The hospital bed is warm, whatever courses through my veins from the IV is searing. And yet I can’t shake the cold.
Nurses come in to take my temperature every hour and adjust my drip accordingly. I don’t remember being pulled from the wreckage, I don’t remember much. The ambulance ride was bumpy and remains in my memory as nothing more than a few fractured moments of a blond paramedic telling me to stay with him. If he was asking for consciousness, I certainly failed that test.
I do everything to not think about the crash, not because the memory is painful, or because it reminds me of the horrific scar that etches across my hairline above my right eye. But because the realization of how much money was lost when the snow reached my lenses and the computer. The pictures were backed up online, as were all my important documents, but the lenses are undoubtedly ruined.
I have no idea how long a time has passed since I left Clem in his faux log cabin motel, but something tells me it’s been long enough for someone to start worrying about me and I begin to dread who will come through the door each time it opens. John or his mother would be the worst, but somehow I don’t feel I could bear to see Eli right now.
It’s nothing to do with Vanity, and everything to do with pride. He told me not to go and I went anyway… and look where I ended up: Purple toes and sixty stitches.
Nurses continue to flit in and out like little birds, one flutters to the chart to make a note another reads something on the machine that gives my room its monotonous sound track of beeps. None of them seem to think I’m up for talking and that’s probably for the best.
The only visitor I have is the blond EMT I thought I’d dreamed. He’s handsome, but something about the cold makes me too lethargic to even care that I look like a wreck – he’s seen me worse anyway.
“This was among the stuff they could salvage. I thought you might want it right now.”
He hands me a plastic bag, inside are things I haven’t seen in years, one of which, I’d almost forgotten existed. A swatch of fabric wraps around three tiny shells and a long dead and dried leaf lay in the bag next to the heavily creased envelope.
The paper is old, but I remember every word written inside as my fingers trace across the paper.
“I don’t know why… I just felt like you needed that.” The EMT says as he slowly shuts the door.
I don’t look to the door, or to him. Instead, I stare at the sea urchin stamps that litter the front and my name scrawled carelessly by Eli’s hands.
This was him saying he’d be coming back from Peru. That he missed me and felt like leaving for so long had been a mistake. I nearly threw it away without reading it, but since that day, I’ve read it a hundred times over. This will be the first time I’ve read it, knowing for certain that I was the one who made the mistake.
This is a part of an ongoing story for the Red Dress Club’s Red Writing Hood Prompt. It is a work of fiction.
This week’s prompt was writing a piece where your character finds a forgotten letter. The word count limit was 600.