“Stay with me, Jonah,” my mother pleaded. Hearing her voice quiver like that gave me chills. I didn’t like the fear in my mother’s voice.
“Please stand back and let us work”, a stern voice boomed. Doctors rushed me on a gurney. My chest heaved in and out as I gasped for air. “Just relax…” The stern voice from earlier tried to soothe me but the words started to become mumbled and connected. My head pounded less and less and I closed my eyes. Slowly all light and noise ceased to exist.
I woke up to the sound of rushing water and sunlight blazing through my eyelids. Whipping my head back and forth to see my surroundings. I sat up and looked around noticing lots of trees, a river to my left, and green everywhere. I sprang to my feet and could only think of one thing- am I in a jungle? Then I started running, my stride long and my feet racing. How did I end up in a jungle after just being rushed into the hospital? Deep in thought, I didn’t notice the tree in front of me.
I landed on the ground and sat for a second. After coming back to my senses I saw that a hand was ten inches from my face. The hand belonged to a girl. I tried to look up and see her face, but she was standing right in front of the sun, which made her look like she was encapsulated by light. Squinting my eyes to see her better, I grabbed her hand and pulled myself up.
“I’m Eleanor,” she said.
“Jonah. And uh, thank you,” I stuttered while subtly glancing at her. She looked like she was my age, seventeen, maybe a little older. Her hair was dark and curly and she was about my height, maybe taller. I was still confused as to how I happened to run into Eleanor in the middle of a jungle.
“This is all kind of weird-” she started.
“What is? The fact that I don’t know who you are and we’re in a jungle?” I interrupted her. I felt bad but needed answers.
She stopped and sighed. “Look, this isn’t going to be easy to tell you, but you have to believe me, okay?” She paused to search for the right words. “We're both in comas.”
“What? How is that possible, for how long?” I asked.
She shrugged, “I’m not sure. Time is weird when you’re dreaming, but I’ve been here for a while I think.”
“How did you get here?”
“I was in an accident riding my bike. A car ran a red light and didn’t see me.”
I immediately regretted asking. “I’m not sure how I got here. I’ve been pretty sick for a while and I was unable to breathe on my own.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Let’s hope we get out of here safely,” she said with sincerity.
We started walking again. Finally, I asked, “So where are we going?”
“I need to show you something,” she responded. “I’ve been staying in a cave and was hoping maybe you’d get the same feeling I did when I looked at it.”
“Looked at what?” I replied.
“Sort of a deja vu,” she said, not answering the question.
“That’s strange,” I replied, not really knowing what the heck she was talking about.
We arrived to the cave and we walked inside, and it was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. I looked around and saw a shallow pool in the middle of the cave. Eleanor sat down on the edge of the water but didn’t look in. She patted the ground next to her like she was telling me to sit there. “I need you to look at your reflection,” she insisted.
“Wait, what’s this all about?”
“I want to see if the same thing that happened to me happens to you,” she replied. I exhaled quickly and opened my eyes and then peered into my reflection. I saw me, the same brown curly hair and freckled face that belonged to me in the real world. But this time I saw a man holding a briefcase and wearing a nice grey business suit. As I studied the image it started to change. It was the same man, but this time sitting at a desk with his head in his hands. I looked closer and noticed a picture of my family on the desk. It occurred to me that this was not a random man, but was me in the future. I was sitting at the desk in the office of my family's store looking miserable. I had taken over the family business, a lifelong dream of my parents, not mine.
I was suddenly out of that image, now looking at Eleanor. She looked back at me with dark piercing eyes that sparkled from the pool. “Did you see anything?” She asked with a curious look on her face. “Yeah, I saw my future. I was working for my family's business.” I said. The memory of the images made me crinkle my nose. She noticed I was unhappy but decided not to pry.
Eleanor was quiet and clearly deep in thought. She stood up and started walking toward the pool. I waited for a few moments while she looked at herself, in some sort of a trance. It was a few minutes later when she had come back.
“Jonah… you won’t believe-” she started, but then stopped. She took a second to collect herself a bit and then started again.
“I know why I was having deja vu,” she said. “This is my second life! I was in a coma in my previous life but died. And this time I came back and fulfill my purpose. You were my purpose, Jonah. I had to show you your future so you could better yourself,” she added.
“What do you mean I was your purpose?” I asked.
“We were given an opportunity that most other people will never be given. We were given a chance to look into our pasts and futures. You saw the person who you would become, even if you don’t want to. I saw the person who I was and how I can change that now.” She looked at the water, but this time not going into the trance-like state. She lightly swished the water, causing ripples to form around the disturbance. I watched the ripples until they faded away to the edge of the pool. She began, “What I realized is that you’re not truly dead until the ripples you’ve created on humanity have faded away.”
I looked away for a moment and she was gone. Stumbling to my feet, I ran around the cave looking for her, but it was no use. She was nowhere to be found, and I started to panic. I closed my eyes to hold back my tears of fear, but opened them to blinding white light.
I blinked a few times to try and adjust my eyes to see where I was, and I saw my mother and father sitting by my bed, my mother holding my hand. I smiled a little bit and managed to squeeze her hand. Immediately her eyes shot up and she began to cry. “Jonah! Oh, thank God you are awake.” My parents hugged me and for a brief moment everything felt normal. The nurse heard my parents’ voices and called for the doctor. I answered a few questions and then the doctor stepped out to talk to my parents.
Apparently I had been in a coma for three days. After a few hours I was finally allowed to start walking around, the grogginess pretty much gone. I was holding my mother’s hand as I stepped outside of my room. I took small, calculated steps and I passed the room next to me.
“A girl woke up a day before you. She had been in a coma for forty days. They didn’t think she would make it,” my mother said. I looked inside the window and saw a girl with dark curly hair. She turned to me and faintly smiled, like an old friend. I smiled back and looked at my mother and said, “I think we are going to need a change.”