I Hate Valentine’s Day (Chapter 9)

Story by Joan Lopez-Flores

Uh, is there a Lexie—Alexandra Stowes checked in here? I’m a good friend of hers, I’d like to see how she’s doing.” I must have looked terribly alarmed because the nurse at reception I spoke with quickly typed into her computer and gave me an answer in seconds.

“Yes, Ms. Alexandra Stowes is in room 403. She got wheeled in by an ambulance at about 2am this morning. May I get your name, please? So you’re not a relative? I’m not sure if they’ll allow you inside at this point…” the nurse didn’t get to finish as I was off to the elevator the second she told me where Lexie’s room was.

Terrible accident daw sabi ni Julie…her leg was shattered in places? Diyuskupo, ano kayang nangyari?!

Pagdating ko sa may pinto ng kwarto niya, nag-alangan akong kumatok. May maliit na window kaya sinilip ko muna., may isang doktor na mukhang kinikilatis mabuti ang mga paa ni Lexie, habang isang nurse naman ang nagche-check ng pulso niya.

Hindi ko kaagad makita ang mukha niya mula sa pinto. Nakakakaba, sana hindi naman ganoon ka-grabe ang nangyari na pati ang maganda niyang mukha nadali din.

Maya-maya nang nakaalis na ang doctor na nakaharang sa katawan niya, nakita ko si Lexie. A white bandage was wrapped around her head and the left side of her face had a big red bruise. I’m not sure but I think there were stitches under her chin. She looked like she was sleeping.

Her right leg was also covered in bandages. Her left leg had a thicker covering on it and the foot that poked out of the bandages showed that it was perhaps the leg in worse condition.

The lady doctor finally opened the door while the nurse followed suit. The doctor saw me and asked, “Family or relative of the patient?”

“Uh, I’m a good friend. My name is Kiko…Lexie is very special to me, I hope you allow me inside…please, allow me to see her.”

I was practically begging. I don’t know which crushed my heart more at that moment, the fact that Lexie was hurt so bad or that I can’t even see her because of these hospital protocols.

The doctor and nurse looked at each other.

“I’m sorry, sir. We cannot allow other visitors in at the moment other than family or relative. The patient is in very critical condition, which I also cannot disclose at length other than to immediate family,” said the doctor, whose hair chopped short and steady gaze through her glasses showed me I can’t bend the rules today. They started walking away.

I took one wary glance at the door window and saw Lexie there in her sad state.

“Her only family is her dad, living in Australia and I’m sure he won’t be able to fly in quickly… and she has a fiancé who’s so busy he probably doesn’t know about this yet. I learned this from an office mate she was with last night and I dashed to this place the quickest way I know…because I care that much about her. Please, doctor.” They were already yards away from me at the hallway when I said this. The doctor kept on walking, but the nurse turned around and walked toward me.

Her voice was firm and a little lower than I expected from someone who looked petite and stocky. She quietly spoke, “If someone questions you, just say you’re a cousin.” She quickly went to the door and unlocked it with the key in her pocket. Smiled at me briefly and nodded, perhaps in quiet understanding, and then followed the doctor, who’s already at the end of the hallway.

Buti na lang at nakaswerte ako ng mabait na nurse. Pumasok na ako agad sa kwarto ni Lexie, kumuha ng silya sa isang gilid at inilagay sa tabihan niya.

Tahimik pa rin siyang natutulog, baka maraming painkillers ang binigay sa kanya.

Nakakaiyak tingnan ang mga binti at paa ni Lexie. Hindi ko napigilang hawakan ang kanang kamay ni Lexie, marahang-marahan lang dahil baka masaktan siya.

Naramdaman kong gumalaw ang mga daliri niya.

“Rob?” Lexie’s soft voice cracked and with difficulty she turned her head to face me.

She looked surprised and yet relieved to see who it was beside her. Her eyes then welled up with tears. “Kiko…it’s you.”

I smiled and held her hand with both my hands now, gave it a light squeeze.

I decided it’s best to not say anything at this point, she may be having mixed emotions right then and I didn’t want to give her a hard time at all. I just wanted to be with her and make sure she was all right.

I guess Lexie felt the same way. She just looked at me and smiled back when I did. She then closed her eyes and said almost inaudibly, “Thank you for being here.”

She wrapped her fingers into my mine, and must have dozed back into sleep.

Nothing else mattered to me at that moment. Not my job, certainly not Jenny who’s actually already been expecting a call from me since last week.

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