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Last goodbye


Cara Walker

Part 4

As I was singing, I couldn’t help thinking that this might be the last time I saw him. As soon as the thought hit me, I felt tears brewing.

“Come on, mate, you’re doing well.” Rick whispered. I finished the song as well as I could. (I still couldn’t get to grips with the fact that I’d just sang again, in a hospital I.C.U room, at half past midnight.)

“What happened, in the middle of the song?” Rick’s tired voice snapped me back to my senses. I just took one look at him and, I swear, he knew exactly what I’d thought.

“Don’t even think about it.” Rick said firmly. “I’m not going anywhere.” I sunk into the chair beside his bed, just in time for his brother trying to come back in quietly.

“We can sleep in their relatives’ room.” He told us. A glimmer of a smile passed across Rick’s face.

“You’re serious about…staying, then?” Rick asked, only half joking. His brother and I raised our eyebrows.

“You honestly think either of us would leave?” I asked quietly. Rick looked at us.

“I knew you wouldn’t. I had to make sure.” He replied.

“Night, Rick.” His brother muttered. He crossed over to Rick’s bed, they hugged for a fraction of a second and his brother left. As soon as the door had closed behind him, I looked directly at Rick. His eyes had closed and his breath rattled quietly.

“Rick.” I said quietly, my eyes filling with tears again. His eyes opened and he slowly turned his head to look at me.

“Kay, don’t cry.” His voice was soft and oddly comforting. He reached over and got hold of my hand. I gulped and tried to calm down properly.

“Katie, don’t worry about me, I’m gonna get through this.” Rick said quietly. I smiled slightly. (He’s doing that thing again, I thought, the one where he ignores what’s happening to him and tries to help everyone else.)

“I’ll tell you something though, that bloody noise is gettin’ on me nerves.” Rick continued. I glanced at the machine making the noise and saw that it was the one that monitored a patient’s heartbeat.

“The noise can stay.” I said, more abruptly than I’d meant to.

“I know. I’ll get used to it.” He told me. The next second, we were both hugging each other as if we’d never let go. Neither of us could think of a single thing to say, so we just kept hugging.

“Y’ know what? Ignore what the doctors said, ignore what I said before, and listen to what I’m saying now.” Rick said, after a while. I sat up straight and listened.

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m not ready.” Rick paused, and looked right into my eyes, ferocity replacing what had been resignation. “Besides, I don’t think He wants me yet.” Rick looked out of the window to the sky. I shook my head, but didn’t trust myself to speak. We sat there, not saying anything, just looking at each other for what seemed like eternity. After a while, Rick hugged me. I hugged him back, and I was seriously considering saying “I love you”, but I doubted I could get the words out. Suddenly, as I was thinking about things that had happened over the last few months, a feeling of total exhaustion washed over me. I sat back in the hospital chair, thinking, don’t fall asleep on him.

“What’s wrong?” Rick asked.

“Nothing. ‘M tired.” I mumbled. He got hold of one of my hands.

“Sleep, then.” He whispered. I fell asleep pretty much straight after that, too exhausted to even walk to the Relative’s Room.

My dreams were happy that night, if not mildly confusing. They were a strange mix of me, Rick, rivers and motorbikes.

As soon as I woke up, I could tell that something was different. The first thing I noticed was that there was almost no noise in the room I was in now. The second thing was, the only thing I could hear, apart from my own breathing, was someone else’s breathing, too deep and regular to belong to Rick. My first terrible thought was, Oh God, what if…

I leapt to my feet.

“What the… where am I?” I asked.

“It’s okay.” Rick’s brother’s voice came from behind me, so I span around.

“Why am I here? Why couldn’t I stay where I was? What’s happ-”

“Katie. Nothing’s changed, you don’t need to worry.” He told me. I relaxed slightly.

“Why’d you move me?” I asked. Rick’s brother smiled slightly.

“Rick asked me to. I came back to… to see where you were,” he paused, “And he said ‘When you go back, take Kay. She’s absolutely knackered.’” He finished.

“I never meant to fall asleep.” I mumbled.

“I know.” Rick’s brother nodded. “So does Ricky.” He added, seeing the look on my face. I’d intended to spend every moment that I possibly could with Rick, but I’d let my control slip for a minute and I’d fallen asleep.

“Let’s go back.” I muttered, more to myself than to him.

“You’ve got to have some breakfast first. He said I had to make sure you had something to eat before you went back.” Rick’s brother chuckled quietly. I rolled my eyes.

“Does a Mars Bar count?” I asked.

“Ha ha. I suppose it’ll have to do, seeing as I really don’t think I’ll get you to have anything else.” He replied. So I walked to the nearest vending machine, got a Mars Bar and a bottle of water, and sat in one of the hospital chairs. I unwrapped the Mars Bar and, making sure that no-one apart from Rick’s brother saw me, shoved it all into my mouth at once. Once I’d eventually managed to swallow it, I glugged half of the bottle of water.

“There you go. I’m done. Now can we go?” I asked. Rick’s brother grinned.

“Yeah, we can.” He answered. He muttered something along the lines of;

“And I’ll tell Rick EXACTLY how big your mouth is…”

“You’ll do no such thing.” I told him, and I punched him lightly across the top of the arm. He shrugged, and the next second, we were both laughing for no particular reason. After we’d calmed down, we walked to Rick’s room.


Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3 -- Part 4 -- Part 5

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