Eyes Opened

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story of the struggles of conscience we experience from time to time.

Submitted: April 01, 2008

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Submitted: April 01, 2008

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Thank you for seeing me at such short notice. I just HAD to talk to you, what do I want to talk about?

I want to talk about the unfairness of life and how bitter I am getting with it all.

 

What has really concentrated this feeling is when I was in hospital the other week, in a bed further up the ward lay a young man, couldn’t be more than twenty-one, twenty-two that sort of age. His parents seem to visit every other day and a girl who I take to be his girlfriend. Never seem to stay very long, almost seems forced in a way. They bring him the typical grapes and copies of men’s magazines before leaving again.

At first I wonder why this young man is here, he always seems asleep when he has no visitors and awake when he does. Then one day while reading Nuts or Zoo or something I notice he has a sign above his name saying he is not to be given pills. Fortunately I know the ward sister very well being a frequent visitor to the hospital myself, what with work and all.

We go for a coffee after her shift finishes and while we are in the canteen wondering where time seems to be going I ask about the lad in the ward. Was quite naughty to ask I know as it puts her in a difficult position with patient confidentiality. But she trusts me and knows it will go no further so explains his admission. His name is Darren Willis and was admitted for an attempted suicide, “What on earth could have driven him to do that?” I ask, turns out it was all to do with an argument Darren and his girlfriend had about her going to some friends birthday party without him and Darren seemed to threaten if she went he would kill himself. Turns out his girlfriend went anyway and his mother found him with a lot of empty pill bottles in his bedroom. Got to hospital just in time by all accounts to get his stomach pumped.

Turns out this is not the first time Darren has tried to take his own life, “and between you and me” sighs the ward sister, “it wont be the last time”.

I began to wonder if that’s what people do nowadays where they use their own lives for bargaining chips in petty squabbles. You think if that was the case they wouldn’t be stupid enough to bet their lives on something they ran the risk of losing. Has life really become that mundane I asked myself….

Charlotte answered that for me, Charlotte has been a good friend of mine since school, academic, sporty, ran in all the competitions and won most of them. Beautiful with no shortage of male admirers but a personality that outshone all of her physical prowess. She would be mortified if she thought she’d ever said something to you which might offend. We lived just up the road from each other, I said she was the sister I wish I had, she said I was the brother whose head she DIDN‘T want to flush down the loo!!

Charlotte met her husband shortly after we left college, a Christian man by the name of Peter Harrison. Peter was the perfect boyfriend, polite, respectful, every parents perfect choice. No stranger to female attention himself, he pledged himself to Charlotte as she did to him. Even converted to Christianity for him as Charlotte’s parents thought of religion as “a load of stuff and nonsense” and as such never got Charlotte or her brother Christened.

 

Charlotte became a regular church-goer with Peter and the wedding came soon after, though we’d been friends for years I was still over the moon when Charlotte and Peter wanted my wife and I at the wedding, right up front! The church was completely packed to the rafters - not even sure a mouse could have fitted in after the last person squeezed themselves down! The ceremony seemed to fly, then disco afterward, and off to honeymoon.

On their return, Charlotte became much more involved with the Church than just going every week, she got involved in fund-raising, children’s parties, really getting stuck in with the community. Saturday just gone was just typical of a fund-raiser for the local school Charlotte signed herself up for. One of the stall holders underestimated the popularity of the game they were looking after and ran out of presents. Charlotte offered to run over to the stall holders house as it was only over the road to grab a lot more stuffed dinosaurs and bears and suchlike as the stall holder couldn’t get away. The stall holder never had a problem handing over their house keys, it was Charlotte after all!

What happened next happened so fast it felt like a film, Charlotte, was halfway across the crossing when a car, travelling at absolutely ridiculous speed for a village, ploughed straight into her. Some say the driver was drunk, others that they were teenage joy-riders who lost control of the car, either way they didn’t stop, some would even question whether the driver even knew anything had happened.

The ambulance was very quick in responding and Charlotte was taken to Hospital. Because I knew the ward sister she allowed more people in to see Charlotte and for longer periods than usual, it was all I could think to do to help her poor friends and family. We all felt so helpless and spent much time praying for her speedy recovery, even her parents spent time in the Chapel.

Peter never left her side from the minute they arrived in the hospital, to the minute they switched the machine off when Charlotte passed away.

So you see Father, my reasoning behind returning my collar. I can no longer work in someone’s name whom I feel more alienated, isolated and quite frankly resentful of with each passing day. …..


© Copyright 2017 Jak Sylvian. All rights reserved.

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