[37] thank you

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"Miss, I think you should sit down before I tell you," the lady behind the desk said cautiously, her eyes flickering between me and Mark. 

I shook my head, strands of my hair flying out of my ponytail. "No, please, just tell me. Is he okay?"

I felt Mark hug me tighter as she responded, "He's breathing... for now. He's too fragile to be taken into surgery for the next 24 hours, so we must wait and pray that the internal bleeding doesn't worsen until then." Her eyes dropped as she added sadly, "However... it's not common for patients to survive it."

My eyes widened in anger as I pulled out of Mark's hug. I angrily responded, hitting the table with my fist with every word, "Don't. You. DARE. Say that. Chan WILL survive." 

The lady shrank backwards, and I felt the tiniest bit of shame. It didn't feel good knowing that I had just unleashed my anger on a poor lady who was just doing her job, but I was too angry and heartbroken to care. 

Mark (thankfully) stepped in and spoke up as he pulled me from the lady. "Is there any chance she could see him right now?" He asked patiently. His voice was quiet, but I could hear the quivering underneath. Underneath his calm guise, I knew that he, too, was slowly breaking apart. He might not have been as close to Chan as me, but he knew that I cared about him, and to be honest...

Knowing that someone you know attempted suicide is scary. Even if you weren't that close to them. 

To my relief (which didn't last long), the lady behind the counter replied, "Yes, you may. One at a time, though, so it doesn't cause him extra stress." 

Mark hummed in response as I nodded. "She'll go."

The lady looked at me. "Are you family?"

I sniffled, and whispered, "No, but I'm a close friend." 

I had a feeling that she was gonna tell me that I couldn't see him, but maybe she pitied me, because she responded, "Alright, then. Keep this"— she handed me a printed slip of paper that had Visitor's Pass written on it— "with you and go to room 143. It should be right down the hall." I nodded mutely, and as I walked away towards the hall, I heard her say, "Holler if you need anything." 

Thank you. 

I hope she knew how grateful I was. 

With Chan's note in one hand and the slip in another, I'm sure people passing by me thought I was a maniac. My arms were rigid by my sides and tears were flowing down my face. I'm being overdramatic, I tried to convince myself. He's still alive.

But I had a sinking feeling in my gut that something bad was about to happen to him, so when I hesitantly opened the door to Chan's room, I felt my muscles relax as I saw him there, sitting and breathing and looking out the window. 

"Channie." 

My heart dropped when I saw his expression when he turned to me. Instead of the usual smile that crinkled the corners of his eyes, his mouth was as straight as a ruler and his eyes seemed empty. Lost. 

"Why are you here?" He said, his voice sounding lifeless. 

I faltered in my steps towards him, coming to an abrupt stop. "I— I don't want you to die," I told him, tears decorating my cheeks. "I love you too much to let you die."

He shook his head, smiling sadly. "I know you do. But my dying isn't your choice to make. It's mine." 

I felt a waterfall pouring out of my eyes, but not once did it cross my mind that Chan probably didn't give a shit about my ugly crying. "I don't care, Chan. It still affects me and the boys and—"

"Thank you," he interrupted softly. 

"What?" 

I gotta love my huge vocabulary.

"Thank you," Chan repeated, a bit louder this time. "Thank you for letting me love one last time. Thank you for making my last few weeks worth it." 

I shook my head, refusing to accept what he was saying. "And thank you for not dying," I replied stubbornly, saying it more like a command rather than a thank-you. 

He shook his head and chuckled sadly. "I'm ready to die, Nabi. And you're going to move on, okay?" I shook my head and opened my mouth to say something, but Chan interrupted, "Bee, please don't. I'm ready to move on and meet Aera. I don't want to be held back." 

I shook my head again. I refused to accept that one of my closest friends was just going to die. "Chan, no. I will hold you back. You deserve so much more than what you've got— It's not fair!" 

"Life isn't fair." 

"I don't give a shit about what life is and isn't. Please, just hold on for 24 hours and then the doctors can operate and you'll be fine. Please, Chan. Do it for me," I begged, taking a few steps closer to him. 

He shook his head again. "The sad thing is, though, I love Aera more than I loved you. I'm sorry, Nabi, but my time is over. Don't forget to look through my phone, please." 

I gaped at him, silently crying. "You're fucking dying, Chan. Why is me looking through your phone more important." 

"Please. Promise me." 

My eyes dropped. "I— fine. I promise." I walked closer to him and kneeled near his bed. I stuck out my pinky finger towards him. 

He intertwined his with mine, his longer finger coddling my small one. "Thank you," he whispered again. "I'll tell Aera you said hello." His voice got quieter and his eyes drooped slightly. 

I felt more tears running over the dried-up ones on my face. "No, Chan, don't leave me." I felt his finger tighten around mine as he fluttered his eyes close. "No, Chan!" 

And with his last breath, he whispered,

"Thank you.

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