Chapter Twenty: Hope

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            “Kate?”

            “I’m here,” I said reassuringly and walked towards him. He doesn’t look that bad… compared to Fatima. He has a white bandage on his forehead and a cast on his left arm. “Are you okay?”

            Patrick shrugged. “They stitched something on my forehead. I don’t know why but whatever. How’s BJ? Fatima? Beverly?”

            Again? I’m talking about BJ again? I sighed. Why do I have to explain it? “Patrick…”

            “Did someone… die?” he asked, looking at me straight in the eyes. I can’t help noticing his guilty expression. Of course he’s going to feel guilty if someone dies. After all, he was the one who was driving. But it was an accident. He never wanted that to happen.

            I sighed again and pulled a chair next to his bed and sat on it. I grabbed his hand and he squeezed mine gently. “Patrick, I’m sorry to tell you… but BJ is dead,” I said and a tear fell from my eye.

            Patrick’s mouth opened slightly. He looked away and dropped my hand. “BJ is dead?” he asked, his voice hoarse.

            I nodded slowly. “He was the first one the truck hit. He died on the way to the hospital,” I explained. “If you’re going to ask if I have seen him… not yet. Truth to be told, I don’t want to see him dead. I want to remember him as an alive person…”

            Patrick still wasn’t looking at me. I sighed and reached out for his hand. But he put his hand on his stomach, away from mine. I can’t help but be hurt on that little gesture. As if he didn’t want me to help him. “Patrick…”

            “Fatima?”

            “I talked to her. We got a little bit of… fight. She was hysterical when I told her about BJ. She needs to know the truth. We can’t just lie and tell her that everything is going to be okay with BJ. Beverly is not yet awake. There’s something wrong with her eyes, too. And it’s a major thing, I guess.”

            “This is my all fucking fault,” Patrick suddenly growled. “I was the one who was driving! This is my entire fault. I should have died. I should have suffered. Not just some minor broken ribs and arm and a stitch on the forehead! I shouldn’t be okay! I should be tortured in pain now! I should—.”

            “Stop it!” I wailed, more tears streaming down my face. “Just stop it! I can’t bear it if you’re going to die! I’m going to dissolve and die, too! And even if I won’t, I can’t afford it if you die! It’s not your fault BJ is dead, Patrick. It’s just an accident. An accident that no one wanted to happen!”           

            “It’s still my fault!” Patrick said, blinking back tears.

            “Haven’t I told you that it’s okay for me for you to cry in front of me?”

            He sighed and shook his head. “This is my fault,” he whispered, a tear falling from the corner of his eye. “This is my fault! I should have died—.”

            “How many times should I tell you it’s not your fault?” I said, shaking my head. “It’s not your fault! I don’t care what your conscience tells you but I know it’s not your fault.”

            “You don’t understand. I don’t want to cause another death!”

            There was silence for awhile. Another? What does he mean another? “Patrick…”

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