Of all the things you’ve seen as a volunteer in this hospital, you’ve never seen so much blood on a living person who had been this injured. He couldn’t have been much older than your own age. It made you wonder what caused this. There were no gangs in this area, but who knows what lurks the city at night. Your brother always warned you of how dangerous the night life was, but unlike most would think, you listened. You’ve heard the rumors and stories, and for all you know, this could’ve been proof. You just watch him be carted past you on the stretcher into the Operating Room in a flash. He needed help fast. Anyone with half a brain could see that. You let out a sigh and go on with your life.
What was worse was some of the volunteers took in the grim bets of anyone who came in such critical conditions. Betting if they’d die or not. You never took part, you never saw the need.
It was the next day that you saw someone new in one of the hospital rooms you tended to. From what you could see, he was a boy with tanned skin and dark hair. His back was bandaged up and a small patch of gauze was taped onto his cheek that currently faced you. “Hey! Are you going to help us or not?!” said the patient known as “Cranky Myrtle”. That made the boy face you and you feel your face heat up just a tad. Those emerald eyes that looked at you just got to you. You were passing out the breakfasts right now. You handed Myrtle her food and she greedily started eating it. You hand the boy his breakfast and he just stares at it for a moment. Then he speaks. “Does this have peanuts in it?” He has an accent that was not like the Texan ones you were used to.
You look over the food on his tray and it looked like food that didn’t need peanuts, but you reach into the cart to read over the allergy warnings. You look back at him as he stares expectantly. “There are no peanuts in this. There was a peanut option, but you have to request it.” You tell him with your usual poker face. He smiled and nods.
“Thank you greatly, good sir!”
“No problem.” You say a little more quietly. You know other patients are waiting on you so you nod to him and you go out of the room. You can feel those green eyes watch you leave until you turn the corner and then there is silence until you turn the other corner to give the kids their breakfast. They seem to have that same hopeful look as that other guy had. One kid cheered since it was his favorite that they served here. It was adorable in your mind.
But you would have to visit that one guy on your break. And you did. You walked in after handing out the lunch trays and went over to him. “Mind if I sit with you?” you ask. He looks at you with an owlish look before it softens and he nods. “Then may I call you my visitor?” he asks with a hopeful look. You manage a slight smile from your calm expression.
“It’d be an honor.” You say which makes him smile brightly before going back to politely eating his food. He pauses in between bites before asking “Who are you, anyways?”
“I’ll tell you as long as you answer me the same question.” He nods before you respond. “My name is Dirk Strider. But call me Dirk.” You extend your hand to shake which he enthusiastically takes and starts shaking it. “Nice to meet you, chum! My name is Jake. Jake English!” You can’t help but smile more.
“Nice to meet you too, dude.”
During your break, you spent time talking about yourself and he would respond with small tidbits about himself. But there seemed to be holes in his stories that he would tell you. Something missing in them. They seemed to be important bits that would tie the story together. And he would sometimes mention how he thought he knew something else, but couldn’t quite remember what it was. You had the feeling he had had some sort of head injury that caused this either when he came in or before. Either way, it seemed sad. It was probably lucky Jake remembered his name, though. He remembered smaller information that was helpful to him as well.
By the end of your break, you were both well acquainted. Before you left, Jake looked around the room curiously. “Dirk?” he asked. “Do you know where my grandmother is?” You gave him a confused look. You would tell him the truth. “I didn’t see her, Jake. I’m sorry.” You tell him. He nods sadly and you leave. It hurt to see him so sad. He was laughing and happy before, it was a tragedy to see those green eyes dull with sadness.
You worked with the other volunteers and just before you check out, you decide to talk to the head of the volunteer group who also was the head nurse. “Mrs. G, do you know where Jake English’s grandmother is?” you ask in hopes of getting an answer. The nurse shook her head and told you that when Jake came in yesterday, he was alone and there was no one else with him when he was found. That’s when it clicked. Jake was the person that came in covered in blood. That’s why he was having so many difficulties…
You return to your apartment where it was surprisingly quiet with only your brother clacking away on his computer for the new script for the next movie. You seemed to be more expressive that usual when you start going to your room. “What’s wrong?” he asks you. You look over, hiding the shock quite well. Dave looks at you expectantly behind his shades and you decide to spill. “Some kid came into the hospital and we talked a lot about stuff. And he doesn’t remember much and he was looking for his grandmother. And those eyes, yo. His eyes showed way too much for me to handle.” You explain. That’s when Dave swirled around in the office chair and shook his head. “Dirk, I know exactly what you’re going through since I’ve been through loops like this before. Depending on how things go, this might not be worth the attachment. If anything, when he’s discharged, he might be from some farther away place and he’ll go there to live with whatever family he has. You don’t know if his grandmother is dead. She could be alive and waiting for him to come home. Consider those things before diving into something like this, alright kid?” he explains. You knew that might be the case, but you couldn’t help but wonder and know what happened to Jake’s grandmother.
After an uneventful dinner of leftover pizza, you go to your room to look through the computer for clues. You didn’t know where to start, though. You didn’t know his grandmother’s name. So, you tried to use his. You typed in “Jake English Death”. The article or whatever may have held his name if he lived with her. And the first thing that popped up ripped your heart in two.
“Hunting accident turned deadly
Jade English, aged 88, was the victim of a hunting accident while hunting herself. She was not in possession of a hunting vest when a hunter mistook her for an animal. Coroner reports say she was killed instantly from the gunshot wound. …[lots of nonsense you didn’t want to read through was typed here]… She leaves behind a young grandson, Jake English, aged 8.”
You couldn’t believe what you had just read. His grandmother was dead, but Jake was so young at the time. Why would he be questioning her whereabouts now? He obviously lost a lot of memories when he went into the hospital with all that damage. And to know that had left Jake alone was just hurtful. He wondered how the guy would take the news. And you would find out tomorrow.
“What in the bloody two fucks do you mean my grandmother is dead?! I think I would remember that!” he shrieked as you were passing his room. You pause just after passing the doorway and listen in. “Mr. English, you have a case of selective amnesia. You remember bits and pieces of your past, but not everything is there. Don’t you agree that it’s weird that you find yourself forgetting bits of your life? Or even that you don’t have a grandmother?” the doctor asked. Jake was just not having this. You could hear the hurt and tears in his voice.
“How could my grandmother be dead? Why don’t I realize this? Why don’t I realize how alone I am now?” he said, a bit quieter. “Am I able to leave this bed to go walk and clear my head?”
“Your back is in poor condition. Those injuries you received on your back and legs won’t allow you to walk for another two weeks. I’m sorry.”
“Oh… Then I would like to be left alone now…” Jake said in a quiet voice. The hurt was overwhelming in that tone. You quickly go on with your duties, lucky to not have seen how hurt he would look or the fact that those eyes would plead for him to go and say something to the doctors.
You go to see him on your lunch break to find he hadn’t touched his food. You sat in the chair next to him and said “You do realize that if you don’t eat on your own, they’ll force it down your throat, right?” He doesn’t look at you; he just stares in front of him. He silently shakes his head no. You sigh and shake your head this time. “Eating is a good way of getting out of here sooner. You need to explore the world as you should. You seem like someone who likes adventure and shouldn’t you have more hope to explore the mysteries of the world as I’m sure you do. Maybe you’ll find yourself. Maybe you’ll find true love. You don’t know that unless you leave the past behind and go forward. I don’t know much about losing a loved one that’s important to you, but wouldn’t you agree that your grandmother would’ve liked to see you go on to be a strong man who could go on to find something amazing? I know that I would feel that way about my kid. Get out of here soon. I’d like to see you in the papers one day.” You say to him. Where you got the sappy speech even you don’t know. But it got through to him, and that’s what you wanted.
“Golly, Dirk! I never knew you had such a thing held back for such a chap like me. I know I couldn’t hold a candle to such a speech! I will work on getting better. For you and your touching words.” He said with a cheerful tone to his voice. You could feel a light heat somewhat rise to your face. You couldn’t believe you felt the light pangs of a blush touch your face like this. It was so uncool. You place a gentle hand on his shoulder and lightly shake it. “It’s the least I could do to see that smile. I need to get back to work. I’ll see ya later.” You said as you got up and waved to him. He gave you a bright grin as you left. Once you turned the corner, you let that blush you were holding back out with the poker face you normally held. Who knew people still said golly in this day and age. But it worked for Jake, and you wouldn’t mind hearing that more from Jake.
Who knew how it would be to see him grin like that and hear him say “I love you!” It was a magnificent thought and you hoped one day you would hear that from him. Why were you thinking that? You were above this… or so you thought. But regardless, you wouldn’t mind hearing and seeing that from him. Nothing was wrong with this in your mind. And after this, you would spend the next week continuing to talk together and you would help him heal, one day at a time. He would seem to act brighter than before, but you weren’t complaining. Dave was slowly getting annoyed with your late returns from the hospital because of the visits with Jake. You would explain yourself, but he would shake his head and leave you alone. This was normal, in your eyes. Jake gave you more hope than you had known. You went to your big screen TV in your room and started watching the nearest anime DVD you had in your reach. You watch it and find it’s a romantic comedy. This felt so appropriate. Your only worry about this was you and Jake wouldn’t end in tragedy.