I think I’ve realized that this might be a very good place to share my writing, and the one I’m going to talk about today is a bit older.
Ic’ve known that writing was what I wanted to do with my life for the longest time, and I have always been fortunate enough to have subtle encouragement throughout my life. Back in 2012, I got second place in a writing contest, which was the least subtle encouragement I received ever, even though it was on a website with a small community. I was only in high school, and I hadn’t completely accepted writing as what I wanted (I was trying to convince myself I would make a better doctor). But getting second place was such a high praise in my mind, especially when it was being judged by someone who was about to get their own book published. It was being judged by Lara Avery, and it was the largest form of validation for my high school self. It blew my mind that I got second place, and that she went as far as to say that she wished that she wanted more.
I’m going to share the story in this blog post below (or you can skip ahead) because the site is moving, so I don’t think that I will post a link. Originally, the host website was called Figment, which is switching over to Underlined in the new year.
Safe and Sound
“Come on Paige! Let’s go on the Ferris Wheel!” the seven year old yanked on my hand.
“No Johnny! I wanna go on the giant swings!!!” my little sister yelled in denial. We were at the county fair, just like we had the previous year. “Johnny, Kim, we can go on both rides.” I said, solving the problems of both of my siblings.
After riding the last two carnival rides, we headed back toward my car. “Stand right here Kim, I just have to get my keys.” I directed as I looked towards my bag. Suddenly, I heard a scream, and saw Kim in the middle of the road, and a black SUV heading towards the little girl.
“Kim!” I yelled, sprinting to the road and pushing her out of it. The headlights shined too bright in my eyes and the horn blared. Suddenly, I was flying through the air, and my world went black.
Its was bright. The light was bright, even though my eyelids were still shut. They felt really heavy. My eyelids, I mean. It’s been so long since I’ve opened them. It would be nice to wake up soon, to see the sun and the moon, the people I’ve always loved. I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve seen them. I know they’ve missed me; I can hear it every time they come to visit. You know how those people who stand by one of their loved ones who are in a coma and they talk to the seemingly unconscious body? Well, that seemingly unconscious body can still hear things, for the record. I would know. At the moment, I fell under that category.
Suddenly, the light became ultra bright, causing me to squint. I lifted my hand to cover my eyes and– wait. I turned my head and took in the sight of the white, sterile room with my blurry vision. Where were my glasses?
I carefully tried to get out of my hospital bed, but I only ended up bumping into a desk. Something crashed down to the ground; it might have been a pitcher, because I felt a few drops of water on my leg.
“Who’s in there?” a familiar voice came. Foot steps followed. “Oh, sweetheart, you’re awake!” she exclaimed. I felt the nurse’s frail hands on me as she led me to the cot again so that I could sit down. “Now, dear, just sit here for me so I can let the doctor know that you’re awake. I’ll also notify your parents while I’m at it. Can I get you anything?”
“My glasses?” I asked.
“Of course, of course,” she said. I heard the sliding of something before she placed them in my hands. I put them on just in time to see the short little lady scurry from the room.
In no time at all, my room was filled with my parents, my sister, and my doctor. My parents were hugging me and crying. Kim on the other hand… she didn’t come anywhere near me. She looked so… different. So old. And dark. She wouldn’t come anywhere near me.
“What year is it?” I asked.
“It’s September 20, 2012,” Dr. Larkin answered.
My eyes widened. “Really? But that means… I’ve been in this coma for five years! I was supposed to graduate four months ago! And now… I’m nineteen?” Which would make Kim thirteen. I turned to look at her to find her gaze on me. She ended up looking away, but not before I saw the shadow on her face.
That night, after a dinner, a time where Kim did nothing but avoid any interaction with me whatsoever, I went to wait for her in her room. She was doing the dishes, since my parents refused to let me ‘over work’ myself. Don’t worry; I didn’t pry through the room. I’m not the type. Not that there was really anything to pry in; her room was stripped bare. There was nothing but her wooden desk, her beside table, and her bed. Everything was white, including the bed sheets, but excluding the wooden desk and bedside table. It felt… devoid of life, really. There was no brightness, no emotion, no energy here. It wasn’t the way I remembered Kim. It’s the opposite of her goofy grin. It’s the opposite of what she should’ve grown to be. It’s the-
“What are you doing here?”
I turned around to find Kim standing at the door, her face neutral and composed, giving nothing away.
“What do you mean what am I doing here? You’ve been avoiding me all day. Don’t you miss me, Squirt?” I asked, offering the best smile I could muster.
She blinking her blue eyes at me and tilted her head, as though she hadn’t understood a thing I had just said. Not a single word came out of that thin, flattened mouth of hers.
“Oh, come on, Kim, what did I do?” I asked, getting comfortable on her bed. “I know I haven’t been around, but it not as though I could’ve helped it. At least I’m here now, though, right? Just like old times, we can sit here, in this room or mine, and we can just talk. Don’t you want to do that? Didn’t you miss me? Or do you thing you’re too cool for me now that you’re a teenager?” Only the last question was meant to be a joke.
We were silent for a moment. It was a long moment. There wasn’t a single sound to be heard. I looked up at her and saw the tears shining on her broken face.
“It was all my fault!” she moaned loudly before breaking down in tears.
It took two seconds before I was at her side and holding her in my arms. She was shaking, and so I brought her over to her bed and just held her and comforted her the way I remember doing six years ago.
“I’m never going to forget,” she whimpered. “It’s all my fault. That day of the accident. If I hadn’t run on the street that day to retrieve that stupid toy, you never would’ve been in that stupid coma. You would’ve been here, graduating, celebrating your sweet sixteen, going to homecoming, and prom! I made you miss out on all those things that you were looking forward to and…” She was sobbing so hard that her body shook.
“Shhh,” I soothed her, rubbing little circles onto her back. “Kim, it’s okay. Everything is okay now. I’m okay. I’m here. It doesn’t matter. That’s in the past now.”
She sniffled. “You don’t hate me?”
“Oh, Squirt, how could I?” I hugged her tight. “You weren’t intentionally trying to hurt me. It was an accident. And if I hadn’t pushed you out of the way that day, you could’ve died, and you’re worth more to me than all the dances and birthdays in the world.”
She sniffled and I just held her. We sat like that for the rest of the night in silence, just reveling in each others presence, comforted by the thought that we were both safe and sound.