“I wasn’t worried at all. Except for the part I was worried, of course.” – Pooh (Winnie The Pooh)
Not this again. Please, not again.
I was scared when I woke up in the emergency room alone, my head hurting as much as it did after I’d gotten drunk at the frat party. All I could think about was Brian. Was he okay? Would he blame me for this?
I blamed myself anyway, so it didn’t matter. It didn’t seem I was hurt very badly, just my head only. I also had a couple of scrapes but I was alive. For a fleeting moment I hated myself for this. I didn’t deserve to be here. It was all my fault.
“You’re awake.” Kevin said, but I didn’t hear anything else. I kept hearing my parents voices. My chest felt tight and I wanted to cry, but I held it in.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“I’m glad you’re okay.”
I didn’t say anything but he took the chair next to mine as my head sunk into the pillow which was nowhere near comfortable. I hated hospitals, they always reminded me of death.
“Where’s Brian?” I asked, still not looking at him. I remembered getting flipped inside the car and not much else…..how was it I was okay?
“Brian is pretty banged up-”
I started to shut him out again, the realization hitting me. This was my fault. Brian was hurt and it was my fault.
I wanted to run away like I’d done after high school. That’s why I went to Tampa….I wanted away from every thing and everyone that reminded me of my parents. I suddenly knew how Simba felt when Mufasa died.
“Nick?” Kevin said, and I felt his hand on my arm. I shook my head and blinked, my eyes watering.
“It’s m-my f-fault. I killed them…..everyth-thing is m-my f-fault.” I stammered.
He stared at me, stunned as I began to cry. I was shaking as he moved in to hold me against him, the tears splashing onto his shirt. I cried and cried, heavy sobs drowning everything else out. Nine years of bottled up emotions spilled over.
“Nick you know that isn’t true.” he whispered, rubbing my back.
“If it wasn’t my birthday we wouldn’t have been there. Now Brian’s hurt because of me. I didn’t want to go there and look what happened.” I replied. I felt lower than low….I wanted to run, do anything but be here right now.
“Sometimes things happen that we have no control over. We talked about this, remember? Even your therapist did. She said you shouldn’t blame yourself like this.” Kevin said. After he finally calmed me down, the nurses checked me over and I was getting released from the hospital. I kept thinking about Brian.
“I want to see him.” I said suddenly as Kevin signed my release papers. I had minor injuries, a sprained wrist and a concussion with some small scrapes. Nothing too bad after all.
“We will go see him in a bit, okay kiddo? Just hang tight.”
The walk to Brian’s room seemed to take forever but we made good time. I felt dizzy but I didn’t care, I wanted to make sure he was okay. There was no way I could forgive myself if anything serious happened to him. When I went into the room, he looked like he was sleeping but he opened his eyes and smiled at me.
“Buzz.” he whispered, and I went to the bed to hug him….but his leg was in a cast, hanging up to elevate it.
I didn’t even care at this point that he called me Buzz. Now that I knew he was okay, he could call me whatever the hell he wanted. As I stood there I noticed he was watching an episode of Friends on the TV in the room.
“I’m so sorry,” I said. Kevin was standing in the doorway but after a while he left the two of us alone.
“It ain’t your fault.” he drawled, looking down at the hospital gown he was wearing.
“Yes it was…..”
“I’m not blaming you. There was nothing you or me could have done about what happened.” he said, interrupting my speech I’d planned in my head on the way to his room. We sat there talking and comparing our injuries, he had a broken leg and a lot of bruises but would be just fine. When I mentioned my concussion, Brian stated that he always knew I was hard headed. We laughed and watched Friends together for a bit. He seemed to be happy and not upset with me at all for anything. I was grateful but still felt guilty, as if I’d taken a bat to his leg and broken it myself.
“I remember this episode….this is the one where Phoebe finds the thumb in her soda.” I said.
“Nick, you were gonna tell me something right before the car hit us, weren’t you?” Brian remarked, and then my chest sunk. I was going to tell him what I’d been meaning to all day, and I wasn’t prepared for this now.
I opened my mouth but Kevin said we would have to go home and not to strain ourselves too much today.
“I will see you tomorrow then.” Brian said, with an air of disappointment. I headed for the door and he had a sad smile on his face as he watched me go. I didn’t like leaving him alone in the hospital, it made me uneasy.
As Kevin and I walked to the car, I couldn’t help but wonder if he’d kept me from telling him on purpose.
“Why did we have to leave? Visiting hours aren’t over yet.” I commented.
“Look. I know you want to tell him he’s your half brother, but now is not a good time. You’ve both just been through a rough accident….I don’t think it is good for him.” Kevin said, starting the engine up. I immediately got pissed, how long did they plan on keeping this from him?
“Brian doesn’t know who his fucking father is, and you want me to lie? I can’t look at him knowing the truth. You all have been lying to him his whole life and it is not fair.” I shouted. My head was throbbing again, I was not liking the car ride at all.
“Don’t talk to me like that, Nick. Brian’s been through a lot. You think I want to keep this from him?”
“Sorry, but that is bullshit. Jackie lied to him too, and Harold tried to be honest with us. At least he had the balls to say something. Brian deserves the truth.” I said angrily, slamming the door when we got home. Kevin stood there watching me in surprise, I’d never spoken to him like that in my life.
“Maybe if you weren’t so busy trying to be my friend instead of the parent I needed, things wouldn’t be like this Kevin. Maybe I wouldn’t have run off to fucking Tampa.” I shouted.
This time he didn’t run after me, he just let me go because he knew I was right….I went to my room, laid down on my bed and screamed into my pillow to drown it out.
Tomorrow I was going to tell him, even if it killed me.