I woke up several times that morning. I hadn’t slept very well so every time I woke up I just drifted back asleep. I remember having a nightmare, and every time I fell asleep again the nightmare would continue, only to eventually wake me up again. I don’t remember what the nightmare was about though. I finally, completely woke up around ten, only to find a message from Vera stating how the doctors had left her room for a moment. It was sent at 8:33 AM. I got mad at myself. Very mad. I had been awake and asleep all morning and I had never bothered to check my phone! That might’ve been the last chance I had of talking to her for the rest of my life and I had missed it! The Gods did me a favor though and at 10:29 AM I received another message from her stating how she had half an hour left. At the time I was downstairs, having breakfast and luckily I had been smart enough to remember to bring my phone with me. The message stated that she had half an hour left.
Our conversation didn’t go that well. We had said everything that needed to be said the day before and right then we were both just at a loss for words. I tried once again to reassure her that everything was going to be alright, like I had done a thousand of times already, but it didn’t really work. I knew my words were meaningless and that we were both terrified. I then tried to cheer her up a little by saying how she wouldn’t have to be bored in the hospital, given how I would come over and how Jeffry would come over and probably a lot of other people of which I didn’t even know the names. She wasn’t exactly cheered up by my attempt, but it was better than the two of us both staring at our screens, not knowing what on earth to say.
I asked her if there was anything I could do for her. She said there wasn’t and she told me how scared she was. I decided I wasn’t going to tell her everything was going to be alright, because I didn’t know that. Instead I confirmed her feelings and send her a digital hug. It was the best I could do at the time. I told her at least it would be over soon. It could of course, be over in a good way, or over in a bad way. But after she had been put under, it would be all the same for her, and that was what I meant. She wouldn’t have to worry anymore. My favourite song then came on the radio. It was a song by a very small Dutch band, so when I first heard it on the radio I had been thrilled. I hadn’t realized other people were listening to them as well. I reminded her of when I told her about that song and I realized how I had forgot to show it to her the last time we met. I told her I would show it to her next time we met and again she replied very doubtful. She didn’t believe there was going to be a next time.
I asked her why she had to go soon. Were they going to give her narcosis or did she simply have to turn in her phone? She told me they were going to give her narcosis. The thought of narcosis made me curious. It wasn’t the first time she would get narcosis by a long shot, but I had never experienced anything like it. I asked her how it felt and she told me it was just like sleeping. I made a joke about how it’d better be a sleep without nightmares and I told her about having nightmares the night before. She said she felt sorry for me and I told her it hadn’t been that bad, I couldn’t even remember what they had been about. It made no sense to be talking about that now. But by the time I started talking about nightmares, half an hour had gone by since her first message. And I was just anxious to keep her talking, so that maybe, she could stay a little longer. It was stupid and I knew it, but it made me feel better, so I kept it up till the very last minute.
At 11:03 AM she told me she had to go. Our goodbyes weren’t that extensive, but then again, we had already said everything there was to say the night before. So there was no need for a very extensive goodbye. I told her I would see her later, which implied of course that I believed there would be a later. I also told her I had faith in her, just one last time. I even told her, again, that I’d be with her and she told me she knew that. After that, she just left. It didn’t bother me. I didn’t really feel like having a very dramatic goodbye anyway. At least like this, it didn’t feel like a final goodbye you know? It felt like she was leaving, but she could be back any minute.
I knew the surgery would start at 1:00 PM so at exactly 1:00 PM I messaged her phone to ask if they had already started. It took them a long time to reply, but I couldn’t exactly blame them. Fifteen minutes before that I had asked my boyfriend, who was on his way over to my house, if he thought she was going to make it. He had called her his little medical miracle and I had felt reassured. I was still very anxious of course, but at least there was someone who had faith in a good ending. At 1:32 PM I received the first message from Maria, saying that they had been working on her for 45 minutes now. I was kind of angry that they hadn’t messaged me right away when they had started, but I knew at the same time I had no right to be angry. It was very nice of them to keep me up to date while they must’ve been as scared as I was, or maybe even more so. So instead of getting mad I thanked her for keeping me up to date about everything that was going on. I wished then more than ever that I could’ve just been there in the hospital with them, instead of sitting at home, alone.
I tried to get some homework done before my boyfriend would arrive. He was ill, but he had wanted to come over anyway. I was glad he would be here and I could hardly wait to pick him up at the station. At 2:04 PM I left the house to pick him up, talking my dog with me so I wouldn’t have to walk him separately. The train would arrive at half past two and it was a fifteen minute walk, so I got there early, but I didn’t mind. At least I was out of the house for now. My boyfriend arrived in time and we hugged and walked back home. I could see he had a very bad cold and having him come over even though he was that ill really warmed my heart. I could easily notice he was more anxious about me than he was about Vera though. It did kind of bother me. Of course it was nice to have him care about my wellbeing, but I thought everybody was caring a little bit too much about me freaking out and too little about Vera possibly and probably dying. What was ten percent after all?!
When we arrived at my place we just went upstairs and sat on my bed, watching YouTube videos. That was basically what we did all day. Sit and watch YouTube videos. I felt bad for my boyfriend that I couldn’t be any more entertaining in any way, but I just couldn’t bring myself to really care about anything or to do anything right now. Given how ill Jeffry was, it was probably for the best anyway, although I could see that he was bored. He never cared that much for just cuddling. At 3:16 PM I broke. I hadn’t heard anything yet and I was breaking up with nerves. I wanted to know how she was doing. I should’ve realized of course, that while they were working on her, her foster parents probably knew as little about what was going on as I did, but all I could think of was them poking around in her brain and her possibly dying in the process.
They took the time to reply to my anxious message, stating that indeed they knew nothing about what was going on right now, that it would still be several hours till the operation was completed and that as soon as they would hear anything, they would let me know. I thanked them again. The rest of the afternoon went by so slowly I could hardly stand it. At half past five my mom yelled that we would have dinner at six and I yelled back that that was alright. It was convenient for my boyfriend, since he wanted to be home early so that he could sleep, and he still had to travel very far. It was only four minutes later that I received word from Maria. I probably punched Jeffry a bit hard, to tell him to pause the movie we’d been watching and then we both looked at my phone to try and see what they could tell us. I was very anxious because they weren’t supposed to be done till seven. I could only imagine she died.
“Dear Samantha, they have just finished surgery, an hour sooner than expected.”
“They did damage part of her brain during surgery. We will just have to wait to see how bad the damage will be. And of course pray there won’t be any further complications.”
So they damaged her brain. I could live with that. They damaged her brain, but the operation had been successful and Vera was still alive. My boyfriend was relieved, I was relieved. My boyfriend knew a lot more about biology than I did, and he told me that they had probably damaged part of her motor cortex, meaning at best she might not be able to raise her arm in a certain way, or pronounce a certain letter. At worst it meant she might not ever walk again. At least it couldn’t have been anything vital, because that would mean she would’ve been dead already. I was relieved, but I wasn’t as easily reassured as my boyfriend. I asked them if they managed to get the entire tumor out, which they confirmed. I then asked them if they knew how big the chance was that there would be further complications when it came to the tumor. I wanted to know the chances of the cancer coming back. They told me they couldn’t say anything about that yet.
I started crying. My boyfriend mistook my crying for me still being scared for her and he started reassuring me and cuddling me and telling me how everything was going to be ok now. That she had survived and that the worst was behind us now. It was all just a matter of time before she would heal, he told me. I laughed because he didn’t understand. I told him I knew that and that I was crying because I was so relieved. I had been holding back my tears all day and finally they just came out. Jeffry cradled me and held me till I calmed down again. Telling me over and over how everything was going to be alright now. It was very nice having him there. And I realized in that moment how much I loved him and how precious he was to me. I did not ever want to lose him, so I told him that. He told me that he knew that and that he wouldn’t leave. It was very nice indeed.
We went down to have dinner at six. I had managed to calm down and wipe away my tears, so that my parents wouldn’t suspect anything. When I came downstairs though, there was another surprise waiting for me. My brother. My mom told me we had an unsuspected visitor and she winked at me. I immediately knew what was wrong. My brother had been fighting with his boyfriend for a long time now, and I guess they finally broke up. I remember thinking how sad it was, that for every little miracle that took place, something bad had to happen as well. I set up the table for us and my boyfriend sneaked back upstairs for a moment. My mom hadn’t been ready yet, due to my brother suddenly arriving. Jeffrey told me he just wanted to check on some things on his computer, but I didn’t entirely trust it. I made up excuses like that all of the time and I would end up crying, alone in my room. Of course he wasn’t like me, but I wanted to check up on him anyway, just to make sure.
When I found him in my room he was indeed just working on some stuff on his computer. So I sat next to him, my head resting on his shoulder. It was only minutes after, that my mom yelled dinner was ready and we had to go downstairs again. In the few minutes we had upstairs I had told him my brother had just broken up with his boyfriend, but during dinner nobody said a word about that. It was just a normal dinner, which was strange to me, given that nothing else about that day had been normal. After dinner we went back upstairs to finish our movie. We were just getting ready to go when I received another message. I picked up my phone and saw it was send from Vera’s phone. My boyfriend didn’t notice and kept talking about whatever he had been talking about in that moment. It’s not like I heard any of it. I punched him once again, and it was only then that he realized something serious was going on. It took me ages to unlock my phone.
7:36 PM – “Samantha, I’m very sorry we have to tell you this awful news. But Vera’s heart just stopped beating. Right now they’re doing everything to bring her back, but we’re afraid they won’t be able to do so. We’re very sorry.”
My fingers started trembling. In fact, my entire body had started trembling. I could not believe it. She had been safe. She had survived surgery. All that was left for her to do now was recover! This wasn’t supposed to happen! I hadn’t realized how much danger she was still in. And that she hadn’t beaten the odds yet. This fight wasn’t over. Surgery was just the beginning. The hardest part of it all was yet to be concurred. I hadn’t realized I started crying until I notice my Jeffrey’s hand on my shoulder. I didn’t break down and cry like I had expected myself to, instead I just hugged him and cried quietly into his shoulder while he was gently petting my back, telling me that they were going to get her back and that she hadn’t lost just yet. I wished I could believe that, but in reality I didn’t. They had said they didn’t think they could bring her back. It was all over now. She was dead.
After standing there for a while, my boyfriend told me we had to get going, or else we would miss the train. Now any normal person would’ve slapped him in the face for that comment, but I knew he was just trying to distract me, that he didn’t want me to sit around waiting for that condemning message saying she was gone for good. So I gathered my wits and cleared my eyes. Jeffry whipped away the last of my tears and we went downstairs. While walking to the station he wouldn’t let go of my hand, which I didn’t like because in one hand I was holding the dog and in the other I wanted to hold my phone, but he made that impossible. In the end it might’ve been for the best. But right in that moment, I hated it.
During our walk to the train station he started telling me this story about how her ex-boyfriend had once told him that she lied a lot. I mean, how could someone be pronounced dead, twice in her life. That wasn’t possible. He believed this to be all some big scheme she set up. I wanted to get mad at him, but I couldn’t. It was his way of coping and I needed him to cope. I couldn’t handle him breaking down. The thought did root itself in my mind though. I had wanted to just throw it away, discard of it. But I couldn’t. All the unclear things suddenly made sense then. I didn’t want it to be true though. This might sound harsh, but I rather believed the girl as I knew her was dead then that she turned out to be some kind of monster who liked torturing people for fun. I couldn’t deal with that thought. I just couldn’t.
When we arrived at the train station he finally let go of my hand, and I took the opportunity to check for messages. The only message I had received was the question whether I was alone or not. I bet they were really worried about me too after telling me this. I answered that I wasn’t alone, even though I would be alone again soon and I asked them they had managed to bring her back. I could see them come online, read my message and then type something. Only to erase it and type something again. And erase and type and erase and type. It was absolutely nerve wrecking. I imagined them sitting in the hospital, not knowing how to tell me she was gone. I had sat down on a bench and my boyfriend sat down next to me, telling me that if there was anything later that night, anything at all, that I had to call him. Even if it was the middle of the night, I just had to call him. That’s all I remember from our conversation to be honest. I was focused on my phone. Finally a message popped up:
“They managed to bring her back.”
It had only taken them two minutes to send me that, but those were the two longest minutes of my entire life, I swear. My boyfriend seemed to be happy, but the rest of the things happened in a blur. His train arrived, another message popped up he had to leave. I wanted to reply. He pulled me in for a hug. I realized he was going. I hugged him tighter and kissed him once. Then he was gone and I was alone at the train station. Phone in my hand. I looked at the screen: “We’re very sorry to have scared you like that.” I took a deep breath and told them it was fine, I rather knew then to have it happening without me knowing. They told me Vera had informed them that I was very fragile, but that they thought I had to know. I told them she had been very worried indeed and that I wished she had only been more worried about herself. They confirmed that. I started crying.
All the hurt and all the fear at her being gone just streamed out of me. I had told my parents I was taking the dog for a longer walk, so they didn’t have to expect me to be home soon. I kept checking my phone every ten minutes. Walking. Sobbing. Every time someone walked past me I calmed myself down for a second, only to go back to sobbing as soon as they were gone. My head started hurting like crazy, I felt dizzy and I was nauseated, but I just kept on walking. When I checked my phone for maybe the fifth time I had received another message, asking me if I was ok. I told them I had a terrible headache, but that I was ok. I asked them how they were and they said they were frightened but alright.
I really started thinking at that moment. I had thought she was safe, but apparently she wasn’t. But how long would it take for her to be safe? I decided to ask them. The answer blew me away. They told me it would take at least 48 hours before she was anywhere near safe and that there was no telling when she’d be better. 48 hours. 48 more hours in which her heart could stop beating, just like that. 48 more hours. My head started spinning again. I walked for another hour before I went home, because 1) I had to finish crying first and 2) I had to make sure there were no traces of tears left on face, my parents couldn’t know I had been crying. I also hadn’t wanted to go home, because going home meant dealing with a probably very upset brother, and I couldn’t handle that right now. While walking I felt just a little bit suicidal, but that was just because I couldn’t handle everything I was feeling right then. I didn’t actually want to die, and I had to remind myself of that fact several times that night.
When I finally arrived home, my brother was already gone. I was relieved. I really just wanted to go to bed right then, but I couldn’t. It was way too early and it would raise suspicion. I have no idea what I did for the next hour or so. I only remember looking at the clock and finding it was late enough for me to go bed. It had been 9:00 PM at the time. I brushed my teeth and went to the bathroom and then downstairs to tell my parents I was going to bed. I got changed and sat down on my bed, and only then did it hit me, that if I was going to sleep, I might wake up to find her dead. There was no guarantee she would survive this night. I got really scared and really sick and I cried a lot more, until I finally decided that if she was going to die, she was going to die whether I was asleep or awake, and at least if I were asleep, I wouldn’t be hurting all night. I just wanted it to be over. I sent a message to her foster parents saying I was going to bed, but that I was really scared. It was 9:52 PM at the time. They told me that it was ok and that they hoped I would be able to get some sleep. John informed me he was going to try and get some sleep soon as well and that Maria was going to try and stay up. It was only then that I realized I probably had been talking to John instead of Maria the entire time.