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Gems of the Heart
Jason took a deep breath. “Hey...”
The soft spoken words probably did not reach the girl's ears.
Jason clenched his hands into fists in a painful fashion behind his back. His nails dug into his palms until he could feel his face fall from a deep crimson to his usual pale. “Hey, can I talk to you for a minute? It won't be long, I just really need to get something off my chest.”
The girl he was speaking to did not answer.
“It's okay, you don't have to talk. I'm used to talking to myself.”
There was a brief moment of silence, and Jason could feel himself blushing again. A television set on the well broke up the silence and managed to calm him down enough to speak over the ferocious beating of his heart.
“Actually, before I came to meet you I spent a long time talking to myself. I stood in front of the mirror for the longest time— It was ridiculous.”
The girl still appeared ignorant of his presence. Her deep breaths sounded like sighs, as if her mind was in another place. She didn't face away from him, but didn't make an effort to look at him either. She was like a rag doll carelessly thrown over.
I'm not giving up because of this... Jason continued digging his nails into his hands until he could feel his cuts open and release blood; relief washed over him and his muscles grew less tense. He allowed himself to sit down in a chair and carelessly smear the blood so that it covered his hands, a tactic that never failed to put him at ease. He was sure that the girl wouldn't notice; she never noticed the cuts before.
“You look great today,” he said. “I mean, you do everyday, but I'm surprised that even on a day like this...” a tickle emerged in Jason's throat and he coughed uncontrollably. He somehow doubted that the girl was impressed.
“I like...your hair,” he said in between violent coughs. He thought he saw her grimace at those words. He punched his throat a few times while his coughs subsided. Blood was still trickling from his hands, so he didn't feel nervous, but his common sense was sending him desperate warnings.
He struggled to speak again. “No, I mean it. For your birthday last year, I bought a small ruby to match it. I was so excited to bring it to you that I couldn't sleep for the entire night, so I stayed up in front of the mirror again and practiced my speech for giving it to you. The next day, my mom found me passed out in the bathroom, and school already ended. I still haven't had the chance to give it to you.”
And now it's too late, a voice added in the back of his head. He ignored it.
"Listen to me," Jason said while chucking. "You probably think I'm a major dork, huh?"
The television continued to drone on. Jason was scared it was drowning out the sound of his own voice. He found the remote and tentatively pressed the 'mute' button without bothering to ask the girl. The silence that followed was unbearable.
“Samantha,” he said. The girl's name slipped fluently through his lips. “I know it's a horrible time, and you're going through a lot right now, but I have to know. Will you—“
The door behind the boy opened. Spinning around, he saw a young woman; she was about the age of thirty. She slowly advanced towards him, offering a non-threatening smile; she was wearing a thin, white coat and a pair of horn rimmed glasses.
“What?” he said.
The woman didn't answer. She walked up to Jason and Samantha with the nimblest of steps.
“Please, don't make me go,” the boy said. He stared at the woman who did not meet his eyes. A strike of lightning burst in his heart when he realized he did not cover his hands; blood was still oozing from them, and had even stained his clothes. Even the sour odor was noticeable now.
The woman walked over to a drawer and pulled out a large bundle of bandages. She walked over to Jason and motioned for him to stick his hands out. He hesitated for moment, still thinking of her as an enemy, but reluctantly followed her request.
“She means a lot to you, doesn't she?” The woman, clearly a nurse, said as she wrapped bandages around his wounded hands. She motioned to Samantha, who was on a hospital bed positioned as if she was just having an innocent nap.
Maybe you fooled yourself into thinking she was, a voice added again. Dejected, the boy stared at a blank spot on the floor. His cuts already stopped bleeding.
The nurse smiled at the young man. “The best thing in the world for you to do is wait. We are doing all we can.”
“It's been three months!” Jason said. “Will she ever wake up? Will I ever get to talk to her again?” He clenched his fists, causing the blood to spill out painfully, offering him no further relief. How dare she tell him to just wait? She had no idea what he was feeling!
But the nurse's gentle smile never faded. She moved towards him and pulled him into a warm hug that seemed to last forever.
Before Jason knew it, tears were forming at his eyes. Then he knew. He would have to wait. One day, his patience would pay off, and the first thing Samantha would see was his forever smile.