My Longest Journey

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
a sad story about regret and finding your inner strength

Submitted: February 07, 2010

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Submitted: February 07, 2010

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And so, unknowing and afraid, I began my longest journey. Although I had lost nearly everything good in my life I could not allow myself to live in a continuous daze. That would mean defeat; it would mean that everything that I had ever gone through, all I had to face, was worthless. Despite my brain telling me to give in and let it take me away, I was going to use ever last ounce of strength left in my frail body to hold on…

The beginning of my painful descent to where I am today was December 4, 2006. That was the day my best friend died. We were both sixteen years old. I remember the phone call that came that day. Just the timing of the ring and the feeling that I got when I looked out the window and saw large droplets cascading to the unforgiving ground told me that this call was not bringing good news. My fears were confirmed as I watched my mother frantically dial my father and race out the door. The last words she said to me before she left were, “Don’t worry, everything will be fine” but by the look of complete fear and apprehension on her face I knew it wouldn’t.

Stella was my best friend and had been for ten years. We did everything together. Little did I know how true this statement would be one day.  When I went to the hospital later that week I saw her twisted, seemingly lifeless body slumped in the bed. That image haunts me to this day. She remained in a coma for two more weeks but one day her body had had enough. Her heart stopped beating, her blood stopped pumping and her brain stopped thinking.

At the funeral, a week later, I didn’t shed a tear. I thought I should be miserable but I just didn’t feel. I couldn’t feel. It was as if my life wasn’t worth anything anymore because she wasn’t here. Little did I know, over the next few years I would lose almost everything I ever cared about.

The next week I didn’t leave my bedroom. It had become my new sacred abode. Although I knew I owed it to Stella to move on, I just couldn’t shake my feelings of guilt. I had feared she would end our friendship if I did anything but by not doing anything I ended more than that.

I finally ate on the third day. I hated what I was doing to my mother. She would sit outside my bedroom constantly, pleading me to come out. I just wouldn’t surrender, I couldn’t. I still remember the sound of her soft sobs that slowly turned into methodic breaths as she fell asleep.

As time passed I slowly came to grips with my new reality. I finally emerged from my room, during the day, three months after the accident. My mom was bustling about the house. She had become compulsive about her housework. I guess her house was one thing that she could control and she needed that. When she first saw me appear I received no hug or squeals of delight as I expected but I liked it better that way anyway.

My life after that became monotonous. I had taken the previous months off school. I couldn’t face my parents, the closest people to me, so how could I face the other students with their obvious glares? As time went on I decided to resume school but I sat at the back with a scowl and burning eyes.  No one ever spoke to me and I never tried either. I could just imagine how I looked with my knotted hair and mismatched clothing but I could not be bothered to put forth any effort. When Stella died it seemed like I closed my shell. No one was allowed in. Adversity had made me hard and I was afraid that I was brittle; that I could crumble with any touch of kindness. I would like to say that this was just a phase and eventually I took my life for what it was and moved on but I can’t.

My defiant attitude took a toll on my family. My mother seemed mechanical and emotionless while my father began to work late regularly. He and my mom never watched hockey or played cards anymore like they used to before. It was like we were three strangers living in the same house. The last time I saw my father was January 18, 2008.

After that my mom was robotic. She lived in a consistent routine with no abnormalities. Every morning she would wake up, make breakfast, clean the house, get any groceries that we needed, make lunch, sleep, then make supper. Watching her do this got to me at first; knowing I was the one who caused the deterioration of our previously happy family. Now I was numb. I wasn’t sure if I just didn’t notice or if I didn’t care anymore. Either way, I had changed. I had fallen so far from being the girl I once was.

For the next year my mom and I kept our course. At first, when my father had left we received phone calls from concerned friends. Eventually they stopped. Either they gave up or we were just too far gone. With no close family besides us and no close friends, we were alone. I had convinced myself that I would just be like this forever but it took what happened next to change everything.

On November 27, 2009 I was in a car accident. In that moment, even though everything was moving so fast, it seemed slow motion to me. So many things crossed my mind. I thought of my mom and how she would feel if I died, I thought if anyone else would even care, but most importantly I thought that this is how Stella must have felt. In that moment before everything turned black I felt connected to Stella despite how long we had been apart.

Ten other people were involved in my accident; all of whom were mildly injured. I was not. I was knocked unconscious on impact. When I came back to reality I was reeling in pain but for once I felt something. The doctors around me and the obnoxious beeping is all a blur to me now. I went in and out of consciousness for the next few days but throughout it all I remember that my mom was by my side. She had the same look on her face that I remember so clearly from the day Stella died.

It was only once I started to improve that I could notice the condition of my body. My shattered legs were being held together by metal rods that protruded from my bruised skin. My face was almost unrecognizable; gashes and dark stains of blood replaced what used to be soft skin. I was covered with tubes that lead to many machines, all of which we helping to keep me alive in one way or another. Doctors visited me regularly, showing me no compassion. I was told that this was only the first step to recovery. After I was able to, I would be sent to a rehabilitation center where I would undergo months of grueling physiotherapy and treatment. My mother assured me that she would be with me for the whole process and somehow I was certain that she meant it.

Since I was unable to move, I had lots of time to think. I went into deep depression at first. My life seemed over but just as my physical condition was improving so was my mental condition. I began to see that this accident had brought me and my mother together in a way that I could have never imagined before. I was also able to reflect on what had caused me to plummet to where I was before my accident. I had always felt guilty about Stella’s death. She had said before that she was not happy and I noticed that she had stopped talking to other people at school. She started to wear dark clothes and I rarely saw her smile. One day Stella told me that she was tired of living. I didn’t take her seriously and never considered telling anyone. After her death I never stopped thinking that it wasn’t an accident but I didn’t dare tell anyone. One day in the hospital I was talking to my mom and the whole story just came out. Never have I ever felt so relieved. As I was talking I could just feel all the pain I have felt for the last three years leave me. Even though I will always feel regret, I know that Stella was not happy and I can’t blame myself for that. I had to accept what had happened and move on.

Today is February 8, 2010, With my mom by my side and the past behind me I am on my way to the rehab center.  And so, unknowing and afraid, I begin my longest journey.   


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