Not If. When.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Auden thinks she's going to wake up from the coma she's in. But as time passes so does hope and she has to accept that maybe she wasn't meant to...

Submitted: July 03, 2010

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Submitted: July 03, 2010

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“Figures.” I mumbled as I sat beside my bed. Figures that he would be the only one to see me. Figures that the only one who could talk to me was the one person I really didn’t want to.
He looked up at me from the doorway and sat on the opposite side of my bed.
I led there so still; so peacefully. The beeps from the machine tapped out a steady rhythm that broke the silence. I didn’t think he’d want to be seen talking to himself.
 
 
He groaned under his breath and caught my gaze. “Look I know we’re not the best of friends.”
“You humiliated me in front of a roomful of people just because you thought it would be funny.”
Glancing back down at my pale face I noticed my nostrils flaring with my breaths. I had to wake up soon.
“Exactly,” he continued, “not the best of friends. But the thing is, I’m the only one you can talk to.”
Okay, I’d bite. “And why is that?”
“It happens with all spirits.”
Staring deep into his blue eyes I gritted my teeth. “I’m not dead.”
His eyes flickered to the bed that separated us and then back at me. “Well, you’re not whole.”
 
 
Who the hell did this guy think he was? Couldn’t he see this was still a sensitive subject to me?! It had only been a week since the accident.
Sure by now my mum’s scrapes were healing the insurance on the car was already going through the system, but for me, it seemed like it only happened yesterday.
Maybe time happened differently on the mixed up plane that I was stuck on.
 
 
Beep. Beep. Beep.
 
 
My heartbeat remained steady. As soon as I wake up I’m going to hit him.
“So.” He clicked his tongue and rested his bony elbows on his knees. He couldn’t have even changed out of his torn jeans to visit me in hospital. What a rude boy. “Anything you want to talk about?”
“Yeah, actually. Let’s discuss the theory that the presence of a Y chromosome affects the ability of the frontal lobes.” I smiled smugly. Thank you biology.
His eyes widened in confusion. “Okay.”
“You’re an idiot for not even knowing that I just insulted you.”
With a defeatist sigh I stood up and walked out the door into the hospital corridor. Of course it was only a matter of seconds until he was by my side again.
 
“What’s the matter? No comeback?” Dodging a nurse, for no reason, as I probably would have just passed through her anyway, I muttered to the lanky boy besides me.
His eyes glanced downwards at me then back forwards.
“Ah, if you talk to me you’ll be deemed crazy.” He gave a slight nod. “Good thing you’re in a hospital.”
 
 
I carried on my strides until we hit the exit.
I imagined the cold air hitting me like a ton of bricks. But instead when the doors opened all I felt was the same numbness that I have done for the past week. The only thing I had to go on was the fact that Joe shivered next to me. I wouldn’t show envy. Besides, I’d wake up soon. I would.
Who knew it; it was night.
 
“You didn’t have to come.” I told him as I walked towards the bus stop that he had taken residence to. He looked like he was posing for a male modeling session and not waiting for a bus home.
Before speaking he took a quick glace around to make sure no one was in vision distance of him conversation in his mind. “I do this for strangers all the time.” His voice had retreated to the monotone I had been silenced with everyday for the past few months. “I think I can be selfless enough to make your last days at least sociable.”
My arm flew round so fast that if I were solid, or even on the same dimension as wind, the air around me would whistle. My hand passed through his head and reformed the other side. He gave a shudder before looking back up at me. As if he were asking, what did I do wrong?
“I’m not on my last few days. Were you in there? My heartbeats fine!”
This time I cracked emotion out of him.
“Auden, you’re brain-dead.” The words formed slowly in my head. I knew I was.
 
 
I had heard the nurses tell my mum it.
‘I’m afraid that even if she does wake up, she’ll most likely be unresponsive.’
I saw the tears fall from her pale gray eyes. She probably thought it was her fault. After all she was speeding on an icy road and happened to hit a patch of black ice. I didn’t blame her. Everyone does it. Just some of us slip up on our karma.
But it didn’t matter to me.
I was fine.
I was stood right there by my side. My brain was fully functioning and I would defy all the doctor’s predications.
 
 
“But I’m fine now.” It came out as merely a whisper. “I’ll wake up fine.”
There was silence between us.
A passerby car slowed down for a pedestrian that was crossing to get into the hospital. She looked cold. I wish I were.
“I only see people who are going to die.” He broke to me.
My eyes shut gently as I listened to the sounds of the wind hitting Joe’s body. I listened to his breathing and pictured the monitor that reacted every time I took a breath by myself. “I’m breathing.” It came it quieter; more hesitant.
“Now.”
“You’re a liar.”
 
I wondered if it were possible for me to cry in my state. I hadn’t up until now and I had heard some pretty horrific things. My family, my friends and even people I barely new like my neighbors took this opportunity to confess their sins to me.
Not just the ones about me however.
For example, I now know that Mrs. Patricks from number 48 doesn’t grow her daffodils herself but rather buys them and plants them in the place of the seeds that failed to grow at her own fingertips.
Why did she tell me this? Because this plot won her the best front garden on our road one year instead of my mum’s sunflowers, that were quite frankly dismal anyway.
How this helped clear her conscience of me I will never know, but she seemed happier when she left. She also called me Audi. Like the car. Number 48 was always slightly crazy.
 
The more touching stuff happened after they discovered my condition. People cried into my lifeless hands and kissed my forehead in weeping compassion. I sat by my side the whole time and not once did I cry a single tear.
 
 
“Do people cry usually when you tell them this?” I asked brushing my hands against the numb skin that made up my face. No tears.
In the distance I saw the headlights of a bus that grinded and squealed along the near empty road. “Usually.” He shivered once more and this time the wind swept his dark hair past his apathetic face. He didn’t want to be here. He didn’t want to be talking to me about this.
The metal contraption containing a few citizens falling asleep against the vibrating windows pulled up and the doors squealed open.
“You coming?” He said to me subtly so no one would pick up.
“No.” I exhaled. I wasn’t going to be his pity.
 
Instead I watched the bright lights slowly pull away and turn out of my vision.
What does he know?
He’s just a college boy who likes to point out people’s flaws and, in my case, point out the dried tears on my face in front of a canteen full of people. As if break ups weren’t hard enough as it was!
 
Hopping back up on my feet I hammered all hope back into my ghostly form. Miracles happened. And right now I was more than capable of understanding other people’s word, their actions and their confessions. If it weren’t for not being able to feel anything then I’d be completely healed.
I’d wake up. I had to.
If karma did crash the car then it was just to show my mum a lesson for speeding or me one for moaning about not getting to college in time. It wouldn’t kill me for it. There was no reason on rhyme for me to die this early. I was going to wake up.
 
 
And with my reaffirmed hope, I walked back into the hospital.
The bustle had died down like it does every night. Visiting hours were over but it didn’t stop loved ones from leaving the side’s of those in need.
I was alone, I had guessed, but someone would be there in the morning. Whether it would one of my close friends or my mum was a surprise on the day.
 
 
“Why does this happen?” A soft moan came from a room I was passing by. All the while I had been a mere whisper in the universe I had tried my best not to eavesdrop on people’s lives. But this man called to me. “Why?” He repeated.
My body stood in the doorway of the patient’s room. He held a hand as pale as mine was in my bed, in his. She looked even younger than me. Maybe just entering her teens.
“What did we do to deserve this God?” He asked to the ceiling.
Stupidly I followed his gaze to see nothing but a light.
His sobs muffled into her hand and my mind went blank. They must’ve done something wrong otherwise she wouldn’t die. She’d wake up healthy just like I would.
The monitor that copied the one I was attached to began to spasm.
Mine doesn’t do that I thought idiotically.
His face fell pale as he stepped back away in disbelief.
“No.” I whispered as figured emerged through me with various medical equipments. His cries were drowned out by their orders and shouts over the monotonous beep. “This isn’t right.” I told myself.
They pumped oxygen into her limp body and pressed the paddles against her chest. The sobs got louder as he watched her body react to the shocks.
I moved closer next to her bedside and one of the doctors. “Wake up.” I breathed. “Wake up!” My plead yelled into a room full of ignorance.
And then nothing.
 
Backing away out of the room to avoid the heartbreak of the man I stepped through all the passing by nurses who chose to ignore the wails.
 
“She did nothing wrong.” I whimpered and retreated back to my room.
 
 
Beep. Beep. Beep.
 
 
It mocked me.
 
 
Beep. Beep. Beep.
 
 
I had to wake up.
 
 
 
The next morning my uncle came to visit me. Chat was little. I think he just came to settle his own mind. To say that he did. I didn’t care company was always welcome.
“Do you think it would be better to die than wake up completely unknowing to the world?” I asked openly. He sniffed and turned the page on his magazine.
“Oh!” He startled as I looked up to the doorframe. Joe stared a little offside to my body to acknowledge me and then back at my uncle.
“I can take it from here if you want.” He glanced back at me, gave a peck on the cheek and exited, giving Joe a grateful pat on the shoulder first. “I’d rather die.” He answered my question.
“I think I would too.”
We connected eyes before he broke to look at the bag he had placed between his feet. Pulling out assorted items I noticed were from my room at home, he placed them on my bedside.
“How did you get those?”
“I asked your mum if I could bring them here.” He spoke to my mum. I gave a grateful grimace and turned back to me. The bruises had turned a greenish-yellow on my face and the cuts were healing quite nicely.
 
Angela, a nurse I had become familiar with walked into the room with a sponge and a dish of water. “Just going to clean her up.” She told Joe and perched down besides my bedside and in front of me.
Dipping the sponge into the water she dabbed at my face. My fingers traced along my unfeeling skin where she had touched on my body. I felt nothing.
“It’s always important to be presentable in hospital.” She smiled towards Joe. “Never know when you’ll wake up and who will visit you.”
Before I would’ve smiled at the optimism in her words, but now? Now I doubted everything I had convinced myself.
“Are you the boyfriend?” She asked.
Instinctively his eyes fluttered up to me for a moment before down to my body. “Something like that.” He muttered before hanging his head into his hands.
She took her cue and left us alone.
I waited for a while but his head didn’t pull back up. “Tired?”
He turned to one side to look at me through one exhausted eye.
“Why?”
“Too much thinking, I guess.”
I nodded but it was useless as he settled back into his position. “What do you reckon happens?” He looked up fully this time. “When you die?” I finished.
Shaking his head he fixed his stare on spirit me. “I don’t want to talk about this, Auden.”
“I thought you wanted my last days to be sociable?”
He exhaled loudly and lengthy before sitting normally. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s something like you’re in now. Only with other people who can see you.”
“Dead ones?”
He nodded and I bit my lip.
 
 
Beep. Beep. Beep.
 
 
But I wasn’t dead yet. The monitor said so itself.
 
“What happens to the people you see after they die? Do they disappear all together or do you see them before they leave?” He was unnerved by the questions. I’m sure he’s been asked them before by the others. He had said there were others like me. All existing together in loneliness.
“I see them for a few moments. They say goodbye before leaving.”
I wonder if you could choose to be a ghost or not. I wouldn’t want to be but it would be an intriguing possibility.
“Auden, you’re still alive.” He interrupted my thoughts.
 
 
Beep. Beep. Beep.
 
 
“I know.” I told him as I watched the line peak and then return to the norm. “I’m just wondering.” Maybe I had accepted it as inevitable now. Death was better than an eternity of no one hearing your useless rambles. I just wish I could feel the breeze across my skin once more. This time I wouldn’t take it for granted.
I didn’t press further with my questions.
Again I sensed his discomfort of being there.
 
“You can go. I’m fine now.” It wasn’t meant in a short-term way either and he pick up on it.
Shaking his head he leaned over my bed and grabbed my hand.  Nothing I thought as I looked at the ghost hand attached to me. “I want to be here.”
“You don’t look it.”
“Auden I do this day to day for strangers. I’m not used to doing it for someone,” he paused rethought his words and picked up, “I know.”
“It won’t make much difference to you. Just one less person to pick on.” My voice went sullen like a small child.
“Sorry.” A meek reply.
“I forgive you.” Might as well. No point holding grudges in the final moments.
 
 
 
“Granddad’s worried about you.” My mum told me as she pulled the cup of coffee from her lips. She wouldn’t be here long; She had to be in work soon. “He would come but he just hasn’t got it in him anymore.
“I know. I’ve seen him try to get out of the car.” I joked to myself.
She paused. “I’m worried. These things aren’t supposed to happen to good people.” My mind flashed back to the girl who had slipped away in front of me. She was good. These things happened.
“Karma doesn’t care, mum. It’s just how the world works.” As if she heard me, the tears rolled out and she pushed her coffee aside so she could cradle her face into her palms. “You’ll ruin your makeup.” I told her and she sniffed back a few and wiped away the black smudges.
It was like I was the voice inside her head. Maybe I was. I still hadn’t figured this thing out.
“Mum, I’m scared too.” I told her and began to feel the first thing I had since the searing pain from the accident left me. I felt a trickle of water leave my eyes and roll faintly down my face. “I don’t know what’s on the other side. I don’t want to leave everyone behind. I had memorized every bit of gossip I heard to tell you when I woke up.”
The tears rolled freely now.
“Mum, I’m not going to wake up. I’ve felt it for the past week. A pull away from this, from you, from everyone but I pushed it down. I have to give in eventually.”
She checked her watch and quickly straightened up and stood up from me.
I bowed my head away from her. I didn’t want to memorize the last look I’d see on her face.
“I love you.”
“Goodbye.” I replied as she walked out the door.
“All yours.” She whispered and I cocked my head to the side to see the familiar figure sit back in the position he had done before.
 
 
Beep. Beep. Beep.
 
 
“It would make all the difference to me.” He told me. “If you died.”
I wiped my eyes. “When.” I chose to ignore the heartfelt words and correct him. His eyebrow raised in confusion. “When I die, not if.”
“Just because I haven’t seen anyone survive doesn’t mean it can’t happen. You believe in miracles don’t you?”
“Hey, I’m in one.” I smiled but it soon turned back into a quiet expression. “You were here for the speech. I’m being pulled away.”
He turned to me quietly. “Then push it away. Like you’ve been doing.”
I shook my head. “It’s getting harder.”
“Try.” He begged.
“Why? So I can stay in this timeless existence wishing I could feel the pain I remember? Why would I do that?!” My voice had gotten louder but no one but Joe could hear it. His eyes held sadness and it suddenly clicked in place with his words.
“For me. Do it for me. Fight for me.”
The silence lingered.
 
 
Beep. Beep. Beep.
 
 
“I can’t fight an inevitability. It’s too late.” I said softly. Tears began to fall from his eyes.
I suppressed the tug that pulled me once more. It wouldn’t be long now. “Please?” He whimpered. His blue eyes floated in the moisture that leaked from his eyes.
Standing up I walked over and sat in the chair next to him. His gaze fixed on my body. The bruises were near invisible but the cuts had begun to scar. I pressed my lips up to his forehead. Neither of us felt it physically but it was there and we both knew what it meant.
Surrender.
 
 
 
Beep. Beep. Beep.
 
 
“She’s not breathing on her own now.” The doctor told my mum. My finger traced along the tubes that had been pushed inside my body.
The monitor had flat lined but they brought me back.
I knew I wouldn’t die because the pull wasn’t strong enough yet. It was close though.
The conversation was too painful to hear. I tuned out of it.
 
 
 
 
Beep. Beep. Beep.
 
 
I felt another tug. It was harder to resist this time. Why was I still resisting?
They were getting more frequent now.
They were getting harder to fight.
 
 
 
Beep. Beep. Beep.
 
 
I had always known deep down it was going to be this way.
No amount of hope could change it.
 
 
 
Beep. Beep. Beep.
 
 
 
I had accepted it now.
 
 
 
Beep.
 
 
 
 
 
And like that it was over.
The tugging had won and the world around me seemed to speed up. No longer was I in a timeless dimension; Time was apparent now.
The rush to get the doctors and nurses in. The hustle to get the pads onto my chest. The need to get my sobbing mother out of the room. I wonder if this is what the girl did. I wonder if she were looking over herself the whole time as she seized to be part of the world.
 
The moment seemed to last forever. The moment when everybody in the room knew. The doctor’s pulled their paddles away from me and the nurse pulled my mum in for a hug.
“It’s going to be okay.” I whispered as I passed by her.
My steps were light as I walked through the corridor.
 
I pulled a relieved smile as I walked out and felt the cold seep round me. The breeze pushed my hair past my shoulders and kissed my bare skin.
I walked to the bus stop and leant by the post until a bus came past that Joe hopped off.
 
 
“Hey.” I smiled at him.
Pushing his hands into his pockets he managed to form a sad smile. “Not in your room?” He asked.
I shook my head. “I wanted to say goodbye.”
His face froze before realization set in. “No.” He whispered.
He didn’t want to be right.
“You can’t be…” He never finished his sentence. The tears welled up and he wiped them away quickly.
“I’m okay.” I told him happily through my tears. “It’s okay.”
He shook his head and began to fidget on the spot. “I’ll find a way to be with you. Just wait.”
This was too surreal. Why was everything happening now? It was too late.
“No.” I breathed. “Don’t do anything stupid.”
“But I love you.” He told me.
With a nod I smiled once more. “I know. But you’ll love someone else again.”
He looked at me through his flooded eyes.
“You’ll find a girl and you’ll love her and you’ll marry her and you’ll have a family. It’s what you’re meant to do.”
“And what are you meant to do?” His wobbling voice was settling. The pull was back and I knew I had to go soon. “What’s left for you?”
“I don’t know. But it’s not here.”
 
 
Not even a beeping could break the silence anymore.
 
 
“We all have our purpose. I believe that. Mine is yet to come.”
 
With the faintest nod, I walked past him and towards the pull.
 
“Do you see a bright light?” He asked and I turned round.
 
“God, don’t be such a cliché!” He laughed through his tears.
“Bye.” He told me and I gave him a small wave before turning back.
 
 
I wasn’t scared anymore.


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