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I am walking slowly to nowhere, yet that will always turn into somewhere. I walk blindly everywhere I go; never observing anything, I eat at places that have no names and walk down unlabeled streets everyday and every night. I do all this and never leave my town, never have I once ventured from the safe boundaries of this city.
It is cold today, yet I still walk. People ask me why I walk every day, they yell comments at me as they pass in their cars; I don’t have a car, in fact, I have nothing to my name. This is why I walk; I walk to find something new in a never ending city of square apartments and grey sidewalks. The ground is level here, never a hill to be found. I walk all day and I talk; I talk on a soap box and express my opinions. Everyone needs to be heard some way; this is my way to yell about everything that I lock inside as I walk…
I lie on the cold pavement, not walking today. Walking is impossible after getting hit by a car. I lie on the pavement; it is cold because it is raining. I lie in a puddle, but not of rain this is my puddle composed of the pain falling in and out of my body. I do not speak because I fear how my voice will sound, I do not walk because I fear what could happen if I stand.
I am awake, I see your lights and your shocked faces, I see the red and blue lights slowly getting larger, and I see a man in an orange jacket picking me up like a sack of bricks. I am put on a table and fastened down; I see a mask go over my mouth. I see... Nothing.
Hospitals smell like old people. Too many sterilized items in one place are never a good thing. The dying surround me on all sides and I cannot escape, I am in traction. A man comes into my line of vision and starts to speak, “You’re lucky you know that?”
I raise an eyebrow as if to say, “Are you seriously trying to talk to a man with his jaw wired shut?” he continued nonetheless.
“Most people go through the windshield when they are hit, but you rolled over it. If you hadn’t we would never be having this conversation right now.”
Doctors always know exactly when to say the wrong things. He stopped talking after his sudden realization that I could not respond.
I lay in bed for nearly a year, I lay down on my side so I don’t get bed sores, I lay for what seems like an eternity. I look around this open hospital floor, I am one of seven cramped into this space. I am the only one that has gotten no visits. This place is worse than the streets, yet I cannot remember how I got here. I do not believe I remember where I live either, or... Or what my name is.
My memories have vanished into thin air. I am hurt, I remember this vividly; a car came down the road and then I was on the ground I saw the orange… Then, blank. Where has it all gone? Have I lost who I am forever? Yet, one memory remains I can feel it in my bones; running, it’s all I have left to remember myself by. I run for no reason, yet all the reason in the world running is my life.
A doctor passes and I struggle for words, “Excuse me doctor, who am I?”
The doctor looks stunned as if he had just been punched by a large boxer. He looked at my charts at the end of my bed, but there was no emotional change to be identified. The doctor looked up, “Well, it says here you’re a John Doe, are you sure you do not know your name?”
I nod to save myself from further speech. At this moment the doctor walked from where my bed is to the nearest phone within seconds, he talked into a receiver for nearly a minute before glancing back towards me, his face now worried. I wait on the fateful words; I wait for the day I will run again, I wait for a visitor, whoever it may be.
The doctor does not tell me anything I do not already know. Tomorrow I discover the world, tomorrow is the day I will be let out of this sterile prison.
I limp, through automated sliding glass doors of the hospital for the first time in eleven months. I have gathered my belongings from the front desk; apparently my wallet contained over five thousand dollars in all twenties. I limp to the diner down the road, Phil’s Diner to be exact. I limped up to the open stool at the counter and took a much need rest. A girl put a menu in front of me, I do not need to eat I need to walk.
The girl came back to take my order I simply said, “I’ll have a coffee, black.”
She walked away from me without even a cheery smile; I like it better when people use an honest face in the workplace. I sit at the counter and search my wallet for any means of identification. There is none to be found, only two initials burned into the leather at the bottom right corner, FD.
The coffee came five minutes later, and still no progress on these mysterious initials. I stared at them as if not blinking would help reboot memories locked away. I am the real John Doe. I sip the coffee to the last drop and place a twenty in front of me and wait for change.
I limp again, out onto the sidewalk where I began. I limp down the street with nowhere to go, no one to see, and no motive to move. I limp down endless streets of this city, wondering who I am. I am FD, but not entirely. I am missing the part that makes me whole, the part you rely on in basic situations, I’m missing my memory. I limp to a park and find an entourage of soap box speakers.
I yell, from an empty soap box. I yell down to a crowd listening to my every word. I yell to find my identity. I yell for my own well being, “Today,” I start, “I woke up and had no clue who I was or what had happened to me. I limped from the bed I had been trapped in and questioned my existence. Why am I here? Who has made me this way? I am the one without a name; I am your John Doe. I found my wallet with more money than needed and no place to spend it.”
I paused shortly to gather my own thoughts, “Who are we? We are all people that have jobs that lead to nowhere and unhappy lives to keep up in order for little green pieces of paper with dead men on it. This is no way a life should work. Life is a beautiful treasure shared by the lucky few that know how to live it. I stand here today and beg you all to not blend in, because that is the last thing in the world that will ever make you happy. Be yourself, and now I must leave you and find myself… Again. ”
I step off the box, into a crowd of watchers. I step into the applause of many watchers. I feel pats on my back. I hear… I hear, “welcome back Frank, after that car crash we thought you had died.” I am Frank.
Three months later
I run every day. I run all day through this city of onlookers. I run with a smile, I have found myself. I am Frank Denali, and…
…I am alive again.