My name is Zayn Malik. I am 19 years old. I used to be in a boy band, called One Direction. The nurse has told me to breathe slowly and not talk. There are about 5 of them standing around me. A couple fiddling with the large machine beside me. I can feel the end of each of its wires attached to different parts of my body. The other nurses are trying to ease the blood pouring out of various wounds on me. I feel no pain, just numbness. The doctor whispers to the nurses every so often, I can’t hear them. I look up at the plain, white ceiling. It hurts my neck when I move it. I can hear the rain pattering against the small window. Everything is going to be okay, I tell myself.
I think back to what brought me here. I find it hard to recollect the events prior to this. But I do remember driving, away from our house. Away from her. Her. The love of my life. The one whom I hurt with my cruel words. We had argued that night. I don’t recall what the argument was about, but she had cried. I had made her cry, how could I have let my anger get the best of me? My reckless driving had caused me to crash into a lorry. All I remember after the impact is a bright, yellow light shooting at my face. God knows how many people had been injured because of me. I fear to think about it.
I have half a dozen people in the room, yet I’ve never felt so alone. I take this time to reminisce happier memories. My X Factor journey, when I was first put into One Direction and met the boys. We won third place in the competition. Things went from strength to strength from then on. We went on tour in the UK, and then America. We won a BRIT and broke various records. We were compared to legends like The Beatles. Then I remember seeing her. At our book signing. She was there with her little sister. Her beautiful black hair tied back, revealing her stunning features. Her smile was the first thing I noticed. She had small lips, but her smile shone brighter than anybody else’s. Her eyes twinkled as I noticed her coming closer and closer. She had slipped her number beside the book. It was clearly just a joke and I don’t think she expected me to even look at it, let alone a call, but that night I did call her. How could I not. She didn’t scream nor did she brag or tweet about it. Then after that, every date we went on, every kiss we shared, all the calls and texts we exchanged. I loved the way she always nagged me about looking in the mirror at myself too much. The way she laughed at me when I made stupid mistakes, the way she fussed over silly things and even the way she would cry over some silly late night show we had to watch every Saturday. All the summers we spend on vacation on bright blue beaches. The times I would sunbathe on the beach whilst she swam with elegance in the sea. Her beautiful body swerving through every wave that would come towards her. And every time she would tease me for not joining her. In the winter months, we would spend our time next to the fire, watching our favourite movies, or reading our favourite books. The day Harry asked her mother out, blushing, her mother actually agreed! The day she lost her innocence to me, as the cool breeze of the spring night fanned our bodies and intensified the passion. The year the boys and I agreed to complete our journey together with one last album and tour. When I took her to Dubai and got down on my knees; she cried and gave me dozens of kisses before saying yes. I remember when I fell off a tree in my attempt to rescue her newly bought cat. She couldn’t stop laughing at me at first, but then sprung onto me and embraced me whispering how I was the most compassionate guy she had ever loved. When we bought our very first house together. I remember going out one afternoon to get paint, the boys had come around to help us decorate and I came home to find her jumping up and down and waving a positive pregnancy test in the air. Niall had ordered us Nando’s to celebrate. And how could I forget when she went into labour just 2 months ago. A little boy. We named him Zayn Junior. She chose, although I just like to call him Junior. It was a difficult birth, she was exhausted and weak by the time the little, wet body came wriggling out, screaming for some breath. Junior was immediately placed into her arms. I cradled his miniature hands into my own. I couldn’t have been more proud at this very moment. This child was a part of us. He was a living representation of our love for one another.
I take a deep breath. I want to hold on for them. I need to hold on. I hear a voice, urging to come in. I know it’s her. Straining my head to the left, I see her small hand pressed against the glass window. She’s dripping from head to toe. Her eyes are filled with tears and fear. I haven’t seen the state of myself yet, but her expression says it all. It’s not pretty. The nurse is talking to her but she just carries on staring on at the chaos within the four walla i'm entraped in. I feel a sharp pain shooting inside my head which forces my eyes to snap shut. I can hear her force her way into the room and rush towards me.
I can feel her soft hands pressed gently on my forehead. This drives my eyes to open. For her.
“Baby, are you okay?” she says, trying to keep calm. Although I hear the quavering tone in her words.
I open my mouth to speak. But no words come out. Some nurses leave the room, they seem defeated. The other nurses and doctor take a step back to let us have our moment together. My body has started to hurt now. I can still feel the wetness of fresh blood slowly escaping my wounds. I stare into her eyes.
“I’m so sorry.” I croak. She slides her hand into my own. I feel a quick, shooting pain through my arms, but I don’t dare to do so much as flinch.
“No Zayn, you don’t need to be. I should never have let you go. I should have-“
“Don’t blame yourself. For my sake, just don’t.” I can see her eyes are overflowing with tears.
“Please don’t go”, she pleads through her gasps, “Please hold on.”
She catches her breath and moves forward. Her soft lips press against my own. It hurts a little but her sweet taste relieves the pain. She pulls back and kisses my forehead.
“I love you.” I whisper.
“I love you Zayn.” I can almost feel the sorrow in her voice. Her hand has still not left mine. She starts to weep again.
“Shhh” I tell her. “Don’t be sad. Smile for me. Even when you feel you cannot hear my voice, I’ll always be right beside you my dear. Even if you cannot see me, I will always be watching you and Junior. I’m never leaving you. I’ll always protect my family. I promise. So don’t weep for me.”
She smiles through her tears streaming out. It’s a sad smile. A sort of smile you give to your child, when you tell them everything will be okay, when you know it’s not. I know my words won’t make it all better. It won’t take away the fact that I hurt her. And through my anger I may have seriously injured, or even killed some strangers who could have been an old couple, a young family coming back from a nice night out or even a newlywed bride and groom. I don’t know who they were, but they don’t deserve what I’ve given them. And Junior doesn’t deserve to live without a father.
I’m slowly leaving. I can feel my body go numb yet again. The pain has weakened. I can’t feel anything but the hand entangled into hers. She’s like the oxygen I breathe. She keeps me alive and strong for just a little longer. I love her more than anything in the world, that’s why it hurts so much to leave her.
Junior is just a little over 2 months old. He won’t remember me but I hope she tells him about me. I hope she tells him the truth. And perhaps one day he can forgive me. I won’t hear him say his first word and I won’t be able to be there for him on his first day of school but I hope he feels me watching down on him and feels the pride I have for my little boy. I know that she will always have a part of me with her through Junior. Every day when they need me, I’ll be there. Everyday and forever.
“I love you.” I manage to whisper.
“I love you too Zayn.”
She sits there in silence. Her face has turned pale. My eyes feel heavy and force themselves to close. I hear her silent weeping. Her hand tightens around mine. My chest feels heavier and my breathing slower. I can feel the energy being seeped out of me. Like my soul is being pulled away, out of my body. My hand slowly relaxes and disentangles from hers.
I love you. I love him. Stay strong.