A Special Place--Part Six--Matt
I got to school just in time for the bell, but I knew that I did need to talk with my teachers--actually only two, German and AP calculus since I would talk to Mom and Dad at home. Oh yes, I would also have to talk with my music teacher. I had decided to ask for the recital to be postponed. Since it had not been announced, that shouldn't be any problem, but calculus was a definite problem. My usual A's had dropped to C's and I didn't need to have that on my record. German. . .well, you never knew what Frau Holzhauser would do about anything except she wasn't going to put much effort into it. The real problem I faced was coming up with a reason for my grades having taken a nose dive. I knew that my teachers had seen me half asleep in class, at best and, at worst, completely zoned out. And there was no way I could tell them the real reason. After each class, I made an appointment for after school. All day long I was thinking about what I would tell them.
At lunch I sat with Mary Kathryn and Michael and the usual gang. Every day the conversation revolved around how Luke was doing and, of course, why he had done what he had. There were all sorts of theories. The one I liked best was that he had gotten a girl pregnant and she had an abortion. It was kinda hard for Mary Kathryn, Michael and me to keep a straight face when that suggestion came up. Of course, any comment on Luke's condition had to come from Mary Kathryn and she could only say what her parents had told her even though I kept Michael and her more up-to-date than her parents could.
I hadn't had a chance to tell them of my morning visit so just before lunch was over, I told Mary Kathryn I needed to talk with her. We went outside and I gave her the good news. She, of course, would fill in Michael as soon as she could.
When my last period was over, I went to see my music teacher rather than going to St. Mary's. I told him that I would like to postpone the recital because there was a possibility Luke would be out of the hospital before long and that he had been very interested in my music and, in fact, had asked me to compose a piece which I was working on. (Not quite true, he had jokingly suggested I write a piece called "Luke." At the time I had laughed with him, but something was stirring in the back of my composing brain. I had no idea where it would lead, if anywhere, but I could sense it was there.) "I know he will need all the encouragement he can get to get over whatever pushed him to attempt suicide and I think hearing a piece he wanted might help and I really would like for him to hear it if he makes it and gets out of the hospital."
"That is a very thoughtful gesture, Matt, and since, as you said, we have never set an official date, you can have the extra time if you can arrange it with Fr. Tom. We'll talk about a date next week or so, but so long as Fr. Tom allows the use of St. Mary's and there's time to give it publicity, there'll be no problem." One down and two to go. I still didn't know what I would say to my German and calculus teachers.
Mr. Mitchell, the AP calculus teacher, was very hard-nosed. He reminded me of how little attention I had been paying in class, that I had not kept up with my homework and had made a D on the last test. "Are you doing drugs?" he asked after telling me what I already knew, that I was doing poorly.
"No, Sir!" I exclaimed. "I have never touched even a cigarette! It's just that since my very best friend, Luke Larsen, attempted suicide, I haven't been able to keep focused. I heard that it looks as if he is going to make it and I also realized that I had to bear down and get to work or my grades would be a big problem. I promise I will be focused for the rest of the year and I will get some tutoring help to cover materials I really didn't get in class because I wasn't attending to your instruction. And if you could give me a week to turn in the homework I missed and to retake the test, I would deeply appreciate it."
"Well, you also know the AP test is coming up shortly and that is extremely important. I am a bit hesitant about cutting you the slack you ask for. I'm afraid it might set a precedent. Next year you will be gone, but I will still be here and once you do something special, it becomes expected."
"I understand, Sir, and I appreciate your time and your giving me the reason for not making an exception. Thank you very much."
"I said I was hesitant, Matt. I didn't say that I wouldn't. Since you take full responsibility for your situation and have always been a sterling and respectful student, I am going to make that exception."
"Thank you very much, Sir. You don't know how much I appreciate it. One further question, could you suggest a tutor for me?"
"Matt, I don't know of one better than myself. I'll be willing to give you two hours a week after school provided you really put forth the effort to catch up."
I was thunderstruck! I grabbed Mr. Mitchell's hand and shook it firmly. "I promise to make you proud, Mr. Mitchell. I promise." I couldn't believe my luck! Only one more teacher to go and I would have my work cut out for me and the possibility of keeping my 4.0.
Frau Holzhauser was, essentially, lazy. I hate to have to say it, but the German you learned in her class, you pretty much learned on your own. But in an attempt, I suppose, to appear to be a hard teacher, she could make it really rough on students in subtle ways--often, I felt, unfairly. I didn't know what to expect. I told her the same thing I had told Mr. Mitchell and then had to endure a lecture on suicide and how teenagers were not old enough to have problems which could drive them to suicide. I listened politely then lied through my teeth. Hey, I once heard that there is an unknown Old Testament book of Hezekiah which opens with the verse, "A lie is an abomination in the sight of the Lord, but a ready help in a time of trouble." If there's no such verse anywhere, there should be when you have to deal with the Frau Holzhausers of the world.
After her lecture, she gave me a box of cassette tapes, told me to listen to them and she would given me a test on them in a week. The grade I made on the test would replace all my recent bad grades. That was a snap because I knew she wouldn't put much effort into the tests and, besides, the tapes came with a self-test. She always picked out a few items from it as "her" test. After I thanked her and left, I looked at the box and realized these were the tapes we had used in class shortly before Luke tried to take his life and, knowing her, I suspect she will give me the same test she had given to the class after we had listened to the tapes. Nonetheless, I was going to be a very busy young man for the next few weeks. Plus, I thought as I walked to my Jeep, "I still have to deal with my hardest teachers at dinner tonight."
Dealing with all the school mess, I had completely forgotten about my pager when suddenly something started vibrating in my pocket. I pulled it out and checked the number. I raced to the Jeep and grabbed my cell phone and dialed the number.
"I figured it would be you. They moved Luke about noon today. Can't promise anything, but the charge nurse on second floor just called to tell me she thinks Luke may be waking up. How she knows, I don't know. He's in room 218."
"Thanks, Chelsea, I'm already on my way." I made it to the hospital in record time, skidded into a parking place, raced into the building and took the stairs to second floor two at a time. By the time I slid to a stop before room 218, I was completely out of breath. "Man, I have got to get back on some sort of training schedule," I thought, gasping for breath.
When I entered the room I was surprised to see both Chelsea and Gladys there. I must have shown my surprise because Chelsea said, "Gladys got a friend to cover for her and called me at home so we could be here. We figured you would want a bit of privacy should Luke wake up--or not for that matter--and since we've been here all the time, thought you'd be just as private with us as without."
"Thanks a million although I do hope the day comes when I will not feel I have privacy with you two around."
"Already Lover Boy is making plans for some heavy making out, I can tell," Gladys laughed.
"Girl, you want to place any money on it stopping at making out?" Chelsea asked.
Both laughed as, yes, I turned ten shades of red. "Matt, Luke has been stirring around as if he is trying to wake up for about half an hour now. Everything looks normal, but you never know. He may just drop off to sleep again. But let's go on in," Gladys said, pushing the door open. Luke lay in bed, only slightly elevated now, an IV in his left arm and a nasal oxygen tube. I walked over to his bed, looked at him for a long minute. He was so beautiful, even with the ravages of what he had been through, and I loved him so very, very much. I bent over him, my hair--it was still loose--cascaded around his head, enclosing us in a very private world. I leaned forward slowly until my lips touch his.
His lips were so warm and soft. Carefully I kissed him. I placed my face beside his and whispered, "Luke Hans Larsen, I love you with all my heart, mind, body, and soul. I love you with my whole being."
In a whisper so soft I almost didn't hear, Luke said, "And I love you too, Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf."
His voice faded as he said my name, but he said it! When I raised up, I was staring into the most beautiful blue eyes in the world and Luke was smiling."Yes!" I shouted. "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
Gladys and Chelsea finally got me to realize where I was and that shouting in a hospital is not exactly good form. Then the two went over to Luke to check everything. He remained awake and seemed to have just awaken from sleep. When he tried to talk, Chelsea stopped him and told him his throat needed time to heal from the ventilator so he should write what he had to say as she and Gladys left the room.
He was so weak writing was difficult so he just wrote, "Tell me."
I recounted most of what had happened, including that I had spent each night with him. He wrote, "Parents?" and I told him they knew nothing, including the fact that I had been with him. He nodded, indicating he understood.
Chelsea and Gladys came back and gave me the word that Luke needed to rest and I could come back later. I told him I would be back for a short visit, but I knew Mary Kathryn would want to see him and not to be surprised if Michael came with her. Now that he was well on his way to recovery, I had to get busy on school work. He nodded. Once again I leaned over his bed and kissed him on the lips. As my hair covered the two of us Luke said, "You have the most wonderful scent in the whole world and I love you," in a voice I could hardly hear, but my heart certainly heard his words!
As I had suspected, the hardest teachers I had sat down after dinner with me. Of course, they knew the reason for my current situation and had not harassed me at all during the time I was spending nights at Luke's bedside, and for that I was thankful, but that didn't mean I got off lightly.
After I told them of my conversations with my three other teachers, they told me how proud they were of me for taking responsibility for my education. While they would never criticize another teacher--nor allow me to do so--they did smile when I told them about Frau Holzhauser. I told them the whole story of my conversation with Mr. Mitchell and Dad said, "You should not only appreciate what he is doing for you, but also accept it was a high compliment. Ron is an excellent teacher, but does not suffer fools gladly! Mom joined in Dad's and my laughter.
"Now it's time to deal with two real hard noses! Mom, do you want to go first, or shall I?"
Mom said, "I suspect you have more to tell Matt than I, so I'll take care of the kitchen." Of course, under ordinary circumstances, taking care of the kitchen after dinner was my job, but circumstances were not ordinary.
"Matt, I'm going to give you the same breaks I give other students who have a good reason for falling behind in class." He didn't have to emphasize reason because I knew he made a very distinct difference between reasons and excuses. "You are two weeks behind in your lab work, have a test you need to retake and do all the review sheets in preparation for the AP test. I have been wondering whether or not to suggest that students be limited in the number of AP classes they can take. You and Luke both are carrying three--AP English, physics, and calculus. That is a big load in the best of times. You know what you have to do. This Saturday is one of those I set aside for makeup lab work for those who are willing to give up a Saturday to catch up. Any questions?" Dad may as well have been in class!
"No Sir, Mr. Greywolf, Sir. May I be excused to talk to my mother now?" I said in a little kid's voice.
Dad laughed, hugged me, and said, "Matt, I know you have a heavy load right now and we will do all we can to lighten it for you. Your mom and I will take care of your chores so you can devote all your time to the school work you must do. Plus, of course, we do expect you to spend some time with Luke. We're not monsters, you know."
"Dad, you don't know how much I love and appreciate you and Mom. I always have, even when I haven't been too good about showing it, but I really become overwhelmed when I realize how much you love and care for me."
"Son, you must never forget, even when we disagree and maybe even hurt each other, that you are your mother's and my Sarang Hanun Pomul, our Beloved treasure."
I couldn't stop the tears of joy, nor did I try, as I wrapped my arms around my precious father.
He became a bit teary eyed himself and then said, "Also, soon as Luke is able, I expect you to do all you can to get him back into the running for a 4.0. That's going to mean doing some hard work on both your parts with a minimum of making out during study time!"
I decided to ignore his last statement and didn't even blush. Then I asked him, "Do you think it is possible for Luke to get caught up? I mean he probably won't be out of the hospital for another week and no one knows whether or not he has brain damage from . . . ."
"I talked with Jens this afternoon. He said all tests indicate Luke has no permanent damage, period. He, of course, has to repair a lot of physical damage, his emotions will really be on edge--he becomes angry, even enraged, weeps without apparent reason, etc.--but basically, physical therapy will take care of the physical damage and time will take care of the emotional. Of course, he will tire easily for some time, but, yes, I think he can do it--with your help. You both have the intelligence and I hope the will to do what has to be done. You have the brains and I hope you will both keep them in your head rather than your crotch!"
"Dad!" I said and this time I did blush.
Dad laughed and gave me a hug, then called out, "Omoni, are you ready to talk to your man-child?"
"As soon as I get my hands dry. Actually, it shouldn't take long." When Mom came into the library, she was very much my AP English teacher. "Matthew, you have an essay and a book review overdue and need to be reviewing for the AP test. I'll be happy to tutor you for the latter and the other two are due a week from Friday or there will be penalty." I knew that had any other student gone to Mom and asked what they needed to do to get their grade back up, they would have received exactly the same answer. Luke, Luke, Luke, you had better do a speedy recovery or you'll never get out of school!
I had always appreciated the fact that school was school and home was home. I got no breaks because I was the son of teachers, but never was I subjected to having my parents prove I got no favors by demanding more of me than they demanded of all their students--their very best.
The week which followed quickly fell into a routine for me: I got up early, showered, dressed and had breakfast with my parents. They certainly were happy to have me back in the morning and I felt lucky that I had them, period. After breakfast, I made a quick trip to see Luke, then to school. After school, I stopped by to see Luke before going to St. Mary's to practice three days and the other two days I worked out before going to Mr. Mitchell for tutoring in calculus. I knew I would get into shape faster if I started running again, but until Luke was out of the hospital, seeing him was much more important. My visits were short because I had to really pour on the steam to get caught up.
The second day after he regained consciousness, the physical therapist had Luke out of bed and walking. By the third day he was in a regular physical therapy program. Twice a day sessions were getting him back into some kind of shape and he was eating like a horse and regaining the weight he had lost. Extensive tests over a period of a week showed absolutely no permanent damage, physically or mentally. I started taking him assignments so he could get some school work done.
While there was no permanent damage, he was very emotional. He had not become angry with me, but he had been a real prick to some of the staff. Fortunately, they realized what was going on and never took it personally. With me, he was very prone to burst into tears for no apparent reason. I had talked with both Dr. Bailey and Dr. Walker to make sure the good reports weren't just for public consumption, and both assured me that Luke was perfectly ok and would be over the emotional outbursts soon.
A week after he regained consciousness, Dr. Walker came in with Dr. Bailey shortly after I arrived from school. "I probably should wait until later when your parents come in," Dr. Walker said, "but I think we have put up with you and fed you long enough. Tomorrow we'll do some final tests, then you can go home." Luke immediately burst into tears and couldn't seem to stop. I climbed on the bed and held him tightly until his sobbing finally stopped.
"There is a very serious matter we need to talk about," Dr. Walker said, and looked at me. "Matt, does Luke know the history of the letter?"
I had intended to talk with Luke about his letter and the people who knew about it and us, but it never seemed to be the right time. I hung my head and stared at the floor and whispered, "No."
"Were you afraid to tell him," Dr. Bailey asked.
Again, in a whisper, I answered "Yes."
"I thought you had learned about trust and fear, Matt. What happened?"
"Luke seemed so weak and frail until just recently and then I have had so little time with him, I spent it. . . ."
"Telling him you loved him?"
I looked at Luke when Dr. Bailey said that and saw at once he was very angry. So much for not getting angry at me!
"You told her! You told her something nobody except you should know! You want us to get the shit beat out of us, or even killed? How can you say you love me when you run around telling everyone a secret which could get us both rejected by all our family and friends--and worse? Do you want what happened to Gregory to happen to you? To me? To us? How could you!" Luke shouted, turned his back to me and faced the wall, silent. Then I saw his body shaking with sobs. I reached out to take him in my arms, but he shoved me away. "It would have been better had you not made it to the falls, then all this would have been over! Life was beginning to be worthwhile, to be wonderful and now we will live in hell!"
I couldn't believe the words coming from Luke's mouth with such anger and bitterness. I thought of all the nights I had spent in this place, and while I had been an emotional rock for almost a month now, it all caught up with me. I was angry; I was hurt; I was bewildered. "Then just fuck you, Asshole!" I cried out in my pain.
"You wish, Dickhead," he shouted back.
Turning, tears streaming I ran from his room, out the entrance and jumped into my Jeep. Now I felt like jumping into the river, but I wouldn't give Luke that satisfaction. With my eyes pouring tears, I raced out of the hospital parking lot.
A Special Place--Six--Luke
I kept trying to wake up, but couldn't seem to leave sleep behind. I knew Matt had been to see me, kissed me as his hair fell over my face, its perfume as wonderful as ever. Some time later I realized I was being moved. I didn't know what was going on, but I was still trying to get awake. After I had been moved, I was exhausted and drifted into deep sleep. When I became aware again, I started struggling to wake up. I was conscious of moving around in the bed. I was also knew that I was no longer attached to machines. My throat was very sore, but I was thankful I could feel.
Suddenly I felt Matt's presence in my room. I could sense that he was drawing near, then I knew he was bending over me. I felt his hair fall about my face and the smell of Matt became my whole world for a moment. I expected a kiss on the forehead and wanted so much to wake up so I could see him as he bent over me. Instead, I felt his lips against mine, warm, soft, gentle. When he had kissed me, he put his cheek against mine and whispered into my ear, "Luke Hans Larsen, I love you with all my heart, mind, body and soul. I love you, Luke, with my whole being."
His words were enough to pull me from the Land of Sleep into the World of Awareness and I spoke--softly because my throat was sore and I had little strength--"And I love you too Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf." I was aware that after each word, my voice became weaker, but I said it all, the words I had wanted to say for a very long time.
When I had finished speaking, Matt raised up and gazed into my eyes. I could have fallen into the depths of those black eyes, sparkling with love, excitement, and joy. A huge smile spread across his beautiful face. Suddenly he shouted "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
Two nurses came running into the room to get him quieted down. One of them, Chelsea--how did I know that before I saw her name tag?--told me I needed to refrain from talking because my throat needed to heal from the time I had been on the ventilator. I didn't know what she was talking about, but I did know my throat sure was sore. She gave me a pad and pencil and told me to write what I wanted to say. The two nurses then checked me out and told Matt I needed to rest. He asked for ten more minutes and Chelsea said, "Ten minutes, no more." I wrote on the pad, "Tell all."
Matt told me how my mom had called, how he had found me near death, floating in the river, and how it looked as though I was not going to make it. He said he had put on my clothes because he had jumped in the river with his on and had gone to our house to get Mom. He said when he discovered the letter, he realized what a fool he had been and how much we had suffered because we did not trust our friendship. When the doctors had decided I was willing myself dead, he had managed to get them let him stay with me every night since I had dived into the river.
By the time he had finished, tears were pouring down my cheeks and I could not stop them. He held me in his arms until I gained control then laid my head back against the pillow. Suddenly very frightened, I grabbed the pad and wrote "Parents?". He told me they knew nothing of the letter or the fact that he had spent every night with me.
"Luke, I have to go," he said, as he again leaned over me, creating a private place with a cascade of hair, and kissed me, less gently than before; he kissed with greater passion and love.
I wrote, "Come back?" and Matt said he would, but it would be only for a short time. Now that I was awake, he told me, earlier plans for his having the extra bed in my room were scratched. Since I was in my own room, he was free to come and go as he pleased since the hospital had open visiting hours. But he had to keep visits short because he had met with all his teachers except his mom and dad and have a shit load of work to do to get caught up and pull his grades up. Knowing Matt, I realized how much he had sacrificed because his grades had dropped because he had been with me. As Matt leaned over me to kiss me, I was barely able to speak, but managed to say, "You have the most wonderful scent in the whole world and I love you!"
"And I love you too, Luke," Matt said as he, once again, kissed me gently on the lips, turned and left the room.I couldn't believe how lucky I was to have failed at doing something! I had failed in my suicide attempt and, as a result, the man I loved was holding me, kissing me and telling me he loved me!
When an orderly brought my dinner, I realized I was starved, but the food looked terrible. It looked like baby food! I rang for the nurse and asked the meaning of the mess. She told me because of the ventilator, my throat needed time to heal and that regular food would slow down the process, even if I could get solid food down. Realizing I had no choice, I tried to eat what had been given me and discovered that other than the texture, it wasn't bad. In fact, I ate it all including spinach which not only looked terrible, but also was on my "Never Eat" list.
Shortly after dinner, Mom and Dad came and were overjoyed to see me awake. When I saw them I was both happy and ashamed. I started weeping uncontrollably again. After I regained control--Mom held me like a baby until I could--I asked about Mary Kathryn. Mom said she would come over later. She had started on her homework and wanted to finish. She said Matt had said she could come with him because he and Michael were planning on coming later.I expected to be quizzed on why I had attempted suicide, but it was never mentioned. I am sure that was because my parents had been told I was not to talk.
Writing on a pad is sure a poor means of communication and after about an half an hour, I was exhausted. My parents realized this and after Mom had kissed me on the cheek and Dad had patted me on the shoulder, they left. I was completely exhausted and realized that one reason was because I expected them to open the question of the suicide attempt. I gradually relaxed and before I knew it, I was asleep.
An hour or so later, I awoke when I felt Matt's presence again. This was getting to be kinda creepy since he wasn't in the room when I awoke, but I knew he was near. Sure enough, he, Michael, and Mary Kathryn walked into the room just as my eyes were fully open. Once again the gang was together and it felt great. Matt walked over to my bed, smiled, bent over and kissed me on the lips.
"What in the hell did you do that for?" I asked. "Can't you see there are people present?"
"They know Luke. They have known longer than I have."
"Yea," Michael said, "when you were showing me your new computer, you left and before you did, you opened your journal file. I know I shouldn't have, but I read the day before's entry about how you felt about Matt. Matt told me about his feeling toward you because he felt I should know since we have no secrets. Right? And Mary Kathryn knows because I told her since we have no secrets." With those words, he pulled Mary Kathryn to himself and gave her a soft kiss.
I grabbed the pad and wrote "You 2?"
Michael and Mary Kathryn replied in one voice, "Yes!"
I smiled and wrote--4 2 gether always!"
As much as I wanted to be with the other three members of The Gang of Four, I was becoming very tired. I could hardly keep my eyes open. Sensing this, Matt said they had to go. Mary Kathryn kissed me on the cheek; Michael gave me a hug and Matt kissed me again and said, "Good night, Sweet Prince. I love you!"
I returned his kiss and said, "Good night, Beloved Treasure." Soon I was sound asleep, dreaming real dreams of Matt.
In the week which followed, Matt came before and after school for short visits. In the afternoon he brought some short assignments. I tried to concentrate on school work as much as possible, but found that when I was trying to do something and didn't understand it, I became violently angry or else burst into tears. My emotions were utterly out of control. I was also having physical therapy twice a day and when I couldn't do something or when I became very tired, I also lost emotional control. I asked Dr. Walker about it and he said it was just a side effect of what I had been through and it would eventually take care of itself.
I kept expecting someone to at least ask why I had attempted suicide, but no one did. I knew that Michael and Mary Kathryn--my little sister in love with my best friend (Matt is my love, more than a best friend)--knew, but why hadn't someone else asked? The week after I had regained consciousness, Matt came by after school. By now I was free of all tubes, machines, and monitors. I could talk without a problem. Accordingly, Matt didn't need to ask for the kisses I felt he had earned for standing by me all those lonely nights and I was ready and eager to start paying back! As his lips pressed against mine, I felt his tongue seeking entrance to my mouth. For the first time in my life, I experienced the passion of a deep French kiss. I loved it! But in the midst of the kiss there was a knock on the door and we broke it off.
Dr. Walker and Dr. Bailey (Matt told me he thought she and David Andrews should get it together and I agreed. She was a real looker even if she was a she!) came in. Dr. Walker told me that if the tests scheduled for early tomorrow proved as good as he was sure they would, I could go home. I was, again, overcome by emotions and started weeping uncontrollably. Matt climbed on the bed beside me and took me in his arms and held me tight until I finally regained control. I hated this emotional turmoil I was in constantly. When I finally stopped crying, Dr. Walker said there was something serious that needed discussing and asked Matt if he had told me about the letter.
I didn't know what he meant until he and Dr. Bailey kept questioning Matt. Matt seemed to be making excuses about something and when he said he had too little time to talk about the letter, Dr. Bailey asked if he was afraid to tell me and Matt said he was. She said she thought he had learned about trust and fear. Matt hung his head. I didn't understand what was going on. Then when Matt said he had so little time with me he spent it. . . . When he paused, Dr. Bailey said, "Telling him you loved him." I couldn't believe it! After what had happened to Gregory, Matt was exposing himself to the same thing. I was frightened for myself, but more so for my Matt. I was terrified of what would happen because people knew. What would our parents do? What had they decided to do already? What would people at school do? There were other jocks to treat us the same way those five jerks had treated Geogory! I panicked, then literally saw red. My anger knew no bounds. I was not just angry at Matt, but at the world and the people who killed and mistreated and damned us because we loved. But Matt was the focus of my unmitigated anger. I don't know what I shouted at Matt. I was so angry I was beyond thinking, beyond rationality, beyond caring. Matt tried to take me in his arms, but I shoved him away. As I continued to heap abuse on him, Matt finally shouted at me, "Fuck you, Asshole!."
I responded, "You wish, Dickhead!" as he ran from the room, tears streaming. My anger turned to fear, panic, hopelessness. I wanted to die.
Pretty melodramatic, but then so is life much of the time. Do hope the story is interesting enough to keep you reading.