Carol and Milla were starting to run out of ideas. In this state, when Lilac was this upset, there wasn’t anything they could do about it. They could comfort her all they wanted, assure her that this would get better, that it wasn’t the end of the world if she couldn’t write yet, but it didn’t matter. All she heard was that she was wrong, and all she could do was cry over it. The only thing left to do was let her sleep it off, and hope that she was in a better mood in the morning.
It was dreadful to be stuck like this, to just leave Lilac under the covers with her tear-stained cheeks and Blue held tight against her. To just watch the rhythmic rising and falling of her chest from afar. Neither Carol nor Milla knew what to do. They both knew that the other didn’t know what to do.
There was nothing they could do.
Carol wasn’t satisfied with that. She refused to be content with sitting around and watching what was left of her best friend suffer. If there wasn’t anything they could do, then they weren’t being creative enough. If there was one thing Carol had learned from Lilac in all their years together, it was that you never solve anything without acting on it, and Carol wasn’t about to forget that.
All she had to do was find some way to make Lilac happy. That couldn’t have been too difficult, right? Lilac was a pretty happy person, generally. Or at least, she used to be. This Lilac and the Lilac from before were so terribly distinct from each other. How could Carol know if Lilac would still take joy in the same things when everything else about her had changed so much? Well, it had to be worth trying, at least. They’d never know if they never tried.
So Carol tried to think about what Lilac had found happiness in, before all of this. If anybody should know this, it would be Carol, right? Carol knew Lilac better than anyone. So what made her happy? Sushi? There wasn’t an immediate way to acquire food from beyond the hospital cafeteria, and the stuff there wasn’t exactly five star, so that was out. Ninja Hurk? It would take too much time to retrieve their DVD box set from the treehouse (and assuming it was still there was assuming nobody had robbed the place in their absence), so that was out too. Dresses? Even setting aside Lilac’s current physical condition and the improbability of a shopping trip, Carol would personally really rather not, so that was definitely out.
It was kind of unsettling how much difficulty Carol was having with this. She hoped that it was just because of how late it was getting, but her memories from before they had landed in this place were blurring. How long had they been here now? A month? Had it even been a month? Had it been more than a month? She had lost track as soon as Lilac woke up, and quickly forgot how much time had passed before that. It was like they were being contained. It felt as though everything from before they were trapped here was so far in the past that Carol could barely distinguish the details. Was this how Lilac felt now? Was Carol even in any position to compare herself to what Lilac was going through? Could she possibly comprehend that feeling of emptiness and confusion?
After splashing her face in the bathroom sink, Carol collected her thoughts and composed herself as much as she was able to at this hour. She stepped back into the room and looked to Lilac, stiff under the covers of her bed. The bed that had been assigned to her by the people of this hospital. The same bed that she awoke in, and had spent nearly every moment in since.
If Carol was feeling trapped, she could only imagine how Lilac was feeling. This building, this air, these walls were suffocating, and they were all that this Lilac had ever known. It wasn’t fair to her. Lilac didn’t belong in a place like this, especially not for this long, with no escape from it. If she were still herself, and she was capable of it, Carol was certain Lilac would have fled this awful place at one point or another. She wouldn’t have been able to stand it.
And that was it. If Lilac didn’t belong here, then there was no reason for her to stay. If she couldn’t escape by herself, Carol would just have to help her.