Chapter Twenty Six: Crash And Burn
Dallas was sitting in Natalia's hospital room. She only had one more day left.
One her side table there were a pile of letters, that her father had brought over in the morning. Many probably held cards from her family.
Dallas was sitting in a chair, which he had moved beside Natalia's bed, waiting for her to wake up.
It was almost lunch time, Dallas was busy reading the newspaper.
“Morning, Dallas.” Natalia said, as she finally awoke. “Morning? It's the afternoon.” Dallas told her with a grin.
“Small technicality, but it's my morning. Just one more day!” She told him, cheerfully.
Dallas knew how much she wanted to go home. He shared her dislike for hospitals. The smell of disinfectant always made him feel quesy.
“What's that?” Natalia asked him. She was pointing towards the pile of letters. “I think those are for you. Your father brought them.” He answered.
“Yes! I get mail!” Dallas watched as she excitedly took the pile from the table. She moved over to one side of the bed, motioning for him to join her.
Dallas sat beside her. She's so cute when she's excited, He thought.
Natalia opened the first letter, it was from her cousin Matthew. He had sent her a get well soon card. “Pretty soon, I could have a collection of these.” Natalia muttered.
She heard Dallas chuckle as she opened the next one. She had gotten cards from most of her family. All of them telling her to get well soon for various reasons.
She opened her second last letter. It was a card from her grandmother. By far it was the most beautiful one. Sparkly roses were on the cover. Inside she read her grandmother's neat calligraphy. It too told her to get well. “So that you can come visit me.” Dallas read aloud.
“I like this one the most.” Natalia told him.
“It's pretty.” Dallas said, he had taken it from her to look at the cover more closely.
Natalia then looked at the last letter in her lap.
Her heart started to pound. She gasped.
“What? What's wrong?” Dallas asked with concern. He looked at what she held in her hand.
It was a letter from the University of Western Ontario. “Natalia! You almost killed me.” Dallas said loudly. “Sorry...” She mumbled.
Natalia slowly opened the letter. She was hoping it held good news. All her life she had been dreaming of this moment, and now finally she had the letter in her hand.
I never thought I'd be opening this letter...here of all places, Natalia thought.
Her hands shook as she took out the letter from the envelope. Carefully she unfolded it.
Dallas was still observing the card from her grandmother. She held her breath as she started to read the letter.
It was over as quickly as it had begun. Natalia didn't know what had hit her. She could feel herself going numb.
“So what does it say?” Dallas asked, after she hadn't said a word.
Natalia could feel the tears building up. She was speechless. When she didn't reply, Dallas looked at her.
“What's wrong?” He asked. Natalia couldn't find any words, her throat was clenching, but this time it was becuase of the sobs that were waiting to break free.
Dallas took the letter from her hand, and looked it over. He put the letter on the table next to him.
“Natalia, I'm sorry.” Dallas said as he wrapped his arms around her. “I'm not going to Western.” Was all Natalia could manage.
“My life is over.” That was all Natalia could think. The sobs that had been kept at bay, now bubbled out. Natalia couldn't stop herself. The tears started to make their way down her face, there was no stopping them.
For the first time in her life, Natalia didn't know what she would be doing after high school. Sobs wracked through her body, she was inconsolable. The one thing she had wanted had now slipped through her fingers.
The words from the letter echoing in her mind. 'I regret to inform you that you have not been accepted.'
“Lia, your life isn't over.” Dallas tried to soothe her. He was holding her close. But nothing could quell her tears. Natalia could see Dallas's shirt had darkened where her head was.
“You don't undertsand...” She told him, her voice hoarse. “That's the only place I wanted to go. Since I was little...all I ever wanted was Western.” With that a new round of tears started.
Natalia had lost the one thing in the world she had worked tirelessly for.
“Natalia, Western isn't the only good university out there.” Dallas told her. “It was the only one I wanted.” Natalia sobbed.
“Look at me, Natalia.” Dallas moved her to face him. “You're going to go to a univeristy in the fall, and it won't matter that you didn't get accepted to Western. You want to know why?” He started. Natalia couldn't believe what she was hearing. Of course it would matter, she'd only wanted to go to Western.
“It won't matter becuase you will be going to a great university, one that recognizes how hard you work and how lucky they are to have you as part of their student body.” Dallas told her with conviction.
Natalia was awestruck by what he had just told her. He believed she would go to a great school. He believed in her.
It was then that it hit Natalia, she was still waiting for the replies of two other schools.
“But what about Western?” She asked Dallas, tears still streaming down her face. “You can always go to Western as a visiting student if you still want to know how life is there. But I'm tellling you, you'll get into a university that wants you and you will excel there.” He told her.
Natalia tried to believe him. She flung her arms around him, he held her close.
Although her tears were for loss of one thing, a small portion were because she had been given a little hope. Hope that Dallas had found for her.
What am I going to do now? Natalia wondered, a little helplessly, as Dallas held on to her. It was then that she realized...she really didn't have an answer.
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