As Imperceptibly as Grief

Part 3

Now I sit in the waiting room of this horrid hospital and rub my eyes. Relena is beside me, nursing a cup of coffee so full of cream it’s nearly white. She probably hates even that. Relena could never stand coffee, she thought it was too bitter. She didn’t even like the expensive expresso ice cream we had gotten when the cafe downtown had started serving it.

Quatre should be here any minute. I didn’t meet him at the airport, he didn’t expect me to. He would never want to inconvenience me and I hate him for it. I hate him because of everything he isn’t, because of everything he could never be, because of who he could never be. Quatre, who doesn’t drink or smoke. Who sends all his clothes out to the cleaner’s every other week like clock work. Who drinks tea with just a hint of sugar and loves fruit of almost every kind. Who uses baby shampoo in his fine hair so it won’t go limp as soon as he steps out of the apartment.

I shouldn’t hate him because of those things. But I do.

A nurse walks out of my father’s room, glancing at me with disapproving eyes, as if she knew I didn’t love him either. But she doesn’t know who I am; what I went through as a child. Who is she to pass judgments? Who am I to do the same? To hate him because he sleeps on sheets of every imaginable color when I would be happy with gray. I would kill for gray.

Relena is looking at me now. “Are you okay, Heero? You look a little pale.”

I don’t even bother to force a smile like I once did. “I’m fine.”

“What’s bothering you, Heero?” She takes another sip of her tepid coffee, as if the answer doesn’t matter.

“Just being back here. I didn’t expect it to be so much like it was.”

Relena nods. “I know what you mean. This place is full of ghosts.”

I carefully look her over for the first time since my arrival. Her hair is the same wheat blonde as always, clipped back behind her in an almost half hearted attempt to get it out of her face. She is clad in her customary pink, this time a thick sweater to fight off the autumn chill and a long pleated white skirt that for some reason goes with the shirt.

“One in particular,” I mumble and rub my eyes again. They hurt a little more than they should. I know the usual pain of long hours without sleep. This isn’t one of them.

Relena lowers her paper cup and looks over at me. She opens her mouth to say something, then closes it and gazes at the door again. She doesn’t want to mention him. Or maybe she doesn’t remember either. Maybe he managed to allude all of us in some bizarre fluke of memory. Maybe he left this place, never to be recalled in the town that caused him so much pain.

“Did you ever hear from Trowa,” she asks, skillfully avoiding the subject at hand.

I shake my head no. We were never that close of friends, no matter how much time we spent together. He used to say that we were both to reserved to really bond. He was right. I never bonded with anyone but him.

Look what good it did me.

Now I’m in a town I had long put in my past, waiting for the lover I hate to arrive so that my father can die. And I don’t care one way or another if either ever happens. I just want to forget.