Sophia spent the rest of the afternoon drinking coffee–well; in her case water–with the girls and by the time she sat down next to Emmet, she was exhausted and he could tell.
She was thinking the exact same thing about him.
Life had been kind to Emmet, and it usually showed on his smooth skin and the sparkle in his eyes, but tonight, he looked all of his twenty-two years. His stubble was thicker than usual and his sun kissed skin appeared pale.
“You don’t have to keep coming to see me. You were just here this morning.”
“I wanted to. How are you really doing? Mum and Dad have been here constantly, so I wanted to ask when they weren’t around.”
“Honestly, I’m not really in the mood to chat.”
“Yeah, they told me you’re not doing so well.”
“That’s what this is? They sent you to do what? Cheer me up?”
“Hey, don’t be like that.”
“Like what, Sophia? How exactly would you like me to be?”
“I just want you to be yourself.”
Emmet looked away and said nothing.
“That’s just it. I’m not myself, am I? I’m never going to be me again.”
His words resonated with her so much that tears pricked her eyes. She blinked them away, refusing to let him see her cry. The last thing he needed right now was pity.
“You are still you, Emmet. You're just going to have to make some adjustments. It might feel impossible for now, but I promise, things will get better.”
She could almost feel the frustration seeping from his pores and into the space between them.
“I literally can’t walk. What the hell am I supposed to do?”
“Rest mostly. Then, when the time’s right; get to work on your recovery.”
Emmet stared at the wall, dismissing her.
“So, what’s the plan?” She persisted. Are you just going to shut everyone out? Try to get through it alone? Because I can tell you I’ve been there and bought the T-shirt. It doesn’t work.”
Emmet continued to stare off at some non-existent spot on the wall and she shuffled forward slightly in her chair.
“You still have so much healing to do, and I understand that you're angry. Believe me, there’s been times I’ve been so mad I could kill someone, but in the end, you realise there's no point. It’s a total waste of energy that you could spend on fighting to get better.”
When he finally sought out eye contact with her, he was the one with tears in his eyes.
“You’re right. I just can’t help how I feel.”
“And how do you feel?”
“Angry. Devastated. Numb. I don’t even know because every time I get a chance to think about things, someone comes in to poke and prod me. Honestly, all I want to do is go home and pretend like this whole thing never happened.”
“Listen to me, the doctors here are the best. If they keep pestering you, it’s only because they want to do right by you. We will get you out of here as soon as we possibly can, but for now, you’re where you need to be.”
“I just keep thinking, of how long it’s going to be before I can walk again let alone surf?” Emmet broke down.
Sophia crumbled next to him. Her heart broke for him because she knew how terrified he must be feeling and understood how uncertain the future seemed for him. She had been in his shoes, but that didn’t help him at all and it didn’t make her feel any better about the situation.