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It’s bright. For a few moments, I can’t even see where I am. Am I dead? This is what they say it’s like, right? My eyes adjust. I look up at a ceiling. I process the white, scratchy sheets. I process the low beeping sound bouncing off the walls around me. I process the small room I’ve found myself in.
It’s difficult for me to even put thoughts through my dizzy head, so its a few moments more before I even think to move. I try to sit up a bit, and I am hammered by the agony of my entire body. One of the beeping patterns speeds up, and before I know it, a woman in a white gown is bursting through the door. She yells something out the door and more people show up. Two men. One has a clipboard. It seems to be the only thing in the room that isn’t white. The woman comes over to me and says something, but I can understand it. It is too muffled.
They run around me in circles for a while, talking and checking different instruments. They’re voices become clearer and clearer, and after a while I can fully understand them. I try to ask them questions but I can’t form words or open my mouth. Even if I could, I wouldn’t know what to ask. Everything is a question right now.
They continue to work but I can’t tell what they are doing. Eventually, the woman looks at me. She talks.
“Ren, you are not going to be able to talk or move for a while. My advice is to rest. You are safe now, don’t worry.” She spoke softly, and with a tone that I trusted. I blinked in reply, but she was already moving away. The men were gone. The clipboard remained.
I shut my eyes. I try to rest.
I slip into a dreamless sleep and when I wake up, I am in the same room. Some of the machines are gone. I lift my head and surprise myself with little pain. Taking it slow, I sit up. Thoughts are coming easier now. I know who I am, how I go there. I remember the crash.
My breathing becomes faster and I begin to panic. Where was he? Where was Reed? He was in the car. He was driving. A nurse walks by and sees me up. She walks in calmly.
“Where is he?” This time, I find it easy to form words. My voice doesn’t sound particularly strong, but it is audible. Her gaze moves down to the floor. “Dead?” My voice cracks in the middle of the word. She pulls up a chair and sits down.
“No. But in a coma.” She almost adds more, but I can tell she doesn’t know what to say. I have to coax myself into breathing again. Reed? In a coma? I force myself to breath deeper, but I still feel like I am going to pass out. I try to remember the morning before the crash. It is all a blur.
“Renny.” He stretched the word and made it last long enough to wake me up. “There you go, open your eyes. We have to get you to your classes.” His voice was so relaxed, so happy. “Your roommate let me in. I brought doughnuts.” I pulled myself from my bed. I hugged him. He kissed my forehead.
“Yum,” was all I could manage staring into his stunning blue eyes. Then the realization that I must look disgusting hit me. I jumped up. “Sorry! Ummm, excuse me for a second!” With that, I bounced off to the bathroom. My guess was right, I looked a mess. Frizzy black hair, no makeup whatsoever, and dried drool on my chin. It would be a miracle if he didn’t break up with me on the spot. Of course, he has probably seen me look worse and he isn’t the type of guy who cares about appearance. He is much too sweet. I brushed my hair and teeth, dabbed a bit of mascara on my eyelashes, and walked out. He was smiling as usual.
Why did I even leave his side yesterday? How could he be so far away from me now? My eyes are leaking now. I choke back a sob.
The nurses have let me go out for a walk. They say I can visit him in intensive care, but I refuse to torture myself with seeing him. If I had known this would have happened, I would have done everything different. My hospital gown is itchy and revealing. I have lots of stitches and bruises. My hair has been shaved off in places so they could sew me up. I must look a fright because whenever I see someone in the halls, they shy away from me.
There is snow outside. Fresh. The sky is white. When I tried to walk out there, my eyes hurt. I went back inside.
“Hurry up and eat Reed!” I laughed, “We both have to get to class! And the snow is going to slow us down!”
“Relax, Ren, we have time,” he smiled, “besides, you are still eating too.” He was right, I eat slowly, I pick like a bird. I made an exception to my eating habits and scarfed down the rest of that glazed heaven. He did the same, laughing and standing up. He reached for his keys and followed me out of the door and down the stairs.
Being in front of him, I didn’t notice when he stopped to make a snowball, that is, until it hit me in the back. He giggled in a way I could hardly get mad at, so I threw a snowball back. An all out snow war started, ending in both of us laughing in each others arms. We were like kindergarteners, laughing together buried in snow.
I wish that those moments had lasted forever. I would have cherished them all so much more, pulled him back, not have even worried about being late if I could redo it. My eyes feel like they have permanently puffed up from sobbing. I have gone to the cafeteria, but I only threw up what I could choke down. Its hard to believe its only been one day since I got out of bed here, only one day without him. It seems like its been years.
He opened the car door for me and gestured for me to get in. I couldn’t help but laugh at him. He was so sweet. So funny. He got in next to me, started the car, and began driving on the slushy road. He reached over for my hand and held it blissfully. We sat like that for some time.
It is hard for me to remember how long we drove before the crash. We didn’t speak, only listened to the soft radio and the white noise behind the songs. A silly smile, the smile of a little girl, took my mouth hostage.
That moment was frozen in time, and it slowly unfolded as another driver slammed into the left side of the car. Glass floated through the air. The airbag seemed to inflate with no rush, but I had only enough moments to lock eyes with Reed as my head hit something and I blacked out.
He is as good as gone now. I haven’t spoken to anyone yet. My parents are on their way, and my roommate has already visited. I couldn’t even talk to her. We just sat and cried. The doctors made her leave because it is so late.
I like the night here better. Its not as bright. Reed is still in a coma. They don’t know how long it will be until he comes out of it. I can’t bear to go see him, to see those beautiful blue eyes closed. Will they be forever closed?
I request sleeping pills from a nurse and she pities me so much she actually gets me some. They are difficult to swallow and I gag before getting them down, but now I am feeling drowsy. I am thinking less. I slip back into unconsciousness. Only one question haunts my dreams.
Will those eyes be forever closed?