Wished away a broken fai.., p.5
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       Wished Away: A Broken Fairy Tale, p.5

           S.P. Cervantes
 
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  Just that thought causes the tears that I have been so good at holding back, to tip over my eyelids onto his cold, limp hands.

  “He may hear you if you talk to him.” Dr. Scott walks over to the end of Dave’s bed and takes out his chart to look over everything. I try to smile up at him and nod politely, but say nothing. Everyone kept raving how lucky we were that he was on call when Dave came in, that he’s one of the best surgeons in the country, but all I could think about was why is he working at Brick Memorial then?

  He hands me a cup of coffee that I hadn’t even noticed he brought in, and sits down next to me. I smile a real smile this time because when the caffeinated smell meets my nose, I realize how badly I need this right now. I’ve hardly had any sleep or eaten anything since I got here. “Thanks,” is all I can say.

  He nods and looks back over at Dave. “You know when my wife woke up for that brief moment after her accident.” His eyes are sad and lost, not like the emotionally disconnected doctor he portrays when others are around, “She said she heard me. She said that my words meant everything to her.” He looks over at Dave. “I wasn’t trying to interrupt you, I just thought it might help you feel better to know he might hear you.”

  I take a sip of the coffee, letting the warmth of it slide down my throat into my empty stomach, then look up at him, really look at him this time. “Thanks. For the coffee and advice.” I rub Dave’s hand wishing he would slide his fingers through mine like he always does. “I’m sorry about your wife, Dr. Scott. That’s a loss no one should have to go through.”

  He smiles sadly at me and gets up walking to the door. “I’ll check back in before my shift is over tonight, let the nurses know if you need anything at all, ok Mrs. Bosi? We’re doing everything we can to make sure he makes it through this. The world needs more heroes like Dave Bosi, and I’m not about to let anything happen to him on my watch.” He gives me a wink and walks down the hall and out of sight.

  Dave really is a hero. He’s saved countless people over the years, including me. I keep going over and over in my head what I could’ve done differently yesterday that would have kept him out of harm’s way--but there’s nothing, because Dave is dedicated to his job and he was trying to save a little girl. I look up at his strong face that looks so gray and gaunt, and brush my hand across the stubble of his chin, closing my eyes to memorize the rough way it prickles against my fingertips.

  “I’ve always liked you with a little stubble,” I say before leaning down and kiss his cheek, wishing so badly that all those tubes we’re off his face and I could kiss his lips. I think of what Dr. Scott said and brush Dave’s dark hair off his brow revealing a deep scar that runs across his forehead, and bend over to place a kiss on his first reason for coming to Brick Hospital. “Remember when I gave that to you?” I smile at the memory and sit back down next to Dave taking a sip from my still warm coffee and put my feet up on his bed next to his and take Dave’s hand in mine. I begin telling him of one of my favorite memories with him, praying he can hear me and will come back to me.

  Winter in Mantoloking was quiet, and if you were a kid, at times it was down-right boring. Joey, Dave, and I were trying to play a trick on Cam and Holden who had just started dating, in turn we all felt they were ruining our best-friendship. Dave and Joey took a strong stance back in junior high that Cam and I were off limits because we were too cool to mess around with.

  Looking back at it, the guys were probably just trying to keep themselves from fighting over us since they were all a bunch of horn balls. Well, needless to say, Cam and Holden were the first to go down, and as we predicted, they starting spending less time with the group of us and more time alone at “their spot” on a bench between their houses. While Holden was the alpha male, and Dave was the enforcer, Joey was the clever one. He could always come up with the most creative, intricate gags to pull on people, and that day was going to be one for all times…or so we thought.

  It was a bitter cold day and the three of us were huddled together at Joey’s house on our street. His parents were away in California working on a movie and we had free reign to hang out all day and were playing flip cup. Holden and Cam said they would maybe come by later, but that was hours ago. That was all the ammo we needed to get our plan in action.

  “She has him so whipped. I bet they’re watching The Notebook right now.” Dave was the first to complain.

  “I wonder how long it’ll take him to get in her pants?” Joey joked.

  “Jesus, you two are so stupid. They are not doing it yet, and I know you both cried during The Notebook too, so shut up. Let’s just play ourselves or invite other people over. It doesn’t always have to be just the five of us.”

  Joey and Dave both looked over at me, and I knew what was coming. Before I could even react, they both charged at me and tackled me to the ground.

  “It always has to be us because no one else is as cool as us.” Dave began tickling me while Joey held me down.

  “Mercy!” I screamed, I hated to be tickled and they knew it, so they were good boys and let me go.

  “You could call your hot cousin if you want Jess,” Joey said with a devilish grin.

  “No way Joe, hands off her,” I said slapping him over his head.

  “Whatever Jess, before you know it, you and Dave are gonna finally hook up and I’ll be a fifth wheel. I need to bring someone onto the group.”

  “We are not!” Dave and I both looked at each other appalled that Joey would’ve said such a thing. But now…now I know that he felt what I did back then, he wanted to be with me as badly as I did him, we just weren’t ready to admit it yet. That would take a little while longer.

  Before long, Joey had devised a plan to sneak up on them while they were snuggling outside in this freezing weather since it was one of the few places they could be alone, and we knew they’d go there to make out when it got dark. Dave and Joey were going to climb on Holden’s deck and jump down on them from the fence while I came from the corner and we’d all douse them with freezing water from water guns. It wasn’t one of Joey’s best plans, but it was cold outside and we were drunk and lazy by this time.

  I remember giggling uncontrollably like kids when the three of us snuck across the street. Dave and I carried the water guns, and I couldn’t help but drop to the ground and do a combat roll as I crossed the street, making Dave bust up at my playfulness. He always encouraged my silly behavior rather than try to snuff it out. Dave took my hand in his and led me over to Joey who was waiting for us in the front of Holden’s house with three beers. The loud crunching of stones that decorate all of the yards of our houses threatened to give away our stealth mission when we tried to silently approach and made us all burst out laughing again.

  “Shot gun these first.” He popped holes in the sides of our cans without asking, making beer splash everywhere.

  “Haven’t we had enough guys?” Dave’s question made us both flick our beer at him before lifting the can to our mouth and popping the lid.

  “Whoever finishes first gets to kiss Jess,” Joey said making me almost choke on my beer. Another thing I didn’t notice back then, and only knew about much later on, was Dave wanted to win, he even tried to sneak some of the beer out of his can when they began to race. When Joey won, I was oblivious to Dave’s growing anger when I hid behind him laughing as Joey playfully peeked his head around Dave, calling for me to come lay one on him. Dave reached back and pinned me against his body, keeping me away from Joey’s grasp. “Come on Joey, they’re going to hear us, let’s just get this over with. My fingers are going to freeze off out here.”

  Joey looked up at Dave with a smirk, patting him on his shoulder. “You’re right man, I’m sorry.”

  I remember thinking how out of character it was for Joey to give up, especially when a kiss was involved. But the guys knew how Dave felt about me back then, and most of their jokes were focused on riling him up about me since he still wasn’t ready to admit he loved me. Dave handed Joey his
water gun and tapped me on the top of my hat. “I just saved you. You can thank me later.” He winked at me then ran off around the other side of the house.

  I hoped he meant that he was finally going to kiss me instead of Joey always threatening to, but later would turn out to be something much different. Ready for our sneak attack, I tiptoed around the other side of Cam’s house and made my way silently across her deck, spying her parents in the kitchen together. Mr. Dade merely smiled and laughed when he saw my water gun, and pointed to the side of the house, which confirmed our assumption of their make out time. Right when I got to the side of the deck, Dave and Joey looked absolutely hilarious doing an army crawl with their water guns up to the fence that was right in front of where Cam and Holden sat talking. I held back my laugh when I saw Joey and Dave freeze in horror when Cam look their way. If it wasn’t for Joey’s insistence that they wear camouflage jackets his dad had from one of his movies, she probably would’ve seen them. Luckily something sparked in Holden, and he grabbed Cam and began kissing her, completely unaware of the water works they were about to be drenched in. That was when we made our move. I tried my best to hide the fact that I was about to ruin this whole thing and burst out loud laughing again, and motioned for the guys to attack. I leapt over the fence and began shooting at Holden just as the guys did the same with their aim on Camryn. We had about a good five seconds of absolute frozen desolation, soaking Cam and Holden through, before Holden jumped up with amused determination on his face.

  “Someone’s going to get their ass kicked,” he said shaking his head, splattering freezing cold water on Joey who had his gun perfectly aimed at Holden’s head.

  Before he knew what was happening, we all instantly began assaulting him with our guns again, making him yell and charge Joey to the ground. I looked at Cam and smiled big. “I won’t shoot you again. Peace?”

  She shook her head and laughed. “You win, we’ll come hang with you guys. Let me get changed and then we’ll come over.”

  Holden and Joey were still wrestling on the jagged rocks knowing whoever lost would be soaked by the remnants of the gun. And neither wanted that to happen in this cold. I began jumping around doing a karate kick, trying to pretend I was some action hero who had won a battle, when Dave’s face appeared in my view. Before I could stop my body, perhaps because of the alcohol, my gun slammed into his forehead so hard, that I actually think I heard it crack.

  I panicked. Totally and completely panicked at the sight of all that blood spilling over his beautiful eyes. I took him in my arms and forced him to lay on the stones and Joey ran up and placed his jacket on the wound before I could even think to do something like that. Cam ran inside to get her dad, and all I could do is cry with Dave in my lap, worried I had just killed him. But Dave just smiled up at me. “Jess, I’m fine. Look…” He waved his arms around and lifted his feet off the ground. When he lowered his arms, he let one slide slowly down my back and rest at my waist and gave it a squeeze that made my insides clench in the best way. His eyes became soft. “You coming with me to get stitched up?”

  I ran my fingers through his hair, and smiled back at him, wishing so much that he was mine. “I kind of have to, it’s my fault.” I tried to hide my affection.

  A knowing smiled curled on his lips. “Is that the only reason?”

  I flicked his hand as hard as I could, still not wanting him to know how much I wanted him to be mine. “You’re my best friend. I’ll always be here for you.”

  My story is interrupted with a loud, distinguishable beep that makes the world around me crumble into a million sharp pieces that cuts through every cell in my body. It’s so loud and unending, that it feels as if the nerves of my ear drums are being splintered apart at the same moment as my heart. People come rushing in, pulling me away from Dave, my life is slipping away with his when they pull my fingers away from his and a woman ushers me aside. Thankfully someone stops the machine that’s screaming at me that says my husband is no longer breathing, but that doesn’t contain the fear that’s overwhelming me right now. I stand outside Dave’s room, with people running in and out, but I can’t seem to make sense of any of it. Hands touch my shoulders, and it’s a man with the eyes so sad, it’s like I’m looking in the mirror. It’s Dr. Scott, but he’s dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. He says something, but I don’t know what. I can’t think of anything right now but that fucking DNR order. I walk to the doorway and watch as Dr. Scott removes the breathing tube from Dave, somehow knowing I’m there, and looks back at me with regret. When a nurse tries to stop me when I begin walking to Dave’s side, Dr. Scott stops her. They all step aside and make room for me to be with my husband one last time. I’m in shock I think, because my heart is racing, but I don’t feel alive. I look up at Dr. Scott. “Is he dying?”

  His face is defeated and I don’t need to hear the words of confirmation that follow. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Bosi.”

  I close my eyes, trying to make myself disappear, praying that this is all a nightmare and the love of my life wasn’t just ripped away from me. I take a few deep breaths, trying to calm myself enough to see his last few moments, knowing this will most likely be the last time I’m able to hold him and don’t want to waste a moment of that time in my grief. I open my eyes to see Dave laying in front of me, looking so peaceful, so handsome actually. His beautiful eyes that were always so full of life are closed, and I suppose it is better I don’t know what death looks like in them. I brush my hand across his stubbly jaw and bring my lips to his. I will forever remember how perfect his lips feel against mine with our last kiss, and keep that memory locked away for the rest of my life.

  Dave

  Watching Jess kiss me and not being able to feel it, is the hardest part of dying. As Jess is telling me the story about how she gave me the scar on my head, the memory of how adorable she was that night fills me with such peace, I knew it was time to let go. I need Jess to be happy and feel carefree joy like that again, and the longer I hold on like this, the longer she’ll be tormented with worry and fear. My body is destroyed, I can feel death in every cell with each breath this damn machine wedged down my throat is forcing me to take. The only reason my body is still working is because of all these machines, and that’s not how I want to live. That’s not how I want Jess to live with me. I have no doubt that my time has run short here, and while I wish more than anything in the world that I could have more time with Charlotte and Jess, it’s not my choice to make. My body is not mine anymore. I can’t take it back, and there’s no saving me from the untimely death that’s hovering over me like an ominous cloud.

  I see her kiss my lips, and wish I could let her know that I’m ok-- that more than anything I need her to be ok. I’ve never really worried about Jess because she’s such a strong person in so many ways, but I also know that I was a large part of her confidence. I told her all the time that it was she who made me stronger, but watching the heartbreak and devastation on her face fills me with such debilitating concern, that when I feel my body drifting to the peaceful oasis that I know is waiting for me on the other side, I try to stay close to her, as if our hearts are still tethered together.

  I feel no pain other than that in my heart when I die. Regret swarms me like an unescapable infestation that I put myself in a position that left my family alone without me. I’ve wanted to be a police officer since I was a kid, it was in my blood. I looked up to my dad and grandpa like they were Gods growing up. The way others in the community respected them always filled me with pride, and when they wore their light brown uniforms, with tall, imposing hats, that might have as well been Superman costumes, because to me, they were the real deal—better than any pretend comic book hero would ever be to me. Jess never questioned my decision to join the force instead of going to Wall Street or going to law school like Holden. She was as proud to watch me become an officer as I was to be one.

  I realize time passes differently when you’re no longer living because in the moment I let my thoughts fo
cus away from the action in my hospital room and come back to Jess, it’s much later than when she kissed me goodbye. She’s alone with my body that is no longer hooked up to machines, and the feeling I have seeing her standing next to my empty body is inexplicable. First, I’m filled a strong need to leave. I know I shouldn’t be here, I know I should be in Heaven or where ever you go after death. I have a strong, undeniable sense I’m not supposed to still be seeing all of this. That uneasiness is instantly replaced with understanding of why I’m still here. I can’t leave Jess yet. I don’t know how or why I’m able to be with her, but only that she still needs me, my job here isn’t done. Watching her at my side, telling me everything she’s going to do to make sure the whole Garden State knows how much I’m loved, I’m struck with awe at Jess’s determination. Her long curly blonde hair is hanging over her shoulders, partially covering her tear stained face.

  “I love you, Sweet Thing.” I can’t help myself when the words come out and am instantly filled with regret that she won’t ever hear me tell her that again.

  Just then, Jess’s head pops up and she brushes the stands of her hair from her face, looking around the room with a bewildered expression. Part of me thinks for a moment that she heard me, that we’re so connected that she can even hear me in death. But that isn’t the case. Gage walks into the room carrying a large bag looking completely wrecked. I know how hard he tried to save me, even though he probably knew before he started the operation that there was nothing left to save. He knows the pain Jess is feeling right now and all I can do is hope he doesn’t blame himself for not be able to save me for her. When she turns and sees him, I see the spark that has always been in her eyes is gone, now her magnetic blue eyes are weighed down with anguish.

 
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