*****The thing that's the hardest to explain about Cole, is that when he met me I was broken. I was broken in a way that it's hard to understand now.
Who I am now is not who I was back then. The basic ingredients are the same, but I've taken those broken pieces of myself, and managed to put them together in a way that is better than what I started with.
I don't mean to say that I'm some perfect person, because I'm not. Far from it.
The things that have happened to me, the bad, I wouldn't change for the world. Without the pain of those lessons, I would not be the person I am today.******
Have you ever been chosen by someone?
On that particular day, I was sitting in the hospital, reclining against a pool table, daydreaming about the kind of life I wished I had made for myself. I sat there, looking out the window, wondering if it was too late to just start over.
I decided that what I needed was some caffeine, so I walked toward the vending machine area. As I walked past the security station posted at the front of the hospital, the security guard on duty, Charlie, waved. I sketched out a little salute as I walked past him.
Diet pepsi in one hand, I walked back to the pool table, this time deciding to sit on top of it. I noticed Charlie talking with a tall man in a gray sweatshirt. As he turned away from Charlie, he noticed me sitting on the pool table, idly swinging my legs. When his eyes met mine, I just remember thinking that he had the most beautiful green eyes I'd ever seen. Like a cat's eyes. Intent, amused, like liquid fire.
Charlie let him in the doors, motioning and giving instructions. I remember watching him walk past, staring at how incredible he was, not self-conscious in the slightest.
He was so handsome he didn't even look real, if that makes any sense. He looked like someone had carved his face out of some beautiful material. Marble, sunlight, perfection.
As he walked past me, he looked over his shoulder, and tipped me a lopsided smile. It was the kind of smile that you can only answer with a smile of your own.
I remember feeling warmed by that. Even now, it warms me.
He walked down to one of the wards, was gone a few moments, and came back. He was looking for someone.
He walked up to me, asked me about someone named John, who was a friend. I told him that everyone was in the dining area, but that John was there. He went on to ask me a few questions, and I raised my hand to him. "Before you go on, I'm not a staff member," I told him (this had happened at least once a day since I'd been admitted to this particular hospital. People mistaking me for staff) I went on, "I can go get him, if you'd like?"
He stopped me, those green eyes wide and intent on my own. "I'm sorry. I just thought you'd-- I thought--," he stammered out. "It's okay," I said this last sentence to my hands, "I'll go get him." And with that, I walked off, face burning, feeling embarrassed enough for both of us.
When I came back with John, he was leaning against the jukebox that was in the main lobby. I remember him seeing John, the way he walked over to him, and they embraced. You could see the concern clearly written in the lines of tension in his body, the way he gripped his friend tightly into an embrace. I stopped trespassing on their moment, and turned to walk away.
Later that night, after visiting hours were over, I was sitting at a table, playing solitaire, with my legs curled underneath me, thinking about the way John's friend had hugged him. His concern coloring his expression, the way he'd been worried.
It made me think of my own friends, people I'd been there for, cried with, loved. Those same friends who decided to cut off contact when my own pain had led me to make this road in my life. A road made by my own stupid decision.
Tired of my own thoughts, I decided to go to bed early.
The next evening, after I'd finished moving food around on my plate and drinking iced tea, I ran into John's friend in the lobby. As soon as I saw him, I told him John was almost finished, and kept walking.
He got up, walking after me. "I came to see you."