Are you ok?

A random chapter of my new fiction book. 

I’m feeding my iguana when Jason takes the liberty of walking in my room unannounced. “You want a beer?” He didn’t wait for my response before handing me a cold one. I tried to let my anti-social autoresponse melt away. I put on a smile instead. My smiles always feel fake to me. It doesn’t feel natural and makes me think of the druggies on the corner that stand around smiling all day caught up in their own world of entertainment.

 

I take the beer. “Sure. What’s up?” I can’t help but wonder why he has invaded my privacy. Living with a guy I don’t know is not something I could have imagined for myself. Angie said he was safe. But what exactly does that mean anyway? I mean Angie was the one who sent me into that strip club to apply as a waitress. She thought that was a good idea, so maybe her ideas aren’t so great after all.

 

Jason smiles back but his eyes linger on my lips too long. Is my smile funnier than usual? Do I have something in my teeth? Oh my god! Is my breath bad? I close my weird open mouthed smile. He looks deep into my eyes and I am lost in a whole new dimension. His eyes are brown if you look quick but on further study they are yellow, green and almost hypnotic. He is speaking and I’m lost, I haven’t heard a thing he is saying. I look to his lips for guidance but they are just as captivating as his eyes. His lips stop moving. He takes a breath. Time stops.

 

“So… Do you want to go?” Jason asks.

 

“Hmmm.” Oh no, where does he want me to go? Why don’t I know what he’s been saying? Did he put something strange into my drink? I look down at the bottle of beer and remember that I haven’t yet taken a sip. If I haven’t been drugged then what is wrong with me? I nonchalantly put the back of my hand to my forehead and feel for a temperature. I’m sweaty but that is normal when I’m forced into conversations with others. I’ve been silent too long, I need to answer. I don’t have to babysit tonight, he’s probably talking about tonight. I guess it would be ok, I mean it would probably be fine. We are roommates, we can bond. “Yea, that would be great.” I have no idea what I’m agreeing to.

 

“Ok, we’ll get going in about an hour. See you then.” He walks out of the room as abruptly as he came into it and closes the door.

 

I turn back to my iguana but he is not in his tank anymore. My eyes dart around the room. He must have escaped while I was talking to Jason. Movement from under my bureau catches my eye. Fast, green, skinny iguana tail. I dive to the floor forgetting that I’m holding a beer.

 

The beer bottle breaks my fall to the floor as my fingers grasp the tail. The thud my body makes is nothing compared to the sound that my iguana makes as he decides that now would be the perfect time to drop his tail. Did you know that they do that? Iguana’s will “drop” their tail, meaning it falls off… Into my hand. Which would be disgusting if I wasn’t so preoccupied with all of the blood pouring out of my hand. The beer bottle cut me, badly. I can’t move, I have a bloody hand holding a iguana tail, I’m in pain and I’m screaming apparently because Jason comes running into the room on high alert.

 

“Jen, are you ok?” Jason asks.

 

The world is wavering inside and out. Everything has become black and white with very strong outlines. The pain and blood is seeping out of me along with the images before my eyes. The outlines are less pronounced, less strong like my body as Jason scoops me up. Angie is there, Jason is yelling something to Angie. Everything is white. I stop caring where my iguana is.

 

“Jen, you are ok. I got you.” Jason’s voice is very authoritative as he carries me through the world I can no longer see. I’m in Angie’s car. I can’t see it but I know it from the smell of old coffee cups and cigarettes. I love the smell of coffee and cigarettes together, there’s something really special about smelling those two things intertwined on breath, on fingers, in the air. I pass out being comforted by these familiarities and by the strong arms that are holding me in this world.

 

I awake in the hospital. Angie and Jason are being left behind while doctors are pulling my stretcher into a room. I look longingly at them as they recede in the distance. What is happening here? Why am I all alone? Where are they bringing me?

 

I am brought into a small room where another woman is lying and crying on the bed next to me. She quiets down as I am brought in and watches the excitement. They clean and bandage my hand. The doctor questions me about what happened but I can’t seem to answer. I just keep looking at the woman in the bed next to me. She is looking at me with empathetic eyes. Her eyes are swollen and her nose is broken. Why does she appear to be looking at me like I am the victim when it is clear that she is.

 

Getting no response the doctor gives up and tells me that someone will be in to stitch me up after I’ve slept it off. Slept what off? The odor of the spilled beer wafts up to my nose. They must think that I am drunk. Whatever, I don’t care. At least they gave me some pain killers and the bleeding is under control. I want to go to sleep so I do.

 

“Jen, are you ok?” Jason asks. I can hear his voice in my dream, or am I waking? Is he here? I open my eyes. Jason is holding my good hand, my left hand in his. “Hey there, everything is ok. I told the nurse that I was your boyfriend so she would let me in.” I glance over at the woman in the bed next to me and she is attentive to the scene before her. The door is open and I can see a guard posted just outside.

 

“What the…? Where am I? What the fuck!” I lash my foot out of the blanket and manage to collide it with the door which slams shut.

 

Jason grabs my hand tighter. “Angie tried to come in saying that she was your girlfriend but apparently gay relationships are frowned upon here.” He laughs but his eyes are serious. “They think you are a victim of domestic violence. I’m surprised they even let me in.”

 

The door opens with a bang, someone has kicked it in. The woman in the bed next to me gasps. She tries to protect her face against imagined oncoming blows but is halted by the IV drip that she is connected to. It’s the guard. He has his club out and is looking for a fight. I’d be willing to give it except I’m so sleepy. Jason grips my hand harder.

 

“Step away from the patient!” The guard yells as he is advancing towards Jason.

 

“Fuck off asshole. There’s nothing to see here, go bother someone else.” Jason responds.

 

The guard stands behind Jason and grabs him by the arms. He pulls. I can see him straining. Someone is calling for help. I think it is me. Or maybe it is the woman in the bed next to me. Jason’s arms do not budge. He continues to look deeply into my eyes silently telling me that everything is going to be ok. His hand continues to hold my own in a caring grip.

 

The guard screams for back up. His club comes down 3, no 4 times onto Jason’s unwavering body. He is trying to pull him away from me. Jason is unmoving. I am screaming. The woman next to me is screaming. What the hell kind of hospital is this? Three more guards come into the room. They are amped up on the fact that they actually have something to do tonight.

 

Well one against four never works out. Jason stood his ground for an admirable amount of time until it seemed like the guards were going to break his arms. He was shoved into the hallway. I could still see the scene unfolding around me. I can no longer scream, I have no idea why Jason was attacked the way he was. The guards are leading him away. The woman next to me is saying something about lawyers. I’m tired, my eyes close.

 

 

 

Copyright 3/9/2016 – Are you ok? by Kerry Milauskas

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