Maybe I should start from the beginning.
The day before yesterday, I got a phone call from my little niece, Kayleigh. She wanted to check in, and said her daddy even had her call the operator to reach me so that she'd know how (Poor Des still thinks that's useful information). I told her that was great, and now that she had my number, she could call me anytime. Then Desmond got on the phone and we talked for a while and everything was rather nice. I told him how everybody was up here, and then he said that Kayleigh just remembered something she'd wanted to say.
"Aunt Celie, it's stormy where we live," she said.
"It's raining up here, too. We're not so far apart, see?" I said.
"Yeah, " she said. "I feel sad sometimes when it rains. But you shouldn't feel sad, Aunt Celie. The rain just means he's close by."
A jolt shot through my heart. She couldn't...he didn't...
"Who's close by, sweetie?"
"The Operator. He told me to tell you that when he helped me call you," she said. "He said he just wanted to be your friend, and didn't want to you feel sad. I said he should tell you himself, but he's shy."
"Oh." That was all I could say. My vocal chords were paralyzed.
"Are you there?"
"Yeah, honey, I'm here. I'm gonna let you go. Give the phone back to your dad for a few, okay? I love you."
"I love you, too, Aunt Celie. Bye."
The Desmond got back on the phone. I told him to talk to Kayleigh about talking to strangers.
Now, to the real matter at hand.
Yesterday, I'd been at work for about two hours when Riley rushed in. He came straight around, told me I had to come with him. I contested, and said I was working, and asked him whose blood he had on his shirt as I started to realize, with dread, that something horrible had happened. He said Violet was in the hospital. My manager was standing right there listening. He told me to go.
I came home just long enough to pick up a few things and write that last blog post, although I forgot my computer (sorry, guys). We made it down to the hospital in record time and went to see her, but the doctors said she couldn't take any visitors who weren't family just yet. Riley got upset, but I managed to calm him down. We waited for a long time.
Riley told me there that he'd been with her the night before. She'd been angry about something -- he noted she'd been moody since they'd fought last week -- when suddenly she looked past him out the window. Out of nowhere (that was his exact expression) she pulled a .22-caliber pistol, told him to get down, and fired. The window shattered, and she stood for a second before she screamed, bent over, and started coughing. Then came the blood. She kept coughing up huge amount of blood, all the way to the hospital. Riley told them he didn't know what was wrong -- which was more or less the truth.
The doctors gave us the scoop a few excrutiating hours later.
"She's stable," said the kind-faced woman in her forties who came to talk to us. "Are you sure you don't know what happened?"
We both said we didn't. What else could we say?
She proceeded to tell us that it was as though Violet's lung had been hit by something hard. Not her chest -- her lung. Left lung, to be precise. There was no outer bruising, no cracked, broken, or bruised ribs. It baffled them. From the outside, you would never have guessed anything was wrong. But she was bleeding inside her lung, and if it had been anywhere less noticable, she probably would have died, because no one would have seen enough to do anything.
We eventually got back to see her. She looked terrible. Skinnier than usual, with her big, brown eyes, and her hair coming back into brown because she hasn't bothered with dying it. She looked like a little doll in the hospital gown. Once her parents decided to give us a minute, we talked about what happened. She didn't have the energy to say much.
"Is it still raining?" she asked, her voice ragged and harsh.
I told her it was.