I'll Be Fine

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


After a traumatic brain injury that renders the main character unconscious. They realize they can still connect with their loved ones.

Submitted: October 12, 2017

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Submitted: October 12, 2017

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I’ll Be Fine

“Patient is unresponsive… can you hear me… please move your left arm.”

“I’m trying”… but nothing moved. No matter how hard I thought, nothing moved. It’s like I had lost control of my body. The wheels on the bed started creaking. I felt the bumps and turns as they barreled me down the hallway. I could move again, but I knew it wasn’t my own doing. My legs. My arms. I knew it wasn’t me. It was warm and tight. Made my anxiety flare up.

 “Oh my god! No. PLEASE!! NO!” I heard her voice. So clear in my head. When I focused all I could hear was rhythmic buzzing, etching like on a printer.

My body got warmer, burning from the inside out. Am I dying…

Sweet release, it’s not like I haven’t thought about it. I didn’t even realize my muscles were tense until they started to relax.

“NO!! PLEASE!!” There was a whimper to her scream. Did they let her into the room? No. That didn’t make any sense. “Please don’t leave me.” She was crying.

I didn’t want her to cry. “I won’t. I’m still here.”

My body moved. Again not on my command. The pain wouldn’t go away. Maybe if I just let it take me. “Please don’t leave me.” Her voice was soft, a whisper. How could I hear her? The doctors were talking over me as I was fading in and out. “Mild”… “Hemor”… “Surgery.” The room got brighter. Even through my eyelids I could tell.

“God. Please. Not yet. Not yet.” Those were the last words I heard. Am I dying… Have I? I didn’t see a God. No angels. No heaven. No hell. Maybe it’s all fake. Maybe… “Can you hear me?” Her voice was clouded in sorrow. Where ever I was I wanted her to know I would never leave her. “I’m here. I can hear you.” I felt a slight pressure on my right hand. Almost like it didn’t happen. “I can almost hear your voice, so clear. I want to be able to hear it again. Stay with me.” I had to fight. If not for myself, then for her. “I will. I won’t leave you.” The pressure on my hand became more prominent. I wanted to squeeze back, but no matter how hard I tried my body wouldn’t cooperate. I didn’t even realize my breathing became labored until I heard her talking to one of the doctors. They poked and prodded. I hate it when they do that. “I’m Fine. I’m fine. I’m fine.” I wanted to push them away. They told her my vitals were normal… Well normal for recovery.

“How can they be so sure. Just ‘cause your body seems normal doesn’t mean you’re ok.” She sounded a tad spiteful. Not toward the doctors though. I knew it.

“I understand.” Whenever she’d ask I’d always tell her ‘I’m fine, see all my limbs are intact.’ Feign a laugh and move on. And she’d always reply ‘No you’re not.’ Under her breath. She thought I never heard her. I’m glad she didn’t push me.

“Do you?” She questioned me. “Do you really, you should take better care of yourself! There are people on this earth who still want you around!”

“It’s out of my control. If I could avoid this I would.”

“You know that’s not what I was talking about.” She paused and laughed. I don’t know why. “Even in my head I’m arguing with you.” She continued giggling. “Unbelievable.”

Pretty unbelievable. In her head? Then how could I hear her? Maybe I’m just dreaming. I don’t know if any time passed, a few minutes or a few hours.

“I’m not leaving you.” Heard a TV click on. She was going to stay for a while.

“You know they only have old people channels.” That’s all hospitals ever had. Old people channels.

“You’re basically an old person.” I enjoyed her laugh. It was a dumb joke, I don’t even know why it’d make her laugh but it did. Her voice was softer. Still with that slight choke from being hoarse from crying. “I swear… ‘You know they only have old people channels’… awful.” She did her best impression of me. She flipped through channels. With every change of the channel there was another commercial for Cialis,-change- Raxolti, Humira clearly on the same station, then Lyrica. At some point I stopped noticing if the station changed, it all just sounded like one long drug ad. Like I said old people. “Wow ok… Let’s just watch...” She flipped through some more channels, not waiting for the commercials to be over this time. “Law and Order.”

______________________________________________________________________________

I needed to hear her voice. It soothed me. I don’t know how long I listened to the drone of the TV before she came back. Law and Order turned into some witch or demon show back to Law and Order. After a while it all blended together. I couldn’t tell the difference. I couldn’t even tell if and when I fell asleep. How long had Shawn been gone? Did she leave me? The nurses, the doctors, the custodians came in and out of my room. But never her.

The door opened and I braced myself for more poking and prodding. But this time, this time felt different. I didn’t feel like a specimen, something to be examined. I felt like a person. Something I haven’t felt in a long time. Maybe I just never had the opportunity to pay attention.

Then I heard her voice.

‘I don’t know if I can do this. No matter what I say I don’t know what I’ll do if I lost you... Let me not think…’ “I’m sorry I left. When I told Ani she wanted to be here. I wish you could see her, they got her a cot to sleep on for the night. She is not leaving you.” Shawn giggled, it was a forceful giggle. It felt like I was eaves dropping on a conversation, like she wasn’t actually talking to me. “They told me you haven’t woken up yet, I’m not sure if you’re asleep or if you can hear me… but… just…” She sighed. I was awake. I could hear every word she was saying.

Every word echoes in my brain, bouncing off the walls, bouncing off my thoughts. I thought I’d learned to handle it. Every time I’d relive that moment. I thought I took control of it. But low and behold history repeats itself. I thought I changed. I thought… I thought I was better.

I kept seeing it. Repeating. The blood, the screams. Repeating. The blood, the screams. What had I done? I thought it would make everything better. I kept reliving that moment. Someone has to find you. Someone always finds you. She tried to stop the bleeding. But I had cut too deep. I don’t remember what happen. Just the scattered noises I picked up while being rushed to the hospital. I do remember. So vividly, she had said the same exact words ‘I don’t know if I can do this. No matter what I say I don’t know what I’ll do if I lost you... Let me not think…’ She was living a continuous nightmare and I was the cause.

The only thing that gave me a gram of solace was Anais didn’t have to go through this twice. That she was too young to remember… Now… “How could I do this to you? If-If I make it will you leave?”

I felt the pressure on my hand again. It was faint but there. “I know…” she sounded watery. Like she was holding back tears. Then a blunt force. It was quick. Did she just hit me?!? “Don’t do that again!” She was whispering but it was definitely a scream type of whisper.

She sniffled. “I know it wasn’t your fault… this time”

“Wow… that hurt” that was a low blow. I didn’t expect that.

“It was supposed to.” She replied to me immediately, like she had heard my comment. Wait. Did she? “You…” she sighed “You think you’re doing… just stay here. For us.” Shawn never not knew what to say. It was weird.

“I’m trying.” I would hold onto whatever I had, for them.

“I know you are.” She responded to me. How could she… “I  ca- wai- WHAT?!?``

She gasped. She sounded like she was hyperventilating, but I realized she was trying to hold in her laugh. ‘I’ve gotta be going crazy. This can’t be happening again. Can you hear me?

I was confused. So very confused. Of course I could hear her, she was talking to me. “You’re talking to me… of course I can.”

No I’m not… you’re painfully still but I can hear every word you’re saying. And you can hear me. Huh, I didn’t think it was real.

“What was real?... Holy shit! I can hear you. I can hear you. I can… I can’t breathe…”

I could feel my body convulsing. I couldn’t stop it. The nurse must’ve given me something, almost instantly the spasms stopped. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep after that. I don’t remember hearing anything. Not from the nurse, not from Anais, not from Shawn. I was just stuck with my dreams.

“So it was real. Why? Why only when I’m like this.” I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk. I didn’t even know how they fed me. But I could hear them. Hear the tone, the inflection, and ‘see’ the contortions their face would make with every word, just as if we were having a regular conversation. I’m not sure if I was smiling. I wanted to. Even like this, even if this is how I am for the rest of my life, however long that may be. I was happy.

I wanna say it’s the power of love.’ She drawled out the ‘o’, being overly dramatic. There was a slight pause, I began to ‘talk’ but she cut me off. ‘I won’t leave,’ I didn’t realize she never answered my question until now. She’d always contemplate a big decision before answering. Mostly to the point where I’d forget I had asked. ‘I just didn’t want Ani ever finding you like that. You got help, that’s all I really wanted.’ Her answer was what I needed. Nearly two decades since it happen I don’t think I ever got a proper response to that question.

“Mom, can we get something to eat?” Anais must’ve just woken up.

God I wanted real food. Something I cooked. Hell even something Anais made, and she can barely make eggs. Just something I can chew!

It seemed like suddenly a whiff of roasted chicken and vegetables entered the room. That cheesy avocado smell that was distinctly…Chipotle! They got Chipotle! And what was I stuck with, an IV? A tube stuck to my stomach?

“I got you a bowl in solidarity. I guess we’ll just have to eat it for you.”

I was kinda bored listening to the scraping of the paper bowl and the drone of perpetual Law and Order. This time I think it was Criminal Intent. I had tried talking to her again. “You’re awfully quiet.” Nothing. No reply. Had it all been a dream. Something my mind made up to appease my conscious. Probably.

“I wish you could talk to us. Tell us how you’re feeling. I don’t want you to be in pain.” Anais sounded hollow. She didn’t know.

“Trust me, I don’t feel a thing. They got me on so many meds, I’m basically on cloud 9.”

Shawn laughed. She must’ve heard me. It couldn’t’ve been the Law and Order, there was the hum of that dramatic slow paced music in the background. I wanted to smile. In my mind I was smiling.

“You’re smiling.” Anais didn’t sound surprised. I sure as hell was. I couldn’t even feel my lip tick up, not even sure if it was a smirk or a full smile.

“This is good! This is progress!” Her voice had a hopeful lilt to it. She was always the hopeful one. Since she was a baby. No matter our circumstances she always saw the brighter side.

“Does she know?” I felt Shawn’s eyes on me. She always gave me a certain look when she didn’t want Ani to know. She caught on though. She was maybe 15 or 16 when she first noticed the “glare”. Didn’t say anything about it, but I knew the “Y’all are being weird look.”

“What’s wrong?” Anais was more confused than worried.

I kept my mind clear, trying not to respond to her. I was sure it would freak her out if all she heard was my voice in the awkward silence.

“Nothing more than usual.” I couldn’t help myself. Shawn wasn’t saying anything, and the silence was unbearable. I should have waited, she usually gets mad at me for my outbursts when she is in the midst of calculating her response.

“Woooah my God! What the hell?” The screech and clang of the metal chair just added to her surprise.  “Wait did you say something? I’m pretty sure you just said something! But your mouth didn’t move. Ok. Ok. What?”

Shawn was slumped back in her chair, left palm to face with her right arm crossed over her belly. I couldn’t see it, but I was sure of it.

“I’m not hearing voices right? I’m not crazy right?” She was genuinely concerned. With my past, I would say it was warranted. I didn’t mean to frighten her.

“Just listen. Don’t speak out loud. Concentrate on the voice you hear, and you’ll realize what’s going on.”  And there it was. The perfect non-answer answer Shawn always gave Anais. And it worked. We seemed to be the perfect pair, Shawn would make her figure it out and I would just say it bluntly. Perfect pair.

‘What does that… even – m’

“It means, I’ll be fine. No matter what, I’ll be fine.” I felt a smooth surface grace my right hand. It didn’t feel like fingers, more like running your hand across a granite countertop. Is this what my nerves are now? My heart was beating on its own, so far, but no one knew I was alive except my girls. In that moment I knew if I didn’t wake up that would be it. I wish it was like the movies where God would give me strength to open my eyes. But no such miracle occurred. I can’t have them fight for me, no one would believe them. In the end I’ll still have them. “Yes, No matter what I’ll be fine.”


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