About four hours passed before the door to the emergency room opened. My manager called me and asked in a harsh tone why I didn’t come to work. All I was able to tell him was one sentence because I was too busy thinking of how to make my grieving mom happy, “My brother is on the verge of death, so do I really have to come to work today?” and then I hung up. When the doctor walked out of the emergency room, I started shaking because the suspense was killing me. His same expressionless face didn’t reveal anything to us and the moment was getting more and more unnerving. When he came up to us, he explained, ” The surgery is done and Tristan is alive. He had been severely hemorrhaging, but thankfully, we were able to stop it. He will probably be discharged in about two weeks.” I sighed heavily in relief and was about to ask if we could see Tristan, but before I could say anything, Mom took the words out of my mind, “Can we go see Tristan? Is he awake?”
“He’s hasn’t regained consciousness, but you can go see him. This is probably a hard moment for you,” the doctor said with an indifferent tone which made me ponder if he actually cared at all for Tristan or Mom. It ****** me off, but I didn’t talk about it just in case I was wrong. The doctor led us to his room and inside, I only saw a few places where skin, eyes, and a slightly open mouth, weren’t covered by bandages. Oh, God, how could someone get beaten up so bad and not die? For a moment, the miracles of life made my chest well up. Mom looked much more hurt, though, because she slumped onto the ground and started sobbing and shaking even harder than ever. I didn’t know what to do besides pat her back and say, “He’s okay. He’s still alive and will probably love seeing you.” Her sobbing was slowly broken by that and soon, all she had left were frequent sniffles or tears rolling down her cheeks. She hugged me hard and we both went to the bed. I checked if he was awake. There was a slight grunt and Tristan slowly cracked his eyes open and I sighed heavily in relief, questioning why I thought he was dead. I mean, the ECG monitor was still beeping and for God’s sake, he was breathing! How could he be dead if he was breathing? “Jenna, is that you?” asked the nearly unconscious Tristan.
“Mom’s first. Don’t want her missing the opportunity,” I replied quickly. When she shifted closer towards the bed, she cried, “Tristan, what did you get yourself into? How do you get yourself into this condition?”
“I… don’t know. I just don’t know. I only remember someone punching me in the face and that was when I was knocked out. Also, someone came and helped and, although it wasn’t the most comfortable thing, I think that person or thing was what saved my life.” I turned red and couldn’t help but smile a little bit. Mom sighed and continued talking.
“How much does it hurt right now?”
“Hurt?… It really… hurts… little…” Tristan rambled off into his world of dreams or nightmares, land of sadness or joy, galaxy of hardships or prosperity, one of the things that would be difficult to fully figure out and be even more difficult to understand. I asked Mom if we should get anything and she nodded and faced me with a wan smile.
We went to Subway, but a different Subway from where my hellish boss was. It was early and not too many people were there, so we sat down and talked. While I was talking, thoughts of what happened swam through my head and I felt like I couldn’t do anything. It was too close of a call. When food came, I noticed that I was pretty hungry. I dug in, but Mom took a bite or two and stopped. I asked her why she wasn’t eating and that she should be really hungry and she responded, “The cops say they think they know what happened to Tristan,” I instantly lost my appetite and tuned in, “What happened?” I asked.
“They said that there was a note… ” she stopped for a moment, swallowing hard, her voice quivering. “They called him disgusting for ever dating… dating a Muslim like Mahala…”
“W-what…?” Suddenly, anger rose in my chest. He’d suffered so much from losing Mahala, but why… nobody had the right to hurt him even more. “Why don’t we just call the police and tell them to investigate?”
“Because if it was because of Mahala, the cops wouldn’t help us at all. Those type of people are even more harmful if it’s about Mahala.” Something clicked in my head and I remembered the cop on the day I almost burnt the house down. He gave me his number and a detective’s number! I threw my purse onto my lap and searched for the card and looked through every corner. Aha! The card was in my wallet! “I know this man will help us, though,” I said with a sudden confidence in my voice. I finished my late lunch and told Mom to eat quickly. I had found the perfect person to help us.