The Ones Left Waiting

You know when someone gets sick? Isn't everyone's first thought automatically about them? Worrying about them, wondering if they're okay? Of course, this is how it should be. But sometimes we forget the people closest to the patient: their best friend, their boyfriend, their brother? How does it affect them?

Jackie Bianco has a brain tumor. She has mere months to live, unless a miracle occurs. But this is not her story. This is the story of Daniel, her twin brother, who needs his calm sister to keep him under control. This is the story of Mia, her best friend, who is like a lost soul without her partner in crime. And this is the story of Firth, the love of Jackie's life, who will surely die without her.

This is the story of the people sitting in the waiting room, the people with nothing left to do but worry. The ones left waiting for news, good or bad.


7. Firth

I didn’t really believe it until I saw her. My brain hadn’t properly registered that Jackie was unresponsive. That I wouldn’t be able to talk to her, hug her… Anything!
The next morning, we were brought to Jackie’s bedside. She looked so perfect, just lying there. Mia took my hand comfortingly and I bit my lip.
“Can-can we talk to her?” I asked desperately.
“You can if you want. If it helps.” Dr. Hatt said gently.
“Please be aware that Jackie is in no pain. One way of looking at it is that she is simply asleep.”
“A Sleeping Beauty.” I said sadly, brushing a stray hair off of Jackie’s angelic face.
Daniel shook with uncontained rage. I put one hand on his shoulder and shook my head warningly. We’d all seen Daniel get angry before. Things got ugly, feelings got hurt, and more often than not, stuff got broken. Daniel sighed and bit his lip so hard it began to bleed. Mia looked at her feet, fighting tears. Well, so much for those two saying anything. I need to do something, so I took Jackie’s limp, cold hand.
“Hi Jackie.” I said brightly.
“You’ve got to wake up sometime soon. Because we all need you. I need you. Daniel and Mia have already tried to kill each other, and I-“
My voice broke. Mia squeezed my hand and I took a deep breath.
“And I’m a lost cause without you. You’re the wind under my sails. You’ve got to wake up.
I bowed my head. These weren’t just comforting words. I needed this to happen. Without Jackie, I didn’t know what I’d do.
The doctor, Mia, and Daniel all slipped out, leaving me alone with my girlfriend. I sat down, caressing her cool cheek.
“You’ve simply got to wake up.” I muttered, tears coursing down my cheeks.

I slept badly that night. My dreams are always particularly vivid, but this certain night was horrendous. My sleep consisted of Jackie just lying in bed, not moving. No matter what I did, she wouldn’t move, breathe, do anything! I woke up crying and immediately called Daniel.
“What’s up?” he asked groggily.
“I need to go to the hospital.”
“Your water break or something?” Daniel joked.
“I need to see her.” I said desperately.
“Okay,” he sighed.
“I’ll be right over.”

Ten minutes later, Daniel arrived at my house, looking bedraggled in sweat pants and an old Star Wars shirt.
“God, its 3 A.M.” He said as I got into his car.
“You really are in love.”
“Okay, Luke Skywalker. Don’t pretend that you weren’t wide awake worrying about her.” I said, clicking on my seat belt.
Daniel smiled ruefully, looking at the steering wheel.
“I had just fallen asleep when you called. And even that was under the influence of Tylenol PM force-fed to me by my mother.”
“Just drive, Bianco.”

Nurse Isabella was on call that night. She shook her head sadly when she saw us.
“What on earth are you two doing here?”
“Why do you think?” Daniel asked grumpily.
“To see my sister.”
“There’s been no change.”
“And how do you know that?” Daniel retorted, rubbing his eyes tiredly.
“I check on her every fifteen minutes. I assure you, there’s been no change.” Nurse Isabella said, smiling sadly.
“Aww, Izzie, you do have a heart!” Daniel teased with a cheeky grin.
She swatted him with a medical file.
“I might be a middle-aged nurse, but I do feel some emotion over patients, believe it or not!”
We said our goodbyes and headed towards Jackie’s room. As we left, I saw Nurse Isabella hurriedly wipe her eyes.

The nurse was right. Jackie’s vitals hadn’t changed. She literally hadn’t shifted position since we’d been there that morning. I glanced at Daniel to see how he was handling this. My results weren’t reassuring. His blue eyes glimmered with a cruel and stony light, and his blonde hair only added to the “Pissed-off Angel” image he was giving off.
“I cannot believe this.” He muttered.
“This is shit!”
A janitor passed the room, wielding a mop.
“Watch your mouth, young man.” He reprimanded quietly.
“Shut your mouth, old man!” Daniel countered furiously.
I half-expected an epic battle between a janitor and a youth using cleaning supplies. Brooms as swords, disinfectant as pepper spray, Daniel beating the unlucky man senseless with his own mop, that sort of thing. It was something Daniel would do, especially the way he was right then. But that’s not what happened. The janitor leant on his mop, nodding towards Jackie.
“Is this your sister?” he asked, clearly noticing the obvious similarities between the twins. Daniel nodded once, his eyes suspicious.
“We’re all rooting for her, you know. She’s a lovely person.”
“Thank you. “ Daniel said with a curt nod of his head.
The janitor moved on, whistling a somber tune. Daniel sank into a chair, head in hands.
“Oh God.” He said hopelessly.
“Why did you do this to her?”
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