23. Have a Little Strength

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So I know so many of you vote for HALH and that makes me smile, but what makes me even happier is when you comment, so please please do that too! Also good luck to any of you collecting exam results within the next two weeks. Hope and I empathise with you :)

The more I visit Cole, the more comfortable I feel at the hospital, which is a good thing if I seriously want to become a midwife, grades permitting, which I am not at all hopeful about. It struck me yesterday that in a few days time, I’ll have to collect my A Level results, which is crazy that is has been over two months since my dad passed away and that I had to sit my exams with little revision under my belt.

As I turn the corner into Cole’s room, I spot a nurse taking blood from his arm, which Cole is barely phased at. I smile and walk in, to which Cole’s face lights up. The nurse finishes up and as the door closes, I press my lips to his. I can feel the smile against his lips. I pull away and rest my forehead against his, not saying a word.

‘How are you this morning?’ He asks, pushing my hair back.

‘I’m fine. How are you more importantly?’

Cole shrugs. ‘Physically, I feel better. Mentally, I am going insane being back in hospital, but not long now until I can be out.’

‘Do you think you’ll get out this week?’

He nods. ‘Definitely. The drugs are working apparently, they just want to monitor how my body responds to them every day at different times.’

‘You’re used to this, aren’t you?’ I ask him sadly, recognising how familiar he is in these surroundings.

‘Mmm, but I wouldn’t change anything. I’m fortunate enough to be here. I can’t complain about being somewhere to make me healthy as I can be again.’

I sit beside Cole and rest my hand on his thigh as I ask quietly, ‘What was it like when you were younger in hospital?’

Cole tilts his head to look at me and takes a few moments to decide whether to talk. He opens his mouth and then shuts it, before finally saying, ‘It wasn’t the highlight of my life. I knew being hospitalised so much wasn’t good. I knew I was ill, I knew I was on pills to keep my heart functioning as well as possible as I waited for a new heart, but I knew the chances were slim. It was just pretty hard for my parents and Jen. I knew they were putting a lot on hold to take me to hospital visits, to staying overnight, to juggling work and money; I was reliant on them at the time when I was supposed to experience freedom and fun, those crucial late teen years. There were times when I was a lot better, well enough to attend the art college, I would be fine for a while on the pills, but then something would happen which would put me in a critical state so I’d be readmitted to watch my heart deliberating what to do. It was just a constant yoyo with me, so this really is a walk in the park for now.’

I can feel tears fill my eyes as he tells me all this and I have to squeeze his hand and tell him, ‘I am so glad you are here now.’

Cole gives me a lopsided goofy smile. ‘Yeah?’

I nod and swipe my tears away. ‘I hate that you went through all of that when there are horrible people in the world living without any consequences.’

‘Mm, but whatever. I’ve dealt with it and I’ll continue to deal with it. And anyway, if I had to go through all this to meet you, I’d do it again, Hope.’

‘You would?’

‘Yeah, Strawbs. I’ve had the best two months of my life meeting you. I wouldn’t trade that.’

I can’t help the butterflies fluttering in my stomach as I pull him forward for a hug. We talk for the rest of the morning going between discussing my chat with Tommy I had last night, which was a lot of fun, with Tommy telling me all about his swimming club he’s just joined to how he has summer homework which is ‘soooo boring’. Cole and I go between chatting, eating and sleeping, but I would do it all over again, just to be by my beautiful boyfriend’s side.

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