Too Close For Comfort

“Time to go.” My sister stated coldly, rushing to get her things. “We’re going to be late. We should’ve left half an hour ago.”

Her boyfriend rolls his eyes behind her as he gets up from his seat, “It’s not your fault. You had to help with Renea.”

I follow them silently, trying to keep up with their fast pace, as they entered the elevator and bolted towards my sister’s car.

“Are you driving?” She asked him as we neared the car.

“Sure.” He said.

I got into the back seat and put on my earphones as they bickered about this and that. I silently laugh at them wondering how they lasted for so long, knowing this happened every time I was with them.

I watch ahead of us as her boyfriend drove down the freeway. Flinching and/or tensing here and there when he got too close to a car, hit the break too fast or accelerated too quickly, etc., remembering a past car accident I had been in.

That accident hadn’t done a lot of damage on me physically, other than my sore neck, shoulders, and back for a few weeks, but it had done some damage mentally. The day of the accident I wouldn’t stop shaking from fear. The weeks following were the worse weeks I remember because of how jumpy I had been to every little thing.

But that was a long time ago, at least two years ago now, and I trusted my sister and her boyfriend to drive me around. It was going to be okay.

The second I calmed down and closed my eyes, letting myself drift off and sink into the music that played through my earphones, I faintly heard my sister yell, “Watch it!”

The car jolted slightly as if he had hit the breaks too hard – just another time he had done that. I didn’t bother opening my eyes. But suddenly the car was hit from the side and before I could open my eyes and take in my surroundings, I blacked out.

When I woke up again, I was in the hospital. My sister was outside yelling at her boyfriend about how she should have never let him drive and how it was all his fault I was in the hospital. I felt bad for him.

Feeling strong enough, I pushed myself upright and tried to take in my surroundings. I had an IV in my hand and a machine connected to me taking my heart rate and blood pressure. My sister noticed and rushed in.

“You shouldn’t be sitting up. Are you okay?” She asked concerned.

“She wouldn’t be sitting up if she didn’t feel fine.” Her boyfriend pointed out with a small chuckle, which only gifted him a death glare from my sister.

I silently shook my head at him, asking him to not speak. It would only make my sister even more upset.

“I feel…okay.” I say hesitantly, slowly noticing I couldn’t feel my lower legs. “Hold on…” I press the button beside me to call the nurse in and explained what I was feeling…or not feeling.

The day after I find out that my nerves had been pinched from the car accident and I was semi-paralyzed from the knees down. Luckily, I could get better through physical therapy.

I got signed into the hospital to stay for a couple more days to keep an eye on my progress and got moved into a single occupant room. I was given a wheelchair, by request, so I could move around the hospital with ease.

One day, I heard my sister still yelling at her boyfriend, arguing about my circumstance, as I wheeled myself out to the hall. I knew she was frustrated and partially had blamed herself for the position I was in but I also felt horrible for her boyfriend who probably already blamed himself enough without her yelling at him.

I had constantly told her to stop yelling at him and stop blaming him but she wouldn’t listen. She looked down at me and tears formed.

“I hate having to look down at you!” She cried, “You’re almost my height…”

I sighed, “It’s okay. I’ll get better.”

She got mad, “You wouldn’t have to if it wasn’t for him!”

“It’s not his fault, sister.” I say in a different language her boyfriend could not understand.

“How can you not blame him?” She asks frustrated in English, “How can you still say it’s all okay?!”

“BECAUSE AT LEAST I’M ALIVE!” I shout back, tried of having to say the same thing every other hour.

She looks at me blankly; her boyfriend just stares. Of course they didn’t know how many thoughts I’ve had running through my head since the accident. What if I had been completely paralyzed from head to toe with no hope of recovery? What if I could never walk again? What if it gets worse? What if I had died in the accident instead? What if…it had been worse?

I wiped my sister’s tears as she knelt beside me, “It could’ve gone so much worse, sister. I’m okay. Please be happy that I’m alive and I can get better.”

She nods silently and hugs me. I look up at her boyfriend and grant him a small smile and nod.

It’s going to be okay.

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