“Still in a lot of pain?” Sandra asked gently and I nodded. It was generally easier not to think about or dwell on the amount of pain I was in.
“I’m sorry to hear that, but I wanted to tell you about something that I overheard the other day that I thought you should know.” She said, lowering her voice into a whisper.
“Yes?” I asked her, trying to sit up even more in the bed. I was hoping that she was going to tell me something regarding Drew’s command to shut me up in the room.
“Drew and Timothy were arguing yesterday about what was the best method to help get you better quicker – which they’ve been doing a lot lately. Arguing, I mean.” She was beginning to ramble.
“Yes?” I tried to egg her on. “Yes?”
“Well, they were in the middle of the argument.” She continued, snapping back to attention. “And Timothy asked Drew why he was being so stubborn about listening to other ideas. He wanted to know why Drew thought his plan was best. Timothy asked Drew, ‘What makes you so certain your plan will work?’ and you know what Drew said?”
“What?” I asked. The anticipation was giving me a headache and I silently wished that Sandra would just tell me.
“Drew said that it had to. He told Timothy, “It will work, I’m sure it has to. I wouldn’t be attempting it otherwise. Trust me on this Timothy, I have her very best interests at heart.’ You know how he sealed it and silenced Timothy?” Sandra asked me. I was disappointed because I hadn’t learned any additional information and I wasn’t reassured by Drew’s confidence.
“How?” I asked without any enthusiasm.
“Drew said that he wouldn’t try anything that would end badly because he loves you. ‘I love her,’ he told Timothy and when Timothy said that we all do; love you, I mean. Drew said that Timothy didn’t understand him correctly. He told Timothy that he didn’t just love you, but that he is in love with you. Isn’t that exciting?” Sandra said and I nodded, smiling. The news was a little comforting and reassuring, but I had no way to know if Drew had been telling the truth or if he was just trying to make Timothy go along with his plan.
Sandra left my room smiling and I slid back down into the middle of the bed. I attempted to roll over onto my left side, but the pain became unbearable and I rolled back. It was amazing that I hadn’t gotten any bed sores from being in the same position for such a long time. I knew that I had been laid up in bed for at least a week, but something told me it had been longer.
After Sandra, Andrew and Freddie came in. The conversation with them was centered around small talk and football. When I was awake we carried on small talk; when I was asleep, they talked about football for a while. The two boys left the room claiming that they were going to play football, but I was pretty confident that they just wanted to get out of there and couldn’t think of a better excuse. As they walked out the door, I drifted off to sleep and didn’t wake up until the next morning as Michelle came in.
“Hey.” She said timidly. Michelle and I had never really talked since our initial encounter.
“Hi.” I told her and used my left hand to indicate the chair. “Pull up a seat.”
“How’s your day been?’ She asked sitting down.
“I don’t really know.” I told her honestly. “I’m not even sure what day it is or how many times I’ve been awake today.”
“Oh. It’s Friday.” She informed me. “I don’t know how much you’ve been awake today. I think I’m the only one who you’ve actually talked to.”
“Then I guess I’m good. Did you want to talk about something certain?” I inquired, wanting to get straight to the point.
Michelle just sat there quietly for a couple minutes, picking her words carefully. She had a small sad smile on her lips and I wondered what was going through her head. She was only two years younger than me, but she had been through a lot in her life. She lost her mom six years ago and then had to be tested by Sikal. I felt like she had been dealt a harsh hand in life. Her voice broke into my thoughts and pulled my attention back.
“There wasn’t really anything certain that I wanted to talk to you about,” She told me sincerely. “I just thought I’d come hang out for a little while. I’m kind of on my own out there in the main room. Sandra and Paula are closer in age so they hang out and act like moms to Katie and the guys all just kind of sit around brooding.”
“Guys are generally odd like that.” I said to her and she smiled.
“That’s true, but aren’t girls our age supposed to just sit around and talk about them? Shouldn’t we be focused on finding boyfriends and getting married?” Michelle asked and I tried shrugging again.
“I don’t know. I guess we’re either supposed to be doing that or focusing solely on our careers claiming that we have no interest in guys until we’ve gotten settled in a decent job.” I said, quoting some of the things I’d heard.
When I first became a telemarketer phone operator, I was surprised by the number of people who will listen to the entire advertisement spiel before they just start talking about their lives because they don’t have anyone that they feel comfortable opening up to. My first call like that was pretty awkward, but I got used to it. I even gathered a couple of numbers for phone counseling that I could refer people to. At this moment, I was wishing that I could go to work; anything would have been better than lying in bed doing nothing. I was ten years old again and sick with the flue. My mother said that I couldn’t go to school for the fourth day in a row and I began praying that I’d get better just so I wouldn’t be so bored anymore.
Michelle had stood up from her chair and headed for the doorway. She had probably noticed that I was having a hard time staying focused on the conversation. At the doorway, she paused and looked back at me.
“Hey.” She said, trying to get my attention.
“Hmm?” I mused aloud.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t supposed to be this bad or even this way.” She said quickly and closed the door behind her. That was the moment when I started realizing just how bad things were. I wished I had asked Michelle when the battle had taken place. Had it been weeks ago?
Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.