To Know Who I am

June 7, 2010
“For such a small infant, Iris sure is taking her fair share of blood, huh Belle?” my wretched stepfather stood broad in the hospital room’s doorway, trying to brighten up the situation. It didn’t work. My pailed eyes just cruised from his face to Iris’s. She was two weeks old, and imprisoned in an incubator. “Well, I’m going home for the night, you sure you don’t wanna come?” My step-dad remarked.

“No.” I replied without even breaking my gaze. I watched him leave and thought to myself, that jerk doesn’t even seem worried about his own daughter. I was relieved to see that Iris was finally peacefully asleep. I would give up the world to hold that baby, but at that moment, all I could do was keep feeding her crimson life. She was born with a blood deficiency, but I wasn’t sure what it exactly was, for when the doctors were explaining it to me I began to feel lightheaded. Lucky for her, though, her and I were both O- blood types, and I would run myself dry to see that baby live. Just to have her grow up and know my name would be reward enough for me.

I stared at Iris until my mother casually walked into the room. She carried herself with such poise that you would never suspect her to birthing a sick baby only two weeks ago. “Annabelle,” I hated hearing my full name. “What are you going to do here all night?” In my mind, I answered that question: keep your baby alive, Mom, that’s exactly what I’ll do. However, my mind and mouth disagreed, so I mumbled “nothing.” My mother nodded her head, and then nonchalantly walked out of the room.

As my mother strolled out, Nurse Becca strolled in, for the fifth time this evening. Her bleach- white ensemble blended with the asylum white walls, floor, and ceiling. I rolled up my sleeve, as Becca walked toward me. Without saying a single word, she took out a needle and dug it into my arm, creating a hexagon, if connected with all the other miniscule holes around it. I watched as the blood filled up the needle, one notch at a time. But I could only get up four notches before closing my eyes. My face was pale, body numb, and if blood wasn’t being sucked out of my body, I could have sworn I was dead.

I faintly listened to the sounds of the hospital; the beeping of Iris’s heartbeat was my lullaby. I’m seventeen my mind ravaged I should be partying, searching for colleges, and instead I’m here, feeding my blood to an infant. I couldn’t tell my friends about my absence, they wouldn’t understand. So, I just sat, and thought about nothing. I wasn’t even sure if there was enough blood left in my body to think.

When I opened my eyes again, sunlight was already pouring through the small window. Nurse Becca was going in for needle number seven, but after taking one look at me, she winced and pulled back the needle. “What?” I asked her in a scratchy voice.

“I can’t take any more blood from you, just look at you! You’re in terrible shape.” For the first time all weekend, I felt something. I physically felt my heart break.

“No!” I argued. “Please, Iris needs it! Just please let me give it!” Becca shook her head while gazing at the white floor.

“Isn’t there someone else that can donate? Any other relative?” I could not believe this was happening. I said back “No! I’m the only O-! Please! Please just let me give, I don’t care what happens to me! Just give that baby life! Just give her my blood. I’m begging you.”

Becca was a new nurse, therefore easy to be broken. She very well knew that she could loose her job for extracting more blood from me, but by the way I pleaded, she gave in. Our hearts connected for a moment, and she knew what to do.

So finally, Becca gave in and reluctantly took more blood from me. I grinned, staring at the infant in the glass castle next to me. Becca left the room, and I was again peaceful, pale, and motionless. I could have sworn, that between squirms and cries, my baby sister smiled at me. At that point, I felt as if my life was complete. “I just want you to know who I am,” I whispered to her before closing my eyes.

I was awakened by the sound of my mother’s high-pitched voice, echoing from down the hallway. Something must have corrupted my mind, because I tried to stand up and walk over to her.

Upon standing, the room began to shake and spin, throwing me towards the floor. My head hit the gray tiles on the floor like bat to ball contact. That’s the last thing that happened before everything went black. I remember being grateful that my mother or Nurse Becca didn’t notice me; they went straight to check up on Iris. I was so relieved that nobody paid attention to my limp body off to the side of the room.

That was five years ago, and today, I keep a close eye on my baby sister. I watched her grow up to be a toddler, and she sleeps with a picture of me next to her bed. The other day, her kindergarten teacher asked her who her hero was, and she stated, “My hero is my sister Belle, she let me live.”

And watching from up in heaven, I was the happiest angel there.

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