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We Say Goodbye in the Pouring Rain

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Don’t stop, don’t stop. You can get out of this. Don’t be afraid, no, no. Don’t stop, don’t stop. You can get over this. I’ll be your friend, yeah, yeah.

“RAY!” Brad’s screams sounded far away and fuzzy as they were finally able to cut through the dense fog of Ray’s brain. The colors around him were swirling even with his eyes closed and it made him nauseous to even think about opening them to figure out where he was.

“Ray, stay with me. Come on, man, just hang on. Please Ray.” The words seem to come and go as though Ray’s head was being dunked under water and then pulled back up in the middle of his sentence. He still couldn’t put together what was going on or that he was even conscious. It all seemed so hazy and dreamlike. Then suddenly everything just stopped, it was so dark and quiet and Ray just wanted to sleep so badly.

&

Now, I need you to catch your breath for me cause you’re losing it. And there’s no time left to waste. I promise you I will not leave.

“For the love of fucking God Ray, I swear on my fucking life if you don’t open your eyes I’m going to kill you,” was the first thing Ray heard when he was ripped from unconsciousness again. He managed to finally crack open his eyes before turning sharply and heaving out the few contents of his stomach at the horribly bright lights that were swimming overhead.

“Fuck, Ray. What the fuck did you do?!” This time it wasn’t Brad screaming at him. Ray couldn’t be asked to figure out for sure who the voice belonged to, being too busy with dry heaving out his entire insides but he was almost sure it had to be Nate.

“Nate, call an ambulance!”          

&

So I need you to make me a promise that you will tell my dad I’m sorry, that I made everything worse. I won’t say that, I won’t say that. You can tell him yourself when you see him soon. Cause he’s coming you just have to hold on, don’t let go, don’t let go. Don’t go.

“Bra-,” Ray gasped out between dry heaves onto the floor. Brad crouched down right into Ray’s face, oblivious to the fact that he was covered in his own vomit. “Walt,” Ray barely got out the words before he started to choke. “Tell him.”

“Shut the fuck up, Ray. I’m not telling Walt a goddamn thing. You can damn well explain to him yourself when you see him. You’re going to be fine, help is coming Ray.”

&

I know you might be scared, but do not be afraid. Flashing lights everywhere. You’re safe, you’re safe. I know you might be scared, but do not be afraid. Flashing lights everywhere. You’re safe, you’re safe.

The sound of sirens sounded muffled and yet far too loud for Ray’s ears. He dared again to crack open his eyes but they refused to focus. He couldn’t fathom where he was or what was going on. He just really wanted to sleep but he could vaguely make out the sensation of something sticking his arms and being put over his face.

Brad rode in the ambulance next to his semi-conscious friend. Glaring down the movements of the EMTs and internally criticizing them for every second that had to be wasted on finding the right supply or for the ineffectual way they were cutting through traffic. ‘Ray would have had us there in no time at all.’ The thought rolled through Brad’s mind, he grabbed Ray’s hand that hung over the side of the gurney and did everything he could to push away the image of Ray and Brad back in Iraq. “It’s okay, Ray. You’re gonna be fine now.”

&

Now look at me, look at me. No one’s going to die. It’s not your time, not now.

Ray woke up days later in the hospital, attached to all manner of machine, wires coming from places he’d rather not think about and a heavy weight resting on his right arm. His brain felt like it was splitting open and his mouth was dry as fuck and if he moved to quickly he felt like he would hurl. He forced himself to open his eyes, expecting an empty room; it was the best he desired after what he had just put everyone through. Instead what he got was the world’s most patient boyfriend lying in bed with him, which explained the weight on his arm, and his two best friends in the world curled up in chairs on opposite sides of his bed.

His shifting seemed to have jostled Walt, who didn’t look like he had gotten more than a few minutes rest, into full awareness. “Ray, are you okay?” Walt’s eyes were wrecked and Ray was sure he had worried himself into violent illness if the gaunt look of his face and pallor of his skin were anything to go by. He leaned his head into Walt’s palm and finally broke down. Letting out the fear of relapsing that he had harbored the past two months and the guilt and shame he felt in finally admitting his weakness and relapsing so hard he nearly died.

“I’m so fucking sorry, Walt.” The words were muffled and wet sounding against the fabric of Walt’s t-shirt where Ray had buried his face.

Walt cried into the side of Ray’s neck, holding him close and still trying to get closer, hold him tighter. “It’s okay, Ray. We’re going to be fine now.”