Unconscious | Teen Ink

Unconscious MAG

August 26, 2008
By Samaiya SILVER, Medellin, Other
Samaiya SILVER, Medellin, Other
7 articles 0 photos 9 comments

There was a dead girl in front of the library this morning. She was breathing, but she wasn’t alive. Whatever existence she’d had during her few years – I calculated she was around 13 – certainly wasn’t life. She was tossed carelessly on the trash-­littered sidewalk in front of a boarded-up doorway, drugged and utterly unconscious of the world around her. The filth and stench of the city were caked into her skin. She seemed part of the garbage she was ­lying in.

My home in Medellín, Colombia, has a lot of poverty. I’m used to seeing dirty, starving children begging in the streets, unkempt old men sleeping ­under newspapers, and hopeless teen­agers forgetting their pain in glue and needles.

But this … this was different.

The girl’s clothes were pulled high above her chest, ugly testimony to what had been done to her the night before. Person after person walked by. Boys leered. Children gaped and were pulled away by mothers who wrinkled their noses and quickened their pace. Not once did I see a trace of caring.

I knelt down and shook her gently.

She stirred and turned her head to me, and a grimace flashed across her face. I realized she was no child. All concept of age was erased from my mind. Perhaps she was barely a teenager; perhaps she was as old as humanity.

“Señora,” I said softly. A fly alighted on her cracked lips, and I brushed it away. Still she did not wake. I don’t know why I cared. Certainly no one else did. But I couldn’t leave her like that. I couldn’t. I should cover her. I reached out to pull down her shirt but retracted my hand. I had no right to touch her.

I knew what I had to do.

Even as I pulled the sweater over my head, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to give my favorite sweater to someone who would just sell it for drugs. I didn’t want to care. But it was too late. Once you open your eyes and see reality, you can’t close them again that easily. And even though I wished I didn’t care, I did. She was a girl, my sister in ­humanity, a person just like me. God have mercy on us both.

I draped the sweater over her. The pulsating noise of the street suddenly quieted. The outside world ceased to exist, and a deafening ­silence enveloped us. Time slowed. The moment seemed eternal. We were the only ones in the universe – just me, the girl, and the dark blue sweater fluttering down in slow motion.

I had the sensation you get when you pull the sheet over the face of a corpse and say, muerto esta. The last fold of cloth settled on the gray cement, and suddenly time was once again going. I heard the rushing cars at my back, felt the burning sun, and smelled the filth. Nothing had changed.

I got up too quickly, nearly losing my balance. I needed to get away.

“La felicito,” an old man, who had apparently been watching me, said in congratulations. “Is it a little girl? So sad, so sad. What a shame.”

“Yeah … I don’t know,” I mumbled, hurrying away, horribly embarrassed that I’d been seen. Supposedly, when you do a good deed, you get a warm fuzzy feeling inside. But all I felt was a deep, aching sadness.

I used to believe those heart-warming stories about how people’s lives were changed by some small act of kindness. If this were one of those ­inspirational stories, years later we’d meet again. She would have risen from her poverty and pain, achieved success, and been converted to some nice religion. I’d be down about something, perhaps thinking that my life was worth nothing. On an impulse I’d step into a church and – voilà! – she’d be there giving her testimony about how she’d lived a totally empty and meaningless existence until her life had been changed by the act of a caring stranger who had covered her with a sweater.

And then I’d get up, with tears in my eyes, and shout, “I am that stranger!” And we’d hug and become best friends and I’d go home completely happy in the knowledge that my life had been good for something after all.

But this isn’t an inspirational story. The real world isn’t that nice. When the girl came out of her stupor, she probably wouldn’t even notice the sweater or wonder where it had come from. She’d use it to get more drugs. That night she would again sell her body and her soul, and the next day she would once more lie on the street with her shame open to the world. And my feeble act of caring would be worth nothing.

I headed down the street and sud­denly, to my disgust, found tears running down my face. I dashed them away, not knowing whether I was crying for that girl, my favorite sweater, or the fact that no one had cared.

I thought of the Jesus I’d been taught about in church. He would have cared, I think, if he’d been there. But he wasn’t there. I wished he were. It hurt.

People at church would tell me that he was there, that he’d cared through me.

I sighed. Maybe. Maybe.

But all the way home, the pain ­remained.



Similar Articles

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This article has 477 comments.


on Apr. 30 2010 at 3:22 pm
.A.Silence.in.Winter. BRONZE, Truckee, California
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Those who plants in tears will harvest with shouts of joy." - Psalms 126:5

Wow.  This was touching.  We need more people in this world who can give themselves unconditionally to care for others.

I'd also like to say that your metaphor that the girl was "dead" was incredibly powerful.  It hit home the fact that, even though she functions, what she has can hardly be called life...

And, I would just like to ask, did you invite Jesus to this situation?  I don't meant to criticize you by any means (you've got a very big heart!), but I do believe that Jesus is everywhere all the time, but if we push him away and isolate him, he can't hold our hand.  He can only live in our hearts if we invite him in.

I'll be praying for you and this girl.  Peace.  :)


on Apr. 29 2010 at 6:08 pm
Margaret Anderson, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts
0 articles 0 photos 7 comments
Are your keys sticking, or are you an idiot? Whoever wrote this cared, even though she would never get anything in return. It is inappropriate to act as if it meant nothing.

on Apr. 29 2010 at 5:37 pm
maritina BRONZE, San Juan, Other
4 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
In life you never know what's gonna happen next...whether it's good or bad, for the worst or for the best. Either way you just have to take a chance and hope it's for the best...

IT IS AWESOMW! Unfortunally that's life. One wants to help and for your work to impact the world enough to make a grand change in it. But the truth is that alone our acctions aren't enough to change anything. But if we all work together who knows what we can accomplish. They say to never underestimate the power of a crowd, and it's true. Together we have the power to change the world, but we must all give our part.

on Apr. 29 2010 at 5:33 pm
maritina BRONZE, San Juan, Other
4 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
In life you never know what's gonna happen next...whether it's good or bad, for the worst or for the best. Either way you just have to take a chance and hope it's for the best...

Esta brutal! desafortunadamente asi es la vida uno quiere ayudar y que su trabajo sea reconocido y que haga un impacto sufucientemente grande para cambiar el mundo completamente de una vez, pero la realidad es que solos nuestras acciones no son suficientes. Pero si todos nos unimos y trabajamos juntos quien sabe lo que podemos lograr. Se dice que nunca  subestimes la energía de una muchedumbre, y es cierto juntos tenemos el poder para cambiar el mundo.

on Apr. 25 2010 at 9:24 pm
evrycloudyday7 PLATINUM, Wappingers Falls, New York
28 articles 0 photos 41 comments

Favorite Quote:
"As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what counts." Seneca
"I'll just read a book instead. I don't care if we're just friends. I can hang out with myself I'm old enough now to pretend. Bam ba dum ba dum ba dum." kate n

i dont what to say. this was really touching. eye opening.

on Apr. 22 2010 at 10:23 pm
twilighters_league BRONZE, Reno, Nevada
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
*run run ru nas fast as you can you cant catch me i m the gingerbread man* HAHA MY FAVORITE QUOTE FROM SHRECK. awsome awsome

I LUV YOUR WORK XP AWSOME

Cutter said...
on Apr. 22 2010 at 12:41 pm
Its okay it was funny anyways! :p

Cutter said...
on Apr. 22 2010 at 12:40 pm
Ya someone pored their heart and soul in this....... have some respect.

on Apr. 21 2010 at 9:21 pm
songofheaven BRONZE, East Amherst, New York
2 articles 2 photos 52 comments

Favorite Quote:
I have found power in the mysteries of thought. -Euripides

This, in fact, does matter. Countless girls (and yes, boys too) sell their bodies and souls every day, and it does need to be discussed. People should know and care. Thanks for writing this, and I'm sorry this happened.

Petra13 GOLD said...
on Apr. 21 2010 at 7:27 pm
Petra13 GOLD, Naples, Florida
10 articles 11 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.\" -Winston Churchill

umm. this is a literary website. so please learn towrite serk7.... thnnnnnxxxxxx.

on Apr. 20 2010 at 2:21 pm
Thinker PLATINUM, Na, Connecticut
47 articles 0 photos 82 comments

Favorite Quote:
A wise word does not make the speaker wise.

Its great, to be able to see things so clearly should be the envy of leaders everywhere.

on Apr. 20 2010 at 9:19 am
wow . . . that was an amazing poem!!

on Apr. 18 2010 at 7:46 pm
shelterisland GOLD, Montclair, New Jersey
14 articles 0 photos 175 comments

Favorite Quote:
-Biting's excellent. It's like kissing only there's a winner."-Doctor Who, The Tardis

oh my god. this is... amazing.

on Apr. 17 2010 at 4:15 pm
WOW. All I can say. Was beautifully written and I am really impressed. This really left a mark on me.

on Apr. 17 2010 at 3:57 pm
francinejar SILVER, Chino Hills, California
7 articles 1 photo 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
God and the devil are raging inside me.

there are no words for this

serk7 said...
on Apr. 16 2010 at 1:54 pm
uu guyz reallyy sukk make a bettr essay nex tyymm nn plzz dinkk beforrr uu write bkuz drugz  r ntt allowedd too b takkdd bout esppeciallllllyyy nnnnooottt  attt sssssssssskkkkkkkkkkoooooooo  ddannkk uuuu   ching ch ahahha jjz playyinnn  buu pllzz lizzenn too yyoooo ddaddyt plzz

allyourbase said...
on Apr. 15 2010 at 10:18 pm
whoops; this was supposed to be a reply to a different comment!!! new here... hee... =o

allyourbase said...
on Apr. 15 2010 at 10:16 pm
She's saying this to show all the thoughts running through her mind when she was there. You might have thought something entirely different; it all depends on who's there. =]

on Apr. 15 2010 at 5:41 pm
DomtheBomb BRONZE, Springfield, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."--Marianne Williamson

this is deep...you got real talent...got any advice?

Lexi-pex GOLD said...
on Apr. 15 2010 at 8:21 am
Lexi-pex GOLD, Billingham, Other
13 articles 0 photos 75 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

very well written!


Smith Summer

Parkland Speaks

Campus Compare