43 | GOODBYE BROTHER

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GOODBYE BROTHER

Almost dying definitely does something to you. It did something to me, at least. The nightmares are worse but the medication keeps me asleep, so there's that. I spend most of my waking moments trying to forget that my parents are dead, Harvey is dead, Misha is dead, and Rory is dead all because of me. I try my best not to think about how Lexi will never be the same again and Clary still struggles through her paralysis every single day.

My lungs have taken so long to heal but they work, now. Well, most of the time they work. Physically I'm perfectly healthy except for the lung blip but that's what happens when they collapse four times. They get flimsy, weak, and not the best at pulling in oxygen — but they work. Every day I work on them, I do my breathing treatments and exercises, I use my inhaler when I'm too winded. It works, it's working.

My therapists, both my physical and mental, tell me I'm doing a good job adjusting to my trauma. That my body is doing what many bodies refuse to do: adapt. It's adapting to my new life regimen and so am I. In five months, the doctor says that I feel like a completely different person and I know it to be true.

I withstand the hot water pouring over my head. It's the kind of hot that feels damn near unbearable. The kind of hot that turns my brown skin an angry, furious, red. But I withstand it because it proves to me that I am alive. I only stumble back when tears pour down my face and blood fills my mouth as I bite my cheek to stop myself from screaming. The pain shakes through me and then soothes me and I'm sitting on the floor of the shower that I share with my wife and I cry. I cry because I can't show her this part of me, because she'll blame herself and I'll see the look in her eyes — the look that shows me that she's terrified that I'm not going to be okay.

We have more moments than not that we forget the pay five months ever happened but, I don't know, sometimes she clutches onto me like I'm going to disappear. This is both a comforting thing to know and a horrible realization that she sees me as fragile. Like I'm made of paper and can be torn easily, but I'm not.

I pull myself out of the shower and observe the angry red that my skin has taken. It was a good thing that Alana was at the Market with Clary. They had been doing that since I woke up, it was there comfort things. I liked that Alana and Clary had found something to do outside of taking care of me, it was exhausting.

I lotion and dress myself. It's a simple black shirt and brown plaid jeans. I slip on some dress shoes, a watch, and place my prescription glasses on the bridge of my nose. A lot has changed since that night, the most annoying one being that sometimes it was hard to see anything. My glasses did a great job at helping my eyes focus on everything. I liked to think I look very intelligent with my glasses on — plus, Alana fucked me incredibly well when I told her that I looked ugly with them on. She had been driven to prove me wrong.

Adonis and Hernando follow me out if my penthouse when I leave. We don't say much to each other but the niceties. Harvey's death had created a rift between Adonis and I. Both of us grieving the death of our friend but both of us too distracted by our egos and masculinity to discuss the matter. I know one day the rift will ease, it'll just take time.

My driver is already prepped and waiting to take me anywhere I please. I slip into the back seat as Adonis takes the passenger and Hernando gets on the motorcycle behind us. I text my driver where I want to go and he pulls away and out of the parking garage. We drive for a long time, outside of the city, and into the suburbs. I like it better here, all green and huge houses that hold so much love and life.

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