Ask Me To Stay - part one.
The clock ticks repeatedly as I tap my shoes against the white laminate flooring.
My name is Dakotah Perri. I am twenty-two years old.
I feel as though I’m dying.
My throat tightens as the machines beep down the long corridors, and hush voices are heard in separate rooms.
I hate hospitals. The very smell of them, the way they feel, the way the make me feel send shivers all over me.
I run my fingers through my hair and place it up in a messy bun. I try to calm my unknown nerves. It’s not possible, not while I feel this uncomfortable.
Most days, me coming here is pointless, yet I still do so. I take my only day off from the bookshop on the high street where I work to come and visit my sister.
I can’t help but feel physically sick as I look around. People waiting around me, arms in slings, coughs spurting from their lips. Various unknown diseases or bugs filtering through the air towards me, making me vulnerable. Vulnerable to catch whatever lives in this god forsaken place.
I’ve been visiting my sister for the last two weeks now.
She has been suffering Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia Nervosa is a psychiatric illness that describes an eating disorder with extremely low body weight and body image distortion with an obsessive fear of gaining.
Or so the experts say.
But they mention nothing about the high blood pressure, constant irregular sleeping patterns, oh, and the depression.
No, you have to figure that out yourself.
She was sent here three weeks ago, as ordered by her doctors. Now she’s on a drip, being force-fed by a bunch of strangers. The thought makes me shudder, and I can’t help but feel sympathetic towards her.
I wait until 5 o’clock to see her.
Laying awake in bed is what I do best.
Not to say I like it, of course. I’d much rather be at home with Griffin, playing xbox or doing something else counter-productive. But I suppose it’s better than watching teen moms on TV, or rereading the predictable period romance novel which has been on my bedside table since I was brought here, beside the flowers that my mother restocks every week. The book is Wuthering Heights; the flower have already wilted.
I let out a sigh and run a hand through my hair. It feels coarse and brittle and I don’t like it. Yet I don’t want it to fall out.
My mother is supposedly visiting soon. A few minutes within her stay, and the dead flowers by my side will be replace with new ones, alive and well. She’ll hold my hand, and I will be told that the doctors are once again relieved and astounded by my improvements.
I think she’s lying to herself more than she is to me.
The noise of the clock fustrates me. I’d get up and take the batteries out myself if it wasn’t for the fact I am bed bound.
I look over to the window towards the end of the ward. It’s getting dark outside, she should be here by now. It’s the only thing I have to look forward to, to see her face, the fake smile she’ll plaster on and keep for the whole time she’s here. Sometimes I think she’s a better actor than I am.
“Hello, love.” she says, sitting down on the vacant chair beside the bed. “Sorry I’m late, there was a massive traffic jam and I couldn’t get past some old blode in a three-wheeler.”
I force a smile. “It’s fine,” I tell her.
She walks to the other side of the bed, pulls the dead flowers from their vase and drops them in the sanitary bin. Before you could blink your eyes, they are replaced by new ones.
“The doctors say you’re getting better,” she informs me, her hand resting on top of mine. “They say you might make it.”
I say nothing, just nod.
I reach out to take the Wuthering Heights from the table. I shock myself slightly when I see my hand. My skin is white, pale white, almost translucent. My fingers are long and thing and spidery. Nevertheless, I take the book. It’s battered and quite old, and looks as if my mother’s had it since she was small. I hand it to her.
“Have… have you finished it already?” she asks. She looks up at my with her dull eyes, and suddenly I feel as if I’m going to break down and cry.
I shake my head. “I just thought you wanted it back.” I say in a tiny voice.
She shakes her own head, pushing it back into my lap. “Here. You read it. God knows it’s better than sitting here all day doing nothing.”
I give her a genuine smile.
“Anyway sweet heart, you should get some rest.” She says, leaning forward and planting a kiss on my head. “I love you, Toby.”
“Love you too, mom.” I reply, turning onto my side and closing my eyes, slowly drifting into sleep.