Flare

Based on:

Flares by The Script

Did you lose what won’t return?
Did you love but never learn?
The fire’s out but still it burns
And no one cares, there’s no one there
Did you find it hard to breathe?
Did you cry so much that you could barely see?
You’re in the darkness all alone
And no one cares, there’s no one there

But did you see the flares in the sky?
Were you blinded by the light?
Did you feel the smoke in your eyes?
Did you, did you?
Did you see the sparks filled with hope?
You are not alone
‘Cause someone’s out there, sending out flares

He pressed the bottle against his skin, it’s cool surface providing some momentary relief from the constant surge of heat in his face. Another side effect of the anti-rejection medications–the ones that were doing such a bang up job. He winced as he stood up. What a joke. More than anything, he wanted a drink–a real drink–something that would shake this afternoon from his mind. After all, what did it matter now?

~

“Ronan.”

The look on her face wasn’t scolding as it had been in past visits. It wasn’t frustration. This look was compassion. She was being gentle and kind. She slid the rolling stool closer to him and reached for his hand. He jerked away from him.

This was all too real.

He stood up quickly, too quickly–a wave of pain ripped through him and he retched. She was behind him quickly, her moves far too practiced. The pink, plastic bin was in his lap and was back on the exam table in seconds. This was certainly not her first time dealing with this particular issue.

“Ok?” She offered him a tissue and he nodded. He wanted to resent her kindness, but he wasn’t in a position to do so. He felt weak and needy and there were few things in life he hated more than that.

“So, what’s next?” he asked, his voice steady. “I’m assuming you didn’t come in here to tell me everything’s all good.”

That damn look returned.

Some patients were more difficult cases and Ronan Malloy had been a challenge for sure. There was something about him though–something just under the bravado–just under the attitude, and she’d secretly hoped he’d recover so she’d be able to see what that was.

“That’s just it, Ronan. There is no next. There’s nothing else we can do. The liver transplant was successful, and although it isn’t functioning as well as it should be, it’s not the cause for your symptoms. For any doctor to have touted this transplant as a cure for hereditary amyloidosis was irresponsible to say the least. The transplant slowed things down certainly, but it didn’t solve the problem. Your other organs are still being affected. Your gastrointestinal tract and digestion are being impacted.”

“So that’s why I’m having these pains and the nausea?” Ronan questioned. His liver wasn’t failing, but somehow the doctor didn’t seem the least bit optimistic. “But I mean, it’s not my liver, so that’s good, right? I mean..I won’t ever feel 100%, but I’m not gonna die.”

“Ronan-I…That’s what I’m trying to tell you, we did blood work. Your levels are off.”

“Which levels?”

She took a breath. “All of them.” The look on his face was the same she’d seen on the face of so many other patients. These were the moments, she questioned her decision to work in genetics. A family practice where she dealt with ear infections and sprained ankles would be a welcome change of pace. She forced herself to continue. “Your kidneys aren’t functioning as well as they should, your white count is high, your iron is far too low. Your blood pressure, cardiac enzymes,”

“Stop…just stop…” He couldn’t hear anything more. His vision blurred as he stood and he brought his hand to his face.

“Your eyes?” She questioned. “It’s all just going to get worse, Ronan. I’m so sorry. I wish there was something I could say.”

“So there’s nothing…I mean another liver transplant?”

“It could help,” she admitted. “It could slow the progression. Depending on how your body responds, it could fare better or worse than this transplant did. Of course you always have to consider the risks associated with another transplant–the procedure itself–the infection risk…”

“You don’t think it’s a good idea?”

She sighed. “I think the best idea would be to reconsider calling someone.”

Ronan shook his head. “No. My mom doesn’t need to worry about me–especially when there isn’t anything that can be done.”

“Not your Mom then. Someone that can be there for you. You’re going to need someone. Just think about it, please? Promise me.”

He nodded before walking out of the room

~
“Someone else,” he whispered. His options were limited. Keeping up with the goings on in Genoa City hadn’t been difficult since he had police connections, but knowing what was going on was very different from actually being involved in them.

Still, there was only one viable choice..only one person whose presence would bring him any semblance of happiness. He remembered how easy it had been, how strong she seemed and how vulnerable she truly was. He’d appreciated that–her ability to put on the mask for the world and he’d felt privileged that she trusted him enough to take it off for him. They could be honest with each other, no performances, no personas.

He dialed her number and waited, the ringing echoing in his ear. His heart sank as it clicked over to voicemail. He tossed the phone over on the bed. Of course she didn’t answer. Why would she? She’d moved on. She was far too alive to stand still and wait for him–she didn’t need his problems. No one did. His life was ending exactly as it should. He was better off alone.

It was only a few steps to the cabinet and the bottle of whiskey was right where he’d left it. He broke the seal, opened the top, and poured. He held the glass out in front of him, trying to ignore the tremor in his hand. “Here’s to the end,” he whispered, “Can’t come soon enough”

The sound of the phone echoed through the silent room and he sighed, sitting the glass down. For a moment he thought his eyes were failing him as he saw the name flashing on the screen.  Phyllis  His finger hit the green button.

“Hello?”

Warmth flooded his body–better than any rush he would have received from the whiskey in the glass. Her voice was a ray of hope, a flare of hope in the dark–and just like that it was different.

Ronan Malloy wanted to live.

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