My name is Richard Perez and my life consists of lying in a hospital bed. I got into a car crash and lost all motor control in my body. I am not a quadriplegic nor am I a vegetable. I suffer from locked in syndrome. I can see, hear, and feel everything that goes on around me. Tick tock goes the clock. Drip drop goes the IV in my arm. I haven’t drank water in what I would have to guess is three months but I’ve never felt thirsty. That’s another thing, I don’t know days. I can’t see a calendar from my bed, only a clock that never ceases to remind me of the endless hours that I’m trapped within this motionless living corpse. I woke up around the time the firsts rays of the sunrise were breaking through the curtains on the window. I sat for about half an hour in relative peace and then the feeling of fire engulfed my body. There is nothing I can do; I simply lie in pain waiting for it to stop. Yesterday it felt like needles, or was it razor blades. The pain died down after a while. A bit later the new morning nurse walked in. I really don’t like her. She hums a stupid song every morning as if no one can hear her. She doesn’t even have good tempo. But all I can do is lie there waiting for her to leave. Lunch time, dinner time, both go by without any commotion. Then the evening nurse walks in, her name is Sarah, as shown on her hospital name badge. Her eyes were bloodshot and red. She sat in the chair next to my bed. She started crying, sobbing. All I could do was lie there and watch. She started mumbling about her boyfriend. That she couldn’t take it anymore. That’s when I notice the scar peeking out from her sleeve, and the marks on her neck and the bruise on her jaw. She was being beaten by someone she thought she loved. She doesn’t know it but I think I love her. I can’t tell her anything. Any snippet of my feelings, I can’t even hold her hand. D*mn my body. D*mn the useless sac of flesh and bones. I am nothing more that a slab of meat on a butchers block. God d*mn I want someone to strike me down with some bloodied cleaver. If the world was just I would have died in that car crash. If the world was just then a man would never lay a harmful hand on any woman especially one a caring and beautiful as Sarah. Sarah wipes her tears away, adjusts my medication levels for the IV drip, and leaves the room with no other words. Now I wait until sleep takes me into its relieving embrace. Tick tock goes the clock and drip drop goes the IV. The humming nurse, lunch, and dinner all pass as I wallow in my self-hatred and depression, all festering inside my fleshy coffin. Then she walks in. This time her red eyes are matched with a forced smile. She walks over to my bed and places her cold fragile hand into my unresponsive palm. Happy birthday he says barely able to hold back the sadness in her voice. I can see the tears welling in her eyes. Before she can stop herself she begins to cry. She held her hand to her neck and I could see new marks across her neck. Her other hand still lay in my palm. I willed my body to respond. I shouted inside my own head for my fingers to tighten, to comfort her in the most basic way possible. My commands echoed within my own head but had to physical impact. My hand still lay there limp. D*mn this body, how I wish it to burn. How I wish to be cast into the cremator in the hospital basement. How I wish this body to be dragged to h*ll and me with it. I am I consciousness trapped in a corpse. I am not living I am only existing. Then I snapped back to reality. She sat there wide eyed staring at me. No not at me at her hand. I could still feel her cold hand laying in mine. No, I was holding her hand tightly in my own. I cannot smile, I cannot tell her I love her, I cannot do a million other things, but I can hold hers hand. I can comfort her when others won’t. I have a purpose. I have a reason to push through the pins and needles I feel that no medication can dull, live inside this almost useless body. I wish to live to make her life better. She cried again but this time with a smile that was devoid of sadness and I knew that I barely had the control to hold her hand but for her I was a pillar of strength, and I will live on, for her.