CHAPTER 1 - THE OTHER SIDE OF GRIEF
I didn't know what to do, where to look, what to say. I just ... I felt awful. Because, in the end, I was relieved.
It's horrible to say, but I was relieved. Because my best friend was still alive. He looked terrible, it was a miracle he was still breathing, but he was still alive. Physically, at the very least. Because psychologically, emotionally, Jake was a wreck. And no wonder.
To calm him down and convince him to let paramedics take care of his wounds, we had to tie him to the bed, no kidding, and even that barely sufficed. The ambulance's driver and I had to keep him still while he kept shouting. He refused every cure, every attempt the paramedics made at trying to patch him up. He only kept shouting her name, trying to go to her. It was a miserable sight.
I've never seen Jake like this. I've seen my best friend through the worst, but this ... this surpasses everything, even that awful night when he had that accident. He was out of himself, and believe me, that's an understatement. Because for the first time in our 29 years of friendship, I saw Jake cry.
Jake cried not simply his heart out, he cried his whole soul out, his whole being. Having gotten rid of the paramedics, he dropped against the wall, bleeding and wounded, and cried, cried, cried. I didn't have the slightest idea what to do. What do you say to someone that's just lost the love of his life?
It was somewhat easier the other times. I suppose because we were little, so we didn't really think too much. But now ... after all he's been through, after all that's happened. I'm scared, you know. This time I'm truly scared. Because he may have resisted throughout these years, but this ... this is what'll kill him for good.
I kneeled before him, shaking my head to the paramedic that wanted to try and stitch him up. "Jake, you need to go to the hospital." I said calmly.
He shook his head, his hands dug in his hair, tears flooding. He couldn't even speak, as shattered as he was. My own heart clenched for him. He didn't even acknowledge the whole crowd of cops and paramedics around us, he simply didn't care. And how could he? Silvia was his world, his universe. Upon losing her, Jake lost not just himself, but every chance of recovery.
"Jake ..." I called, daring to reach out for him, but he slapped my hand away. "Jake, please, let them cure you." Nothing. "Jake ..." He might have opened his mouth to speak, but he couldn't. Hell, he could barely even breathe. His sobs were suffocating him, his sorrow was devouring him whole, and I had no idea how to help him. "Jake, please ..."
"Go away." He wept out, his voice hoarse.
"You know I won't. Please, let me help."
He shook his head, which he barely help up as it was. "You don't understand ..." Jake sobbed. "She ..." He couldn't speak, tears swallowed his voice as he dropped his head back against the wall. I couldn't even begin to imagine how he felt. I know for a fact, that if I were in his shoes, if I'd just lost Serene, I'd react the exact same way.
But it remained that he ought to be cured, or else his wounds would kill him, too, and her sacrifice would be in vain ... hence, heaving a deep sigh, I called the two cops I asked the paramedic to talk to, and together the three of us seized Jake, immobilizing him, so that the paramedic could inject him a sedative. It was the only way.
While watching the cops lay down Jake in the ambulance, I inhaled deeply. I wish I could say this is an unprecedented sight, but ... let's be honest, I've known Jake all his life, he and ambulances have bonded pretty well over the years. It was the first time they ought to sedate him, though. And I'll never, never, for the life of me, forget the sight of my best friend crying.
He didn't cry when his father committed suicide, he didn't cry when his mother died while holding his hand. To him Silvia meant ... much more than any of us could ever even fathom. We all knew he loved her, we just never realized how deeply.
I'm scared, guys. I'm so goddamn scared. Because now, it's more than me against windmills. Now it's me against the love he nurtured for her, and if I know him one bit, he's going to try to join her soon enough.
"Please, make sure he's guarded 24/7." I told the ambulance's driver while the paramedics worked on my best friend.
"He's fine, he's sedated. We're bringing him to-"
"No." I looked him dead in the eye. "You don't understand. He just lost the love of his life." I sighed. "She died in his arms."
The man eyed me intently, then turned to look at Jake, who'd been knocked out by the sedatives. "You think he might try to ..."
"It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. I know him. I know he'll do it."
"Okay. We'll tell the hospital staff to keep a close eye on him, but ... I think his wounds will keep him unconscious for a while."
I nodded, and the man left to take his place at the driver's seat once his colleagues told him they could go. I raked a hand over my face, and heaved a deep, deep sigh. This is going to prove much worse than anything we've ever been through.
"Have you told him yet?"
"How? He's barely ever conscious." I sighed, rubbing the bridge of my nose.
"Colin, you need to tell him. It's the one thing that will get him back on his feet!" I knew David was right, but ...
"She's in a coma, David." I pointed out. "A coma that might be irreversible, doctors say. I can't just get his hopes up, and then ..." I shook my head. "No. We need to focus on helping him heal. Then if and when ... we'll tell him."
"You gotta be kidding me ..." he scoffed. "Colin, he's not gonna heal! Not this way!"
"They're force-feeding him and force-curing him, so ... he will. He will get better." I want to believe he will. I'm sorry for Silvia, I really am, but I need to focus on my best friend.