08-25-2012, 09:18 AM
“I’m sorry you found me like this. I’ve… I haven’t been on the street long. Couple of months, maybe.” She rested her head in a hand, staring at him sadly. “Lost my condo. Some f*cker stole my credit cards and f*cked up my credit payments. Couldn’t pay with royalties, wasn’t getting enough of it to get by anymore.” She finished her tea and looked out the window. “… You still live in this little apartment. Why didn’t you ever move in with one of us?”
“I liked it here. Still do.” He drank his water more slowly than she had her tea. It surprised her; he used to be the one done with everything first. He’d been incredibly full of boundless energy as a kid. It was why he’d been their drummer. He barely broke a sweat doing ridiculous drum lines and she highly doubted he would’ve lost that ability, but it was weird seeing him move so deliberately. “I mean, I grew up here in this apartment. It’s hard to leave when it’s so cheap. The landlord doesn’t complain as long as I pay rent. Medical school’s been good to me, too. Just started my internship about two months ago.”
“What’s your department?” She leaned forward and he did as well out of old habit.
“I’m jumping between X-Ray Technician and E.R. nurse.” He finished the last gulp of his water and put the glass down, clasping his hands together in front of him. “Being in the E.R.’s not fun. It… reminds me too much of what happened to Bozo. And of what happened to Tommy.” They both winced and looked away. “I’m glad I never saw you in there. I mean, don’t take it that way. I would rather see you in the E.R. than in the morgue when my turn there comes up. But I’m just glad you never did anything stupid, Carin.”
“The hell made you go into med school anyway?” She frowned.
“I’d been doing online courses when I had the time. Finally got fully started right after the band split. It’s… It’s been good for me. I volunteer with the kids when I feel a hyper spell coming on. I’m a lot calmer than I used to be. Now I know why Patch Adams believed in the power of laughter,” he joked, “seeing those kids laugh isn’t good just for them, it’s good for their families and the other staff too. They see these kids sick day after day and some of them have no hope of recovering. If I can make these kids’ lives a little more enjoyable, I’ll do it. I don’t get paid for it, and I don’t want to, Carin. Seeing them smile’s enough.” The woman smiled with misty eyes and took one of his hands in both of hers.
“Glad to see being in a band didn’t f*ck up your sense of the world, kiddo.” She patted the back of his hand and let go, leaning back in her chair. He watched her for a minute and started to open his mouth to speak, but there was a knock on the door. His cat finally made its appearance – it was a sleek Persian that gave Carin the oddest look before making its journey to the door. Hani mumbled an apology before getting up to answer it. Carin could hear voices and just put her head down on the table, feeling quite tired now, and when Hani came back with the guest she was halfway to sleep. “Carin!” The voice was familiar as hell and she sat bolt upright, staring into light brown and she grinned, feeling quite energetic now.
“Hey, Gina!” The taller black woman half crushed Carin to her chest, making an excited noise before squatting down and squeezing both of Carin’s hands in hers.
“Oh, you crazy, crazy girl, what do you think you’re doing, bothering my baby brother now?” She smiled. Gina didn’t look too much older than she had the last time they’d met, though considering they were the same age, it didn’t surprise her too much. Gina had cut her hair short as well and it was still pole-straight as always, and the wild colors were gone. That was a surprise, but given that Gina was head of surgery at the hospital, it … yeah.
“Just thought I’d stop by and he let me use his bathroom to wash up. Been kind of a hellish few weeks.” Gina’s smile turned sad and Carin knew that Gina knew the truth. “I um. I’ll be leaving soon. Places to go, people to see.”
“Carin.” Gina put a hand on her cheek, sighing. “Please go to rehab, baby girl. There’s one at the hospital I work at. I know you don’t have insurance but I’ll work something out, okay?”
“I’m not going to be a charity case, Gina.” She took Gina’s hand off her face, blinking back tears. “I can… I can go it alone.” The black woman sighed in frustration and made Carin stand up, pushing the sleeve up her arm and finding the track marks and collapsed veins. The bruises made Carin feel sick as she stared at them.
“Please, please, Carin.” She hugged her old friend tight and Hani put a hand on Carin’s shoulder reassuringly. “I’m not making it a charity case. I just want you to be better again.” The white-haired woman was silent, her chin resting on Gina’s shoulder and her arms lay slack at her sides.
Then, she wrapped her arms around her waist in a weak hug, as she whispered, “Okay.” She closed her eyes and hugged her friend tighter. She wanted to be okay.
She needed to be okay again.
...Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost. It's empty and cold without you here, too many people to ache over...
I stare at the girl in the mirror: T-shirt, torn up jeans, no beauty queen.
But the way that you see me, you get underneath me, and all my defenses just fall away, fall away.
I am beautiful with you, even in the darkest part of me. I am beautiful with you;
Make it feel the way it's supposed to be!
You're here with me: Just show me this and I'll believe I am beautiful with you!