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Hello, you MAG
Hello. Hello you.
There you are.
They've only just let me in to see you, all the doctors out there, they said your body needed to recover from the second surgery (second, and there might be more and I'm not sure I can stomach the thought of them strapping you down and chopping and cutting you anymore) and they told me to sit and wait outside on a horrible plastic chair even though I said it was still visiting hours, and that I'd been coming here at the same time every day this week to see you, so I could go ahead and visit you if I wanted and they could sod off.
So that's why I'm a bit late today, and I'm sorry if you were worried. You shouldn't be worried; right now that's all of our jobs. You've become very good at worrying all of us. Maybe you should stop now, though.
You don't look much like yourself right now (but that's better than before when I ran to where you lay and knelt so fast my knees smacked the tarmac and your arms were bent wrong and your hair was sticky red and your eyes just stared and stared). You're looking a bit better. There are tubes running from your nose and your forearms and (underneath all the bandages and stitches that keep you together because it just hit you dead on) your chest. Your legs are covered by the blanket but I know they're stiff and bandaged up. The bruises are fading a little, that's good. There are still purple shadows across your cheeks though where I skim my fingertips light enough to not hurt, and when I put my thumb right here on your temple, I can feel the tiny scratches that haven't healed yet. You haven't healed yet, but it's okay because I know some things take a while to fix.
When it happened, (“Hurry up,” you said, and I tried, I really did try, to keep up and maybe if I had, but you skipped ahead, tipped your head up and laughed into the sky like you do and when you turned back to smile at me, your foot was already on the pavement – and here it comes too fast to stop) when I got to you, and screamed at you, I remember thinking that it was all very simple. That you would either die and my world would be irreversibly different, or you would be okay and sit up and laugh at me for being a baby and it would all be the same. I thought everything would either stop entirely, or go on just as it had been.
It has done neither.
Sitting and hearing your gentle breath through the oxygen mask, I have come to realize that there is some god-awful state of in-between. When a life is tilted so suddenly and violently off kilter (car horns screeched, copper taste in my mouth and I fell to you) I suppose it is all a gradual process of putting it back into something that resembles right again.
There are flowers that you can't smell and chocolates that you can't taste next to you. If you lifted your hand, you could reach them. You could reach me, too. If you really tried, you could stretch and wrap your arms around me and I could lean into you and breathe you in and I would smile and say “Hello” and it would make you laugh because you always laugh at things I say. I would hold you tight and keep you safe; you only have to reach up.
Look at you, you're so still and I don't understand why you won't move, and I don't understand why the car didn't stop, or why you didn't even look where you were going. Now see the mess you've made. I think you've gone and made me cry because I can feel warm salt on my lips and a stinging when I blink. I don't usually like to cry in front of you, and you usually don't give me a reason to. I swear when you got hit something struck me too, and it's burrowed inside and I can feel it aching in my gut. It's hard to breathe and it hurts. Wake up. Wake up.
You're being selfish you know, you're killing us all. It's really hard to be angry when I love you so much, and I know you know that too.
And, I miss you.
I'm not okay, a tiny part of me wishes I didn't have to see you, not like this, and it's not okay. I'm getting tears on your sheet.
Well, suppose if I slide my hand into yours and hold on, I can close my eyes and pretend I feel your cold fingers flooding with warmth and curving into the spaces between mine. Your chest might heave and you'd gasp and breathe without the machine and things would be much closer to being fixed.
As it is, you're still and serene. Hair fanned out on the pillow. Dwarfed by the machinery around you, breathing little breaths and otherwise there's not much going on.
Stop it right now. I need you to wake up and say hello, otherwise I'm just going to go to pieces right here in this small white room, because I'm unravelling or I'm falling or I'm shattering or dying – whatever this pain is, it's too much to bear. Do you hear me? Are you listening? I'm sitting here and I'm talking to you even though they said you've switched off completely. I want you to listen. Maybe if I say things I've never said before, would that be enough for you. Fine.
You are special, you are important. You are good and you are kind. Sometimes I think you talk too loudly or too much but I would give anything to have you say something now. I don't really mind your taste in music, I just pretend to because it makes you huffy. I think you're an idiot for running off that day, and I might always hate you a bit for making me feel this way. Your laugh reminds me of sunny days, but I always found that too hard to explain. You like egg yolk, and that's weird, but you also like the color orange, and so do I. Once when we argued, when I said you were annoying, I didn't mean it. You are one of my favorite people, and when I see you like this I feel lost.
I have to go now, but I'll come tomorrow, not because I think it will help but because it's harder to let go.
Good night then –
Do that again, like you just did, move your fingers! I saw you move them!
(Gravel digs into my shins and I grab at you, shout your name and it sounds far away.)
You can hear me, can't you? I see your eyelids flickering. No. Yes. There. Take my hand, I've got you, I won't let go this time.
(They pull me away, away from the blood and the dented car hood and the screaming and you.)
Listen to me, listen to my words. I've got you, you can do this, just stay with me, the nurses are running and the machines wail and wail and you always have to be loud, don't you?
(Cold terror floods me, please no. I'm scared, I'm scared – oh there's an ambulance in the road now too.)
I'm not scared now, I'm not scared. You're breathing like you're running and I see your hands. Your hands! Reaching up and clawing at the oxygen mask. My vision swims. People burst by in rapid movement. This is happening.
(Red lights flash, I see you between uniformed legs and you're still.)
That's your hand squeezing back. You whisper through cracked lips. Oh, you see me. “Hello, you,” you say, and I'm shaking, words are flying around us and strange hands work at your machines. So many words now, so much movement and the stillness is gone, but only two words matter in the entire universe. See my reflection in your open eyes, I breathe out.