On the day of my discharge, Ming came by with Lara. He had borrowed his dad's car and was going to help send us back. I had some difficulty moving around and was leaning against him for support. I was expecting a pig sty when I reached home but the place was actually neat and tidy. “You cleaned the house?” I asked Lara, surprised.
She smiled sheepishly and replied, “Actually Ming came by yesterday and helped tidy the place a little. He just helped with the living room.” I couldn't help but feel a little jealous. Ming helped me all the way to bed. Lara wasn't lying, the bedroom was in a mess. The blankets were thrown on the floor and there were sheets of papers scattered on the floor and bed. “Oops,” said Lara. She quickly picked up the papers. Ming gently helped me get on the bed.
“Has there always only been one bed?” Ming asked, looking around, suspiciously.
I answered quickly, “Yes, but I don't really sleep on the bed.”
“We only slept together once,” Lara answered, much to my horror. I could see Ming's eyes widened.
“No no, we just slept! Ouch!” I cried. I was waving my arms too much that I felt that sharp pain again.
“Bunny! Are you okay?” Lara asked, rushing to my side.
“I'm alright. I just got a little worked up. Ming, would you like to stay for lunch?”
“It's okay, I have class later. Take care Ethan,” he said. He said bye to Lara and left the house. He must have felt awkward around us. I was thankful for all he has done though. I looked over at Lara, she seemed oblivious to everything. She was sitting next to me on the bed and just staring at me.
“What are you doing? Is there something on my face?” I asked.
“I feel like it has been so long since I've seen you. You actually do have a pretty face, Bunny,” she said.
“Thanks,” I said, slightly uncomfortable by her gaze. I couldn't look her in the eye and started to look at the bedsheets.
“You don't have to worry about anything, Bunny, I will take good care of you. I will make sure you are well fed and cleaned,” she said.
“Cleaned? It's alright Lara, you don't have to bother too much about me. I can move around by myself. You should really just focus on your book.”
“But Bunny, even though my writing is important, you are important too. Shouldn't life be the most important thing?” she asked.
“Life?” I wondered. I didn't think my life had much value. I didn't even know why I didn't die from the accident. It might have been less painful for Lara if I did die, at least she would remember me fondly.
“I'll go cook for you some lunch. You can just rest,” she said. I thought she looked happy. I fumbled around in my bag for my mobile phone and tried to call Annabelle. The call wouldn't even get through. I needed to ask her about Lara. I'm sure the private investigator would have gotten pictures of Lara by now, and what was Annabelle going to do with that information?
I glanced at the calendar. Two more months and Lara will turn twenty-five. Her birthday was on the first of December and she will become a millionaire. I was intending to pull the cancer card on her, although I didn't know if I was prepared for the flood of tears she would shed after hearing the news. I reminded myself that the more she cries, the more willing she would be to part with a million dollars. I hated myself for thinking that.
“I cooked lunch,” said Lara, entering the room, holding a tray. “It's macaroni soup,” she said, brightly. , placing the tray on the drawers next to the bed. She scooped some macaroni and soup and fed me.
“How is it?” she asked. The soup tasted like water while the macaroni was crunchy.
“It's good,” I said, forcing a smile. She was satisfied with my answer and continued feeding me. “I'll pass you your medicine after this. It is supposed to make you drowsy too.”
Drowsy? I felt like I slept enough for a lifetime at the hospital. I really didn't want to sleep anymore.
“Tell me about your story,” I said. I had taken my medicine and was trying to keep awake.
“Well, I have yet to write the ending, but I think the rabbit dies in the end,” she said.
“Really? That is such a tragic children story,” I said.
“Well, he was sick for a long time and his final wish was to see snow. Although, being in Singapore, it would never snow. But the rabbit wouldn't know that.”
“Could you let me read what you have written so far? Could you print it out?” I asked.
“Sure, it is still in the unedited form though.”
“Go and write it then, you don't have to stay by my side, I'm not going anywhere.”
“Alright, I'll pass you what I've written so far and then I will get back to my writing. Just shout if you need me,” she said, reluctantly standing up.
She passed me raw copies of her unfinished manuscript. The story was about two pets, a rabbit and a dog who were abandoned by their owners and they become friends in an animal shelter. The rabbit was grumpy and cynical while the dog was naive and childlike. Despite their differences, they become good friends and had interesting conversations. I really like what she had written so far. It was simple, yet sad although I think it may be too adult for a children story.
I took out my sketchbook and started to draw the two characters. I wanted to draw scenes from the story and give it to Lara as a birthday present. It was going to be part of my goodbye present to her.
I did not see her till later that evening. She entered the bedroom with a tray and I knew that she had cooked dinner. I quickly hid my drawings under the pillow. “I cooked pasta,” she said, looking proud at herself. I appreciated the effort, but was rather apprehensive about it.
“Are you feeling better?” she asked, placing the tray on the drawers. She looked at me closely and placed her hand on my forehead.
“I'm doing fine. I don't have a fever. Have you eaten too?” I asked. There was only one plate of pasta on the tray and dinner was a weird mess of tomato sauce with roughly cut hot dogs on top.
“I've eaten, you don't have to worry about me.”
“What happened to your hand?” I cried, suddenly clutching Lara's hand. There was plasters on the thumb and ring finger.
“It's nothing, just a small cut,” she said, moving her hand away from mine. She took a fork and started to twirl the pasta. I realised that she had cut herself while preparing dinner.
“Lara, hands are very important for a writer. You don't have to cook, you can just buy some food from the hawker centre downstairs,” I said. Lara looked sad hearing me say that. Without a word, she fed me some pasta which tasted like rubber bands. Not that I would know how rubber bands tastes like, but the pasta felt stretchy and tough.
“I really like what you have written so far,” I said, hoping to cheer her up. She had finished feeding me the dinner and I managed to swallow it down with some difficulty.
“Really? Thank you. I'm almost done,” she said. Lara let out a loud yawn and stretched.
“If you are tired, you can sleep here too, there's enough space for two,” I said. I inched myself to the other side of the bed. Actually, the bed was single sized, but I figured since the two of us were on the skinny side.
“If you don't mind, I'll take a short nap,” she said, lying down next to me. “But if I start kicking in my sleep, please wake me up.” She shut her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
We were so close to each other that our bodies touched. She turned in her sleep, and she was sleeping, facing me. I noticed that she was getting skinnier. This silly girl was not eating properly and even hurting herself because of me. I looked at Lara's sleeping face and noticed that her eyelashes were actually long and pretty. Her pink lips were a sharp contrast to her fair skin while her neck was long and slender. I could smell the faint scent of her hair. She was using the same shampoo as me and it had a green tea fragrance. I wasn't expecting it, but I felt my heart beat faster. Having Lara next to me like this, was making it hard to sleep. Well, I guess, that is a good thing, I thought, as I stared at the ceiling.
No matter what happens in the future. No matter how bad the future becomes, I am glad that we have met and I hope you will not think too badly of me. But maybe that is just me being greedy. I closed my eyes and tried to get some rest.