The remembrance of a soothing palm shook me from my sleep.
I felt it before I opened my eyes.
There was an ache in my body, as if it had just ran thousands of miles with no end desperate to rejuvenate itself.
Still, behind the fatigue and low pain was an incredible amount of relief, and I couldn’t stop the relaxed breath escaping my lungs as my eyes fluttered open.
The ceiling was the first sight my tired pupils focused on.
How long have I been out?
I remember the girl.
She was there for most of the time, almost every night.
The pictures in my head were blurry and confusing.
I remember hands.
My forehead, my neck, my shoulder.
An exacerbated sigh rippled through my lungs as I clasped my temples.
Don’t overthink it, she was just nursing you Tooru.
For a second I forgot that I was injured, and I almost toppled over when I felt almost no pain while propping myself up.
My palm grazed my ribs, yes they were still a bit sensitive, but the pain almost vanished.
Relief washing over me I chuckled softly, which promptly made a familiar figure walk in.
It’s sad that I know her worried look so much now.
She tried to hide it, but the crinkle in her forehead was still there.
“Hello”, my voice tried to be soothing, but it seemed that my throat wasn’t cooperating.
In a flash she was next me again, her skilled hands prodding at my ribs and my head.
Her eyebrows shot up in surprise when her palm made its way to my temples and forehead.
Now it was her turn to be relieved, her body fell back and she dove her face into her hands.
“Thank you”, her head shot up at my remark and I continued with a smile,”you really did save me”.
She shook her head and smiled as well, and something about that genuine smile made me feel like I accomplished something.
Quickly and almost too quickly, her eyes darted away from me and her focus shifted. As if she just remembered an important matter.
Now it was finally brought to an end.
I nursed and helped him, he is safe and sound.
As much as his smile and voice soothed her, a grim thought could not be shaken.
The conversation she had a couple of moments ago destroyed the pleasant feeling she should be harboring now.
“I am not mistaken am I?”, the voice of the chief was accusing, the sharp tone almost cut through the walls of the tent.
She couldn’t reply. Her feet were planted on the floor, an unbearable feeling blooming in her chest.
“You’ve taken a liking to him?”
A liking would be an exaggeration, and the chief caught her rebellious glance even if it was only there for a second.
“Alright”, her palm faced towards the young healer, a motion to stop whatever she was thinking.
“This community-“, the chief opened her arms, “is our home”.
“You have always been one of the most dedicated and loyal of my students. I trust you Lemsa. You’re smart and eager to learn”.
The girl bowed her head in respect but didn’t know how to feel about these sudden praises.
I only did what was expected of me. I just wanted to give my best.
“So imagine you’re in my position. What if I lost you? You’re a valuable part of our community”
Lemsas hands quickly shot back.
“You can say that you won’t, but what if he can’t stay? Are you going to?”
Silence fell across the tent.
The chief looked almost pained as she said this.
“Convince me to let him stay. Show me what he can bring to our kind. I’ll see what I’ll do then”.
The young woman stared at the floor with her fists clenched.