I now know exactly what is most important to me in the world, even though it was not easy to get such knowledge. My beloved was between life and death…
Why, oh, why did this happen to him?! On that terrible day, Pasha decided to go to work on a scooter.
I really didn’t like it when he drove it, but my husband smiled and said:
— Such trips remind me of the time when we started dating.
What can you object to? I still remember those days with a sinking heart. Happy Pashka’s eyes, our long conversations, joyful moments of recognition of each other, enthusiasm and admiration, the first timid touches; and then — an exciting, all-consuming passion that overwhelmed both…
— Pasha, well, you’ve made up your mind! — nevertheless, I tried to dissuade my husband. — I chose the time! Like a boy, by God! It’s raining like a wall outside, mud. You’ll splatter the suit. And how will you look later in the office? And to go in jeans — you know… After all, you have a meeting with the customer today!
— Don’t worry, honey! I will try to carefully avoid all puddles, I promise! Pavel laughed.
And he went. This is how he is in everything, my Pasha: if he has decided something, you can’t dissuade him. But it still had to be persuaded. Maybe nothing would have happened then…
Or it wasn’t necessary to start a conversation at all. And then, it turns out, she herself brought trouble… For the second hour I’ve been sitting on a hospital chair and thinking, thinking… My back felt numb, as if a stake had been driven into it. But if someone offered me to leave here now, I would never agree!
It is necessary, apparently, just to stretch a little, to walk around the ward… Quietly got up, reached the window. The weather is rainy, just like on that ill-fated day. Is it possible that now, always during the rain, I will return to the past with my thoughts and relive the terrible tragedy, again and again executing myself? Will nothing ever change?!
Tears welled up in my eyes. Smearing them on her cheeks, she sat down again in the place that had become so familiar in recent months. And again she began to analyze every word Pasha said that morning, every gesture of her beloved. I kept looking for my guilt. Maybe he was completely focused on not getting dirty? And that’s why I didn’t notice the damn car that jumped out from around the corner? Painful thoughts rolled in like the ninth wave, exhausted, took away strength. «My God, he’s been lying for almost four months,» I thought. It would seem that quite recently we were enjoying a new cozy «two-bedroom apartment», buying a car, planning a vacation abroad… And now…
Shaking her head, she tried to drive away the heavy thoughts, telling herself: «You can’t go limp! You have to be strong! Like the day when Pasha got into an accident and I immediately rushed to the trauma center.»
I was standing in the emergency room, waiting for the ambulance team to fly in. I rushed to them, but some strange man was lying on a stretcher, all wounded, covered in blood. Immediately doctors ran around, and I had to move to the wall so as not to interfere.
Everything was a blur. The victims were brought in, some people came in and out. An elderly woman was sobbing. They put her on a chair and brought her water…
Finally, someone touched my shoulder. Startled, I turned around and saw an elderly doctor. He said that Pavel had a severe traumatic brain injury, and then he told me the details for a long time, but I didn’t understand much. Except for one thing: my Pasha is on the verge of life and death.
«Your husband is unconscious at the moment,» the doctor said. — He has only three points on the Glasgow scale.
And he fell silent, waiting for my reaction, but at that time I had no idea what kind of scale it was. Now, of course, I know it well. The situation forced me to learn a lot and become a professional nurse.
— I won’t deceive you, — the doctor added softly, apparently realizing that I didn’t understand anything, — your spouse is in a deep coma, and he…
— I won’t allow him to be disconnected from the machine for anything! I said firmly, before the doctor could finish.
— So no one talks about it…
— And anyway, I’m staying here, next to Pasha! — she added in a tone that brooked no objections, and even surprised herself with her own determination and courage.
And where did they come from?! After all, before any little thing could throw me off balance. Almost something was wrong — my hands began to tremble from fear, my legs gave way. At such moments, Pashka hugged me and comforted me:
— Oh, you cowardly little gray bunny… Don’t worry, everything will be fine. Any problem is solved.
And then suddenly such firmness, which I never expected from myself… Distracted from the memories, I adjusted the blanket on my husband’s helpless body. Once it was so strong and agile… Now I was washing Pavlik, wiping his back and rearranging the bed, taking care of him like a small child. I learned from the nannies. After watching the rehabilitation doctor, I tried to work with my beloved, patiently bending and unbending his fingers and toes. «So that you can walk again, my dear! And hug me!» I thought stubbornly.
No one, except me, believed in Pashin’s recovery. Friends, relatives and acquaintances who sympathized with us at first gradually stepped aside. The illness has dragged on for too long. Even my mother-in-law-and she persuaded me to finally think about myself.
— Lyudochka, my dear, I am very grateful to you! It hurts to talk about it, but you can hardly help Pashenka anymore. And you’re still young, beautiful… — she said with tears in her eyes on one of her visits to the hospital, when I escorted her to the elevator. — Think about yourself, daughter! Life is ahead…
«Mom, Pavlik will come to his senses,» she said calmly, hugging her. — You’ll see!
— When are you going to go to work? — my close friend Zhenya asked. — It’s about time…
— I’m not going yet, — I answered her. «My place is here, you know perfectly well. And then we’ll see…
— And what are you going to live on? — she was surprised. — Yes, and doctors… Pavel is not just lying here. And even in a separate room! It’s no secret how it’s done…
— Zhenya! — I looked reproachfully at my friend, but seeing in her eyes that she didn’t want to hurt me, she explained:
— I sold the car. That’s enough for a while. And for life, and for doctors, and for a separate ward. Then my husband will come to his senses, then I will find a job. Any problem is solved,» she added finally, remembering Pashka’s favorite words. — A two-room apartment can also be sold and a one-room apartment can be bought…
Sighing heavily, the girlfriend said:
— You’re an optimist, Lyudka… In your opinion, is this the only right decision? Are you sure?
— I’m sure!
— Well, if… If… Eugene bit her lip and fell silent. «I don’t want to say it out loud,» she continued after a minute. «But for your own good… You’re so young! Are you really going to spend your whole life in a hospital bed?
— You mean Pasha won’t come out of the coma? I asked coldly. — It will come out, I know!
«But how can you know that?» Eugene persisted.
«I just feel it,» she answered shortly, and it was the truth.
It was the belief in a miracle that supported me all these long months. And in moments of weakness, when fatigue and someone else’s disbelief deprived me of strength and knocked me out of a rut, I again and again recalled our happy past and thought about the future. I read my spouse his favorite travel books. Since childhood, Pavel dreamed of traveling the whole world, and then it became our common dream, a kind of beacon…
It was dark outside. Visiting time ended, and silence reigned in the corridors. I turned on the desk lamp I had brought from home. It used to be in our bedroom, but now that the hospital has become our home, the lamp belongs here.
— Today we will read about Prague, — she said, opening the book. — Do you remember how you dreamed of being on the Charles Bridge and, having made a wish, touching the famous cross? And they wanted to climb the Bridge Tower to see from above at once the whole fabulous city covered with a bark of red tiled roofs… Next year we will definitely go!
If someone had entered the ward at that moment, they would probably have been very surprised. But it has become a habit for me to speak for myself and for Pasha. It was this that helped to maintain contact with her husband. I pulled a chair closer to the bed, took my beloved by the hand, brought a book to his eyes and continued to dream out loud:
— Maybe we’ll even spend the night on this tower, if we manage to trick the guards around our finger! And let’s look at the clock in Jozefow! Wow, the arrows are spinning in the other direction! Or, for example, at exactly midnight we will meet the famous Prague Golem!
After a while, a nurse looked in to check the equipment, a little later another nurse came in to ask if anything was needed. I shook my head negatively and continued reading, although sympathetic glances left an unpleasant residue in my soul.
I remembered how a week ago the doctor warned:
— If your husband comes out of a coma, he will most likely be incapacitated. His brain is badly damaged.
— How much? — I asked.
— It’s hard to say, but it may, for example, not recognize you.
«It’s impossible,» I replied confidently. — Pasha will definitely recognize me.
— It’s good that you believe in it. We are doing our best to help.
But it’s time to look at things realistically and try to come to terms with the facts,» the doctor tried not to look me in the eye.
«My husband will come to his senses and recognize me,» I repeated stubbornly, looking him straight in the eyes.
He did not return to this topic again. And once, when I went to the toilet, I happened to hear what the nurses at the post were saying about me:
— What a pretty, pretty, young girl! And so… such a tragedy!
I wanted to cry, but immediately pulled myself together. Let them say whatever they want. My husband will come to his senses anyway, no matter what anyone thinks! It’s only a matter of time… Somehow I was going to show Pasha pictures from his brother’s wedding. I was invited to go there, but I refused. Tolik lived in another city — he would have to leave his husband for a few days. What if he wakes up just at this time? The newlyweds were not offended, they even sent a small photo album signed like this: «Luda and Pasha with a wish of happiness. We».
— Look, my love, what a beautiful couple, — I brought the album to Pashka’s eyes, which were still closed. — Don’t you see? Well, never mind, then you’ll hear. I’ll tell you. Here are pictures from the wedding. Young people kiss. Everyone is dancing. Your uncle Vitya and Aunt Vera…
Then the professor entered the ward, accompanied by several doctors of the department, among whom was our ward doctor. «The detour must have started…» I realized.
«Do you recognize anyone in this room?» — the doctor asked the husband lying with his eyes closed, but at the same time he looked at me carefully. I was afraid, obviously, that a tantrum could happen to me right in front of the professor.
A group of medics stopped by Pavel’s bed. Suddenly… I froze. Really?! I waited so long, and now I couldn’t believe it! Pasha’s fingers, covered by my palm, trembled slightly.
The album slipped out of my hands and hit the floor.
— Come on, dear! Try again,» I asked, squeezing his hand a little tighter, and… Pasha answered me! Barely noticeable, but answered!!! — He’s moving his arm! I shouted.
The attending physician jumped up to me, put his arm around my shoulders and whispered loudly:
«Oh, my dear! Calm down! This can’t be happening! Calm down!
— Do you think I imagined it? I said coldly and shrugged my shoulders to throw off her hands. — Then try it yourself. — And put the doctor’s palm on Pasha’s fingers.
He looked at me in surprise, at the professor, at me again…
«And really…» he said in amazement. «Call the nurse on duty,» he said to me. — And wait outside the door. We’ll call you. And please don’t worry so much!
I don’t know how long I stood in the hallway. Finally they called me to the ward. I. entered … Oh, my God! Paul’s eyes were open! He lay staring at the ceiling. She came up and looked into his face. Our eyes met… And then, unwittingly, I burst into tears. He remembers me!
«Do you recognize anyone?» — the doctor asked again and explained: — We are all in dressing gowns, and it is not known how the patient has vision. Maybe he just sees white spots…
«Pashenka, my dear, the only one! Come back!» — my soul begged. With difficulty moving his lips, my husband uttered a word and looked meaningfully into my eyes. I clearly realized that he was seeing me. And he’ll find out.
— What did you say? — the ward doctor bent over him.
— Luda! He said, «Luda»! I blurted out. — My name! He remembers me!
It really was a miracle. No one believed, but I never doubted that my husband would come out of a coma, and I always remembered the lines of my favorite poem: «How I survived, only you and I will know. You just knew how to wait like no one else…»
Now Pasha is undergoing rehabilitation, he still has big problems with speech and walking. But now that we have managed to overcome the worst, I have no doubt: we can handle everything else, too. The main thing is that we are together and do not lose faith in the best. Always shoulder to shoulder with a loved one — what could be more important? Lord, who would know what happiness it is to be able to wake up every day and say, «Good morning, my love!»