A sharp intake of breath. I open my eyes, sitting up to survey the scene I seem to have created. The boy is leaning against a wall, gasping almost as rapidly as me with his hand on his stomach. A thin stream of blood flows from a cut just above his eye, but it is clear now that this is, as I suspected, Elliot. The nurse seems to be in shock, kneeling beside me but not making any eye contact, simply staring, ignoring the chaos around us. An assortment of bandages, scissors and wipes is strewn across the floor. The floor itself is unusually cold, though I realise quickly why. A plastic cup lies on its side; a thin layer of water covers the tiles. I get up, careful not to slip on the hazard of my own making.
I tentatively make way over to Elliot, seeing the mix of anger and terror on his face. He winces as he tries to straighten his back, his hand twitching with each burst of pain. After a few tries, he manages to step away from the wall and push past me as he bolts from the room. As he leaves, he nearly kicks the nurse when he half-slips on what’s left of a drink that I suppose was intended for me. She doesn’t react at all.
“Are you OK?” I ask. No response. Just a blank stare. Why? I don’t understand, is she in shock or just making a big deal out of nothing? I kneel beside her, examining every inch of each feature for hints of fakery. Nothing, not even a twitch, I’m breathing right down her neck but she doesn’t move. I put my hand on her shoulder to try and provoke a reaction.
I remember the paper as I watch it fall from my now open hand. At long last, I can read its contents. I glance at the nurse, still not responding to any stimulus, before unfolding it.
6:55pm – STAY OUT OF SIGHT
I suppose Ellie has some arrangement, though why she would want me out of sight I can’t be sure. Maybe she thinks I would embarrass her. Whatever the reason, it’s obviously important, otherwise why would she slip out of her public persona just to give this to me? Does she feel guilty for not turning up yesterday? I doubt it. Though, she has shown that she has another side, but I suppose she hides it away, just like me. Although, my mask is one of solitude and disinterest, whereas hers is one of authority and eloquence. I wish I could act like her, but then what would I be? A bully? A racist? Damn.
Of course I don’t want to be like her, but she seems happier. She always has. Why is she rewarded for hating, while I am punished for attempting restraint? I can’t even bring myself to hate her, or my father, despite how they pushed me deeper into my despair. He reopened the injuries; she poured salt in the wounds. Together they kept me looking back, they kept me from moving on, constantly reminding me of my troubled past. But I still don’t hate them. Is that fair? No, of course not, I should hate them with every ounce of my body. But I don’t and I don’t know why.
I crush the paper, letting myself fall into hatred for a brief moment, but instantly regretting it. I have to go, whatever it is matters, I don’t have a choice. Besides, I’ve always wondered what made her like this, maybe I’ll find out. Equally, I could sit there and freeze for nothing. Not that I don’t do that anyway. I have nothing to lose. The question is: What does she stand to gain?
I guess I’ll find out.