A ray of hope
A few weeks have gone by in the meantime.
The leading expert of the hospital called one cold afternoon after lunch. She couldn't hear a single word, but her mom was pale when she answered and got a bit calmer after asking the question "How bad is it?". Apparently, not as much as she was expecting.
But how much?
They had to wait a few hours to find out. The doctor had a queue in front of his office, situated in the hospital's side wing. Reaching this part of the hospital allowed them to avoid the main entrance, get through some empty corridors with inattentive nurses, and get to a tranquil and small waiting area. None of the 5 people already sitting there cared much about her. Each one must have had their own problems. Maybe they hid something worse than hers? Behind that jacket? Under their clothes?
The doctor's office was overwhelmingly chaotic. She could barely distinguish any furniture aside from an overly packed library, with some bronze statuettes precariously sitting on the ledge of some shelves, a couple of unmatched chairs and a plastic-wrapped bed behind them. Behind what was once a desk, now covered in more piles of papers and binders, was sitting a small doctor with a huge smile. He courteously, albeit shortly, stood up as they stepped into the office.
While they both sat down, he shared a few overly generic comments. He then proceeded to ask her some questions about her situation. He glanced at her mother every now and then, probably trying to capture additional information from her expression.
In a very calm and precise way, he cared to explain that there might be a way to solve this problem. It wasn't a cheap solution; it affected only a tiny portion of the population. Few were interested in such fringe scientific problems, where finance and time were the most prominent hurdles.
As he carried on explaining, a team of researchers, whom this doctor appeared to know one of them, had started to have encouraging results with their way of working. Their initial results on similar pathologies had a positive reception from the few scientists who shared similar interests. They worked in a private clinic a few hours' drives from the city where she lived. If she wanted to pursue this option, she would have needed to sign a few papers and check in to the clinic for the time necessary to carry over all the required experiments. All they had to do after that was to hope for the following treatments.
The prospect of actually getting cured started breaching through the day's dullness. A sense of excitement started growing more and more in her.
Once they stepped outside, both her mom and she held hands firmly, walking slightly faster than they probably should, without saying a word.
The days that followed were the most difficult since there was no idea of what to expect. Her mind was let loose to think of any possible scenario: those in which she was walking anonymously amongst many others, and those where the cures didn't lead to anything, where things got worse, if not even ending up as a guinea pig in a lab for the researchers.
A new beginning
The admission to the clinic seemed to be mostly what she expected: modern, aseptic, silent. It was almost like walking in limbo, or at least that was her idea.
The whole place comprised a series of short concrete buildings connected to each other with a small covered and protected path. At the same time, everything was carefully enveloped in nature, with small, very well-kept gardens, trees and small ponds alternating. Anyone entering for the first time would have had problems making sense of the whole complex's size.
Her room was on the east wing, facing the complex's exterior.
// more details on the room and the surroundings?
The first few days of her stay were quite simple: wake up early, take samples for analysis, breakfast in one of the communal areas, free time, lunch, nap, more tests, dinner, and then watching telly for a few hours until her eyes were asking for some needed rest. She had the opportunity of taking a few things with her: her clunky laptop, a few books, a notepad and a pencil case she must have owned for so many years since she was little.
On the morning of the third day, she was introduced to the team of researchers that would have helped her: a leading professor with short grey hair and glasses with a tick mount, wearing an unbuttoned white lab coat and sporting a thin black sweater over ever so slightly larger jeans and brown sneakers, a young woman with dark black hair, half-covering her face that reminded her of a crow, and a young man with dark blonde wavy hair arranged in no particular way, freckles, and a noticeable metal wristwatch popping out of his lab coat.
// fix the group of researchers
One week must have passed by. She woke up later than usual with the sun shining through the heavy curtains. She lingered a bit with her eyes closed under the covers trying not to think of anything. But there was a new smell she could not notice. Laying on the small chest of drawers opposite where she was sleeping was a small bouquet of flowers—white, orange and purple large daisies. She stood on her bed for a while, contemplating them and finally decided to get close to smell them. Something that she wasn't familiar with. Throughout the day, she kept thinking about who might have brought them. Later the nurse was very kind to get a vase with some water without being asked. Before dinner, her mother paid a little attention to this novelty, but that was it. Maybe it was the nurse.
As she brushed it off, she also started paying more attention to the people she was getting in touch with during her stay.
// the doctors' group daily visit needs to be picked up a bit earlier
After the doctor's daily visit with his group of assistants, one of them seemed reluctant to leave. It took her that split second to realise what she should have already:
I'm glad the nurse brought a vase.
He said. He might have been not that much older than her; he likely was the youngest of his group. Brown hair, combed on a side, thin glasses, slender... and as his somewhat fragile aspect, he spent even fewer words and with a big smile left the room wishing a good rest. I need to go.
It's hard to say more at this point. He seemed genuine, very awkward, or cute, depending on how you would like to see it. But the diffidence and embarrassment she was carrying inside her were refraining from giving way to that overflowing and immense warm feeling that she hadn't had in a long time.