Colton stood near his father in the hospital room. Hazel was asleep in the white bed, the sheet raising rhythmically as she breathed. They had boarded the next available plane out of Egypt and was there the next day. Even though they were exhausted with the long plane flight, Samir insisted they go to the hospital first. There was a cab filled with their suitcases waiting outside.
Samir took a step forward; he ran his finger across the sheets until his fingers touched hers. He inhaled a shaky breath and whispered, “Hazel..”
Colton felt he shouldn’t be there, so he left the room and opted to waiting in the lobby.
Samir pulled a chair up, he couldn’t believe that after all these years here she was, his Hazel. He studied her face. She looked exactly the same; she hadn’t aged a bit in his eyes. She still was as beautiful as the day he met her, as the day he fell in love with her. He watched her for quite some time. He was remembering, refreshing every detail he had of her in his memory when the nurse told him that visiting hours were over and that he can come back tomorrow. He was planning to.
The next week both Samir and Colton stayed with Hazel. She was unresponsive to him, and they were unsure if she could hear anything he was saying or if she tuned them all out. She had a glazed look in her eyes and the doctors told them that there was very little hope that Hazel would ever come back from her insanity.
Even through this difficult time Colton was glad Samir was there. They took to each other like a duckling to water. They had conversations like father and son. They spoke to each other like they had never been separated. It was difficult for Colton to call Samir father or dad however…it was foreign to his tongue, and would take a lot more time. Colton and Samir went over all that had happened in the 18 years of separation. The photo albums and the scrapbooks that his mother had taken her time to make helped fill in void.
Samir realized what Colton had been giving up staying with Hazel and made sure that he began his college preparations like Hazel would have wanted. Colton did not feel it was important and wanted to stay with Hazel.
“Why? I am here now Colton..its going to be alright.”
“I—I just don’t want to leave her.”
“But why?” Pursued Samir. He had felt something coming from Colton and he was unsure what it was. Every time he mentioned college, the boy would shake his head saying that his mother needed him.
“Do I need a reason?! Shes my mother! Im not going to abandon her now.”
Aha..it was out. Samir followed Colton out of the hospital room, “Your not abandoning her Colton. Look at all you have done! Do you think that she would want you to sit around and not get ready for college? Your mother has prepared you for this moment, for you to be successful and head off to a new chapter in your life. When she wakes up and realizes that you are dropping your first year because of her, how do you think she will feel? She’s already going to feel horrible about having you miss graduation and your birthday, please…don’t add to the regret.” Samir said softly, his hand on the young mans shoulder. He squeezed lightly, “Your not abandoning her son…go with Anita.”
Colton had his back turned, but his slumped shoulders told Samir that he had tears in his eyes, especially when he sighed and cleared his throat. He nodded a small nod. Before he left, Samir hugged him affectionately, patting his back comfortingly. His parting words were,“Its going to be alright now..dont worry..go..”
It was the first time since his mother had been admitted in the hospital that he smiled…really smiled, really laughed. He had Samir to thank mostly since he urged him on. It had been three weeks since Samir came to Sunset Valley. He stayed in the house with Colton, but lived at the hospital. Colton visited his mother in the mornings and the rest of the day he devoted to Anita and college preparations.
Today they were driving back from the campus. They checked out their reserved dorms and had started moving their things in. On their way back they passed a beach.
“Oh! Can we stop for a moment Colt! I haven’t been to the beach all summer!” Anita exclaimed suddenly. It was a wonderful day. The sun wasn’t too hot and the water was perfect blue, the waves rolling by ever so gently. Anita sank her feet into the warm sand and sighed. “Isn’t it beautiful?” Colton pulled her closer to him and kissed her cheek, “It always is for me.” She giggled her girlish ways, blushing a little as they shared tender kisses. It came up suddenly that Anita was caught off guard.
“Anita..” Colton started off. Even with all the tragedy going on around him, he still felt that that moment was right to let her know what he was thinking.
“I was thinking…I don’t think I could love anyone more than I do love you. I have given you my heart and I know I have yours…what I’m trying to say is…will you marry me?” He blurted out. He was no good at creating the correct sentences and words that would make the question more beautiful. Before she could answer he continued on, “I mean…we are not going to get married now. I was thinking when we finish college…just for now we’d be engaged. It feels right, plus since we are still young and I don’t want to burden you…and I know you will want to go–”
Anita said amidst all this, “Yes.” He was still babbling before he realized that she had accepted.
Anita laughed and tackled him to the ground; she kissed him deeply, passionately. “Yes yes yes yes yes…” She kept murmuring in between breaths. They stayed at the beach not noticing just how fast the day was going until sparkling stars emerged.