Notice: Possible Trigger warnings for this chapter
About 6 months after we brought Corinna home from the hospital Tarik started getting really bad headaches that made him dizzy and nauseous.
They got so bad sometimes that he couldn’t keep down any food.
I started researching online and thought it was possible he was having severe migraines. It took some convincing but I managed to convince him to see a doctor. The headaches were so bad that he couldn’t even hold Corinna anymore.
We went to the doctor and he ran a bunch of tests including an MRI and CT scan.
“Mr. and Mrs. Equidae, I looked over the test results and I am afraid I have some bad news. The MRI showed a mass in Tarik’s brain. Unfortunately due to the size and location it is inoperable. I am sorry.”
We both sat there shocked. Not even sure how to process this.
“So what he just goes home and gets worse?” I asked.
“No there are some treatments we can try that we hope will shrink the tumor. If that works we may be able to reevaluate the surgery option. If you are interested we would like to begin treatment right away.”
Tarik checked into the hospital and began treatment immediately. His nurse was named Jenny and she was really nice. The hospital had a daycare center for the employees families but she made arrangements for Corinna to go there during the day so I could be with Tarik.
“How are you feeling today, Mr. Equidae?” she asked as she came to check his vitals.
“Please call me Tarik. Ok, so far I am not having any of the side affects from the medication that Dr. Lawrence mentioned.”
“That’s great. I will note that on your chart but please let me know if that changes ok.”
I stayed with Tarik at the hospital. I took a leave of absence from work but would monitor things from my laptop while Tarik slept.
The medications were hard on Tarik’s body and over time he lost his hair and a lot of weight. He was so weak he couldn’t get out of bed without help.
He had some good days and on those I would wheel him outside to a small garden were he could enjoy the fresh air and hold Corinna for a little bit.
Other days would be bad were he seemed to spend the whole day in the bathroom getting sick.
Katrina Pala often came by to visit me in the hospital. We had become close friends during the time I had worked for her at Landgrab Inc.
“How’s he doing?” she asked as she pulled me into a hug.
“Today is not a good day I said. He was really sick all morning.”
“What have the doctors said?”
“They are running some tests this afternoon. They should be able to give me an update in the morning.”
“Well if you need anything just let me know. And don’t worry about work. Your job will be waiting for you whenever you are ready and able to come back.”
“Thanks, Kat. I appreciate it.”
The next morning Dr. Lawrence and Nurse Jenny came into Tarik’s room.
“Did you get the results of the lab work back?” I asked.
“Yes and I am afraid the results are not good. The tumor on his brain is not shrinking like we had hoped and the treatments are taking a tole on the rest of his organs. We can try a different treatment but I am not sure it will be worth it. To be honest I will be surprised if he makes it to the end of the week.”
After hearing the news I needed to get some air. I didn’t want Tarik to see me crying when he woke up.
Once I went back inside I was surprised to see Tarik was awake and seemed to be having a great day. We went out to the courtyard and he even managed to get up out of his wheelchair. He pulled me into his arms and said, “Can I have this dance?”
“But there is no music,” I laughed.
“We can make our own,” he said.
We swayed back and forth for a bit and then Tarik pulled me closer and kissed me. “I love you so much,” he said.
“I love you too.”
“When I am gone I want you to move on. Find someone who can love you like I do. Someone who can be a father to Corinna.”
“No please don’t talk like this. You are going to be fine. The doctors are going to figure something out.”
“I am dying Bri. There is nothing they can do. I have accepted it and you need to do the same.”
“But I can’t go on without you. I love you so much,” I cried.
“You can and you will. For Corinna and for me and hopefully someday for yourself. You will be able to go on.”
That night I brought Corinna into the room with me to sit with Tarik while he slept. Suddenly the machines started beeping like crazy. I yelled for the doctor.
He and nurse Jenny came running into the room. They tried to revive him but it was too late. Tarik was gone.
I had to get out of the hospital. I ran outside tears streaming down my face. I could hardly breath. Tarik was gone. I just stood and cried and cried for what felt like hours. Finally I stopped crying. It was time to go forward like Tarik had said. But I knew that I couldn’t do that here in Bridgeport were everything reminded me of him.
I called a moving company and had them box up all of my stuff and ship it back to Appaloosa Plains. I decided it was time for me to go home.