"Cold White"

Rating: PG-13 (language, adult themes, depressing story) Disclaimer: I have no association with the WWF as a whole, and I certainly have no claim to Matthew Moore Hardy or Jeffrey Nero Hardy. love it? hate it? want to obliterate me from the face of the earth? email at lmdaddio@cc.owu.edu or IM stardazey9.

Chapter 2

Not again. This isn't happening again. We've gone through so much as a family. Not Matt. No. NO. He's not sick. Another voice enters my head, 'But he is. The tests are positive. He's in the advanced stages of acute leukemia.' Please God, heal Mattie for us. "Jeff?" Dr. Jenkins was kneeling beside me. "Are you going to be ok?" I can't find my voice. I shake my head numbly. "It takes a man to admit when he needs support. Is there anyone else who should be here? Your parents?" Shit. "My Dad." How's he going take this? First, Mom and now, Matt. His oldest son. The one who looks so much like his beloved wife. "Alright, you can use my phone. I'll leave you in peace to do it. I have to make rounds anyway. You can visit Matt when you've finished. He's being moved to the oncology floor, room 324." The door shuts. I'm alone again. The phone is so smooth and cool to my touch. The beeps are gentle and soothing. It rings twice, and I hear my father's familiar drawl come through the receiver, "Hello?" "Dad?" My voice cracks. Suddenly, I'm reminded of a hideous phase of puberty. I laugh. Horrible. I'm a horrible person. Matt's got cancer, and I'm laughing. I can't make myself stop. I'm a fuck up. Soon, tears fill my eyes; my giggles turn to sobs. "Jeff, what's wrong?" His voice is anxious. It isn't often that I cry, and he knows that, when I do, it's serious. "It's Matt." I can't do this. This will kill him. "He has leukemia." Dead silence. Dead - Matt could die! I lose grasp of what little self control I have left, spilling everything into the phone in one breath. "He got diagnosed today. They're not going to tell him until his fever goes down - he has the flu - and it's in the later stages." "Jeff, take a deep breath." His voice is so calm and collected. I'm compelled to obey. Several times. "Where are you?" I struggle to remember the name. "Baltimore General Hospital." "Alright, I'm going to leave right away. I want you to keep your head together. If not for your own sake, then for Matt's. He needs you. Be strong for him." Dad's strong. Matt would be able to be strong if it was me. Why the hell am I so weak? "I will." Damn it, I hate lying. "Bye, Dad. Drive safe." "Bye, Jeff. Take care." Click. Dad's gone. He's probably out the door already.

I have to see Matt. After wandering the building for several minutes, I finally find a nurse who isn't running somewhere at break neck speeds. "Can you tell me where room 324 is?" "Only family members can visit patients on that wing the oncology floor." She looks remorseful as if she may have taken me had I pressed. And not already been a family member. "But I am related to that patient. My name's Jeff Hardy." She looks me up and down. "It's hard to see the resemblance, but it is there. Follow me." On the way to his room, she introduces herself as Sherry and tells me that she's the head nurse on the floor, if there's anything either one of us needs, to just ask her. Sherry also gives me an update on his condition. "His fever's down to one hundred degrees, and Dr. Jenkins has him on penicillin V. I believe he's still resting, but he was calling for you earlier. She opens the door to a single room and continues down the hall. I step inside slowly. I didn't want to wake Matt. I pull one of the armchairs of iron up to the bed and sat down. I look down at Matt's sleeping form, taking one of his smooth hands in my own. He seems peaceful, but delicate. I've never seen him as delicate. He's the tower of strength in my life. The one who always picks me up when I fall. The big brother I've always wanted to be like, whose admiration I've always craved. He's lying there, helpless in a war against his own body. "I'm here, Matt, and Dad's coming. Mattie, you're going to get better. I can feel it. You can beat this. We'll fight it fifty fifty, you and me together, like we always do. No one can beat us, remember?" I can't bear to look at him anymore. His face is pure white. My eyes slide off his face. He's wearing a white hospital gown and covered in white sheets and a single white blanket. I've always hated white. Such a cold, unfeeling color. There's no love in it. This hospital room is nothing but a white world. White paint, white linoleum, white ceiling, white night stand. Even the door handle is white. My head comes to rest against Matt's hand, seeking the only warmth in the cold white.

Part Three

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