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Each morning I would wake up to the gentle nudges of whatever nurse was assigned to work that day. She would ask me a series of questions to cheer me up like, “Isn’t the weather so beautiful today?” or “Didn’t the Giants win the game last night?” But they never succeeded in brightening my mood. I was lonely and depressed, it had been almost ten years since the accident and I hadn’t been making any progress. Every night I would be escorted home to the same old apartment where the mustard yellow wallpaper was peeling and the once shiny, beautiful wood floors were scuffed from the wheels that constantly wore them down. I don’t think I could ever forgive the person who did this.
I remember the day as if it was just yesterday, the sun was shining, the birds chirping, and cars whizzed by as the traffic lights pinged from red to green. Madeline and I were crossing the street to get a cup of coffee before work. It was my big day, I was getting promoted to be Sheriff of our small town’s police department, a dream I’d had all of my life. Madeline was telling me about a movie she’d seen the night before when all of the sudden she paused. I turned to look at her radiant smile that enchanted my dreams each night when a shadow of fear whipped across her face, and an ear splitting shriek of terror exploded from her. The last thing I heard was the shrill of wheels forcibly being launched across the pavement and a pain erupted from every part of my body in ways I had never experienced before. A split second later I was encased in darkness, no sounds, lights or movements around me.
The morning that I did finally wake up, I found myself connected to an IV bag that reminded me of what I had used carry home the goldfish I’d won at the carnival as a kid. Slowly I realized that my whole body felt as if it’d been through a wash cycle at the local Laundromat, but that was nothing compared to what had actually happened. Not much later I found out that Madeline, the love of my life had died instantly when the oncoming drunk driver hadn’t stopped at that red light. I myself was paralyzed from the waist down and told I would be lucky if I was to ever walk again. Yeah, fat chance. From that point on my life became an endless clutter of depression, medication and physical therapy.
It only took me two years to give up on the thought that I may ever be able to walk again, or even participate in a normal life. From that point on I had no motivation at all to even wake up each morning, I wasn’t really sure what I was living for. Many times I found myself wishing I had passed on with Madeline. I constantly wondered what I’d done to deserve the type of torture I was enduring.
One Sunday morning, ten years after the accident, one of the older nurses that I had become very fond of decided to come visit me. It was a beautiful autumn morning, the sun shining through the bright, puffy clouds and the horizon covered in vibrant shades of yellow, orange and green from the trees that had shed their leaves for the winter. My nurse, Annabelle, invited me to accompany her to the park to enjoy the outdoors. I could not possibly decline because it wasn’t often that I had a chance to get out of the house. I noticed a small pond in the center of the park that seemed tranquil compared to the excited chirping of little kids playing hide-and-seek on the playground. It was beautiful, a deep mixture of dark and light blues with a mist hovering overtop. Annabelle decided to go across the street and get some coffee, and I did not mind a few minutes to myself to take it all in. I saw a little boy skipping rocks across the lake. He seemed pretty young, maybe five at the most. He was alone, the only other person I knew of that was near the dainty little pond. I took a deep breath, and closed my eyes for a minute to think about some things.
The silence was then interrupted by a loud splash and the wailing of the little boy. Somehow he had managed to fall into the pond. I tried screaming for help but there was no one around and it was clear that the little boy was not able to swim. He was thrashing around and clearly running out of energy. I knew I had to do something; he was slowly but surely losing consciousness. In that moment I felt a sharp tingling throughout my legs, as if they had been charging up to release at any moment. Next thing I knew the environment around me blurred, I was running, really running! The water hit me like a thousand ice cubes but like a bear fishing for food, I snatched the little boy from the water and safely returned him to the river bank. I collapsed beside him, surprised by the adrenaline that had just surged through me. After ten whole years of not walking I had done it, I was able to save the boy. But when I looked up all I saw was Annabelle standing above me.
Her smile shined brightly through the expression of astonishment and she said, “You see, don’t ever give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.”



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mads942 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 29, 2010 at 10:27 pm:
This is wonderful! You use very interesting descriptions.
 
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