“You have to just take things one day at a time, that’s all you can do. Believe me, I’ve been where you are. I felt hopeless for the longest time but even when it seemed like everything was lost, I was still able to get a transplant and now I’m on the mend. You will be, too; before you know it. Don’t forget, you’ll be able to walk and surf again one day. It’s just going to take some time.”
“How did you do it, sis? How did you keep going?”
“You don’t have a choice. There are so many people that love you, so even if you can’t keep going for yourself, you have an obligation to make it through for them.”
“You can do this. I know you can. You’re not alone and none of the damage is permanent. You’re allowed to get mad. Do whatever you need to do to get by, but don't you dare give up? I’m not going to let you the same way you didn’t let me.”
“Sorry. I’m just having a shitty day.”
“No apology needed. It’s not like I haven’t dealt with one of your moods before.” She side eyed him and he rubbed his face in the palms of his hands to wipe away his tears.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Let’s see. There was the time when I fed your goldfish popcorn and it died. That was a pretty bad mood. Or when we swapped bedrooms because Mum said I needed more space for all my stuff. I recall that mood lasted for weeks on end.”
“I’m sensing someone’s not over it,” Sophia teased.
They both chuckled, and the air in the room felt lighter for it.
“How are you getting on? I’ve been so wrapped up in myself, I haven’t even asked.”
“Mostly, okay,” Sophia shrugged. “I sometimes get an aching pain in my side and across my back, but it usually comes on when I’ve done too much.”
“Have you been getting enough rest?”
“Yeah. It’s hard. I feel like I can’t settle.”
“I know what you mean. Are you sleeping?”
“Not really.” My mind is in overdrive.”
“It’s the same for me. Even with the painkillers to wash me out, I can’t seem to switch off.”
“I just keep thinking about what could have been and now I’ve been given this second chance, which is huge, and I worry I’m not doing enough with it.”
“You’re doing more than enough. All you need to do is keep getting stronger each day and everything else will fall into place.”
“And all you need to do is take your own advice. You’re looking at this all wrong, Emmet. When do you ever shrink from a challenge? That’s exactly what this is, a challenge and the more consistent you are with your physio, the stronger you'll get. Are you going to lay down and whine or are you going to blow their minds by how hard you work at recovery?” Sophia squeezed her brother’s bicep.
“Thanks.” Emmet grinned.
“For being here. For being normal with me and not treating me like I’m different.”
“You’re not different, just a bit beaten up.”
“There’s only you and Callie who recognize that. Everyone else seems to be struggling.”
“Give them time. Mum and Dad are just worried. They’ll back off when they see you’re okay.”
Sophia hugged her brother and left him to get some rest. Heading home, she hoped she could do the same, but what she said to Emmet was true. She hadn’t been able to settle since she had been discharged, and it bothered her more than she cared to admit.