With Roy, minutes spent with him equalled days among the living. A couple of sunsets here at the ocean were a couple of weeks in my former realm of existence. I had slipped away from the life I knew, and my existence had become walks along the seashore and conversations held on the warm rocks. Roy was in the middle of telling me a funny story when I shushed him.
"What is it?" he asked.
"I can hear something," I said.
"What? The surf?"
I shook my head. "No, listen, Roy! Do you hear it?"
"I just hear the surf, Wrenny."
I furrowed my brow, shifted my weight a little, and rested my chin in my hand. After a minute, I pegged it. "It's singing! It's somebody singing!" I sat very still, focussing my full attention. Then I smiled and said quietly and with certainty, "Roy, I hear Voz singing!"
Voz sat on the edge of my hospital bed, holding my hand and carressing my face. "Did you like that one, Wren? You always said you liked it. You heard me, didn't you?" He paused, watching my motionless form, hoping for some sort of acknowledging movement from me. The tension showed in his voice and face. His eyes were puffy and bleary, and his beard was scruffy. His back ached from several nights of attempting to sleep in the chair beside the bed. He wondered why the hospital didn't put recliners in the rooms.
"Just move a tiny little bit, sweetie. Just the tiniest bit? C'mon, it's not so hard." He sighed and squeezed my hand. "I'll sing to you all day and night! Ok? Ok! Let's see, another song, please. How about an Elysia song? What's that one about the river? Oh, Blue Water, that's it." Voz proceeded to sing Blue Water by Elysia to my comatose form.
I grabbed Roy's arms and blurted out, "Blue Water! "Blue Water, Roy!"
He cocked his head,"What?"
"He's singing Blue Water! Voz is! Voz! I can't remember how long it's been since I thought about him. I've always thought I've always been here with you? Haven't I been? I don't know anymore. But...I think I know Voz! I mean, I know the name. I know his voice and I know that Blue Water is the name of that song!"
Shocked and alarmed, Roy's eyes widened. He grabbed my arms, suddenly, urgently. "Listen, Wrenny, if this is right, not much time is left here. If you go back, when you go back, you won't remember your name, or your time here. But don't worry, because this is how it's supposed to happen. It's all for the best. I just want you to know that I love you!" Then he kissed me, long and hard.
The surf roared loudly and the beach spun away. Soon there was no Roy; no world to anchor me. I was cast adrift. I regressed to flashes of dreams. After a time, the dreams faded away, and darkness enveloped me. It was icy and breathless and suffocating. My brain struggled to process the change in consciousness. It told me that I had been ice skating, and I fell through the ice. The current swept me along beneath the surface. If only I could stop, and break through, but the current kept dragging me along. Sometimes I could see through the black ice to the grey sky. And sometimes, just sometimes, I'd see a man on the shore, reaching out to me. But then the current would pull me down deeper and rush me along. Sometimes I'd go so deep that the surface was miles and years away.
"...into the bloooo waaaater."
Someone cleared his throat. Voz turned toward the sound. Cornelius and Brill stood in the doorway. They walked in. "How's she doing, Voz?" asked Brill.
Voz sighed. "Still comatose."
Corry nervously approached Voz and me. "I feel responsible for this. I mean, I just totally started ignoring her! I mean, gawd, how lame! And, and,--" He gestured to me, "look at her now!"
"No way, man! Not your fault!" Brill protested. "I mean, it's an infection."
Voz glowered at Corry, "However, as one professing to be her" He cleared his throat pointedly, "boyfriend, don't you feel responsible for the state of her morale? Isn't that what love is about? And aren't you the one who loves her? Isn't that the general consensus: that Corry loves Wren? Have we, the general consensus, got that right? You do love Wren, don't you, Cornelius?" Voz's eyes flashed with anger.
Corry blanched, "Well, I...she's cute, and, uh, she's uh, she's great!" Sheepishly, he sat in the chair. Voz staunchly kept my hand in his and squeezed it.
Brill sprang to Corry's defense. "Voz, you need to back off, man! Corry's not the emotional type. He keeps his feelings to himself. You're way over the line!"
"Am I?" Voz's face burned hot. "Am I? 'Over the line'? Now, who has spent every minute of the last three weeks at Wren's bedside? Her devoted boyfriend?"
"Well, I..." Corry spluttered.
Brill tapped his temple in a "hey stupid" gesture. "Hey, she's in a coma, Voz! Comatose people can't hear, or see, or anything! Wren's totally oblivious to all of us! She doesn't need us. Being here is a waste of time!"
"Uh, actually, I, uh, was waiting until she wakes up to visit her. I hate hospitals," mumbled Corry.
Voz pounced on his words. "Oh, I'm so sorry that you hate hospitals, Cornelius! How inconvenient for you!" Acid burned in his words. "A bit of news for you, Cornelius: Wren may never wake up!"
An angry nurse rushed into the room. "Shush! All of you! Take your fights outside!"
Corry muttered an apology and rushed out of the room.
Brill gave Voz the finger, screamed, "'F-' you, man!" and stormed out. The nurse followed and closed the door behind her.
Voz bent over me, stroked my hair, and kissed my lips.