Paio groaned as his eyelids fluttered open. The bright white light made him grimace as it pierced his eyes. He thought he was in heaven…but heaven was not supposed to be like this. It wasn’t supposed to make his head ache and throb.
He squinted when a dark figure began hovering over him. “Are you okay? Thank God you’re finally awake.”
Paio blinked in confusion “Who are you?” he asked.
The figure pressed the button beside his bed and before he knew it, the bed began lifting up into a sitting position. It was then he saw the figure clearly. It was a girl ‘round his age, ‘bout sixteen or seventeen. She was Asian just like him and had the widest eyes he had ever seen.
“My name is Hua.” She replied.
Paio tilted his head. “Sorry I don’t think I know you.”
“That’s because you don’t. I’m Abena’s friend.” The girl grunted in annoyance when he gave her a blank stare. “The girl who took you into her house and got stabbed ‘bout a hundred times.” She threw her hands in the air.
“Yes I remember her.” Paio said with a smile. He finally remembered her name.
“Forget her.” The girl’s words sliced his thoughts.
“Forget her. Forget any of the shit that happened.”
Paio was dumb founded and didn’t know what to say. The girl came closer towards him. “Think about it Paio, if not for you none of this would have happened. Abena wouldn’t have been laying on a hospital bed on life support.”
Paio felt gutted. He never thought her injuries would be worse than his.
“Anyway she’s an African and what do you think her folks will think when they find out she let you into their home. What would her folks say when they found out an Asian entered their home? They’d probably skin her alive…if you want what’s best for her and yourself.” She jabbed her finger to his chest “stay away from her. She turned her heels leaving Paio alone gutted, stricken to the core with guilt.
“Can’t I see her….apologize to her about what I did?” he called out in desperation.
The girl turned around and smirked. “No cute boy. Stay away from her.” And with that she slammed the door shut.
Paio sighed, buried his face in his hands and wept. He wept for Abena. He wept for the pain and trouble he had caused her. He wanted to return to his world of endless darkness and never come back. Oh how he wished he had died instead of going through the pain and guilt of what he had done.
“Hey mum.” Abena’s heart pounded like a drum threatening to burst out from the walls of her chest. Her hands were shaking and her palms sweating as she struggled to hold the phone. “I’m in the hospital.” She said softly glancing at Hua who was standing at the other side of the room twirling her hair looking bored as hell.
“Oh….Yes…Yes…I should be home by Thursday….Yes….Yes…I’ll pay for it then…okay…bye.” Abena dropped the phone and bit her lip to stop her from crying. Hua quickly jumped up and ran to the floor to pick up the phone.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Oh its nothing.” Abena said with a shaky smile.
“Nothing? You look as bad as shit!” She could read people’s emotions. It was her specialty…her gift.
“It’s just my mum.”
“Hmm-umm. What the hells up with her?”
“She came back from her trip and is back home.”
“When’s she coming to see you?” Hua asked excitedly. “I can’t wait to see her!!” she clapped her hands excitedly…she was actually dreading it. She was already devising a plan to hide in the cabinet and take a swift peek at her.
“I’m leaving the hospital on Thursday.” Abena tried changing the subject.
“When’s your mum coming?”
“I need to start making arrangements to go home.”
Hua wasn’t going to budge over just yet. “When’s she coming?”
Abena grunted and looked annoyed for a moment. Her lip quivered and she answered swiftly “She’s not coming.”
“What!!” Hua literally screamed the word out.
Abena shrugged “My mum is not coming. She says she has things to do.”
“What sort of things?” Hua asked. She curled her fingers into a fist. She was getting angry fast.
“She said she’s got a barbecue with her friends or something like that.” Abena tried not to sound like she cared but with the way Hua asked questions, she was afraid she’d loose it and have a mental breakdown.
“You’re joking me right?”
“Do I look like I’m joking?” Hua asked. She really needed to punch something.
Abena shrugged “Can I borrow some money off you.”
“Two thousand Renminbi.”
“Why?” Hua raised her eyebrows.
“I just need it.”
“I will not loan you the money unless you tell me why you need it.” Hua turned away.
“I need to pay my hospital bills okay. Mum won’t pay.”
That was when Hua lost it. “I need to go to the bathroom.” She opened the door leading to the bathroom and walked out. She locked the door behind her, turned on the ventilator and began the savage attack on the walls. She smashed her fists into it screaming and yelling. She kicked the wall frustrated at everything. She sat on the ground and took deep breaths trying to calm herself down.
When she was ready, she flushed the toilet and went back to Abena. “Why won’t your mum pay the hospital bill?”
Abena looked away. “It’s my problem not hers.”
Hua grunted. “That’s bullshit Abena and you know that. You’re not meant to pay your freaking hospital bills!! What kind of mother do you have for heaven’s sake? She doesn’t come to the bloody hospital because of what A FUCKING BARBECUE and oh she can’t get off her ass and pay for your hospital bills.” Hua was yelling now. “You just have a freaking operation.” She pointed to Abena’s chest. “and your mother can’t be like: oh my daughter was just attacked by a mental disillusioned man so let me go see her in the hospital and lend her a hand. But oh no I have a barbecue to go to so she can just stay in the hospital all by herself….and ops I don’t want to pay for her medical bills because it’s her problem not mine. Hahaha.”
Hua finished ranting and noticed Abena was crying softly. “Oh gosh Abena I’m so sorry.” She took Abena into her arms. “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” She stroked her hair softly.
“It’s fine Hua. I’m used to it.”
“Don’t get used to it. I’ll give you the money. You don’t have to pay it back.” Hua said. She felt gutted at the fact she hurt Abena. She didn’t mean to. She just wished Paio would heed her warning.