If no one is standing beside you Be still and know I am

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“Now the door is open
The world I knew is broken
There's no return
Now my heart is not scared
Just knowing that you're out there
Watching me”

She wakes up in darkness. The twinkling lights distract her, and for a moment she thinks she is outside on the pier staring at the water and the city lights, like she does every night. But she knows she isn’t home. She recognizes that it is in fact night time, but everything else is wrong.

She opens her eyes fully and is surprised at being able to see clearly. There is no fuzziness to her vision or dizziness to her head when she scans her room, determining where she is. It’s the hospital, but she doesn’t remember how she got there. This doesn’t really surprise her, and she is grateful that the pain that plagued her for 24 hours is finally gone, but she is frustrated by the not knowing. Who found her, how did they get her here, what exactly happened to her? Important things she wished she could remember.

She can hear angry voices near her door, which is open a crack. They aren’t loud per se, but definitely too much for a hospital wing at night. She thinks this is what initially woke her up because she recognizes his voice right away. Something is wrong. She has never heard him sound like this before. His voice sounds tight, like he might cry.

“She is innocent. If you hate me so much, why didn’t you hurt me ?”

“Now, Can. How could you think that?”

Huma Hanim’s false sweet voice made her spine straighten and her eyes widen. She listened closely, even though she knew she shouldn’t eavesdrop.

“You knew that I loved her more than anyone, more than myself, and you hated that. Hated the thought of her occupying so much space in my heart, space you thought you could win? No. No one could ever take that space away. It will be there until I die, whether she wants me or not.”

His words made her breath come short and goosebumps rise on her arms.

She had prayed every day for a year to hear beautiful words like that from him again. For her to fully believe them again. Now that she heard them she couldn’t help but wish they were under different circumstances. He was finally standing up to his mother, but she herself was lying in a hospital bed and he was outside crying in anger.

Whether she wants me or not.

A tear slid down her cheek, hot on her cold skin.

“What you did is unforgivable. You aren’t my mother. You never were.”

She isn’t sure what Huma did exactly to earn this ire from him, but she knows that she deserves it. He had only been back in her life for a few days, but she could already see that he was indeed a changed man. He was more patient, more weary, and even more humble than he once was. But he was no fool. If she did something for him to cut her out of his life again, for good, then it must be serious.

Huma’s heels clicked down the hall, but she could still feel his presence close to the room. So his mother had nothing to say for herself? It was just as well, she didn’t want him to hurt more than he already had. She was hurt, laying in a hospital bed strapped to machines, tubes coming out of her arms, but she realized just how much pain he had gone through too.

She accused him of burning her precious journal. She believed someone she knew for a few weeks over the man she said she loved. They both believed that man was nearly killed. Their mutual stubbornness bore a separation. Upon his return she had said hurtful things to him and told him to leave. She thought, and was told, that he was a terrible person. While she maintained some of her feelings and actions were justified, she felt horrible for all the unnecessary hurt she caused him. It was in her nature to take blame on herself, but this time some of it was earned.

A stream of tears began flooding down her face. Like melted snow in the spring, her heart was finally thawing.

She cried for him. What she had done to him, what Yigit had done to him. She cried for herself, for her naivety, for her broken dreams, for her lost year. They were angry tears, and mournful tears, and desperate tears, and listless tears.

She could hear him crying outside her room. His shoulder darkened the small space the open door left, he was sitting on the chair just outside. She had never seen him shed a tear, but even just hearing it made her wish she never would. He was so quiet, but she could hear him breathing heavily through his nose and shakily out through his mouth. She wanted to go to him, touch his shoulder and brush her thumb across his cheek, but she couldn’t. Not only was she stuck to a bed, but they were still so emotionally distant that the thought of a brush of skin on skin was almost too much, too intimate.

She needed the next best thing. Her hand reached for the spot right between her ribs on instinct, but all she felt was starchy hospital gown. She panicked for a fraction of a second before remembering what Yigit had done, and how she rescued her small piece of him by putting it on her finger.

Where it belongs.

She dutifully ignored her inner voice, and brought her other hand over her torso to touch the smooth metal band. It instantly calmed her. Her heart beat in time again. She only wished that he had a talisman to help him in his time of need, because this time she couldn’t.

This time.

It was clear to her now that she needed to be there for him, like he was here for her now, like he had been there since he returned. She was done pushing him away, she was done ignoring the truth, done disbelieving him.

She fell into a peaceful sleep for the first time in over a year.

There will be at least one more chapter to wrap everything up.

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