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This story may never find its way past these notebook pages. It may end in a mess of scribbled out words and crumpled pages, lying totally useless on the floor near the trash can-because I missed when I threw. I remember that day though, as if it were yesterday.
Winding myself down, stretching and singing along to the music that made me feel like something more than I was. That I could flip and dance like no other if I just tried. Then the news came.
She had been hit with a car! On her way to school? Yes! Wait! What? My thoughts were scrambled, and I was shocked back into reality. My friend, although I hadn't seen her in probably over a month; my next door neighbor, the one whose bedroom light shone through her dark pink curtains. That light that I saw every night right across from where I ran inside on our family's elliptical. Or when I occasionally took a walk with my parents, I'd see it then too.
Word was she was in a coma, a top flap of her skull removed because of brain swelling. Who knows when she'll wake up? My days went on, continuing basically the same as before. I didn't ever really cry, it would've been harder if I had seen her more recently, I told myself and others.
I still laughed and talked, still hung out with my other friends that I saw more often anyway. Although, maybe my quiet (and dark) thinking mood reigned more when I was out with friends. It was (and still is) strangely saddening not seeing her light on at night anymore. I don't look over to it as often. I prayed that she would wake up soon, and that's when my mask of silence slipped up-that's when I would cry. Eyes welling up, salty drops slipping down my cheeks to the lips that silently formed words.
It's been two months or 63 days since then. Summer calls. She still hasn't woken up. I've visited her twice. The first time she was still in ICU and she was missing part of her skull and had a little cone in her nose. The second time was more recent, only last Saturday. She had that part of her skull back, staples holding it until it healed, and no cone in her nose. She wasn't in ICU anymore either. I would try to talk to her, but it was awkward with the other people in the room. Then it didn't really feel like I was talking to her. It felt more like I was trying to have a conversation with other people in the room while looking at someone else.
She had a feeding tube, and its mechanical counter part turned, pushing the latte colored substance through to her. Currently she wasn't hooked up to her monitor, so there was the absence of beeping. There was a chair that they strapped her to. To stimulate her-into waking up and to better work her unused muscles. Last time I was there with my parents they put her in it. She opened her eyes some at first; but I wonder what her trackless vision saw?
We thought it would be encouraging if I read her something, so I headed back to the car with my father where I had left a magazine (Teen Ink to be precise). Hospital hallways can be difficult to navigate, especially for the directionally challenged. We got lost in the maze back to the elevator, and the “hospital” smell of disinfectants and other unknown indescribable scents filled my nostrils.
I was charged with finding a “happy” poem amidst the many pages of poetry written by other teens. The issue had way more poetry than usual, probably because it was the creative writing issue. In the end, I stuck with the first poem that my eyes saw. Page 23, “The Simple Things” by Emily Morrison, Jacksonville, FL. It was a great poem to read in a hospital room to a friend that sat up, strapped to keep from falling, and wasn't really there. I mean, she was in a coma, so I don't even know how much or what she heard. Her mom was there, so it was a great “happy” poem for that reason. (Most likely the happiest poem in the whole issue.) A perfect poem for the moment, after all what makes you realize how much you take the simple things for granted than visiting a friend in the hospital. One that had been in a coma for two months at that.
Now I sit in my room, that day in the past, letting my thoughts rake over those events that landed my friend in the hospital, and some of the more recent ones. Think about it, and not just the casual “oh yeah” thought. How many stories have you heard about accidents like this one? Probably quite a few. I know I have. Put yourself into one of those stories now. Not that I'm the only one who has ever been a part of one of these stories, because of course, I'm not! But, to those who never have-I was one, once-known, think about it, truly put yourself there. I never thought it could, never even considered or pondered the idea. Look where I am now.
Her 16th birthday is soon, I hope she wakes up...
Then: Jun 18, 2009
Now: Jan 2, 2010
approx. 198 days since last words written
about 261 days since she was hit
The insurance time for being in the hospital ran out last October, so Lauren has been home about 3 months now. All that time and I really don’t have much to show for it. I visited her what all of one time. I should go over more often. I don’t know how many times I’ve told myself that. I do live right next door. The sadness of it is that I don’t think of her as often as I should, because I’m a selfish human being and I do other things besides just sitting at home. Really? Not much more.
She seemed to be doing good though-the one time I visited-, my parents and I went over just before Christmas, and my words to her went something very similar to this: “Hey Lauren. Merry Christmas. Have a good one.”
Kinda sad huh. If it was really important to me I would make the effort; I would put aside the time to go and visit her.‘Not that it isn’t important to me’ I tell myself, ‘ya well obviously it isn’t important enough yet’.
At this point I’ve sorta given up hope that she’ll wake up real soon, like I envisioned and ardently hoped before, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve given up all hope. No. I still hope...