Reading Between the Lines

My mother didn’t leave my side for three nights and days. She was always there. Eyes red.

My father was in and out of the room, dodging through the door like a satellite.

Aunts and uncles peered through the door, their whispers carrying through the sterile air. Unaware I was awake.

My grandparents prayed, bringing me food like all elderly Filipino people. They didn’t say much.

I didn’t see my siblings.

My brother’s fifteenth birthday came and went. He got sick. I wrote him a card.

My step brother visited. I wondered why.

My sisters wrote me letters. They were eight and eleven. For the first time in years, I prayed. I don’t know to what.

I had two roommates. They had their own issues. I didn’t want to tell them mine.

My vitals were taken every hour.

“How are you? Are you in pain?”

Then little white pills in a paper cup. A mouthful of water. I swallow.

“Give it time. You’ll feel better later.”

We met three times a week. I liked the people. Well– most of them.

We don’t talk anymore.

It’s been almost three years. I don’t like talking about it. But I will.

I still have the marks and my chest hurts when I exercise too hard.

Another part of me hurts too.

It’s not so bad now.

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