I opened my eyes slowly, to a bright lit room. It’s morning. It’s all white. This is not my room. Where is this place? I move my head slightly to verify this place, but my head is killing me. My head feels heavy, I barely wanted to move. I feel a little dizzy, and I feel pain stretching to the top of my head. I closed my eyes back as I tried holding the pain.
Then I feel my neck… wait, my neck? My neck stiffed, and something seems to be patching on my neck. I tried moving slightly, OH MY GOODNESS my neck is so painful it is killing me!
“Argh…” I groaned, but there is no voice. I only feel my mouth shaped to the word and let out a breath. Even groaning is killing me! What happened?
The voice of the angel of my heart.
How can she be here? I opened my eyes slowly again. She is standing next to me, smiling at me.
“Xiao…” I tried to call out but even talking is painful.
“Don’t,” Xiao You said. “Don’t talk,”
I looked at her. I don’t understand. I frowned.
“You are in hospital. Remember what happened yesterday?” she asked.
What happened yesterday? I think hard, my eyes turned left and right to gather the information.
“Xi Men,” I heard she spoke. I looked at her. She closed her eyes and then she opened it back, a little sad. “You save me last night from the robbers near my house,”
I stared at her. Robbers?
“We bumped in VS, then I go home… then I was surrounded by robbers and you come… then they slit your neck…” Xiao You stammered.
SLIT MY NECK? I wondered. I don’t remember… I keep thinking.
Wait. I recalled the incident.
I looked at Xiao You. She nodded. She is as though she knows what I am thinking. All this while no one knows what I thinking, even Mei Zhuo, Ah Si and Lei said it is very difficult to know what I am thinking, if I do not speak.
“I…” I try to speak but it is hurting me. Again, my mouth shaped the ‘I…’ but there is no voice.
“Don’t speak, please,” Xiao You said. “The robbers injured your neck… doctor said you need to rest, and you cannot talk until it is healed,”
I opened my eyes widely and I stared at her. What does that mean? What do you mean I can’t talk?!
“Xi Men,” Lei said, suddenly appearing behind her. I stared at Lei. “I know you won’t like this,” he said. “The cut damaged your nerve. You need to have the nerve healed completely before you can start talking again,”
I am furious. I started to sit up even though my head feels heavy and prevented me to do so but I insist.
“Xi Men! Oh gosh!” Xiao You said as she looked panicked. She then lifted me up and gets me to sit up, before she suddenly rushes out from the room.
I looked at her rushing out, Lei put his hands on his waist and looked at me sharply.
“Look what you did,” he said.
I leaned my head on the pillow that is straightened against the bed frame. It must be the medication I’ve took that causes me like this, my extremely bad headache. I looked at him with the stare of ‘what I did?’ but clearly he did not get my meaning with just my stare… I wonder how Xiao You understood my stares.
“You have just gone for operations to seal that cut. See! Now you move here and there, it bleeds!” Lei yelled at me.
I looked at him, and I slowly touch my neck, bandaged. Yes, it’s wet. My fingers have a bit of blood, despite I only get to touch the bandage. Now it means that the entire bandage is soaked with blood, completely.
“Look,” Lei said as he sits down on my bed. “Talking will hurt you badly, and prevent from the wounds to heal. So, you cannot talk for the next few months until your nerve is completely healed. And moving harshly will get you bleed and it affects the healing process,”
FEW MONTHS?! My eyes grew wide.
“Yes, you cannot talk, and I am the only one talking here. All you can do is listen to me. And stop giving me those glares because I don’t understand what that means,” Lei said, pointing at my eyes. “You need to take proper rest, medication and change that bandage. And hear me, I repeat. Do not try talking. If you talk, it will bleed, and it will affect your healing process, so you better take good care of yourself,” he looked at me. “Even trying to utter a word will strain your nerve, that is the key,”
“Here,” I heard someone opened the door. It’s Xiao You. The nurse come in and immediately looked at my neck.
“Okay, I will change the bandage,” the nurse said.
“Xi Men,” Xiao You said.
I looked at her. She still looked very sad.
“I’m sorry for causing you this,” she said.
I smiled, as I let out a small breath. I pointed at myself, and then I showed her the sign of ok with my hand, telling her that ‘I’m ok’.
“The police has come and recorded statements from Xiao You. They have rushed to the scene and recover the knife that injured you. They will process the evidence. I have told them that you won’t be able to talk, so I am not sure when they will come and record statements from you,” Lei said.
I nodded. The nurse slowly removed the bandage from right side of my neck. I lifted my hand up. Lei is wondering what I am doing.
“Miss, he asked you to stop,” Xiao You said at the nurse.
The nurse looked at Xiao You, and then at me. I looked at Xiao You. She indeed understands what I am trying to say. I showed her, with the palm facing me, I lifted my hand up midway, then I looked at my palm. I don’t know if she gets what I mean.
“You mean you want a mirror to see your cut?” Xiao You asked.
I smiled. I nodded. Lei scratched his head.
“Sure, I have a mirror with me,” Xiao You said as she dipped her hand into her handbag and took out a small mirror. “I only have small mirror, you don’t mind?”
I shook lightly and I feel a slight pain on my neck. She handed me the mirror. I looked at the mirror, with the image reflection of my neck. I looked at the swollen red cut of my neck. I saw some strings that are used to seal and stitch the cut. I saw some fresh blood on the cut. Not to mention on the feeling that is painful, even the sight of it is painful enough. This is the cut that cuts off my voice. I saw the painful sights of Lei and Xiao You looking at my wound. I looked at the nurse and nodded.
The nurse stared blankly at me.
“He said you can continue,” Xiao You said.
“Oh, ok,” the nurse smiled as she immediately took a new bandage and pasted the new bandage on it. I groaned in pain, again, with no voice.
“How come you understand what he is saying?” Lei asked looking at Xiao You, and he scratched his head.
“Why not? It is obvious what he is talking,” Xiao You replied.
Lei smirked. “Ok, I tell you what. I am going to ask Ah Si to buy some notepad or memo pad or something so that Xi Men can carry with him, and when he needs to talk, he jot down on the pad to talk to us,” he took out his cell phone.
I closed my eyes. I picture myself to write down everything just to talk to them, and they would only just reply me with their mouth. And by the time I write down if I want to interrupt what they say, I would have long lost and missed what they are talking. I picture myself writing in words to talk to other businessmen. My brain works faster than writing, how can I win a deal? Postponing the business dealings means going to lose the deal. What am I supposed to do?
“Xi Men, I know you are not happy about this, about having to write to communicate, but it is just temporary only,”
I heard Xiao You said. I open my eyes and looked at her. I wondered why she even knows what I am thinking just by me closing my eyes.
Xiao You suddenly smiled. “You closed your eyes after Lei said that, I know you are not happy. It is very easy to tell what you are saying with your face react like that. So as your face now, you must be wondering how I know you are upset. That’s because your face says so,”
Oh. I showed it on my face. No wonder she knows.
I smiled at her. She replied the smile. I still love her smile.
The nurse worked on the left side of my neck. Again, I stopped her and looked at the cut before she continued with the new bandage. The cut on the left side of my neck is not as horrified as the right side because the robber slipped and fell on me, straight landing his knife on my neck. The left cut is just a minor one because the robber was yelling when he accidentally cut my neck but it still affects my speaking ability. After that the nurse said she is done, and she left the room.
“They are coming,” Lei said as he hangs up the call. “Xiao You,” he called as he looked at Xiao You. “What time are you moving? Do you need help to move?”
“I don’t know where to move to,” she replied shortly.
“Maybe you can move to San Chai’s place,” Lei said.
“But San Chai is married…” Xiao You said. She shook.
Lei looked at her. “I don’t think she minds, but I guess you mind about that. If that is the case, what about Xi Men’s place?” he then looked at me.
I looked at him. My place? I’m surprised.
“Xi Men’s place?” Xiao You asked.
“He is staying alone. And I think he needs someone to help taking care of him during this period. You need a place, he needs someone to take care, then maybe you both can accommodate each other for that,” Lei said.
But I can take care of myself!
Wait, did Lei just said I am staying alone? That means it tells her that I am not married, but I pretended I was…
Xiao You turned looking at me. “Do you mind if I move to your place?”
I looked at Xiao You, and I point to myself, as a sign of asking her ‘my place?’
She nodded. “Lei is right, I can take care of you during this period…”
“You need it,” Lei said, patting me. “And she needs a place to stay,”
I don’t need her to take care of me, but I don’t mind to let her stay at my place. After all, there are empty rooms in my place. I know she needed a place to stay. I know she will be safe staying at my place, rather than at somewhere else.
I smiled, and I nodded.
I want to tell her that she can take my house keys if she wants to move, and ask any of them to drive her to my place. Now I really need the notepad.
“You have something to say?” she asked me.
I looked at her. Then I shaped my hand to act like I am holding a key, and pretended like I ‘twist’ the door. Lei shook as he scratched his head.
“I don’t understand,” Lei asked.
“You are talking about car keys?” Xiao You asked.
I shook. She is so close to winning the guessing game.
“House keys?” Xiao You asked.
I smiled and nodded pretty fast. “Uh…” nodding kills.
Lei immediately turned and looked at Xiao You. “Is that some kind of sign language for those people who cannot talk?”
OFFENDED! Are you categorizing me in that category now? I am not a disabled! And I have not learned any of the sign language!
“No, Lei. That is a very common universal hand sign. Anyone can just go anywhere and use that sign to represent keys,” Xiao You said as she squatted politely on a side table. “And Xi Men learned any sign language for the past few years?”
I shook. I voicelessly groaned in pain again.
“See?” Xiao You said. “He didn’t. And losing speech is just temporary. He doesn’t need to learn the sign language. He can just write, it will be enough,” she smiled.
Lei smirked. “Well, you seem to understand what he is saying or trying to say…” he said, and looked at me. “…at least,” he continued.
She took out a transparent plastic bag out. I saw my wallet, my car keys, my house keys, my cell phone… and basically all the things that I have with me last night.
I wave at Xiao You. She looked up at me as she took the house keys out.
I wanted to know if I was being robbed or not. I pointed at my wallet.
She abruptly put the house keys into the plastic bag again and handed me the whole plastic bag. I looked at her. I was asking for my wallet, not the entire bag!
“This is your things. When you were admitted, all your things were taken out and your clothes are at the bottom of this side table,” she said.
Whatever. I took the plastic bag as I dipped my hand in it and I took my wallet out. I looked at the content of my wallet. All here. Not even a dollar missing.
“Are you alright?” Xiao You asked.
I looked at her. I smiled and I shook.
“Huh? You’re not alright?” she asked.
I wave my hand for no. I immediately nodded and showed the OK sign. I shook earlier for ‘nothing’, not for ‘not alright’. This is the problem with not being able to talk!
I patted at my wallet.
“You mean you are worried you are being robbed?” Xiao You asked suddenly.
I smiled and nodded. She smiled.
“No, you are not robbed. I am not robbed too. Only you poor thing got injured,” she said.
I smirked at her respond.
I took my cell phone out. Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1. The phone is not out in the market yet. I obtained the phone first hand from the Sony Ericsson’s CEO. I took a deep breath. This phone can act as a notepad for me. It is now my mouth, since I cannot talk.
I put the phone aside. Both Xiao You and Lei looked at me. I took the house keys out and give to Xiao You. I point at Lei.
“Give to Lei?” Xiao You asked.
No. I shook. I point at Lei again.
“Ask Lei…?” Xiao You asked.
I nodded. I took a deep breath. I looked at Lei. I showed him the sign to drive, point at Xiao You, and then at my house keys, ‘ask Lei to drive Xiao You to my house’.
“He is asking you to drive me to his house,” Xiao You said at Lei, she then looked at me. “Am I right?”
I nodded. I took my phone and since it recognized handwriting, I wrote at the phone and then I showed them. ‘Take my car key and drive my car. I parked my car near VS. Go search’
“I can drive but I do not have international driving license,” Xiao You said.
I pointed at Lei.
“Lei drive?” Xiao You asked.
I nodded again. I took my car keys out and handed to him.
“Oh, ok,” Lei said, as he took my car keys.
Someone opened the door. I looked to the door. Xiao You and Lei turned.
“Hello, how are you doing?” Mei Zhuo said.
I smiled and nodded. I took my phone and scribbled on it, ‘not yet die’. Ah Si and Mei Zhuo looked at it.
“Touch wood!” Ah Si and Mei Zhuo yelled.
I pointed at myself, then I wave, and then I open and close my hand repeatedly.
“Huh?” they asked.
I started scribbling on my phone when Xiao You said, “He said, he cannot talk,”
“Oh, we know you can’t talk. It’s ok,” San Chai said.
“You didn’t bring him notepad?” Lei asked Ah Si.
“Ish. I am on my way here already when you called. Where to get notepad on the way? Anyhow, look at him. He got his phone,” Ah Si smirked.
“Hey, you guys don’t mind to stay here with Xi Men?” Lei asked.
“Sure, going back home?” Mei Zhuo asked.
“I am going to find Xi Men’s car near VS, and then drive to Xiao You’s place, and help her move. She is moving to Xi Men’s house,” Lei said. “Jing can follow me… so she can drive my car when I drive Xi Men’s. Xiao You only has Canada driving license,”
“Moving to Xi Men’s house?” they all asked.
I nodded. I am getting headache since I nod too much since I wake up.
“Yes, I am,” Xiao You said. Somehow I feel there is still some sadness in her. But I wasn’t sure what it is. “Xi Men,” she turned and looked at me. I looked at her. “I’m moving over to your house now, ok? Once done I will come back,”
I lifted my hand up, and then I scribbled on my phone.
“What is he saying?” Ah Si asked.
“He said ‘hold on’,” Xiao You said.
They all frowned. I looked up and saw them looking at each other and pointing at each other. I suspect they are asking if any of them, besides Xiao You, knows what I am saying.
I showed Xiao You my message.
‘There are 4 rooms in my house. One is my room, one is my working room, and 2 more rooms are empty. You can pick any of the 2 available rooms. You can ask Lei which are the available rooms. Make yourself at home. If you need to ask me anything, just drop me a message’
Xiao You smiled. “Sure,” she stood up. “So…”
I wave at her again to grab her attention. They all looked at me, maybe because I have never done that, or I wave like a crazy man. She looked at me.
I pointed at her, and then with both of my palms stick together, I tilted my head slightly and I put the palms at my side of head.
She smiled. “I’ll take if I need,”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Xiao Qiao tapped Xiao You’s hand.
“Huh?” Xiao You asked.
“What is he talking?” Xiao Qiao asked.
“He asks me to sleep,” Xiao You said. “So I said I can take the sleep or rest if I need to,” she looked at Xiao Qiao. “Why? You don’t understand what he is saying?”
“Actually none of us do… only you,” San Chai said.
“Are you sure? It’s pretty easy to understand what he is saying,” Xiao You said. “Anyway, I got to go first…” she smiled. “Bye, Xi Men,”
I wave my hand, ‘bye’.
“Eh, he is calling you,” Mei Zhuo said.
“No, that is a goodbye wave,” Xiao You said. She laughed. “You guys misinterpret what he intends to say, so, you can stick to him just writing,” she walked out and Lei closed the door after Jing walked out too.
I smiled. My smile soon disappeared. I hated the fact that I can’t talk.