Into the Dark
Author's note: I like music A LOT. When I listen to songs, I mainly enjoy listening to their lyrics, trying to... Show full author's note »
201,505 HOURS BEFORE THE END, December 22, 1989, 11:59 PMChris Barsuk paces through the off white room, rubbing his jeans. He wonders how many hours it took for the doctors to choose that awful eggshell color over a normal snow white. He crinkles his nose at the smell, a mixture of piss and pool water. He presses his fingers together, stretching them outward and lifting his arms above his head. He rubs his hands up his face and into his blonde hair, leaving a trail of sweat.
Another scream vibrates through the room, bouncing off the walls straight into Chris’s large ears. He clutches his hands, bites his lips, and pushes his way through the cold, metal doors. He ponders why the doctors would spend so much time on the hideous walls and not provide wooden doors. He stalls momentarily in the hallway. Shouting emanates from each of the rooms barely hidden by the curtains covering the glass doors. Again, he questions the doctors’ choices. After a moment of pondering, he curses himself; he has forgotten what room she is in.
A doctor emerges from one of the glass doors, immediately spotting him. “Who are you looking for, son?”
“Is she in this ward?” Chris’s face visibly flushes. He wraps his arms around his chest and breathes out deeply, expelling the chlorine from his lungs. The doctor nods his head and smiles reassuringly. Chris can see the wrinkles lining his eyes. He can’t see the rest of the doctor’s face, for a lilac purple mask covers it. The doctor motions with his hand and walks down the hall. At each door he pulls away the curtain and looks inside. Chris thinks how if the doctors wanted to hide their patients, they should not have bought glass doors.
Finally, the doctor pauses at one—the only room lacking a supportive man. “I’m guessing this is your…wife?”
“Girlfriend.” As soon as the word leaves his mouth, the doctor’s eyes grow softer. Chris lets out an involuntary sigh, which the doctor interprets as recognition that he made a mistake. Chris almost hits the doctor for such ignorance, but refrains, for the doctor is kind.
“Don’t worry, son, everything will work out. Have you considered other options?”
“The doctor’s face flushes and his lips press together. Saying nothing, he walks around the furious young man and back to his patient. “Wait, I’m sorry.” The doctor pauses. “It was a mistake. But I haven’t regretted it for a moment.”
“I’m glad to hear that.” A silence falls between them. “Well,” the doctor’s voice falters, “Good luck.” He walks down the hallway and disappears behind a glass door. Chris’s heart is banging, his lips taste like blood, and his palms are sweating profusely. He sucks in some air, and pushes open the glass door labeled, “Gibbard, A.”
“Chris!” A melodic voice calls to him, a sound that has always twisted his stomach up and made his nose fill up with peaches. He almost runs to the bed where his girlfriend is laying, tripping over several wires. She laughs and reaches for him. He presses her hand to his chest and kisses her forehead multiple times. Every kiss intensifies until she giggles and tells him to back the hell off. He pets her dark hair, and she announces that she is, in fact, not a dog. “Don’t you want to know his gender?”
“Think about it, stupid.”
“What?” He asks as realization seeps into his dark eyes. “His? We have a boy?” He squeals, his voice raising an octave. She traces the lines on his hands.
“You’re so young,” she whispers. He shrugs, his smile dominating his face. She touches his crooked teeth with her finger. “You can leave if you want to.”
“Never. I’ll leave when you agree to marry me,” he declares and laughs heartily. “Now where is our son?”
“They’re just checking him over. What do you want his name to be?” They stare into each other’s eyes. “Can we…?”
“Of course.” He lightly brushes his lips across her forehead.
She smiles. “Jason,” she murmurs. “Jason Gibbard Barsuk.” She reaches up and kisses Chris lightly, and for a moment, and many moments after, they are both happy.