Friday, August 27, 2004

Thoughts Unspoken

She knocks on the hospital room door while turning the knob with her other hand and opening it.
"Hello ...?" she enters, cautiously.
She peers behind the curtain and enounters a semi-recognizable person in the bed, who had turned her attention from the small tv she was watching.
"Hey..!" the patient says when she saw the visitor. Eventhough it was weaker than her natural voice, the visitor recognizes the suprised but delighted inflect in the reply.
"Hey..!" the visitor replied, beaming, throwing her arms wide and heading towards the frail figure in bed.
They hug.
The visitor could feel the patient's shoulder bone, pushing sharply against her own fleshy arms.
"So, how are you? " she asks, "what happened?" as she looked around the room and takes in the drip, the small tv, the half-empty fruit basket, the stack of books, Cleo and Marie Claire, a discman on the side table.
"Oh same ol same ol" the patient said. " I couldnt eat and then I had a fever so the doctor asked me to be warded so that they can at least feed me intravenously. "
"But Wal said you were getting better and had developed a craving for Skittles, which I had bought some by the way, tada...!" She took out 4 packets of skittles out of the plastic bag she brought and displayed it to her friend like it was the grand prize in Wheel of Fortune.
The patient laughed "I probably could only eat it when I get out of here"
"which will be soon" the visitor was quick to add and reaches into her bag again.
"In the meantime, you can read this: I thought you might like some Grisham, and if not, here's some Danielle Steel for you." She stacked the books on top of the others.
"How are your kids? They didn't come along?" the patient asked, while trying to sit up higher.
"Urgh" the visitor shook her head "They wanted to go to the park, so my husband took them there while I'm here. He'll come and pick me up later, when they're done". She had found a chair to sit on and now faced the small television. It was screening a music award show.
"oh. Did you watch survivor last night? Oh my god!! I'm starting to get tired of watching Colby win everything! Last night he won a trip to scuba dive with that big haired girl"
"Oh I know! but did you notice how she was like all goo-goo eyed with Colby?"
"And then all green-eyed when Colby came back with presents for everyone and she didnt"
"what was she complaining about anyway? Just coz *she* didnt think of it, doesnt mean that Colby's bad coz he did"
" I hope big hair or colby gets voted out soon"
"so you're not rooting for colby anymore?"
"I dunno... he's really strong. But i'm hoping a girl will win this time. I dunno.. maybe Tina?"

She looks at her friend's face and remembers a time when it used to be rounded and plump. Her hair used to be so straight and shiny. Now her friend is gaunt, and her hair is just limp and thinning.

"Oh, I like this song. Hasnt he got a great voice?" The patient points to the TV.
"Nasyid??" she creases her forehead, "You? Mrs Wyclef Jean? Listens to nasyid now?" and giggles.
"No. Listen.. this guy's got the best voice I've ever heard"
They listen.
"Yeah, maybe you're right.. he's got quite a good voice. Hey, remember the time when they had that inter-dorm nasyid competition and you guys forced me to sing lead and I was so nervous my voice practically cracked? ha ha"
"Ha ha! I winced! no wonder we lost the competition"
"you're nasty" she poked her friend's thigh. and hit bone.
"ouch!" the girl in bed said jokingly
She was half alarmed. "Eh, sorry.. anyways, talking about our dorm.. I met Ona last week and guess what, she has bought a bungalow facing a golf course.."
"Damn.. banyak nya duit dia.. [she has a lot of money] "
"Hello.. she lives in Kulim, her cost of living is prolly half of ours.. it's no wonder that she could afford a bungalow. With what I paid for my apartment, I could prolly buy a bungalow in Kulim"
"i just bought an apartment"
"What?? When?? Where??"
"2 weeks ago.. i just felt like it. went to see the show-house, liked it, paid the deposit and made a loan."
"On that road leading to the airport"
"Cool!! Then u can come to my house more often. woo hooo!!"
"when i get out of here, I'll definitely visit you more often. It's just that I've been so busy and sick and all.."
"Does wal know abt the apartment?"
"Of course! he came with me"
"You mean you bought it together?" the visitor was visibly excited with this prospect.
"No, *I* bought it.. he just helped me with the agreements and loans and stuff"
"Where is he anyway?"
"He just left about an hour before u got here. He's got some family thing.."
"Oh.. so how are you and him getting along?"
"Okay i guess.. but sometimes I feel like he's wasting his time with me.. I mean, I'm sick all the time, and we don't get to go out anymore.."
"Oh come on.. don't be like that.. he's a nice guy. I know him. he's my best friend, afterall. From what I hear, he's pretty much sticking with you all the way"
"hey when you get out of here, let's the four of us go out and catch a movie , just like old times."

A handphone rings
"Mine""Yours" they said.
"Hello? uh hm.. okay. I'll be down in a few minutes. mkay, bye!"
The visitor closes her clamshell phone and looks at her friend.
"Your husband?" the patient asked, slightly dissapointed.
"yeah.." the visitor sighed. "Uhmm so.. when do u think u'll get to go home?"
"Gosh I really don't know" the patient brushes the back of her bony hand on her forehead. "I'll call you when I do. We'll go out.. yum char or somewhere"
"Or you can come to my apartment. You've never been there yet" She clasps her hand together, almost like praying.
"yeah, we'll see how it goes" the patient tries to smile.
"okay. promise you'll call" the visitor starts to gather her things.
"promise" The patients looks around , just to make sure her friend didn't leave behind anything.

"okay, well, see ya. Get well soon, okay?" She gave her friend one final hug before she leaves.
The patient rubs the visitors back while they hug. "Thanx for coming. oh and for the skittles. and the books"
"no problem. If u ever need anything else.." The visitor stood at the end of the bed, holding the curtains with one hand, and made a phone gesture with the other.
"Bye" they wave at each other and the visitor leaves the room.

She walks down the hall and feels her chest starting to hurt.
oh god you look so sick i almost didnt recognize you
A pain that slowly reaches her throat.
are you going to get better?
Soon her chin starts to quiver.
I want you to get better. I don't think i can face the other fact
When she got down to the lobby, her eyes began to sting.
I dont want to lose you
She managed a smile when she saw her husband waiting for her in the car, with the kids sitting in the back seat, hair all matted with sweat, cheeks pink with adrenaline.
She sat on the passenger seat and looks at her husband.
"Hi" she managed. She turned to those in the back seat and asked in her best happy voice "Did u guys have fun?"
A resounding Yessss came from the motley crew.
"How is she?" her husband asked.
She couldnt answer.
She was covering her face and crying.
I love you

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