that moment, I really needed something to believe in.
And I wondered; could it catch hope, too? If all of the times Nate’s family, friends and I had hoped and prayed could be woven together and held, then surely it would be a powerful thing. But powerful enough to save the life of a young man whose call to die could surely not be so soon? Only time could tell. But in that moment, I had faith. I had to believe; not only for my sake, but for Nate’s and everyone else’s sake as well. And I believed he would make it.