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EC+AM=4ever Chapter 41
July 21, 2009
Ash and I sat on my couch, talking. About his mom.
“I think we should go to visit her.” he stated.
“Ash, she’s still in a coma.” I replied, trying to sound sympathetic and gentle. “We can definitely go visit her if you want to, but she just won’t be awake to actually know that we’re there.”
“Most coma patients can still hear things that are going on around them. Plus, they can feel the presence of a loved one in the room. So she’ll know that we’re there. We can just tell her we got married. I’m sure she’ll be able to hear us.” How could I say no to the sweet, hopeful look in his eyes? I couldn’t.
“Well ok, then let’s go.” I declared, being a supportive and understanding wife. I was actually planning on making this day absolutely amazing since Ash was leaving tomorrow afternoon, but if he wanted to go see his mom before he left, then I would let him.
So we got into my car and drove down to the hospital, where we checked in with Nina before heading over to his mom’s room. When I saw her, my heart melted. She looked completely lifeless and innocent, lying there on the hospital bed, with all these medical tubes and machines hooked up to her.
There were two small tubes running up both of her nostrils into her nose. Maybe they helped her breath. Or provided oxygen to her brain. I honestly had no idea what any of that stuff was for, but it all looked so serious and…deadly.
“Hi, Mom,” Ash said, pulling up one of the uncomfortable-looking, hard-backed chairs that were lined up against the wall. He placed it right beside her bed and sat down. “It’s me, Ash. And Evalynne’s here too.” He looked over at me expectantly.
“Oh, uh…hi.” I said, trying to make my voice sound sweet and kind, as if I were one of her close friends, not the girl that put her in the coma.
“Yesterday, something really big happened. Something that I wish you were here to share with me.” Ash continued, his voice kind of sad. “Evalynne and I got married.” He paused, as if he were letting her take this new information in. “I’m so sorry that you had to miss it and I really wish that you could have been there.”
He took another pause, swallowing hard. I could tell that this was hard for him to go through. And I didn’t blame him. It was even hard for me to stand there and watch it.
“I wish you could have been there too.” I added, trying to lift his spirits a bit. “I know that we weren’t exactly the best of friends, but I hope that someday we can be. And I know that you’re strong enough to get past this coma. So when you wake up, I’ll be waiting for you, because I’d really like to make peace.”
Ash smiled, his spirits lifted. And I was glad to have put that smile on his face.
“You hear that Mom?” he asked. “Evalynne’s not as horrible as you think she is.” He laughed subtly, but it was followed with somberness. “But our marriage isn’t the only I wanted to share with you. I also wanted to tell you…goodbye. Tomorrow is the twenty-second, which means that I’ll be leaving for Iraq.”
Now he stopped talking, taking a deep breath and staring down into his lap. I could tell he was trying not to get all choked up. And he was doing a pretty good job of it so far too. Until he looked back up at his mom. Then his eyes became watery with tears. So I took over for him once again.
“But that’s not completely a bad thing,” I began. “You’re son is very brave for doing this. He’s leaving tomorrow to protect his country. This isn’t something that he’s going to do for fun, it’s a sacrifice that he’s making for his country, his loved ones, and for himself. And when he comes back when he’s on leave, he’ll tell us all about his experience. And we’ll listen in appreciation, in honor, and in admiration. Because he will come back a hero.” I looked over at him and felt my stomach flutter.
He had shed tears, but not tears of depression. Tears of happiness, tears of determination, tears of courage, tears of perseverance, tears of hope, tears of love.
“In fact,” I added, “he’s already a hero just for going.”
At that moment, we were interrupted by Dr. Velasquez, who walked into the room. “Hello,” he greeted us with a congenial smile. “Nina told me the good news. Congratulations on being an officially married couple!” That’s when he noticed that Ash’s eyes were red and slightly puffy from the few tears he’d shed. “Was this a bad time?” he asked, his smile fading.
“No, no, you’re fine.” I assured him.
“Ok, good.” he replied, tearing his eyes away from Ash, who was straightening up and regaining control of himself.
“So, when do you think she’ll wake up?” Ash inquired, changing the subject.
“You’re mom? Oh, um…” he trailed off at the end, looking at the clipboard he was carrying with him. I could tell he was trying to stall for time. “You see, you’re mom…well, she…” He sighed, “Let’s just say that things aren’t looking so good.”
“What does that mean?” Ash demanded.
“It means that I’m not so sure she’s going to wake up. But it’s definitely possible. Her chances are just very slim.” he said.
Ash didn’t reply, he just turned to look at his mother and let out a shaky breath. “She can do it.” he stated. “I know she can.”
“Me too,” I said with a nod of my head.
Later that day, Ash and I decided to go see a movie. It was strange to think that was actually our very first real date. All we’d done before was go to our tree, talk, fight, talk it out, move in with each other, fight some more, talk it out again, and then get married. But I really wanted to go on a real date before he left. So that’s what we were doing.
But it was really hard to focus on the movie when I was busy worrying about how my life would be once tomorrow came around. Soon enough, the movie ended and I stood up as the lights came back on.
“So, did you like it?” Ash asked me.
“Yeah, it was really funny.” I lied, trying to sound spirited.
“Um, it was a romantic thriller.” Ash pointed out to me. “It really wasn’t supposed to be funny.
“Oh, right.” I said, sounding totally stupid. “Did I say funny? I meant to say…thrilling.” He looked at me for a moment and then started cracking up. “What?” I cried. “It was a thriller, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, but still. Thrilling? Come on, now I know you must not have been paying attention to it.”
“Yes I was!” I lied once again.
“Sure you were.” he murmured sarcastically, taking my hand and leading me down the stairs and out through the exit.
“I was!” I defended myself.
“Likely story,” he said, trying to sound seriously disappointed rather than laugh.
When we were standing outside of the movie theater, I stopped in my tracks and crossed my arms over my chest. “I was paying attention.” I stated firmly.
But he just grinned and cradled my chin in his strong, rough hands, looking into my eyes. “Well if it makes you feel any better, the movie sucked. So you kind of spared yourself by not paying attention.” Then he placed a soft, gentle kiss on my lips.
He began to break away, but I pulled him back in, and continued to kiss him. Then I finally broke away and intertwined my hand in his as we walked back to my car.
We reached it and I climbed into the driver’s seat while he plopped down beside me in the passenger’s seat. I was about to start up the car and back out of my parking space, but he placed his hand on top of mine, stopping me.
I looked up at him to find him gazing into my eyes, all business now.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Today was really special for me.” he told me. “The things you said back at the hospital…they really comforted me. And I’m no longer afraid to go tomorrow. Now, I’m determined, because I’ll have something to look forward to. When I come back here on leave, I’ll be able to see you. To hopefully see my mom. You must really love me to say all of those wonderful things.”
I felt myself warm, inside and out. “Thank you, and yeah, I do really love you.” Then he let go of my hand and I started up my car and pulled out.