It takes a little bit to register whether this is a question or an attempt at reassurance.
The cab driver’s accent makes it sound like a statement– like he’s spent enough midnights picking up puffy-eyed people from hospitals to know what should be said.
That could just be me viewing it through the (exhausted, hungry) lens of the fourteen hours before that, when a small army of people wandered in and out of my perception to say much the same thing. From the friendly tech, to the doctor, to the very kind receptionist that called me the taxi, everyone had some variation of, “Everything is going to be okay.”
I don’t know if it is. If this was someone trying to reassure me before surgery or another spinal tap, I could keep stifling my actual feelings long enough to brush it off with a flippant grin and an eye-roll.
Oh, yeah. Of course. And if I’m not… Well, shit happens. Somebody better desecrate the crap out of my grave so I get to come back as the most powerful ghost ever, though.
(I’m not very good at the “expressing feelings of fear or sadness” thing. Like an alien in a badly-fitting skin suit trying to fake my way through normal human behavior, the best I’ve been able to manage is something between outward apathy and a sort of prickly gallows humor.)
Now it’s another animal entirely. When it becomes having a loved one taken away to a place where they’ll hopefully be safer and I’ll be kept in the dark until the danger passes. When wondering Will I be okay? What if something happens to me? Will it hurt? is How much of this is my fault? Because I wasn’t kind, or clever, or funny, or perceptive, or understanding enough? and Oh my god, what’s going to happen if this doesn’t work? instead.
I decide it’s a question. The driver didn’t get called out here to be an ersatz counselor.
“Yeah,” I squeak, words short and carefully-chosen so my voice doesn’t break, “Thanks.”