in my wedding dress
Sitting at the hospital’s waiting area, again, wasn’t my idea of our graduation ball. I have been in this same chair for years. We were supposed to enjoy the rest of the night because we would be checking for jobs the next day. But it seemed like we had to spend the rest of the night in the hospital for who knows how many days.
I continued to wait, still in my red dress. I let my eyes wander around, spotting some familiar faces—nurses and doctors. Glancing at the fellow waiters. Just when I was about to call my friend, a doctor walked towards me and told me about my boyfriend’s condition. It wasn’t pleasant but he was okay, and that’s what matters.
I walked in his room, looking at how pale he was. He looked strong but weak. I looked down at him, wishing that we weren’t in the same situation again. I was afraid that I would have to spend a week in the hospital once again. It wasn’t because there are tons of things I could do than sit beside his hospital bed and wait. I just didn’t want to see him look so helpless.
I leaned on the bed, held his hand and rested my head on the soft hospital mattress. I squeezed my eyes shut, thinking of happy memories, thinking that he’ll be fine. He’ll be fine.
“You could use a rest.” He whispered.
My head snapped back and I looked at him as my lips formed a faint smile. The corner of his lips tug up to give me a very weak smile.
“I am resting, Noah.” I said.
“Or maybe you need a good dance. Why don’t you go back to the ball, enjoy, go home, rest, and then go back here in the morning?”
“I’m fine.” I said then smiled. I was fine. I could be in that ball, partying all night, but I knew he needed me.
“Okay.” He said. I smiled.
That was how we were for a week, I sat beside his hospital bed, held his hand, and just talked. I was used to it. If taking care of him would be my job, I have been rich. Though I don’t think of him as a part of some charity work that would get me an A in Values Class back in high school.
When he was finally out of the hospital and was ready to face the world once again, I stood by his side. He can look pretty tough but he was also vulnerable.
When I was a wreck after my Dad died, he was there for me. Whenever he got admitted in the hospital, I was there. Whenever he needed someone, I was there. We were each others’ family. I believed that he will be there for me no matter what. I knew I would be there for him no matter what.
It was a day for me to rest and wait for the results from the companies I applied to. I peacefully lied down on my bed and stared at the ceiling, letting my thoughts take over me—thoughts about what my life would be in the next few days. I would be working. I could earn—earn to have a place of my own.
I heard glass shattering. It was obviously from the kitchen. And it was obviously my Mom. Ever since my Dad died, she became a wreck. She spent most of her time in the kitchen, drinking liquor. That was her life when my Dad died. She forgot she has a daughter. She forgot me.
I stormed to the kitchen and saw her. Crying. It wasn’t like my Mom to cry. She has been the stronger one not my Dad. My Dad was more like the calm one—the soft one, the one who let things go. My Mom was the one who did the disciplining, the punishing, the lecturing, the shouting, the weeks of no talking, and the glaring.
I sat on a chair across from hers. She continued to cry. Looking at her made me sad and mad at the same time. I could see how my father’s death broke her but I am not dead. Couldn’t she be fine for my sake? I was sad to lose my Dad but I had to stand up and to move forward because I knew that it was what my father would want me to do. He wouldn’t want me to sit and cry and curse the world for losing him.
“Mom, do you want to go to the mall?” I asked.
She didn’t respond. She chugged down the liquor as if it was water then she continued to cry.
“Mom.” I said. She glared at me, pure anger glistening in her eyes. Her nostrils started to flare up. It’s like I woke her up in the middle of the night.
“You. It’s your fault. It’s your fault why my husband died. If it wasn’t for you, he would still be alive. You killed my husband!” she exclaimed.
I was too stunned. Too scared. Too hurt. I didn’t move. I can’t move. I forgot how to move. I almost forgot how to breathe.
“Get out of my house.”
I didn’t move.
“Now.” The way she said it was strong and hurtful. I managed to compose myself and walk back to my room to pack. I was hurt. I didn’t know what else to do but to follow. It wasn’t my house and in that kitchen, it wasn’t my mom.
I was almost done packing, my phone rang. I ignored it. It rang again. I ignored it again. Whoever was calling could wait. The stranger in the kitchen kicked me out of the house where I grew up in. I was asked to leave home.
As my home faded from the view, I started to breathe heavier. I didn’t want to cry in a cab with the driver hearing my sobs. I kept myself composed until I reached Noah’s house. I knocked on the door, telling myself to calm down until I’m all alone at the corner of his house.
The door swung open and an angry-looking Noah stood in front of me. All I managed was a fake, faint smile. I couldn’t even manage a real smile, something to show that I was happy to see him.
“Why weren’t you answering my calls? I am so worried about you.” His voice was calm. The angry expression he wore on his face melted to pure concern.
“I—I’m sorry. I was packing.” I said, glad that my voice didn’t break.
“I see that.” His voice was flat but he looked at me with confusion. He knew that my Mom was a wreck but he didn’t know how horrible it was to be living under the same roof with her.
We fixed my things together. He made me feel like his house was mine, too. He gave me a new home. He made me feel wanted.
“You didn’t voluntarily leave, did you?” he asked while he was cooking.
“No.” I answered.
“She kicked me out. She kicked me out of my home.” My voice broke at the end. I was okay that it did. Around Noah, I could be vulnerable. Around him, I could just be me.
“She must have her reasons.” He said, glancing at me.
“Yes. She has. She thought I killed Dad. For her, I am the reason why my father—her husband—died. She’s drowning in alcohol because her husband died. I am not drowning myself in alcohol because my father, the only person who understood me other than you, died.” I said.
It was in the middle of the night, I couldn’t sleep. I felt so awake but I also felt tired. I slipped out of the bed and my feet led me to the bathroom. Mother Nature wasn’t calling me. I wasn’t going to vomit. My feet just led me to the bathroom and I just fell on my knees, crying.
After a few more minutes, I found myself tucked in the bathtub, still crying. I felt so little and so weak that I couldn’t bring myself to stop crying. I was broken. My mother threw me out of the house like I didn’t live there. Like I am not her daughter.
I buried my face between my knees and cried harder, letting every pain drop with my tears. I even forgot I was in a bathroom, Noah’s bathroom. I was crying in Noah’s bathroom. If I wasn’t so sad, I would have been running away of embarrassment but I couldn’t care about how stupid I looked like. All I wanted was to feel lighter. Better.
I cried for hours. I cried even if the tears stopped pouring and was reduced to tiny drops and a little later, to nothing.
I felt a warm touch. I looked up, letting my head separate from in between my knees after a few hours, and saw Noah looking down at me. He placed his hand on my shoulder, letting me know that he was with me. He wasn’t speaking but he was with me.
It was like those moments in the hospital—when his heart did crazy things and got him in hospital for weeks. I wasn’t talking but I was always there for him, just holding his hand.
I nodded slightly and stepped out of the tub. I wasn’t the one who was suffering too much. I wasn’t the one who has a weak heart. It was Noah. I was supposed to be the one taking care of him. Not the other way around. I pulled him to the kitchen and made breakfast for the two of us. We ate in silence but as I washed the dishes, he broke the silence that I was starting to hate.
“Do you want to watch a movie after?” he asked.
“Sure. What movie are you thinking of?” my voice didn’t even show that I was excited to spend more time with him. I sounded like I was trying to make conversation with a stranger, which I wasn’t.
“I have something in mind.” He said then left.
I finished up then followed him to the living room. He was sitting on the sofa, ready to watch whatever movie he picked. I sat beside him and it began.
It was the one movie I enjoyed and hated at the same time. I saw what I might be if I lose Noah. It was sad. It was heart-breaking.
“Okay. That was sad.” He said then looked at me. I just raised an eyebrow at him. He smiled a little.
A couple days later, while we were watching a random show, my phone rang. I picked it up, hoping that it was one of the companies I applied to. An invisible force tugged down the corners of my mouth. I rushed to put on decent clothes then ran off without speaking to Noah. I felt bad but I had to. I just had to rush to my Mom.
I arrived at the hospital and there, I felt much more broken than I was a few days ago. She looked so pale. She looked like a statue.
“What happened?” I asked the doctor.
“She was in a car accident. We checked and she was drunk. We did everything that we can but it was declared that she’s brain-dead.” The doctor said. His words weren’t complicated and I understood what he meant.
My Mom was lying down there, looking like she was just sleeping but there was no way she could wake up. She’s dead. The last time we saw each other was when she shouted at me—told me to leave the house. I wasn’t even able to tell her how much I love her but I still had a chance. I leaned closer, close enough for my lips to touch her ear.
“I love you, Mommy.” I whispered then kissed her cheek.
I arrived at Noah’s place a little late that when I opened the door, he stood right in front of me. He didn’t look angry. He looked so worried. He silently led me to the kitchen, dinner prepared. I shook my head and headed to his room.
One day. Two days. Three days. I forgot how many days passed that all I was able to do was stare at nothingness, nod, and cry. Every single night, all I was able to do was cry. I was mad at my Mom because she threw me out of the house—our house. I understood completely why she did what she did. She was sad and she felt lonely. I couldn’t give her the same things my father could have. They had something together before I came along.
I couldn’t even sleep. It was three in the morning and I was standing in front of the door of our house, thinking if I should go inside or just leave. Hours passed and all I did was stare at the door. The sun was up and I was still staring at it. I wasn’t ready to go in.
I headed back to Noah’s place and found him still curled in his bed. I crawled beside him and pretended to sleep. Closing my eyes, hoping that I would really be able to sleep. After everything, all I wanted was to sleep and to dream but I can’t.
I felt the bed shift as Noah slid out of the bed. I didn’t open my eyes. I had no idea what time it was. I kept my eyes closed, waiting for what will happen next. When I was about to open my eyes, I felt Noah’s lips press on my cheek.
I opened my eyes slowly, making it seem like I just woke up. He was there, smiling down at me.
“Good morning.” He said.
“Good morning.” I said then faked a smile, which was obvious.
“Want to come with me? I’m going to make waffles.” He said. I nodded and then slid out of the bed. I followed him to the kitchen and sat at the counter, watching him prepare.
All I could do was watch him and think of what would be ahead of me. I couldn’t dwell forever in my mother’s memories. I couldn’t just stop living because both my parents are gone. They would want me to move forward. I won’t ask myself how because I know how. I have Noah. Soon, I’ll have a career. I know that it wouldn’t be that easy. I would always look back at the moment when I still have a Mom and a Dad but I’ll walk forward, the way I am supposed to—one step at a time.
After breakfast, I decided to clean up a bit. I was about to start dusting the tables when my phone rang. I picked it up and a smile appeared on my lips. It was one of the company I applied to and they wanted to hire me.
I started to jump up and down, giggling. I rushed to the room to tell Noah.
“Noah! Blue Pen wants to hire me.” I cheered. The cheer that I was expecting didn’t come. I looked at the bed and I saw him there. His eyes were closed, and his lips were a little pale. My whole body went on panic mode. I grabbed the phone and called for an ambulance. While waiting for help, I knelt beside Noah and held his hand.
“Don’t leave me, Noah. I still need you. Don’t you dare leave me. I love you, Noah. Please. Please stay. Please don’t leave me.” I cried. His pulse was weak. I just lost my Mom and I could lose Noah, too. It’ll be too much for me.
When the ambulance arrived, everything went in a blur. All I did was hold his hand and pray for him to be okay. I couldn’t lose him. He was all I had.
I had to let go of him so they could check what was wrong with him but I knew what it was—his heart. I sat at the waiting room, praying. For what seemed to be hours, a doctor walked towards me and told me that Noah was stable but he needed a new heart. He was the fifth in the donor list so they had to attach him to a machine to help his heart beat properly.
After the doctor explained Noah’s condition to me, he led me to Noah’s room. I sat beside his bed then held his hand.
“You fought, Noah. You’ll be okay. Just continue being okay until they get you a heart, okay?” I whispered then kissed his hand.
I contacted his parents and told them what happened but I didn’t get any reply until I fell asleep. I was awakened by someone pinching my elbow. I slowly lifted my head and saw Noah, smiling.
“Hey, beautiful.” He said then forced a smile.
“Hey.” I said then smiled back. I knew that he could see right through that smile. He could see that I was sad. We spent the whole day together. We watched cheesy TV shows, took pictures together, and talked.
The doctor told me I should go and that there would be a nurse to check on him every hour. I kissed Noah on his cheek then left.
The next day, I went to the company I’ll be working on before I headed to the hospital. When I got there, Noah wasn’t in his room. I rushed to a doctor and he told me that he was in surgery. I headed to the waiting area, with all those relatives waiting for a good news.
The clock was ticking and I knew that Noah wouldn’t last long. No matter how much I pray, he would go. Not now but soon. The only thing I could do was spend more time with him. His body was starting to give up.
I was awakened by someone shaking my shoulder. I rubbed my eyes and looked at who it was. It was the doctor. He said that surgery went well and that I could visit Noah. He led me to his room and there was Noah, who looked weaker than ever. I walked towards him, hiding all the pain behind a smile.
“Hey there.” I said.
“M-Marry me.” He stuttered. That was when I wasn’t able to pretend. I cried. It wasn’t a proposal most girls dream of but it means a lot to me.
“Of course.” I said, keeping the smile even if tears were streaming down my face. He hugged me then kissed my forehead. He held my hand and placed the ring in my ring finger. We looked at each other and smiled.
Tick. Tock. The clock was mocking me as I fit into a different wedding gown. I looked at myself in the mirror. It was simple and that was what I wanted. It appeared to be a little silly for me to still have a wedding gown when I would be married in his hospital room. It doesn’t really matter where. What matters is that I would be married to the guy I love—the guy I want to be with forever. I was sure that it was the gown I would wear. I walked towards my bag and grabbed my wallet but I noticed that my phone’s notification light was flickering red. I checked my phone and there were a lot of calls from the hospital. There was no time for me to change so I paid as quickly as possible and rushed to the hospital, in my wedding dress.
When I arrived there, I saw his parents just outside his room’s door. They were crying. I breathed in before I walked inside.
He looked handsome, happy, peaceful—pale, cold, and dead. I managed to walk towards him. I wasn’t crying. There were nurses around me but no one stopped me when I climbed on his hospital bed and hugged him. Still, I wasnt crying.
I lay beside him, wrapping my body around his cold, dead body and wishing to have had one more day but that won’t happen.
“I love you.” I whispered to his ear as I closed my eyes.