As soon as I walk through the door I know I'm in trouble.
“Damn Vic, why didn't you call me?” Adams face is flustered with anger. “Why did your father have to tell me?”
“I'm sorry.” The answer comes automatically as I slump in the chair next to the bed.
“No, you're not and that is what makes me so angry. I might be hospitalised but I'm not stupid. What the fuck, Vic? You used to tell me everything.” The anger in his voice and eyes hurt. It has been a long time since he was this angry with me and I actually feel good about being able to provoke such a strong reaction from him. Being so shut off from the world makes every non-calm reaction you can get out of people a victory.
“It only happened right after you got in the hospital. I didn't think it was that important.”
“Not that important?! After everything we have been going through these past couple of months you think an almost suicide is not important?”
“Yeah, even then.”
“Why? When has this started? Why am I the last one to know about things like this?” His voice is rough, on edge, he is really angry.
I look away, I can't meet his eyes. He is right, but singling me out like this is a bit unfair, all of us are keeping things from him. He has become too fragile, too easily broken to tire him with our problems. I sigh and when I look up I see the weariness and pain in his posture.
“I thought you would be the last one to pull this on me.” He lies down and turns his back to me. “Please leave, I'm tired.”
“Adam?” I reach out but he flinches when I touch him. My heart aches and I stand, suddenly pulling him close. He goes rigid and I fight to keep my tears back. His bones almost poke through his skin, he has become so thin, I can barely hold him for the fear of breaking him.
“We're scared. We're all scared something might happen that will exhaust you too much and that the illness will take you from us.” I whisper the words in his faded blue hair.
“I'm not that easily broken.” Adam pushes me away, fluttering angry movements that seem almost comical in comparison to his words. “Have you no faith in me at all? I can't believe this.”
“I'm sorry, but I don't want to take any risks that might take you from me, not you too.” I try to hold him again but he swats me away.
“Leave. If my death is all you can think of maybe I should give up on myself too.” He looks me in the eyes, his face flat, his eyes cold. “Go away and tell them not to bother to show up either. I don't want to see people that have no faith in me.” He closes his eyes, shutting himself off from me. I walk to the window, trying to think of anything to say to show him that I have not given up on him. I can't think of anything and turn towards the door, afraid to face the disappointment on his face I don't dare to even take a peek at him.
I walk towards the door as the alarm for his heartbeat starts beeping. I turn around and see the most awful thing I have ever seen. Adam seems to be screaming out as he tries to fill his lungs with air, his face distorted in pain, his hands fisting the sheets, but he doesn’t make a sound. Nurses start rushing into the room, quickly trying to tend to him. A grim look is exchanged as one of them ushers me out of the room. I stand in front of the closed door when it quickly opens to let two doctors in and a couple of minutes later two more. Voices are hushed by the shut door but nothing good can be going on in there.
Are we going to lose him for real this time? Is this what Tom is going through every time Adam has an attack? No wonder he had asked us only to talk about neutral and positive topics with Adam, if his illness was this advanced he was better off not worrying about us too.
I look at him from the door to his room. He looks even smaller than just a couple of hours ago. I curse myself for my stupidity, why did I confess what was going on? Why can't I keep my mouth shut, for Adams own sake. We wanted to avoid this from happening. These exhausting attacks. He looks like a corpse, a body that can hardly keep itself alive. How many times before he would really be gone?
Anne will arrive at any moment now. This might be the last time I see Adam, he is so weak that anything can send him over the edge, but I still can't seem to decide what to do. I look around the room and my eye falls on a piece of paper. I pull a pen from my bag and write a short message.
I love you.
Please get better.
I hide the piece under the corner of his pillow. He will find it when he wakes up. If he ever wakes up.
Someone coughs to get my attention and when I turn around I see my sister in the doorway. Anne looks awfully tanned in this glaring white room. She looks from me to Adam and back.
“I think it's time for us to go home.” She flashes me a sad smile before she turns around and walks away. I take one last look at Adam before I follow her out of the room and out of the hospital.
It is time for us to go back to the life of the living. Time to get back into the world. Time to suck it up and get on with life. But above all, time to make sure I won’t hurt anyone any more.