My heart stops, his breath starts. My heart starts, his breath stops. A little game we play to pass the time as we sit in the blue room. He cranes his neck to one side with a breath and then to the other, rubbing an unconscious thumb against the oven warmed blankets the doctors gave him back when he was still in the hospital. I move the rubber heels of my shoes back and forth across the tile floor in time to his thumb. Screech, rub, start, stop, rub, screech, stop, start, and only I can stop to blink.
His thumb gives a twitch as he holds in a harsh breath that should be so hard from behind a plastic mask that's supposed to be breathing for him incase something happens. His body shudders, as if cold, but the blankets wrap around him since I've tucked them down beneath his mattress to hold him in place. Through the door, I can hear high heels click faintly, and the door gets swung open to show his daughter, older than me. She stares at me, clearly angry that I'm here, and places a new set of flowers against the window before taking a seat on the other side of the hospital bed. My shoes screech, her heels clack, and his thumb continues rubbing, a sign that he's not comatose to me, but he's not opening his eyes and he's barely breathing.
"Has he woken up at all today?" she asks me in a cold voice. She never did like me, younger than her, a boy, and managing to steal her father's heart. Eventually, she even stopped letting him see his own grandchildren because of me. I wouldn't like me either if I was her, and I guess sometimes I don't like myself anyways. I don't like her, either, but only because she never tries to like me. Liking her would be pointless.
I don't say anything, and she takes the answer as a no, preparing to get up and leave, but she stops and hands me some money before she goes without a goodbye. She gives me money sometimes for food because I don't like leaving the bedside, and she knows that he's been getting fed through a tube long enough anyways that the house's cabinets are empty. She doesn't like me, but that doesn't mean she's always mean to me. She gives me money and buys me easy foods to make since he used to do all the cooking for me.
I pocket the money, letting myself fall back into my timed patterns, synchronized with the defected body of the one I love just as I was synchronized with him when he was more awake to my presence. I have to wait a beat in order to match him perfectly, and I do such effortlessly before rubbing my foot against the floor again. "I still don't think she likes me," I tell him, and without words I know he disagrees with me because he always did. I laugh as I can imagine his voice scolding me for my doubt, then leveling to tell me that we only need each other anyways, and she'll come around eventually. "You're so sweet, you know that?"
As I rock in my chair, the money in my pocket reminds me of the food I haven't touched today. I get out of my chair, and somehow my feet find a way to time themselves to his neck and thumb, and I lean forward to kiss his neck as he cranes his head away from me before moving back to smile. "I'm going to go make some food, Victor. I still miss yours, but then – " I sigh and move a hand to run a finger along the IV that'd feeding him right now. "Mushy hospital food must be worse. Remind me not to get into a car accident." I go to laugh, but his body shudders slightly, and I bite my lip before whispering an apology. I just lost my appetite.
"I didn't mean to make a joke," I say, imagining him telling me that he'd forgive me, but I still need to eat something today, just like he did when he'd first taken me to his home. I didn't have a home then because I was a stupid little kid, and so he gave me a home and now I take care of him every day so we can live together just like told me he didn't mind. I like sharing our own little world together, even if most people who try and come in don't understand.
I laugh to myself, telling him that he's right, and so I move to the kitchen anyways. I don't know why, but I pretend to eat something, watching the clock as if the tick on the wall is painful because I'm not where I should be. I let him think I'm making food, because he can't get up to check on me and he'll believe me even though it feels bad to lie to him. Eating just happens to be what I know he'd want me to do. Instead, I clatter a few pans under the counter and run the water a minute. Then, I clatter some plastic from a package of food before sitting down on a stool and moving my foot through the air to pretend that I'm waiting for things to boil. The clock ticks away ten minutes, and next I'm back into his bedroom.
Victor managed to pull his blankets a little so they're free on one side, but he moved onto his side a little. He must not have been comfortable, but with the way he's jerked towards the open door, and his eyes are now half open, I feel bad. He must have been searching for me, and maybe he knows I was lying and treating him like he's an idiot, something I promised never to do since his daughter does it. Guilt runs through me as I push him back onto the bed, leaving his blue eyes to stare straight into me like razorblades, and so I put my fingers on his eyelids and close his eyes, telling him to go back to sleep as I fixing his IV and oxygen mask's tubes, then fixing his blanket.
"Are you alright there, Vic? You seem a little pale." I nervously laugh, but he half-opens his eyes again to show he was listening and he's awake now even if I don't want him to be. "You don't smile anymore," I complain as I notice his lips dead set into a frown. I move forward and pull his lips upwards into a half-smile, but his eyes just stare at me completely dead as I laugh a little more. "You're getting frown lines." He doesn't seem to care, but he never really did care about the growing lines on his face.
"Magnolia was here earlier. She gave me some money again. I'd pay her back, but I don't want to work and leave you all alone. What if you fell out of bed? What would I do? She's nice enough to pay so we can still live here." I think she just pays the bills to make sure that she can care for her father through me. I'd feel used if I wasn't content to watch over him all of the time.
I'm scrubbing out Victor's newly emptied bedpan as the bedroom door opens to reveal Magnolia and another man I don't know, but I assume is her husband. I've never met him before either way. I don't think Victor liked the man very much. He stands a step behind her as she comes and takes a seat next to me while I keep my eyes on the steady rocking of Victor's neck rising and falling, moving slightly right then left. "Fayvel," she says when I don't say anything. She rarely addresses me by name. "We need to talk about my father. You see, he isn't going to get any better, you know that?"
I don't answer her because Victor wouldn't like to hear those words and yet here she is sitting here and saying them without paying him a thought of courtesy. The man next to her remains standing, looking at me so critically I can feel his stare without looking completely at him. "Well," Magnolia says to my lack of reply, "how would you like to come live with us until you're old enough to get a decent job?"
"I won't leave Victor," I curtly tell her, but she doesn't seem to listen.
"I know, it's hard, but you're too young to let your life go to waste sitting in a room cleaning bedpans all day. Emery, my mother, and I have talked about it, and we think that Victor should be taken to a nursing home. We just can't afford the house payments anymore, and we'd be perfectly willing to take care of you." Her voice has a tone I've never heard from her before, gentle, but she treats her father like he's worthless meat that needs feeding. She wouldn't treat me any better.
"I won't leave Victor," I say again, this time straining my words between my teeth as if I'm letting the words fall free in drawn-out hiss to emphasize my point. She goes unmoved.
"Fayvel, you're underage. You'll be taken away by force if you don't just go wit Emery and me."
"I won't leave!" The bedpan in my hands clatters to the floor, and I move across the room so that I can climb into Victor's bed. The metal pan hitting the tiles makes me think of a thunderstorm, and I feel like a frightened child seeking comfort in a father's arms, but something pulls be back, and when I turn I notice that 'Emery' has grabbed my arms. "Hurt me, and it'll be battery! Go ahead and force me – you'll go to jail!"
"No!" I jerk forward, but the hands on my arms tighten. I look down and slump my shoulders, feigning defeat, but as soon as I feel Emery's hold on me loosen I slam my heel down onto his foot and pry myself free, putting up my fists. "Go away!"
"It's not your decision what happens to my father," Magnolia tells me. The cold tone she usually has returns to her voice, and I feel my eyes burn from rage. "I have that decision as I'm the one supporting you and him, and he needs to go into a nursing home."
"There's such a thing a visiting hours, Fayvel!"
"Act like this and you might as well expect your name removed from his visitation list," she threatens, and I go to hit her, but Emery grabs my arm so tight that it hurts. I go to kick him, but he grabs my leg and pushes me so I fall backwards. My head falls and it collides with Victor's oxygen tank, not denting the tank but making my head surge as I hit the floor. I feel tears spring up into my eyes, and I roll into a ball where I lie.
"Please, no. Don't take him away from me."
She doesn't listen. The next day, they come, and he's gone. The police come too. I try to lie about my age, but they read my profile to me. Fayvel Hershey Cyan, age sixteen, was missing five years, ran away after charges of aggravated assault and battery of one Mrs. Lila Cyan at age eleven. With that, we were separated forever.
A/N: Short and unbeta'd.
I'd say my usual "I write weird stuff at three in the morning," but I started this around 6 p.m. or so and ended it at 4 a.m. Just another one of my weird things that I didn't mean to write until I did, because…as said, I didn't mean to write this, and at this current point in time I don't even remember what this story is about, so I'm posting it anyways before I get a chance to hate it come …wake up… if I sleep at all tonight.
Recently was diebyownhands 's birthday. Worship her with love. I wrote her a story, which I may or may not post… ever…. Maybe.