Delicate [H.S]

When your life has revolved around doctors appointments and hospital visits you aren't treated normally. Instead of your parents wondering whether you should go to that party, it's just all about whether you're even going to be well enough to go outside at all.

Well when that's your life, you get treated like some delicate being. That's all I've ever known. I know I'm delicate but I'm sick of it, I want to be treated normally, not wrapped in bubble wrap. And then you came along Harry Styles.

But the problem with being delicate is, no matter how hard you try to build yourself up, you can always break in the end.

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1. one

"Abi, darling, do you want me to get you anything?"

My moms words fluttered into my ear, as I lay looking at the white ceiling. The general sounds of the hospital faded in the background, as I listened to the beep, beep, beep, beep of the machine. It was the only way I knew I was truly alive.

"No, mom, I'm fine," I finally replied when I had probably kept too quiet for too long. My voice was a little hoarse and I hated how weak I sounded, but what could I do? It was just the way I was.

"Okay, sweetie. I'll be right back!" she told me and I felt her squeeze my hand gently before she left the room. 

I continued to stare at the ceiling, and thought about what would happen if my heart just stopped right now and gave up on me. The beeping would stop, everything would fade and my mother would scream. I knew it.

I'd almost died once already, and I had heard that beeping stop, I'm sure of it. I was probably too dead to really be sure but I swear to god I was able to hear everything as they tried to save me. They did save me. They didn't just try, they actually did.

Three years ago I had a heart attack so they had to resuscitate me. It had been failing on and off ever since and they were getting to the stage that it was 'recommended' that I have a heart transplant due to my heart 'no longer working effectively.' I still remember the conversation. 'Your life is at risk, Miss May.' Like I didn't know that already?

They just needed to find me a suitable heart and for me to be as 'strong' as I could. I didn't feel I could ever be strong again, I was as weak as they come and my parents insisted that I was this delicate thing that every single person who I met had to treat with immense care. I was surprised that they hadn't actually wrapped me in bubble wrap.

I knew I was delicate but I wanted to be treated normally. I didn't feel like I could try to be strong if everyone around me treated me like I needed help with everything. It made me feel incapable of anything and that was demoralising. More than they would ever realise.

I was 18 but I didn't feel independent at all. My mom drove me to my hospital appointments, my dad practically paid for everything and I'd not got good grades. Turns out when you spend half your life in and out of hospital it does nothing good for your actual life, just the keeping you alive bit.

Mom came back into the room with her cup of coffee in her hand, smiling at me warmly. I tried to smile back but smiles were a rarity on my part. 

I cleared my throat so I could speak up again. "When can I go home?" I asked her what I had been thinking for a few hours. I'd been in for a couple of days due to a raised blood pressure and the fear my heart was going to collapse again. It hadn't done and they'd fed me up on so many drugs I was about as high as a kite, everything seemed numb.

"I don't know honey," mom replied and she tried another smile. "Maybe soon."

I sighed, looking back at the ceiling instead. 'Maybe soon' meant not today.

I didn't feel like I was about to die, so I wanted to leave but no. I guess they just had to be careful with me. Mom would probably try and sue them if we went home and I had a sudden heart attack again. 

I tried to sit up suddenly, and mom looked at me warily, almost running across the room to help me. "What are you doing, Abi?"

"I don't want to just lay here," I whispered and I met her eyes, looking desperate. "Can't I at least go for a walk?"

Mom looked wary like I knew she would, but I pleaded with my eyes. I could see her caving in and she finally nodded slowly.

"Thanks, mom," I replied and I actually smiled at her this time.

I carefully swung my legs from the bed and mom was desperately trying to help me again but I knew I could stand on my own. I was weak but I could actually walk. She insisted that she came with me but I said no about 100 times and she finally let me go alone on the basis that I was back in at least five minutes.

Turns out 5 minutes was all it took to meet someone and fall in love. Cliche as it sounds, but it was. I felt like I deserved a cliche because life seemed adamant on attacking me with illness.

I hobbled down the hospital steps to the front entrance, pulling my coat around me tighter. I wanted to breathe in fresh air, not have to smell the kind of hospital smell I was so used to.

I was glad of my coat, wearing a hospital gown wasn't my favourite outfit. Especially not when a young guy comes and sits next to you on a bench with a perfect smile and sparkling eyes.

"Shouldn't you be inside?" he asked me, as he looked round at me. His British accent was unmistakable. 

I looked round at him and he grinned at me, running a hand through his curly brown hair.

"Oh," I replied, feeling breathless all of a sudden, "I can't stand being stuck in there anymore."

"Wouldn't blame you," he replied and then he stuck his hand out to me. "Harry."

​I was surprised but shook his hand. "Abi," I told him my name.

After a few seconds silence, I decided to ask him, "aren't you supposed to be inside too?" Then I realised he wasn't wearing a hospital gown and felt stupid. He was probably just visiting or something.

Harry laughed slightly and looked at me and I was transfixed by his sparkling green eyes again. "I just told them I was going to leave, put on my clothes and left," he told me. "I mean, I can do what I want, can't I?"

I found myself nodding along. Maybe I could just do that too but I just knew my mum would protest. I looked at my feet.

"I wish I could do that," I whispered but he still heard me. I felt his hand on my shoulder.

"You can," he told me and smiled again. "If you've got to the point where you can obviously walk, and you want to go outside you must feel pretty trapped and that's not what a hospital is about. If you think you're well enough, just ask them to leave. They might have to do checks but if you want to go home, then you should be able to."

Those were exactly the words I needed to hear.

I smiled at him and he smiled back again.

Then mom had to come out and stop the conversation, as she had been too worried after 5 minutes that I had died somewhere. As she tried to help me stand up and move back towards the entrance of the hospital I looked back at Harry. He waved at me and I waved back with a small smile on his face. As I went back to my room all I could think about is what he had said to me and how he was so right.

And so that day, I did ask my doctors to leave. They checked me over and said it might be best to stay in for one more night but I kept refusing. Finally, I got to go home. I could put on my own clothes and get in my mom's car and she drove me home. I didn't die like mom thought I would, and I knew I had enough drugs in me so that I would be alright for the time being.

It was nice to get into my own bed, breathe in the fresh air through the windows. And it was all because of what Harry said to me. I smiled as I closed my eyes to sleep, unable to shift the image of him from my head. He was one of the first people that made me feel like I could take matters into my own hands. If I felt well enough I could ask to leave.

My parents always seemed to control what I should or shouldn't and when and when not to go to the hospital based on my health but they never asked me how I felt. They just kept on thinking I was always delicate. I knew I was, but sometimes I felt stronger. Harry had made me feel stronger.

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