9.45 a.m., Monday, 16th August
I feel like I've been run over by a truck -- a bloody, great truck with bloody great tyres, about 30,000 of them. But I can finally breathe again on my own, and that's a good thing, definitely. No more machine breathing for me, no sir! I laugh and almost choke to death on the air coming in through my mouth.
I catch my breath again, and then notice Doyle in the doorway, a look of panic frozen on his face. I smile, and he visibly relaxes.
"Morning, sunshine," I say as cheerfully as I can with a voice that sounds like I've been drinking gravel.
He plonks himself into a chair, a stupid grin curving his mouth. I should really say something disparaging about him being soft an' all, but I can't bring myself to do it. After all, he's been here every day since I was admitted, probably with a face like a wet weekend for most of it. And if I'm honest, if it'd been him here, his whole body on the verge of total shutdown only to be suddenly and miraculously cured… well, I think I'd be wearing a silly grin, too. Guess I'm just as bad as he is, in the end.
"How are the other lads?" They got a small dose, about one spoonful each. Maybe I should cut dow-- Nah! Life's too short for bitter tea.
"They're a hell of a lot better than they were," Doyle replies, still smiling. "How are you feeling?"
"Better." It's the truth, even if it's only half.
"Good," Doyle replies simply, and then he looks lost, like he can't think of another thing to say. Or maybe he's finding the right words but just can't say 'em.
"Hey mate?" I decide to spare him the embarrassment.
"Owe you one." That's about as close to a "thank you" as he's ever going to get, as long as there's breath left in my body… even if it's provided by a machine.
"Nah, I reckon we're about even," he says softly, sitting back and putting his feet up on the edge of my bed, ankles crossed. He clasps his hands behind his head and then closes his eyes, like he's going to sleep right there. Knowing Doyle, he just might.
"Want to know something else?"
Doyle cracks one eye open to look at me with a "please-continue" expression.
"I bloody told you he was a nutter, didn't I?"
"Takes one to know one, sunshine," Doyle replies. He looks decidedly smug, stretched out in the sunshine like a cat falling asleep.
I lie back in bed and listen to Doyle's breathing because it's the only sound in the room aside from my own. Then, I smile to myself.
One day I'm going to get a cat, and I'm going to name it Golly, just to wind him up.