It was a familiar feeling and one that Kurt had tried to grow accustomed to. Sometimes, however, trying to get used to a feeling, isn’t enough to dispel it completely. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, it was frightening, drastic and emotional.
He felt it happening as they were sitting there. The interview had so far been a success. Kurt had actually felt like talking this time and had engaged the questions and provided substantial answers.
But then his stomach had felt cramped, his chest had tightened and he had done his best to ignore it. It was like he had constant butterflies in his stomach to the point it made him feel sick and uncomfortable. His chest felt like someone was clamping it with iron and his head began to feel light and dizzy.
He did his best to control it, he had managed to control it before, managed to deal with it and fight it off, and he fought hard to do the same again. At first, no one noticed, he had it covered, controlled, contained. But then he noticed the interviewer looking at him strangely, watching him – studying him, almost. This only made things worse. Anxiety seared up from his stomach, racing through his temples and throbbing in his head. His speech was quickening, and he took short, sharp breaths between each sentence.
His eyes darted around the room, he was unable to keep focus, the words people were saying - the lights and the surroundings all swirled together, illegible, intangible, and unreadable.
“Kurt?” Krist’s voice seemed far off and distant. “Kurt, are you okay?” The voice sounded surreal and distorted.
Dave spoke, too. Something about the cameras running. Something else – Kurt couldn’t understand or piece what was being said together. His heart rate increased, his breathing was fast, shallow, pitched and sharp.
“Kurt? Kurt, calm down!”
Krist was in front of him now, Kurt could make out the outline of his friend’s face, but his own vision was blurry – like a TV snowstorm of white and black, frenzied and frantic, obscuring his vision.
He closed his eyes, his chest was hurting so much and his heart was beating so quickly, he could swear he could hear it thundering against his ribcage.
He couldn’t settle, he couldn’t calm himself or do anything – he was shaking now, uncontrollable, unsteady, his breathing was so fast that the room was spinning and his eyes had even started flickering – the whites of his eyes flashed with blue as they began to roll back.
“Kurt! Fucking hell! Kurt!”
The voices were far away, distant, dreamlike, hazed and strange. He couldn’t recall very much at all before everything surrounded him in a black-red mist and he quickly fell into unconsciousness.
The news channels had already shown footage of Kurt Cobain ‘collapsing’ during the interview. Tabloids reported him falling into ‘an unconscious state, most likely caused by drug use’ and the radio had reported it frequently throughout the day.
Angry at the accusations of this, Krist had called the papers that had reported it and asked them to retract their statements. Yes, Kurt had issues with drugs and on occasion had slipped into a sleep-like state due to his heroin use, during one or two interviews, but this was not the case and Krist knew that for certain.
At his side, Dave had not left the hospital bed for all the time that Kurt had been there. Krist had assured him that he would take care of things, sort out the statements, talk to the press, contact their record label, everything. All Dave had to do was be there when Kurt woke up.
The monitor constantly beeped and Dave watched the screen, following the lines of Kurt’s heart-rate and rhythm as it danced in sharp, green waves on the screen. It almost looked like an old Atari game, some sort of 2D level, where you had to get over mountains in a certain amount of time.
Dave smiled softly at the thought of himself and Kurt playing their computer games. It was one of the things they did most often, aside from playing music and watching TV.
Kurt’s eyelids began to flicker – his eyes moving franticly behind his lids and Dave’s smile faded. Kurt looked pale and gaunt, his lips cracked and dry.
Dave watched as Kurt’s lips began to move a little, pouting outwards and pursing together, as if he was about to speak.
“Kurt?” He leaned over slightly, lowering his voice. “Kurt, can you hear me?”
There was a pause, Kurt stilled, almost like he was listening, before he opened his mouth very slightly and muttered something.
Dave could figure what Kurt said, it was dry, mumbled and nonsensical. Dave didn’t try to decipher it. He waited a few more moments and Kurt very slowly opened his eyes.
Kurt laid there, looking right up to the ceiling, trying to focus, trying to work out where he was and what had happened.
Eventually, he swallowed, feeling the dry course texture of his throat, realising he was in need of something to drink, and he turned to see Dave sitting by his bedside.
“Hey,” Dave said, softly, smiling gently and leaning forwards a little. Kurt didn’t respond with anything verbal or even a smile.
He looked away and sighed a little. After a few more moments, he finally whispered: “Water,” and Dave immediately poured him some, carefully handing it to him, as Kurt slowly sat up. “Thank you,” Kurt said, his voice horse and almost inaudible.
Dave sat back down, but turned slightly as the door opened and Krist came in. Kurt glanced at him and Krist smiled, sitting down beside Dave at his bedside.
“It’s good to see you awake, Kurt. You gave us quite a scare.” He said, softly.
Kurt didn’t say anything and placed his water on the side. He slid back down and rested his head against the pillows.
“We need you to be honest with us Kurt – either way, we’ll find out. I just want to hear it from you.” Krist was direct, getting straight to the point, regardless of Kurt only being awake for a matter of minutes.
“Was it drugs?” He asked, assertively.
Kurt looked to him for what seemed to be an age, his eyes burned into Krist’s but he never replied. He simply averted his gaze and then turned over, his back facing them, the blankets nestled around his tiny frame, and all they could do was watch the rise and fall of his side as he breathed lightly and went back to sleep.