Everything is Gonna be Okay | Teen Ink

Everything is Gonna be Okay

May 24, 2023
By Schmelzerm30 BRONZE, Brodhead, Wisconsin
Schmelzerm30 BRONZE, Brodhead, Wisconsin
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

It had taken all day to reach the top of the mountain. Climbing up rocks covered in moss and mud. Slipping on dew covered grass and the morning air is thin, with the scent of pine riding along the sea breeze as it brushes against my face. The cool air nips at my nose as I huff and puff trying to keep up with the impatient dog in front of me. The world around me is silent. Nothing utters a sound except for the birds as they begin to greet dawn. Breaking through the final tree line I head towards a cliff edge feeling for the dips in the rocks or the roughness of the tree in front of me. The ground is soft and delicate as I sit down, the faint scent of lavender and sap hits my nose as I turn my face towards the sun. Someone lays down next to me and as I listen I can hear the soft pants of a dog. His soft fur grazes against my bare back as he lays down beside me leaving a trail of dew across my back. He nudges my hand with his wet nose and licks my fingers as I bring my hand up to touch his massive head. Suddenly I freeze and turn my face towards the sunrise as it breaks through the clouds and mist above the mountain. I can feel the warmth on my face as I breathe in the air around me. Just sitting there and feeling the warmth reminds me of being home and waking up to the sound of a rooster crowing and walking outside to the frigid morning air feeling the warmth on my face. Though I can’t see what is in front of me I know that it is breathtaking. 

I lift my head up off of the pillow as I finish telling Dr. Thomas about my recent dream. His office smells of oak trees and lemons making me feel light headed. His office is small and filled with plants. The smell of dirt coats the air as I sit up straight. Making my dream seem almost real, except Bailey isn’t with me today. Aunt Charlotte informed me of this when she dropped me off. She’d explained that Bailey had a vet appointment and I wouldn’t be able to bring him with me today for my therapy session. I didn’t argue since I was already running late and it wouldn’t do me any good to start bickering with her now. I had climbed up the staircase counting the steps as I climbed. 20. That’s how many stairs there were, normally I wouldn’t try to count but Bailey is the one who lets me know when I reach the top. Now two hours have passed and Dr. Thomas is still writing things in his notebook. The pages crinkle as he turns the page and continues writing. The sound of the pencil on paper reminds me of birds scratching their beaks against the ground. His voice is low and soft as he speaks, 

“Willow, do you ever wonder what your dreams mean?”

His question startles me and I turn my face towards the sound of his voice, 

“Not really, I guess I assume it's my brain trying to decide whether or not I get to have an imagination anymore.” My voice sounds empty as I reply. 

We have been doing the same thing for a week and a half. Ever since social services allowed my Aunt to have custody of me after I was released from the hospital I have had to come here every other day. Sitting on this lumpy couch and listening to him tell me about how we are going to break through barriers and that we will overcome this as a team. I didn’t want to be here. I wanted to be back home laying in my bed with Bailey laying beside me listening to music. 

“Are we done yet? I’m feeling really tired.” 

“Oh! Yes we are finished, your Aunt should be here soon. If you’d like, I can escort you downstairs.” He said, pushing his chair back. The sound made my ears humm. 

“No thank you. I’m good.” 

I lift myself off the couch fumbling as I bump my leg into the table. I carefully exit the room and take a deep breath. Running my hand along the wall I slowly approach the stairwell. I find the first step, and then another, and another using the heel of my foot to guide me. Counting, I begin to descend the stairs. I feel my feet slip out from under me and I grasp at the air trying to grab onto anything to try and stop me from falling. 

“Willow!” I can hear my Aunt yelling as I begin to lift my head up off of the cold concrete floor. I shake my head trying to shake away the headache I feel coming. Dr. Thomas comes running, his shoes slamming on the steps as he must be taking them two at a time, for I only hear ten thuds when suddenly he begins speaking, 

“Are you ok Willow? I should have insisted on walking down the stairs with you. I  am so sorry.”

“You should be!” my aunt begins raising her voice, “It has only been two weeks, it's not like she can learn everything in two weeks! What if she had fallen from higher up? Or worse she walked into the street without knowing it!”

I try protesting but she places a cool hand on my forehead, shushing me going back to scolding Dr. Thomas. I stop listening as I push my body onto my butt and bring my knees to my chest. The concrete scraps against my thighs and I feel the smooth wall behind my back. Tears cover  my cheeks but I can’t tell if they are tears of sadness or pain. I hear myself sniffle. Suddenly my aunt is grasping my arm. 

“Are you hurt? Did you hit your head or anything else? Willow?”

I lift my head angling it towards her voice, “No. Can we just go home please?” I feel like a child but all I really want is to go home and pretend like nothing has happened. Like I didn’t just fall down a staircase because I didn’t see what must have been a package on the second to last step. 

“Of course honey. Here let me help you.” My aunt gives me her hand and together we stand up off the floor and walk out of the building. I feel my face flush in embarrassment as whispers follow us out the door. I guess we weren’t alone then.

“Do you need anything else?” Aunt Charlotte asks for the thousandth time. She had helped me from the car to my room over ten minutes ago and was still fuming and fussing about how careless I had been and how ridiculous the Doctor was to let me try to leave on my own. 

“I just want to be alone for now.” I lay down in bed wrapping my cool covers around myself. 

“Ok sweetie, let me know if you need anything. I’m going to be in the kitchen making dinner. I was thinking Spaghetti, I know it’s your favorite.  Bailey up.” With that my aunt shut my door leaving me in complete silence as Bailey pounced on my bed causing me to bounce on my mattress causing me to shift onto my side. A small giggle escapes my mouth as I pull my blankets up. 

I’m not sure when but I drifted off and when I awoke I was back in my old room…

Smoke filled the room covering everything in a dark haze. I cough, sitting up. No no no NO NO! I can’t be here. I was just home wasn't I? Except I could see. The colors of the room flooded my vision. Black, Red, Green, and Yellow. Was this real? Was everything before just a dream? This couldn’t be happening! Then I could hear the screaming. The terrible horrible screaming. I jump out of bed and rush to my bedroom door flinging it open. Flames roar in front of me, making my eyes burn. The screaming grows louder and I fight to reach my parents bedroom door. Flames are climbing the walls and it is getting hard to breathe. Something cracks and splinters above me. Embers fall from the ceiling just as I slam my shoulder into the bedroom door. I freeze once I burst through the door. The screaming grows louder and flames spread up the walls. My father is lying on the couch in the room screaming. I rush to his side. 

“DAD, YOU NEED TO GET UP!” I scream my breathing in short gasps now. I grab onto my fathers shirt and begin dragging him from the room and down the stairs. The stairs begin to give and I shove my dad down the stairs the rest of the way following close behind. As we reach the door the stairs collapse and flames swarm. I scream as the flames flood my eyes… 

“Willow. WILLOW!” My aunt is shaking my shoulders as I jolt up in bed. My hands fly up to my face, dragging them over my eyes and running them through my hair. 

“Willow,” my aunt grabs my hands and places them on her cheeks which are warm and for some reason wet, “Honey are you alright? You were screaming and clawing at your face!” 

“I’m fine, I just had a bad dream.” I suck in a deep breath taking in the smell of my bedroom, sage and lemon, I feel my breathing slow and curl into a ball at the foot of my bed. 

“Well dinner is ready if you want it.” She sits up off of the floor and combs her fingers through my hair. 

I slide off of my bed to the floor and pull on my soft fluffy slippers, one of the last gifts from my father before the incident, “Ok. Will you help me please?”

“Of course! Here, give me your hand.” 

 We talk as we move down the hallway and into the kitchen. She helps me sit down.  My nose fills with the smell of fresh basil and tomato sauce. 

“Charlotte?” I ask, lifting my head from my plate, “Can we go to the store next week please? I need some new pencils and I could use a new pair of jeans. The ones I have now are really itchy.”

“Sure honey. Come on Bailey, let's go get you some food.”

And with that my aunt walks out of the room as I hear the dining room door swing shut and the sound of Bailey’s dish scraping across the floor as he trails behind her. Leaving me to finish eating my dinner in silence. 

“Are you ready?” Aunt Charlotte asks, gripping my hand. 

Bailey sits beside me in the entrance of the convenience store.  He is fitted in his new service dog vest with a short leash attached to the back with a bungeecord finish to help me tell when he is moving or staying without being dragged all over the place. Bailey officially got his certification last week after I fell down the staircase. 

Taking a deep and long breath I reply, “Yes.” 

The smell of cheap cologne and spices fill my nose, making me cringe. With his body tight against me and his head pressed into my other palm Bailey licks my fingers in a way of saying, “Ready?” 

I walk forward slowly trying to get a feel of the room and what might be there. Bailey stays tight to my side, helping me move from side to side as people brush by in a hurry to get home. I feel myself weaving in and out of aisles. My aunt's hand grazes my arm as she speaks to me and we slow down to a stop. Her hands are cold and I shiver from the touch. 

“We are in the jean section of the clothing side of the store. If you reach your hand to the left you can feel the different types of materials. Let me know which one you like the most.” 

I reach my hand out in the direction she mentions and feel the textures of the fabric. The one to my left and rough and scratchy, to my right a pair is soft and slippery. My fingers slide along the fabric as I try to grab ahold of it. The pair directly in front of me however isn’t scratchy but still feels rough. I stretch the fabric between my hands and am delighted when the fabric gives and pulls slightly without ripping or slipping out of my hands. I grab this pair from the shelf and hold my hand out in the direction I assume my aunt is in. Another hand brushes mine and I let go of the fabric as this hand pulls on it. 

“Are these the ones you like best?” My aunt askes, her voice is tight as she places a hand on my shoulder. 

“What’s wrong with them?” I ask her, “they just sort of feel right, they don’t feel really scratchy nor are they so soft they slip from my fingers. Oh please tell me these are pants and not a skirt or pair of shorts.” 

“Don’t worry they are pants, it’s just…” Her voice trails off and I hear her hand graze the button on the fabric.


“Honey, they are green. Do you want green? I just didn’t want you to get something without knowing what color it is.” Her voice is full of worry and I can’t help but let loose a laugh. 

“That's fine, I think some variety would be fun. Just don’t let me wear a green top with it if I want to leave the house.” 

A sigh leaves her lips and I feel my mine tug up into a ridiculous grin. 

“Never. What size are you again?” I feel her reach in front of me and Bailey lets loose a whine and backs into me making me take a step back.

“Umm I think four or five.”

“Ok, I found a pair. Now I need to do a little bit more shopping since we are here. Is that alright with you?” The concern has returned to her voice as she leads me from the aisle. 

We continue to walk around the store. Charlotte gets oranges and bread for breakfast tomorrow and the sweet smell of the bread makes my mouth start to water. I’m holding one of the loaves when all of a sudden a sharp pain races through my side. Great. I am pretty sure I just rammed my hip into the corner of the table. Another bruise to add to the collection. 

“Bailey sit.” I say moving my hand under my shirt to make sure I didn’t cut myself on anything. I feel Bailey shift at my feet and hear his whine before I realize that I have no idea where my Aunt is. 

“Charlotte? Charlotte!” I keep calling her name trying to walk in the direction I assume is the check out line only to collide with yet again another table. Something crashes to the floor and I hear glass shatter from the impact. Without thinking I sink to the floor trying to pick up what I have broken only to slice my hand on the glass. “Shit.” I whisper, feeling the blood drip from my hand onto the concrete floor making a light pinging noise as it hits the floor. I'm crying louder now, “CHARLOTTE!” Bailey is whimpering and placing his head in the palm of my bleeding hand but, the blood from my hand makes his fur feel slippery and I feel myself losing my grip. 

Whispers fill the air around me swarming in and out of my range. 

“What is happening?” 

“God why would she even want to come to the store!”

“I would have just stayed home.” 

“How embarrassing.” 

I’m sobbing now, breathing is becoming hard as I try to stand up while still calling my aunt's name. Suddenly a strong hand is at my arm and lifting me off the ground. 

“Miss, are you alright? Here, let me help you.”

“Charlotte,” I sob, “Please find Charlotte.” His hands slide to my wrist and I can feel his gaze on my hand. 

“Yes, ma’am. If I hold onto your hand will you be able to follow?”

“Hold out your elbow and I’ll hold onto that. It will help me keep my balance.” 

He must have held out his elbow, because suddenly we are walking and moving. The sound of shuffling feet and the clicks of Bailey’s paws on the floor fill the air. Whispers continue to fill the air and I duck my head attempting to hide my face. Suddenly, the man stops and tells me to please take a seat in the chair behind me. He helps guide me into the chair and then says he will be right back. I barely hear him and hang my head so low that my chin touches my chest. Moments later he returns asking what relation Charlotte and I have. 

“She is my Aunt.” I sniffle and wipe at my eyes trying to dry my tears, only to smear blood across my face from my injured hand. 

“Here, let me look at your hand. I want to try and clean it up for you.” 

“Willow? Willow! WILLOW! Where are you?!” My aunt's voice echoes from around the corner. 

“Here!” I call back weakly. 

“She might need stitches” calls the voice of the man who helped pick me up off of the store. 

“I am so sorry,” I suddenly spit out, “I didn’t mean to. I had no idea the table was there and I tried to catch it as it fell. I can replace whatever it is that I broke.” 

“No need. It’s covered. Stuff like this happens all the time and it happens to everyone. Yesterday I dropped an entire case of eggs on the floor and spent a few  hours mopping up all of the  yokes… Ok all done.” I was so distracted by his talking that I didn’t even realize that he had cleaned and wrapped my hand in a bandage. 

“Willow we need to go to the hospital now.” My aunt places her hand on my cheek and helps me stand up, “I’m sorry sweetie, I headed to the checkout line and thought you were right behind me. I didn’t realize that you weren’t there until I couldn’t hear Bailey anymore and heard the crash.” 

Bags and carts rustle as people move out of our way as we head to the door. I can feel the stares as we walk out of the store and my aunt helps me into the car. 

I run my hand over the picture frame. Charlotte and I got back from the hospital a couple hours ago, she refused to leave my side until I had taken something for the pain and had eaten my dinner. I know it is hard for her, but it's hard for me too… and I know she has questions but I really don’t really want to talk right now. I think about the photo I can no longer see. I know it was taken outside because I can hear my mom laugh as I try to swat away a bee who wanted to try and collect nectar from my hair. I try to remember what the rest of the photo looks like, but I'm not sure I know anymore. I know my mom was the same height as me, and that this was one of the last photos I had of her before she passed, but that's it. I can’t remember anything else. I try to as I sit there at the end of my bed drumming my fingers trying to remember what color hair my mom had and if she has a small or large nose. Nothing. I try to think about what she would look like if she looked exactly like me but the only thing I can remember is that I have a small nose and my hair is a dark brown and is pencil straight. I don’t remember what color my eyes are and if my lips were round or thin. If my flesh was pale or tanned, did I have freckles? My breath starts coming fast, blood is rushing to my head clouding my brain even more and the only thing I can truly remember is a fuzzy image of a woman who I think is my mother.  I was forgetting and there was no way I could ever refresh my memory. I couldn’t look at a photo and see what she looked like. I would never be able to look at this photo ever again. Suddenly a cry rips out of my throat. It's ugly and raw. I hurl the photo at the ground and lunge for my dresser. I swipe my hand across the top sending more picture frames to the ground not caring. 

“Willow? Willow! What happened!” My aunt's voice cuts through the fog and I freeze.

“I didn’t hit you did I?”

“No honey, I came running when I heard the crash.” Her voice is cautious and I can hear her tell Bailey to go lay down when he tries to enter the room. 

“Ok. I’m sorry.”

“Willow what is this? You said you were fine. I thought you said you were fine.” 

I hang my head and let loose a sigh, “I can’t remember.”  

“What, you can’t remember why you broke all your picture frames?”

“No,” I can feel myself begin to shake and I slide to the floor, “I can’t remember what she looks like. I tried but I just can’t. I’m forgetting and I have no way of remembering what she looks like because I can’t see and I hate it. I hate being like this!” 

It’s silent for a few moments before my aunt's hushed answer comes. 

“I know honey. I know this is hard. It’s hard for me too. Nobody expected this.” 

“What do you mean?” 

My aunt slides down beside me placing her hand over my own and leans into me with her head on my shoulders. It takes me a moment to realize that she is crying. She’s crying and I have absolutely no idea why. Her answer shocks me, 

“Sometimes you forget that you aren’t the only one trying to do everything right and adapt to something new. I didn’t ever think I would have kids. When your mother passed away it was the hardest thing for me. She was the light of my world and my best friend. When she passed away your father became distant. He started drinking constantly and would never let me see you. When the phone call came I thought of the worst and when they told me you had survived I knew that I would have to try and be there for you and learn how to be a parent. I wasn’t going to let them give you back to your father.” 

I don’t know what to say. I had no idea what my aunt had gone through or given up to help me. So I sit quietly and rub my hand over hers listening. She tells me about how she got Bailey and was trying to get him certified before I got out of the hospital and when she couldn’t she thought she would go mad. She tells me about how the first couple of nights she wouldn’t sleep because she was so worried that she would miss something and I would need help.” 

“I don't need help from everyone though. I want things to go back to how they were before I lost my eyesight.” 

“I know, but I don't want things to go back to that way. If it were I would never be able to see you and you would still be living with your father. I know this is hard and I know that you struggle but what I am trying to say is that I struggle too and I want you to know that I am here for you and we are going to get through this together.”

“I don’t know if I can.” I can feel the tears running down my face but I dont know if they are happy tesrs in knowing that I finally feel normal and that im not the only one who is struggling or if they are sad tears becuae of everything my aunt has gone through and lost. 

  “It’s ok. It’s ok. We will figure this out together and I know we will have way more downs then ups but I got you.” We sit there in silence. Simply sitting on the floor, surrounded the fragments of the life I once used to have. 

“So Willow, how are you?” 

I am sitting in Dr. Thomas’s office again. The smell of Oak and Pine is thick in the air bringing me back to the forest. 

“I’m doing better, not great but still better.” I answer while twisting my hands in my lap. Bailey lays next to me on the floor with his head on my feet. 

“Why don’t you walk me through what has happened these last couple weeks.” His voice draws my attention away from the warmth of the window. 

So I began to tell him. I tell him about getting lost in the farm store. I told him about how I felt as if I was going insane. My memory forgetting what things look like and feeling as if I am losing my grip on reality. Finally I told him of how my Aunt helped me realize that this wasn’t the most important thing in the world and that I will always have and need help. He sat quietly the entire time and once I was finished he let loose a long slow breath. I shift uncomfortably in my chair and wait for him to tell me how Psychology will help, But he doesn't, the legs of the chair scrap against the floor as hestandsandI hear the scuff of his shoes as he walks towards me. Kneeling down in front of me Dr. Thomas says the one thing I would never think he could say, the one thing that has been the most true thing that anyone will ever say to me, 

“Nobody can ever feel like they are alone, even if the world is pitch black and that is the only thing you think you will ever be able to see. You are never alone and there will always be people to bring you back into the light and help you see.”

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