A mask over my nose and mouth, and then I was pressed against the side of the bed as we turned a corner. I tried to open my eyes but couldn’t. We levelled out and I rolled back to the middle of the bed. The strap from the mask was tight around the back of my head. I could hear talking but I can’t remember what was being said. And then I remembered the gunshot.

The next time I heard something was as I was waking up in the hospital. My eyes stung as I opened them and the bright light shot to the back of my eyes like a piercing headache. Sarah was sitting beside me. She must have seen the panic I felt as I gradually recalled what had happened because she grabbed my hand.
“Hey.. Hello. It’s okay”. She said. I looked at her and she was smiling. “It’s over. He’s okay.”
“James?” I asked, still panicked. She nodded.
“He’s going to be fine. He’s next door.”
The relief I felt was incredible and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was pure chemical emotion and it confused the hell out of me. I almost felt high. I laughed.
“Looks like the morphine’s wearing off”.
The smiling settled and I knew I need to see James. Sarah knew too because she pressed the nurse call button.
“And Steve?” I asked. She looked a little serious.
“You were lucky. Can you remember what happened?” I nodded. “He was about to shoot you too Kirst”. She said. “…the police burst in just in time.”
“I fainted I think.”
“They said they pounced on you both. Steve hit you as they piled in” as she said this my jaw began to throb.

The nurse came in and wished me good morning. We went through to see James and as I entered the room his little face looked at me and smiled. Even though he had just survived a bullet wound through his side, he was smiling at me. He looked so pleased to see me. I decided right at that moment that I would never tell him the truth about his dad. I would never tell him that his dad had been arrested and was serving a life sentence. I would never tell him that his dad shot him. James spent his life thinking that his dad had died when he was young.

Before now, I have never told anyone the truth about Steve and as I looked in the mirror that day and saw my bruised face, I decided no-one needed to know. He was gone out of my life. I would never see him again.