Questions Without Answers

Abby sat in an uncomfortable plastic chair in the SICU. She couldn’t believe that the Carter she’d described as cute only hours ago was the same one that lay before her now. He was still cute- but in a half-dead way.

Carter’s muscular legs, which had only recently looked so twisted and deformed, had been reset so they looked almost normal. Under his white hospital gown with green polka dots, gauze had been wrapped around his stomach where they’d had to make incisions to repair his ruptured abdomen. Visible under the neckline of the ridiculous-looking gown was a newly forming scar from the exploratory surgery they’d done on his larynx area. His arms, which had been so strong, were covered with red, splotchy burns, but they weren’t very severe. Also, his right hand had a splint on it because it too had been fractured. His neck was in a brace to keep it from moving.

Abby gasped when she saw his face- his beautiful face! The eyes that she loved so much were closed, but not at all peacefully. Carter’s typically clean and stubble-free cheeks were now rough with the reddish-brown signs of painful burns. While many superficial cuts and scrapes dotted his cheeks and forehead, the most prominent of them was a deep, oozing, bright red gash above his left eyebrow that would eventually require stitches. The skin on the areas of his face that weren’t covered in burns or cuts was ghostly white, almost translucent. And, of course, the taped end of a respirator tube projected from his mouth.

Abby didn’t know why all of this bothered her so much. She was, after all, a nurse, who had almost become a doctor. She saw this kind of thing, sometimes much worse, in the ER every day, and yet this particular incident was very traumatizing for her.

But this wasn’t just some random patient from the ER, this was Carter. *Her* Carter.

What did he do to deserve this? Abby could think of nothing. She was the one who deserved this, not Carter. As she looked back on their friendship, she noticed, not for the first time, that she really hadn’t done anything outstanding or special for him. But she couldn’t count the number of things he’d done for her. She depended on him, and yet gave nothing to him in return. Why had he been her friend for this long?

There was an obvious answer, but it was one that Abby would never see. She lacked the self-confidence to admit it. Abby would never realize that Carter stuck around because of love. And it didn’t matter how much she loved him, because even if he loved her back, which she strongly doubted, she might never get to hear him say it.

There were so many questions without answers.


Part 3
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