"Jane, scars don't matter. You're going to get better and everything will be ok," Eddie says, nodding at me in an attempt to be reassuring, but his tired eyes reveal doubt and sorrow.
I can't ask him. He couldn't tell me even if I did. He hasn't been able to the past few times I've asked him what happened to me. If I question him about this, it'll only hurt him more.
Wordlessly, I look at the toilet and then at Eddie before cocking my head towards the doorway.
"Right... I'll just be outside, then."
I force a smile and then turn away, walking towards the toilet with Kimberly at my side, ready with support if I stumble. After a few steps, she moves away from me and grabs some sort of plastic bowl off the back of the toilet. Then, she lifts the seat, attaches the bowl to the rim, and sets the seat down again.
"What are you doing?"
She turns and says, "Oh, we monitor your fluid intake and output until you leave the hospital."
"You measure my pee? Why?"
"We want to ensure your kidneys are functioning properly."
"But I didn't hurt my kidneys, did I?"
"No, but you did have surgery and you were on a renal catheter. It's just a precautionary measure," she reassures, while urging me to turn around and sit. "Besides, if I know Dr. Roberts, you'll be checking out by the end of today anyway."
"I'm going home today?"
"Not on my say so, but I bet you will." She winks, gives me a toothy smile, and walks over to the doorway. "Just call when you're ready to come out, ok, hon?" she says as she steps out of the bathroom and shuts the door.
I'm alone, alone for the first time in days. I've been told so many things in just the past few minutes, though, my mind can hardly keep up. I've been horribly beaten, scarred for life, possibly raped, and now I'm going home to the place where it all supposedly happened. How should I feel about that? What can I do?
When I glance at my good hand resting in my lap, I get an idea. If I was raped by the same person that tried... tried to kill me, there'd at least be bruises, right? Without a second thought, I reach down and pull up the bottom of my hospital gown, trying not to upset my ribs in the process.
I look down and a massive bruise meets my gaze, a bruise running from my right hip, up my side, and disappearing under my gown, a bruise that has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with why my ribs hurt. Everywhere else, there's nothing but pale, unmarked skin, no hand-shaped bruises like there was on my throat, in fact, no wounds at all. I was almost killed, but I wasn't raped.
It's not until I hear Eddie's worried voice that I realize I've been in here a while. My ribs are throbbing, and as I take a shaky breath, the pain stabs up my side like knife points. My face is wet with tears, and I can't stop crying.
They're tears of relief because I wasn't raped, tears of sorrow because I've been forever marked, tears of pain because of my wounds, and tears of grief for what this situation is doing to Eddie and me. Is there any hope for the relationship I want, the relationship we might have had if I wasn't injured? Will he ever look at me the same way again, or will he only see the reminders of the attack? Will there ever be a time when I don't see pain reflected in his eyes?
"Jane, I'm coming in."
"No!" I cry out, then take a few shallow breaths, trying to control my wavering voice. "No. I'm... ok."
I gingerly wipe the tears from my cheeks and lurch up to my feet. Using my IV stand for support, I lean over and slam the toilet lid closed before washing my hands and shuffling to the door. I don't have it open more than a crack before someone on the outside pulls it out of my grasp. Eddie.
He hurries to put an arm around me for support, admonishing, "Jane, you shouldn't be walking without help."
"There's nothing wrong with my legs. I'm just a little wobbly."
"He's right, sweety," Kimberly adds, her chirpy voice grating on my nerves. "You don't want to re-injure yourself right when you're gonna go home."
Eddie's head snaps up, and he asks, "What?"
"Well, it's still up to Dr. Roberts, but from her chart, it looks like she's on track to check out at the end of the day."
"I've got to go."
"I'll be back to pick you up, and I'll get Liz to stay with you until then, but if you're coming home tonight, I..." He pauses for a moment, then says, "You do want to come home with me, right? If you don't... If you want to live with your sister..."
"Eddie, home is with you... right?"
He closes his eyes and releases a relieved sigh. "Right."
"At least wait until Dr. Roberts does his rounds before you go," Kimberly advises.
The doctor did clear me, though. He took out my IV that morning, and at a little after 5 p.m. that night, Liz and Eddie helped me into a cab.
I thought I might be at least a little apprehensive when I walked into the apartment again, but I wasn't. I guess that's the good thing about amnesia. Besides, Eddie was nervous enough for all of us.
He insisted that Liz and I wait by the door, and he walked through the apartment, checking every room and every possible hiding place before we were allowed to cross the threshold.
As I walked to my bedroom, I scanned the apartment, looking for any evidence of what must've happened that night. I don't see any differences, though, until I catch a glimpse of the entertainment center against the far wall. The cabinets that had covered the lower section are missing. That must be where it happened. A chill ran through me at that thought, but I shrugged it off and kept shuffling towards my room.
Liz helped me get settled in bed while Eddie patrolled the apartment yet again, this time checking and rechecking the locks on the doors and windows. When it became apparent that I could barely keep my eyes open, Liz left. I settled into the long-desired comfort of my own bed and fell asleep.
Now, I'm awake again, and I don't have to look too far to see why. Eddie's sitting in a chair right next to my bed. He must've been watching me sleep.
"Jane, do you need something?"
I squint, but he's still there looking at me expectantly. "What are you doing here, Eddie?"
"Making sure you're sleeping all right."
"I'm fine. Aren't you tired?"
"Have you even tried?"
He shakes his head. "Look, don't worry about me. You're the one who just got out of the hospital."
"Yeah, but I've been sleeping." A yawn interrupts me, but then I add, "I'm ok, Eddie. Go to bed."
He left my room that night, but from the sounds of feet walking across the wooden floorboards and locks clicking open and shut that woke me later that night, I don't think he went to bed. In fact, I don't think he's really lied down and slept more than a few hours in the past two days I've been home.
Tonight, I threatened to lock him in his room if he didn't get a decent night's sleep, and it seemed to work. At least, he didn't wake me by roaming around the apartment. No, he woke me in an entirely new way.
I'm in the middle of a very pleasant dream when I suddenly wake to the sound of panicked moans. After leveraging myself out of bed, I abandon any ideas of putting on my sling and instead just walk to Eddie's room with my arm held close to my chest.
With the dim light flooding in from the hallway, I can see Eddie's trapped in some sort of nightmare. He's grunting and shaking his head and twisting his face into a mask of pain. I can't just abandon him to the dream.
I sit down on the edge of the bed and shake his shoulder with my good hand. In an instant, he's awake. He sees me, yells, "No!", and reaches under his pillow. Then his body snaps up, and his hand swings out from under the pillow and towards my head. I instinctively lean back, but it doesn't make any difference. His hand doesn't hit me. It stops inches away, and I'm face to muzzle with a loaded gun.