one day, when you were about five or six, your dad bought you a pair of mittens. "Not gloves?" you said, and pouted.
"Joan," he warned, and you stopped pouting, and put the mittens on, and they were warm, and soft, and lovely really, but you were so disappointed.
Adam comes to visit you as long and as much as the hospital will let him. He's quiet, and he looks at you with his eyes slightly wet and you want to scream at him just for something to do; laying in bed is boring. He's in distress for your predicament, as you like to think of it. Your predicament. Your bed-rest.
"Just let me know if you want me to say something, or not," he says once, and then lets you be. Sometimes you hate being sixteen.
One day, right before your parents let Adam in to see you, you hear him and your mother arguing. You wake up to her saying, "I just want to help her, if you could just tell me, maybe I could," and Adam answering,
"I'm sorry, I just. I won't take away the person she might be able to trust."
Your fingers wrap around the sheet, and you stay on your side, dirty hair spread out on the pillow. You can hear your mother asking, over and over again what it is he knew that they don't, and in the back of your mind, you love Adam for not telling her what you told him.
When he comes in, he pauses before sitting down. "Is. Do you want me here?"
You release the sheet, roll over slightly so you're closer to facing him. Not quite, but closer. "You didn't say anything."
"Of course not," he tells you. Finally, you nod.
Adam sits. He holds your hand, runs one thumb over your palm over and over again. You mostly don't look at him, because that look in his eyes reminds you of mittens, soft and comforting and nice but missing that elusive quality, that thing that you wanted at five years old and that walked out of your hospital room and hasn't come back.