Painless Scars | Teen Ink

Painless Scars

April 7, 2011
By TheCreepyNeighbor BRONZE, Plymouth, Massachusetts
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TheCreepyNeighbor BRONZE, Plymouth, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know my name. Not my story.


Author's note: ICP is a disease in which the nervous system does not send the signal to the brain. They can't feel pain, heat or cold. But they can feel normal senses, like a poke, or a blanket.

I wish I could tell you I felt the pain I deserved for putting them through this.

My body was flung forward, the seatbelts restriction seeming to take an eternity to come into an effect clasping me back as I exhaled a panicked breath. I was frozen, my white knuckles still holding a death grip against the steering wheel but my eyes seemed to betray me. I could smell the metallic copper tang of blood, and my breathing picked up. Vibrant lights fading in and out; but the screams and cries didn’t stop pounding in my head. I saw the metal dig through my skin. My eyes the only proof.
*****
The robotic strum of my heart, reminding me with a feverish beat that flooded my ears in the otherwise silent room, I was alive. The smell of bleach and old people hit me, and I felt my face crinkle to block out any more of the estranged scent I was far too used to. I narrowly opened my eyes letting a fluorescent stream of light interrupt my blank mind. The monitor’s robotic tune switched pace, playing the sudden worry inside of me, out loud for whoever could hear.
“Sage, sweetie.” Called out the raspy voice only a long time smoker could hold. My mom. I turned my head slowly, and saw her lean body extend towards me – an attempt to comfort me where her hands did not know where to go. They fluttered slightly in the air. The awkward feeling was mutual. She finally decided to pat down my hair that was a straight strawberry blonde. I sat up – a sudden head rush pried at my brain, but I was too determined to let it distract me. But Mother Dearest had her own plans. She pushed my shoulders back and I slumped.
“Sage, Annabelle isn’t any better. Kaylin is dead.” She said her tone completely monotone. But it wasn’t the first time I heard the news. It was the third or even fourth that she realized she couldn’t sugarcoat this for me. But I couldn’t accept it. Like it was another dimension or something, it just couldn’t be true. My best friend could not be dead. It just wasn’t possible, that just couldn’t happen. She had to keep reminding me. Which made my stomach coil every time that sentence even started.
I guess it was my mom’s reminder that I needed to stay put and get better. Because my friends were either dead or dying. But that was again a useless bargain to keep me in bed, because honestly I wanted to die with them. I didn’t want to leave this hospital by myself. Leaving Annabelle behind, I mean she still has hope. A coma isn’t death, yet.
*****
The doctors and nurses came in on a steady basis, scribbling on the clipboard – examining all of my stitches and then leaving me alone in this room, with the TV on low. Whenever the traffic report came on I couldn’t bear to watch it. Just the sight of the road on the fuzzy screen made me feel like a nervous wreck. Then I would think of Kaylin and Annabelle, resulting in me flopping over onto my stomach, burying my head in the pillow and staring at the fabric of the pillowcase, studying each line of linen that covered the pillow. I couldn’t accept the reality. But the flashbacks, they were persistent.
“Sage – watch out!” Was Kaylin’s feeble attempt to make me somehow get my small Honda out of the way of this eight wheel truck sliding towards us. Annabelle didn’t even have time to open her mouth before I turned the car out of the road heading towards the guardrail. But my attempt, remained just that, an attempt. I remember watching the world spin as if it wasn’t me inside the car. Watching the lights dance and twirl before everything went black, my body giving out with the impact or maybe the car flipping over, it was impossible to remember the details of something that only took five seconds. Five deadly seconds.
The thing was, I could only emotionally suffer. I didn’t need painkillers, because I was born immune to what most people fear. Pain. But it wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. Just as I was drowning in my own self-pity, I heard light foot prints hit the tiles. I expected it to be mom, who insisted she’d be right back, which she repeated several times in a shrilled voice as if she was the duct tape holding me together. Maybe she was. I looked up, my eyes betraying me. There was my brother, the one who was supposed to be in Iraq.
“You look like crap.” He said, watching my every move as I shifted my position in the bed to look at him, feeling the scratchy sheets rub along my skin. I instinctively reached for my hair to pat it down, a habit of mine but he just smiled. It was a tired smile, crease lines formed around it that I didn’t remember being there before. Stretch marks where his eyes narrowed against the lights. He was tanner then before, his pale blue eyes faded from the sun. He sat at the end of the bed.
“I thought you were –“ The sound of my voice made me pause. It was too light, disfigured like I was just waking up.
“I had to come check on my little sister.” He said, not offering anymore on the topic. I nodded, glancing down at my arms, the only skin revealed from under the blanket. They were lined with scars, a pattern I added too frequently. A jig saw puzzle of my past. Micah followed my eyes, and glanced at the deepest permanent gash. It was faded, from when I was in elementary school.
“I remember that. You decided to show your friends your super power. You jumped off the roof with a cape on.” He said, shaking his head but a smile creased at his lips. I wouldn’t get used to the buzz-cut anytime soon, too used to his shaggy brown hair. The same color as Moms.
“I landed on right on my arm. Then I got straight up. It was you that realized my bone was sticking out.” I said, and remembered Anabelle fainted after seeing the bone jag out from my skin. Micah caught my eye as if he knew what I was thinking, but he knew better then saying anything. He was always the person I could look up too, and he always seemed to know what to say or when not to say anything. I felt that warm tingly feeling inside, like the one on Christmas morning when you see the presents. It was good to have him back. Especially now.

He hugged me, his short sleeve cotton shirt wrinkling against the hospital gown, and that’s when I broke down. I was never one for getting all emotional and touchy, but everything inside me, instead of loosening, just got tighter. Like my chest pulled together. The Christmas morning feeling gone. The tears soaked my face, and Micah just let me hug him. I could taste the salt against my tongue.
Why couldn’t I be immune to my whole brain exploding and my heart ripping to shreds?

The smell of maple syrup and grease welcomed my nose, as my eyes remained pressed shut. The worn in fuzz of my sheets begged me not to leave, but the thought of Micah stealing the last piece of bacon made my body sit up right. Apparently, it was a step behind my brain though because the room started spinning. I blinked quickly, and maneuvered myself so my feet hit the wood floor. The turquoise walls, covered in pictures looked the same as I left it weeks ago.

The largest frame held a collage of pictures of me from previous high school years. Kaylin and Annabelle in most of them, their smiles seemed so faint now. Something I was used to seeing every day when I went to school. I glanced at the latest picture. Taken a day before the accident. Kaylin’s brunette hair was pulled up in a bun, and her skin was a natural perfect tan. Her hazel eyes gleaming towards me, Annabelle beside her sticking out her tongue squinting her electric blue eyes with lighter brown hair in a braid. Then there was me, who was towards the edge of the picture holding out my arm as I took the picture. I was laughing at Annabelle’s face and the picture came out kind of crooked, only of my faint green eyes visible. I bit my lip, turning away from the picture – avoiding looking back at their eyes.

The smell of hickory smoked bacon grew stronger as I padded down the stairs. The kitchen was large, the cabinets mahogany with silver handles. The countertops, dark green granite speckled with a navy blue. The tiles were a lighter green, smooth against my bare feet. The island, with a stovetop facing the kitchen was where Micah was sitting in a tall bar stool, reminding me of mornings that seemed ages ago where we would fight over the last pancake. He took a bite of bacon, his eyes averted from the news only for a second to glance at me, and then back.
“Morning Sage.” He mumbled towards the TV. The sound of the newscasters voice voided the silence.
“Morning,” I replied, my voice sour. He glanced at me again, and I pretended I didn’t notice. I started mumbling to myself, trying to see if my voice was stuck at the vicious level, as if I was pinning away all possible company. I heard Micah chuckle in the back round.

I piled the leftover bacon on my plate to Micah’s protests.
“Don’t hog the hog! C’mon Sage I only had three pieces.” He growled, reaching for my plate. This was the Micah I grew up with. Still himself, immature at heart. I laughed, sticking out my tongue and pulled away. He chased me around the island.
Mother Dearest stumbled in from her office, her eyes narrowed behind her glasses. The door slamming behind her. She held her mug clenched in her hand. “Micah.” She hissed. He held out his hands in mock defense. Before she could ask if I was okay, I walked out the front door bare foot and in my pajamas with a plate full of bacon.
I sat on the grass, watching the blue sky. The sun mocking me, with a bright grin. It shouldn’t be smiling, I didn’t want it to be. Where was the dramatic movie rain? Where I can sit out here, staring off into space like I’m in a music video to a depressing song. Taking a bite of bacon, I sighed, tucking my legs underneath me as the grass tickled my ankle, where my baggy sweatpants rode up.
The world kept going after the accident. The world didn’t stop for Kaylin’s death. Didn’t pause for Annabelle’s coma. I mean, I didn’t expect it too, but the world still revolved, and I fought it. Trying to stand still, as everyone got back to their lives I was trapped trying to get back to the pictures in my room. I didn’t want to move on, I wanted everything to go back to my normal.
I glanced at my foot, stretched out in front of me. The scar lining upwards from my heel. I stepped on a piece of glass and didn’t notice till I tracked blood onto the kitchen floor. I remember Mom freaked. I smiled slightly to myself, holding a now empty plate. The faint sound of a lawn mower stretched along the street and I headed inside. Mom was washing dishes, and Micah was out of sight. She turned towards me, and smiled. Her teeth whitened – but faded slightly with her obsessive coffee drinking. She tucked a stray brown hair behind her ear.
“Kaylin’s mom called, her funeral is Tuesday.” She said, looking at me. Her eyes looking me over. I kept composure, throwing on a poker face.
“Oh.” I murmured, nodding. That meant facing the facts. I wouldn’t be taking any more pictures with Kaylin. I wouldn’t spend any more hour long conversations on the phone talking about the immature boys we hated and loved. No more Friday movie nights. My mom leaned to hug me, but I took off towards the stairs.
I heard Micah’s music come from his old room that mom quickly changed into a guest room. I guess she hated seeing his old stuff there, it made her all teary eyed when she thought of him in the army. I walked into my Mom’s room, looking at all the neat pictures she had lined on the cream colored wall. One of me when I was a toddler, lined with goggled and mittens so I didn’t claw my eyeball out of chew off a finger. Which actually was possible. There was another of Micah chasing me around the yard, my hair was longer and blowing in the wind, my feet barely touching the grass. Micah wasn’t far behind, his hand outstretched. I followed the line of pictures, pausing. There was a small picture on the white carpet. I bent down, the carpet pressing down under my weight. I grasped the picture, and pursed my lips. It was my dad. Someone who was never a big part of my life, especially because ever since I was born all he wanted to do was cut me open and experiment.

“Sage, you don’t understand how lucky you are. To live after that, sweetie. We almost lost you, and it’s a miracle you didn’t break anything.” Mother dearest reminded me, before kissing my forehead, and pushing my bangs away. I shook my head, so my bangs fell back in place.
She pushed her lips into a tight line. “We almost lost you, you lost more then half of your blood and –“
“Left the hospital with nothing more than a concussion and some meds. Bye mom.” I said turning towards the school, but she grabbed my arm hastily.
“So,” She continued. “Be careful, and if you get a headache or want to come home, I’ll pick you up.” She murmured, her voice raspy and soft. I nodded, pushing the door open and getting swallowed by the school’s mob of people on a Monday morning. I turned to see my mom’s black Lexus drive away, and I faced the school, alone.
I took my regular spot in homeroom, two empty desk beside me. Tiffany came over to me and frowned, her eyes mocking one of a puppy dog.
“Oh my gosh! It’s a miracle you survived!” She clasped her hands together. “I feel so bad for you, that’s just so sad!” Her voice shrilling after every sentence. I couldn’t help but wince as she smacked her glossed lips together and continued. “Sage, feel free to sit with us at lunch, we want to know all the deets!” I raised an eyebrow, and she took my silence as a yes, smiling, and turning away. She patted down her short denim skirt, and twirled her finger through her bleached blonde hair. I sunk in deeper to the seat. I was pity popular now. They wanted to know about the accident, and once they knew, and attempted to care I’d be alone again. I took a shaky breath, and it split through my body as once again I was forced to face the facts. Time kept moving whether I liked it or not. Homeroom bell rang, and I caught the look from a countless amount of people. Their eyes wide, and their lips slightly pouted. The I’m sorry look. I escaped the hall, stepping into English class, greeted by a row of eyes. I shot my attention to the ground, dust speckling the white tiles stained with dried on dirt. I found an empty spot in the back, as even Ms. Libton shot me her version of the look, her worn brown eyes, natuarally small widened, watching my face and scanning me over before turning back to the board, scribbling in her block letters against the dark green chalkboard, the smell of the chalk rising in the classroom. My eyes darted around the room, posters of inspirational sayings and famous authors decorated the white walls. Ms. Libton’s words went straight out my ears, my only thoughts of how I could just get out of here. My finger tapping against my thighs in a sort of frantic behavior, as I stared at the writing scribbled on the desk. Dark pencil marks showed doodles of hearts and stars, probably a product of a bored student like me.
* * * *
The bell rang, and for a split second I was excited for lunch. Then I remembered I had no Kaylin, no Annabelle to talk too. No one to talk about Maria’s fake boobs with, or complain about all the pity looks too, even if it was because of them. The hallways were quickly packed, and maneuvering through the hungry mob of people wasn’t fun, especially because I hated crowds. This made me terrible at parties. I managed to push through the mob, receiving an impact of a few elbows, but it did nothing to me, well possibly a bruise. I’d have to check later. I felt my breathing slow down, once I had some knee room, and I took a spot at an empty table, I slid my fingers in my pocket and pulled out three dollars my mom gave earlier, and I crinkled them between my thumb and index finger, staring ahead into the wall – as the smell of French fries and sounds of laughs filled the room, I didn’t move. Not until I was accompanied, the table shaking as someone’s elbows impacted against the plastic. I cringed, turning my attention to a girl I only saw a few times before, usually outside the school on the corner.
She narrowed her eyes, examining me. Repeating what I probably did to her, instead of introducing herself. I put my elbows on the table and raised an eyebrow.
“Yes?” I said, forcing a gentle tone something that just didn’t come naturally for me anymore. Her thick lips turned at the edges, lines creasing against her pale face.
“You’re the chick who can’t feel pain, right?” She asked, her tone impassive, I simply nodded in return. She looked at me, disbelieving but didn’t say anything more – she just leaned forward and punched my shoulder. I felt the initial pressure of her fist make the impact, but nothing more followed. I assume it must have been hard, because the skin between her black eyebrows crinkled, as she then repeated it again. She growled under her breath.
“That’s so unfair.” She hissed, leaning back in the chair, and her feet leveled up on the table.
“Who are you?” I asked, my voice breaking higher. She removed her hands from behind her head, stretching it out across the table, her hazel eyes waiting for me to shake her hand.
“Clines. Megan Clines.” She said, and I shook her hand.
“Sage.” I replied. She nodded.
“I know.” I blinked in response, and she laughed dryly.
“I heard about your friends. That sucks donkey balls.” I nodded, realizing she was the first not to give me the pity look. And I appreciated it.
“Yeah. Uh, thanks for not going all sappy on me.” I said, my voice coming out awkward, probably because I totally lost any of my conversation skills.
She patted my shoulder. “I won’t go sappy on you, Sage.” She said, and I rubbed the money between my hand that was on my lap. Deciding against eating, while my stomach did some sort of foreign dance inside of me, Megan broke the silence.
“Hey, what do you have next?” She asked.
“Science.” I answered, only to see her shaking her head.
“No you don’t.” I started to correct her when she just raised her index finger.
“I’ll meet you outside on the left corner. We can go to the park behind the school. The teacher’s never check the playground.” She said, before leaving the table and strolling out of the Cafeteria.
I was never very easy to label, especially now. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I used to think I was outgoing, fun but maybe that was Kaylin and Annabelle. But I could make myself something now. Start fresh.



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JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This book has 10 comments.


on Apr. 15 2011 at 5:16 am
TheCreepyNeighbor BRONZE, Plymouth, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know my name. Not my story.

Well I didn't actually write it but a lot of time passes, because she was in the hospital for a while, and then at home and I know it would get boring to write her at home for too long, but your right. I should probably make Sage want to go back for some reaso. Thanks Nacho!

on Apr. 10 2011 at 9:53 pm
iluvnacho PLATINUM, Somewhere, Colorado
28 articles 1 photo 67 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Find the beauty in the ugly\"-Jason Mraz 5-19-10
\"Be kinder than nessicary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.\" Unknown 11-29-10

honestly, I love the story line. It's fresh new and intresting.

I also adore your style of writing. Just the way you position words, add a dash of sarcasm or whatever, I like the way it sounds. smooth, natural. such as how Sage calls her mom "Mother Dearest" or how you just simply say how it is "It was good to have him back. Especially now."

The only critisim I have for you is long sentences. I didn't notice it alot, but for an example"My body was flung forward, the seatbelts restriction seeming to take an eternity to come into an effect clasping me back as I exhaled a panicked breath." It just seems long to me, but it may not to everyone else. If you like it, great, because the word choise is beautiful.

Could you describe how Sage is grieving though? I know everyone greives differently; I pretend everything is normal before it finally hits me. you do describe it, such as explaining how she just wants to go back to the pictures. Kudos on that. you know what, nevermind you did fine on explaining. Once I get going, I can't stop. Excise me. Oh and would her mom just make her go back to school right after all that trauma? Just wondering.

Oh and I love Micah already, even after just three chapters, he seems like the bomb man.


on Apr. 10 2011 at 3:30 pm
Beachgirl1 PLATINUM, Bellevue, Washington
32 articles 4 photos 178 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If You Don't Fight Back, You've Already Lost."
"Don't suppress Laughter, it goes to your thighs."

oh i see! great!

on Apr. 10 2011 at 3:29 pm
TheCreepyNeighbor BRONZE, Plymouth, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know my name. Not my story.

That will happen as Sage looks at more pictures and thinks back to her memories. I didnt' want to info dump.

on Apr. 10 2011 at 3:13 pm
Beachgirl1 PLATINUM, Bellevue, Washington
32 articles 4 photos 178 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If You Don't Fight Back, You've Already Lost."
"Don't suppress Laughter, it goes to your thighs."

this is a great story, i like the beginning, it drags you in, i really liked the way you could feel the characters, the only thing that i would do would go into a little bit more of a back story on all the characters, but this is a great story! keep writing!

on Apr. 10 2011 at 11:50 am
TheCreepyNeighbor BRONZE, Plymouth, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know my name. Not my story.

Thanks. Nope, that's not how the story ends but I do need to fix up my summary and I will use your idea.

Yes, the father does come into play more later in the book.

Also, Sage really did not want to start anything with Tiffany considering drama is something that would be the least of her problems. I'll read Angel soon.


TNT25 SILVER said...
on Apr. 10 2011 at 9:51 am
TNT25 SILVER, Johnstown, Ohio
9 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Pain is just weakness leaving the body"

First I have to say I'm a sucker for stories that start out with something tragic happening. It's no fun to read if everything's all happy go lucky and only a few minor problems occur. 

Second, I really like the concept of Sage having ICP. It's interesting and fairly original.

Third, the relationships between characters and the characters themselves seem well developed, although I m curious to find out more about Sage's father.

Lastly, you can really feel the emotion each character feelswhen you read this. Very well done.


on Apr. 9 2011 at 8:55 pm
Wildlife BRONZE, Garden City, New York
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.

Totally disregard my last comment. I wish I could edit it, but I don't know how...

 

 

Just curious, would I be correct in saying that the ancedote about Sage not feeling her broken bone is irony? She tells her friends she is going to show them super powers and in a way she does.

Mother Dearest is an interesting character and so is the father. Even though he was only given a few sentences. The background story of how the two would be interesting and if he comes back to see if Sage is okay. Are you going to put it later in the story?

Mother Dearest tries very hard  to show her daughter that she loves her and Sage pushes her away. Does Sage do this because of the accident? It seems like the rebeling was long before.

I'm also sort of suprised Sage was so meek to Tiffany and didn't tell Tiffany to leave her alone. The novel sounds like Sage has to come to terms with her identity, accident, and ICP before they overwhelm her.

The other thing I can comment on is the summary. People know how the story ends before the read the novel. She will do something incredibly stupid and maybe another accident might happen and Tristan will save her. Instead I would put that he is the only one who has the chance to reign her in so that she teeters on salvation and death(?).

Could you comment on my novel, Angels? You don't have to go beyond the first chapter. I worked the hardest on the first. I think my main problem is the words and sentence structure. I like to be extravagant and I think that gets in the way of the meaning and makes it boring. I'm not sure if its in the novel section anymore cause I just put a new chapter into it and I'm new to this website. If its not in the section, I guess it will be when the editors aprove of it.

 


TeaganOlivia said...
on Apr. 9 2011 at 8:45 pm
TeaganOlivia, Someplace, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 81 comments

Favorite Quote:
Today is Yesterday's Tomorrow.
Certainty of death, small chance of success... What are we waiting for? :D ♥
Pippin: "Anyways you need people of intelligence on this sort of...mission. Quest. Thing."
Merry: "Well that rules you out Pip," :D ♥
There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other."
---Douglas Everett

This is so good!! I wanted to cry, I wanted to laugh, wow, just wow. You did an amazing job at capturing everyones emotions and feelings!! I loved the way Micah and Sage interacted!!! I have always wanted the older brother younger sister relantionship, I had an older brother, he died when he was three days old, so I never met him. But I feel like I know him, and sometimes I feel lonely when hes not there to talk to. People with an older brother are super lucky!! I know that one day I will seem him again though :D Beautiful story, I loved 5 out of 5!!! Well Done!!

~Artemis


on Apr. 9 2011 at 4:37 pm
lucybrown SILVER, Blacksburg, Virginia
7 articles 0 photos 112 comments

Favorite Quote:
The wastebasket is a writer's best friend. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

First things first, but not necessarily in that order. ~ From Doctor Who

You captured Sage's emotions very well.  At first I was confused why she wasn't crying a lot (she lost her best friend after all) But now I think I understand- it's hard to believe something so horrible really could of happened, and I suppose you kind of freeze up about it.
Though there are a lot of stories that involve car crashes what makes yours original is Sage's disease and her family- both of them, Micha and Mother Dearest have very well developed personalities.  I thought it was funny/cute when Micha says "Don't hog the hog!" I simply love stories where there is an older brother, and a younger sister. I have a lot of stories where the characters share that relationship. 

Your use of detail and emotion is excellent, and I really loved the conversation between Megan and Sage in the last chapter.  I can't wait to read more, I love it so far.