“I’ll be back soon, Dad!” I yelled as I was about to walk out the door.
“Okay sweetie, just don’t be too late. We’re leaving around seven.” He called back from the living room.
“Okay.” I said as I closed the door behind me, stepping out into the harsh, winter wind.
Walking down the street, I took notice to the Christmas lights now strung on every house. Christmas trees visible from windows, and fake reindeer displayed in the front yard. Normally, I loved Christmas. But this year, I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
I buried my face in my scarf as a gust of wind and snow rushed by. Walking a bit faster now that the temperature was dropping, I didn’t notice a patch of ice and nearly fell. I stood up, steadying myself and continued to walk; more cautiously this time. Two blocks later, I was at my best friend, Sam’s house. With no need to knock, I opened the front door and strode in, calling out his name.
“In here!” his voice came from the kitchen.
I rolled my eyes. Of course Sam was in the kitchen; the kid ate constantly. I walked out to the kitchen and was greeted by his butt sticking in the air, as he bent in the fridge for food.
He stood up, nearly bumping his head on the fridge. “Hey!” he said happily, a Tupperware container in his hand.
Laughing, I pulled him in for a hug. His grasp around me tightened and I buried my head in his shoulder. People always said we should date, but we found every excuse not to. Well, I did anyway. Sam never minded though; so long as he had me for a best friend.
“Ready to work on your English paper? I can’t fool around today, dad and I are leaving at seven.” I said, placing my coat on the back of a chair.
The look on his face went from cheerful to dark. “Liv, do you think that’s a good idea? I mean she-”
I held up my hand to stop him; showing this conversation was over. He rolled his eyes and grabbed his backpack before we headed up to his room. We greeted his mom as she walked down the hallway and went into his room. I plopped down on his bed, kicking off my shoes.
“Okay, so I have my thesis, but I don’t really know what my main points should be.” He said, scratching his head.
“Here, let me see.” I read over his paper quickly; not that there was much to read. “Well, your thesis is focused on drones in war. So think of three things within that that you want to discuss in your paper.”
He nodded, pretending his understood what I had just said. I stood up and went over to his desk. We worked on his paper until about six-forty five; I needed to get back home.
We hugged good-bye and I could hear him sigh. “Liv, just…don’t get your hopes up, okay? Christmas is in two days and I don’t want your hopes spoiled.”
I looked him dead in the eye and said, “When it comes to this, my hopes will always be up.” I slammed the door behind me.
It still frustrated me that Sam didn’t have hope and faith like I did. It wasn’t happening to him sure, but it should be affecting him almost as much as it was affecting me. He was close with her too. I scowled and made the quick walk home, trying to put Sam’s comment out of my head.
Dad was practically ready by the time I walked in the door. We hopped in his truck, and began to drive. We never said much on these rides, and most of the time I didn’t mind. Tonight was different.
“Sam thinks this is pointless.” I said softly, staring out the window.
“Sam doesn’t really understand, honey. No one but you and I understand.” He tried to reason, but I knew it frustrated him too.
“But dad, he’s known her practically his whole life. He should care more, he shouldn’t lose hope.” I said, my anger growing.
“Maybe accepting reality is just his way of dealing with it. He’s not an optimist like you and I.” my dad gave me a weak smile, and turned his attention back to the road.
I sighed, still not agreeing with Sam’s attitude and laid my head against the window. The street raced by, and snow continued to fall. People were rushing to their destinations to get out of the cold. I lost myself in the world outside, erasing my anger.
Fifteen minutes later, we arrived; the tall hospital building towering over us. Almost every single light was on, and people could be seen walking past; bustling about. Little fake Christmas trees were visible from some of the windows along with window decorations. I may not be looking forward to Christmas this year, but I’ll always love the decorations. My dad and I joined hands and walked through the entrance of the hospital.
Up on the fourth floor, we went to room 435; the door was cracked slightly. A woman lay in the bed, with tubes up her nose and in her mouth. Machines beeped all around her, and a nurse stood filling out a chart.
“How is she?” my dad was the first to speak, his voice already wavering.
The nurse sighed. “No difference than last week, I’m afraid.” She sounded hopeless, and it stirred my previously subdued anger. “I’m sorry.” She said gently, placing a hand on my dad’s shoulder.
We each took a seat on either side of her, grasping her hands.
“Mom.” I whispered. “It’s me, Olivia.” I stroked her hand, waiting for her to squeeze back.
She had been in a coma for the past six months, after a near fatal car accident. The doctors didn’t think she would be out for this long, and even they were losing hope with every month that passed by. My dad and I refused to give up. We refused to believe she wouldn’t wake up. We visited her every week; sometimes more than once a week. We would stay for hours at a time, talking to her, reading to her, and lately, playing Christmas music for her; she always loved Christmas music.
“Christmas is in two days; it won’t be the same without you.” I choked, a tear leaking out of my eye.
My dad watched me sadly from across the bed; he had taken to brushing my mom’s hair out of her face. He only spoke to mom when I left the room. I understood; he wanted alone time with his wife. I never asked him what he talked to her about, and I liked it that way. Sometimes my dad would give me alone time with her and I’d update her on my life.
“Please wake up. Please. We need you back with us.” I sounded so desperate, pleading with my unconscious mother.
She had grown pale over the six months she had been deprived of sunlight. Her hair was limp and lifeless; now a dull shade of brown. The fluorescent lights gave her skin an eerie glow.
We stayed for three hours that night, taking turns talking to my mom; waiting for some sign of life. We left feeling discouraged, but never hopeless. We refused to feel hopeless. Unlike the car ride here, it was silent. It wasn’t unnatural; we often had silent car rides home, lost in our thoughts.
I went straight up to my room to get ready for bed. My fuzzy pajamas felt comforting against my skin. I turned out my light and climbed into bed. I thought about the way my mom looked tonight and knots in my stomach returned with a vengeance. I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping to block the tears. I didn’t want to cry tonight. I just wanted to sleep.
“Liv! Liv! Wake up!” my dad’s voice called; sounding miles away.
I stretched, and struggled to open my eyes. “Hmm?” I grunted sleepily.
“Get dressed! We have to go! It’s mom!” he said anxiously.
My eyes popped open, and I jumped out of bed. “Give me five minutes!” I said; racing to find clothes.
“Hurry!” I couldn’t tell if he was scared or happy. I hoped for the latter.
My heart was racing as I got dressed, pulled my hair back and quickly brushed my teeth. I met my dad in the living room seven minutes later and he threw me my coat. We ran out to the truck and sped down the street; waiting to see what awaited us at the hospital.
Dad refused to answer my questions, and I was annoyed with him by the time we arrived. Fear was etched all over his face and I struggled to keep up with him as we entered the hospital. The elevator ride seemed to take longer than usual, and I tapped my foot anxiously. What the hell is going on?
“Not now! Come on!” he yanked me out of the elevator and we raced to my mom’s room. The door was closed and we opened it hesitantly. A nurse was bent over my mom; blocking our view. We were frozen in the door way; unsure of what to do.
The nurse stood up and turned to face us; a smile spread across her face. My mom’s face came into view; she was awake! Her eyes were open, she was sitting up right, and she was practicing moving her hands and toes.
“Mom!” I exclaimed, rushing over to her.
“Hello sweet heart.” She said; they had removed the tube from her throat.
“I always love a Christmas miracle.” I heard the nurse say as she left us to celebrate what would now be a wonderful Christmas.