Their time together draws to a close.
"Al' ... your ... are you 'kay?"
"I'm fine." The nurse took a few steps back. "Is it working yet? The pain gone?" He started to brush strands of hair back around my ear, his face so soft and caring, yet filled with worry.
"No, it still ..." Then a warmth flooded through my veins, my head swam, and I melted into the mattress. "Ah, much better," I slurred. He smiled. The nurse said something to him, he nodded. "Al'x, you okay?"
He leaned in and kissed my cheek. "I'll be here when you wake up."
"I' glad yooor okay."
The last thing I heard him before I fell asleep was, "I'm so very sorry."
--------------- The next time I woke up I was still hurting, but it was by no means as excruciating as it was before. For the first time I noticed how my face felt in certain spots, like my face had been splattered with tiny pebbles. I looked around the dark room, barely lit by a soft light over my head. It was enough to see a man sitting in a chair by the bed, his head leaning on his shoulder, his long legs crossed and stressed out. He was softly snoring. Only then did I feel something soft and fuzzy under my left hand.
I attempted to say his name, but my throat was too dry to speak. Clearing my throat I tried again. He jolted awake, sat up then came to the bed. "Hi, Carrie." Smiling, I reached my hand out for his, which he took. "How are you feeling?"
"Better. What time is it?"
"Just after midnight." He took the thing under my hand, as it turned out it was a stuffed teddy bear. He placed it in the crook of my left arm. "The nurse wanted me to get her when you woke up." He pressed a little remote near my hand.
"Midnight? I've got to be at the airport-"
"No, no, sweetheart. It's Sunday night, Monday morning, actually."
"What?! But I'm flying -- supposed to fly out this morning."
The nurse walked in and said something to Alex. "I'll have to translate for you because she doesn't speak English, and there aren't any interpreters on the night shift. Will you allow me to do that?"
Of course I didn't mind. I answered a whole bunch of stupid questions, thankfully nothing too personal that I didn't want Alex to know. When she was done, I asked, "What happened to my leg and arm?"
Alex relayed, "The doctor will be in tomorrow to tell you about your injuries."
"Why does-" The nurse interrupted me.
"Carrie, sorry. She wants to know how the pain is for you now. She's going off her night shift, and it might be an hour or so before the replacement nurse can give you a pain killer."
"It's not bad like it was before. I'll be okay."
"You sure?" Alex asked, without the nurse prompting him.
"Yeah." When she left, I said to him, "I wanted to talk to you anyway."
"Care, that's no reason not to take the painkiller."
"I know. But I'm awake now. What the hell happened? Why does my face hurt?"
"It's a long story. But I will tell you not to worry about anything because I called the American Embassy earlier this morning and talked with a representative." That's who he must have been talking to when he was on the phone. "I gave them your name and address, and your passport number. I hope you don't mind. They took care of cancelling the flight arrangement, including the refund. They want to meet with you as soon as you're able to talk to them."
"Okay, but I won't go back to sleep without you telling me what happened."
He shook his head. "Stubborn girl." I nodded. "Do you think it'd be safe if I sit on the bed?"
"Please?" He lowered the rail after fiddling with it, then sat down slowly and carefully so as not to rattle me. I lifted my left arm, which was hooked up to an IV, and put it on his knee. He seemed to inhale sharply. "What's wrong with your knee?"