"No. But then, I didn't tell him about it, not specifically." She paused, sensing that Elam was growing alarmed with her long absence. "We have to get you out of here, Malachi."
"Yeah, no kidding. I want to hold my son and kiss my woman again. Do you know how long I've been without sex? Jesus."
Blythe laughed, that was very like something Elam would say. "At least a year," she said with a smirk.
"Has it really been a year? Doesn't seem possible."
Elam walked over, putting his hand on her shoulder. She could feel him, and hear him speaking, though his words didn't make sense. His voice sounded very far away.
"You can't stay here," Malachi said, suddenly worried. "Or we're both going to be stuck in this tiny little room. It's not big enough for us both." His crooked smile was tinged with worry.
Kneeling beside her, Elam took her hand. "Blythe?" His voice sounded hollow.
Blythe squeezed his fingers, feeling herself drift back to her body. She clasped Malachi's other hand, yanking hard. "Come with me. Now! You don't need to stay here, either."
He stepped forward, diving through a gap that opened in the floor. Blythe felt herself falling, but strong arms held her, catching her before she could fall very far. Gasping, she clutched at Elam.
Beside her, Jessamine laughed. "Malachi?"
"Hey, babe. Cute kid," he said, touching his son's tiny face.
"Malachi?" His mother rushed forward, his father right behind her.
"Mama, Poppy. Good to see you."
His mother took his hand, holding it to her face, kissing it. His father patted him on the shoulder. Two nurses and an aid came in the room to see what the commotion was. When they saw Malachi awake, they hugged one another.
"May I have a look?" Dr. Waverly said. "I'd hate to come all this way and not even examine the patient."
"Sure, Doc," Malachi said. "I've seen you before," he said. "That head trauma awhile back."
"Nearly eighteen months ago," Dr. Waverly said with a smirk.
"I've been kind of out of it."
"I've never seen anyone come out of a coma so suddenly and completely," she said, shaking her head. "I'd like to do some tests, but I don't think they'll show us a damn thing. Besides, I imagine you'd rather go home."
"I would, yes."
"You'll need therapy to get your muscle tone back. Your doctor will make the final decision, but they'll want the bed for someone who's sick."
"I can't go now?"
Dr. Waverly put her hands in her pockets. "You've been in a coma for a year, and just woke up. Do you think they're going to let you just get up and walk out of here?"
He laughed. "No, I suppose not. Thanks, Doc."
"I didn't do anything. It was Blythe."
He turned to face Blythe, who was now sitting in the chair by the bed. "Thank you. I don't know how you did it, but thank you. And, buddy," he said to Elam. "Thank you for what you did for Micah. I know you tried, man. But he was gone before you arrived."
"He was the first one I ever lost," Elam admitted.
"You didn't lose him, he was already gone. I could tell when he died. He's been here, keeping me company. I think I kept him here, but I wonder if he didn't kind of keep me here, as well. I wanted to die—truly did, but he talked me out of it."
"Is he still here, my Micah?" Mrs. Garafolo looked around expectantly.
"No, Mama. He's gone. He was a hell of a guy, my little brother. I'm sorry he's dead."
"We should go," Blythe said. "And let you all have some family time."
"Are you sure?" Mrs. Garafolo tried to convince them to stay, but Blythe was insistent.
Malachi sat up in bed, holding out his arms to Blythe. She walked over, taking his hands and he drew her to him. They hugged a long time, then he tenderly kissed her cheeks.
"Thank you for giving me my life back," he said. "If it hadn't been for you, I'd be trapped in that box forever."
"You would have found your way eventually."
He shook his head. "I wanted to die. Honest to God, was ready to give up. You gave me faith."
"And I got mine back, as well." They hugged again.
After their goodbyes were said, Elam, Blythe and Dr. Waverly went back to the front desk.
"I'll have Dr. Spiner call you," Sarah said. "He's out of town at a conference in Miami, talking about coma patients. Y'all come back any time."
More hugs and kisses all around. They got back in the car, Dr. Waverly once again insisting on the back seat.
"Do you think I'll have anymore dreams now?" Blythe asked her.
"I don't know, Blythe. I'd like to say no, but who can say? At least you know it's not because of something wrong in your brain. If you do continue to dream, I hope that they aren't so terrifying as they've been."
"I'll just have to have Elam with me," Blythe said, smiling at him. "He keeps me safe."
©2022 Dellani Oakes