“Porifirio where’s Midnight?” I repeated my question shakily using his full name as if that would help, after it came apparent that he was the last one off the plane though he just shook his head while refusing to meet my eyes. “Wisteria we... we uh… we need to talk.”
In a blur it all went by, the quickly packing, the plane rides and the layovers. The insignificant details folded into each other creating a hazy memory in which I barely was able to recall afterwards exact elements of how I got to Setra a little over 24 hours later. Porfirio dropped my bags down by the front door as soon as we got into their house and I almost jumped at the sound of the thump that it had made hitting the floor. I had never been to his house here and it was almost surreal seeing it here now without him right next to me. We had always made plans for me to come out and visit him but something always got in the way, things never worked out and we never worked out. “You can crash on the couch if you don’t want to stay upstairs.” My brother said as he looked around the downstairs with me as if seeing it for the first time too.
I didn’t even have it in me to be angry at him for not just picking up the phone and calling me as soon as this happened instead I had listened to his reasoning. Which made sense, I would have jumped on the first plane I could have without a second thought and basically demanded that they let me on to the base. And that wouldn’t have worked at all. As far as the military was concerned being just a girlfriend I had no right to even go and see him on my own. “No its fine, I think I’ll take the upstairs it might be a bit comforting or completely depressing. I’m not sure which but I guess you’ll find out tomorrow.” I replied as warm tears rose up only to spill over, running down my face streaking it with my mascara.
“Ria…” My brother trailed off not knowing what to say or do beyond giving me a hug. “What if I lose him? What if he never wakes up? What am I going to do without him?” I cried as I buried my face into his shoulder. But he had no answers, as much as I might be losing the man that I had loved for most of my life he could be losing his best friend, someone that had always been like a brother to him. And this was almost as painful as it was for me, for him. “I don’t know sis, but you should get some sleep or at least try to. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.”
By the time I made it upstairs I felt completely drained as if I have nothing left to give. My tears had run dry as so did my emotions. I felt almost numb as I climbed the stairs, the slates barely making a noise as I slowly walked up. Porfirio had gone to sleep not even 10 minutes ago and as I passed by his open door I could see him already sprawled out on top of his bed asleep. It always amazed me how he was able to fall asleep so easily but just the same as easily as that sleep might have come at the slightest sound, a drop of a pin he would wake up spending the rest of the night awake and sleepless. So quietly as I could I closed his door and carried on to Midnight’s room.
It looked as it always did whenever we would webcam except now there were a few neatly folded stacks of clothes on his bed and a bag on the floor. He had been packing early it seemed like he was excited for this trip but I didn’t have a clue why this trip home was so different from the others. We were back together once again after taking some time apart. This summer was supposed to be a summer of fun spent down at the beach during the day and nights out on the town at some restaurants in Briocheporte.
Sitting on his bed I looked around the room to the surf board in the corner that never got any use these days, to the gym bag and shoes right next to it. As my eyes drifted over each and every item sifting through the memories that were tied to most of them and the few that I had never seen before, my eyes were drawn to something on his dresser. The small black velvet box on his dresser seemed so out of place in Midnight’s room. Wait… what? I quickly thought to myself as my fingers fumbled to open it up. A little voice in the back of my mind shrilly told me not to but I did not pay any attention to it nor did I heed in trying to open the little tightly closed box as my fingers slipped over the velvet as kept trying.
When it finally did open I gasped at what I saw. Nestled in between the satin that filled and lined the interior of the box was a ring. The gemstone sparkled in the overhead light while the metal gleamed. It was more beautiful than piece of jewelry that I had ever seen. He was going to propose I begun to realize after the shock had worn off. He was going to propose. He. Was. Going. To. Propose. The words repeated in my head over and over as I sunk down on to his bed. My body tried to muster up the tears that weren’t coming as I collapsed on my side, curling up in a ball gripping the opened box in my hand as a wail desperately tried to depart from my lips but only a strangled sound of wretched suffering escaped.
As the night wore on I was soon found by sleep though it was anything but a relief from the waking world. Broken and filled with horrible dreams that slipped my mind as soon as my eyes opened. I was still cocooned and trapped in the feelings that remained from the dreams. When I finally awoke for good early the next morning I looked the same as I felt. With a frown on my face and bags under my eyes I would have be normal completely fazed by my appearance but right now it was the last thing on my mind.
Time continued on painfully and by the end of the first week I took an extended leave from my job. I was only a spa receptionist but I still couldn’t just disappear without a word. The first few times seeing him was the hardest. It was hard to remember that there was still life in him when from at a glance it seemed like he was completely void of it. But the constant beeping of the machines and what seemed like a rotating door of nurses and orderlies coming in to keep an eye on his vitals and help move him around reassured me that somewhere in that shell of a body Midnight was still there. They took pity on me and allowed me stay from the start of visiting hours until the end.
But as nice as everyone was and being handled with kids gloves by everyone there was a breaking point that as the days passed by I felt like I was hurling to at break neck speeds. Weeks had gone by and as it soon hit the third my nerves were raw from having the figurative band aid that I put on every night when I left with Porfirio to go back home ripped off every morning when I returned. Laying my head on his chest I could hear his heart beating like it did every day.
“I’m done with the breakups and get-back-togethers. All I want is you, it’s all I ever wanted.” I began to cry feeling the large wet tears roll down my cheeks blurring my view as I clasped his hand tightly as if it could keep him from slipping away from me again. “Please wake up, I swear to Berry if you do I won’t start a fight anymore over trivial things like whether or not you looked at that girl or if I took your last piece of gum.” I laughed as a memory quickly jotted through my mind while I pushed away the tears with the back of my one hand as I still gripping his. “I love you. I love you, you silly boy who just had to go and do this. I know I’ve probably said it a hundred times in the course of our relationship but I’ve never felt it more than I do now. I love you Midnight.”
“Please come back to me I swear I’ll be a better person. I’ll be nicer to everyone including maybe Starry. I’ll make breakfasts every Sunday morning, I’ll remember to put my shoes away so you won’t trip over them when you come home. I won’t make you watch anymore romance movies with me or ask you when I’m feeling subconscious about myself if you thinks she’s pretty when all I want you to say is no. I’ll do anything just as long as you come back.” I promised as I finally removed my hand from his to stroke his face as he deeply inhaled “Flowers… I smell flowers.” Midnight murmured raspily, the sound of his voice scratched along his vocal cords as he tried speak “I’m not dead am I?”
“No you’re not. Don't you ever, ever leave me again.” I answered my sight was once again lost by fresh tears but this time they were happy tears as I grabbed up his limp body almost motionless body into my arms.“Then why are you crying? You’re too pretty to cry.” He gasped as he slowly opened his eyes to look at me, his brown eyes looked at me just as warmly as the day he left while I came to my senses and gingerly lowered him back on to his bed. Listlessly he laid still in the hospital bed looking up at me; the stubble on his cheeks had grown in to the beginnings of a beard. “You remember the first time we met?” I asked as his round about compliment took me back many years to when I was a school girl, the day I met Midnight. He had just moved to the neighborhood not too long ago and had started at our school earlier that day.
Porfirio and I were riding our bikes around town, mom had sent us down to the corner store to get some ice cream sundaes while she tended to Indy and Starry, both of which were sick and cranky. So my brother and I rode our bikes down the winding road from our home going as fast as we could. My hair whipped around as much as it could from under my helmet, which was barely able to keep it down.
So fast we were going I didn’t see the rock in sidewalk after we jumped it to avoid cars until right before my tire hit the it, sending me flying into a tumble over my handlebars as I fell to the ground I slide slightly across the sidewalk to the grass skinning both of my knees and probably bruising them as well. When I finally came to a stop I breathed in deeply as I felt every scrape and scratch my small body had endured during my accident.
“Are you ok?” a voice asked me before the owner of it came peering over me. Brown eyes looked down in concern while he held his hand out when I remember to breathe again as I let the air inside me out in one big whoosh which was followed crying then a few hiccups. My injuries were not that bad considering my fall. A few scrapes nothing broken except for my confidence to ever get back on to that particular bike again. But still it made me anger and had I not heard a voice I would have kicked the bike a few times though instead I just threw my helmet on the ground getting momentary satisfaction as it bounced away while tears slipped down my cheeks.
“Don’t cry, everything is fine I think. Its not you have any bones poking through your skin like in this movie my babysitter let me watch before we moved. You didn’t break anything did you?” The blue boy with big brown eyes asked me. “No, I don’t think so” I answered in a small voice as I tried to brush the dirt and grime from my knees. My hands clumsy rubbed against my pants fabric which in turn only rubbed against the scrapes underneath it, making them hurt more which only seemed to release more tears.
“Don’t cry.” He repeated himself “My mom has Band-Aids in the house. You’re… you’re too pretty to cry.” He ended shyly as my eyes widened. Never had a boy said anything like that to me before.
“She’s not pretty, she’s my sister. And don’t you know anything? Girls all have cooties! Which you could die from!” Porfirio cut in as he rode up with his bike scowling at the boy. “Is that a GXL Sweet Racer bike?” The boy asked my brother as he immediately changed the subject.
“Yeah, it is.” Profirio replied as he took in account my scraped up knees with his eyes as they narrowed. “Well I have a GXL 2.0 Sweet Racer bike.” The boy said back to him as Porifiro gaped at him with his mouth hanging wide open. “That’s not supposed to come out until this summer! You really don’t have one!” My brother exclaimed with notes of a challenge in his voice. “Yeah-huh I do! Do you want to see it? It's in the garage, my mom can take care of your sister’s knees.” He suggested before we went into his house, still holding my hand. “My name is Midnight. What’s yours?”
“I could never forget.” Midnight said as he painfully tried to shift himself in the hospital bed while I sat down next to him. With a weak smile he looked up at me and said “I really need to ask you something.”