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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: House of Ghosts

Submitted: December 10, 2017

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Submitted: December 10, 2017

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I was driving down the highway, back towards school for my senior year of college. One more year until med school, I blissfully thought, unaware of the car driving unsteadily behind me. The last thing I remember was the sound of tires screeching on asphalt, as I was crunched from behind, causing me to slam into the car in front of me.

 I awake in a hospital, medical personnel bustling around me. I wait until everyone leaves, and then I sit up. I gasp, shocked at how painless everything feels. They must have me heavily sedated, I think, attempting to stand. I move my arms around, and realize I am not connected to any tubes. Huh, that’s odd, I remark internally, walking across the room. I exit my empty room and walk through the hallway. I pass two or three people, and I wave and smile, but with no response. “Rude,” I mutter angrily, walking more quickly, attempting to find a phone. “Hullo, excuse me!” The next nurse doesn’t respond either. I begin sprinting in a panic, searching for someone who will talk to me. I wave in people’s faces, I walk in front of them, next to them, I even shout. No one hears me. “Can’t anyone in this goddamn hospital hear me?” I bellow, stomping impatiently.

 “I don’t think so,” A quiet voice responds. I swivel around. The voice is coming from a small girl, about seven or eight, with short blond hair. She looks thin and frail, and her large chocolate eyes stare curiously at me. “Although you seem to be the only other person on this floor who hears me. Follow me.” She begins walking in the opposite direction, and I follow briskly.

 “Where are we going?” I inquire as I catch up to her.

 “To my hospital room,” She responds. “I want you to see something.”

 “By the way, I’m Ava,” I attempt to make conversation. “What’s your name?”

 “I’m Stella,” She responds distractedly, stopping at one of the doors. “Here we are.” She sighs, and pushes open the door, grabbing my hand firmly.

 “No,” I whisper, staring down at Stella’s frail form, lying on the hospital bed. “This can’t mean, we’re…. Dead?” Stella looks at me, surprisingly calmly for a girl who appears to be dead.

 “No, no, Ava. Not dead,” She gestures down at her spectral form. “Just dying.” She looks back at me expectantly.

 “Oh,” I respond lightly, sitting down in the chair next to her bed. “Just dying. That’s alright, I suppose. Better than being dead, right?”

 “I suppose so,” She replies vacantly. “Although I think it’s my time to leave,” She turns and faces me, waving goodbye, her wan complexion beginning to sparkle. A shy smile graces her face as she turns and unites with her body. “Bye, Ava. Good luck.”

“Goodbye, Stella. I won’t forget you.” I smile slightly, although tears stream down my face. What a brave girl. Am I going to face my death as gracefully as she did? I ponder, staring down at her body, and standing slowly to leave, just as her family enters, sobbing.

I drift back to my room, staring vacantly at the numbers on the door. 276. Is this where I am to die? I open the door with a deep breath, and I turn the knob. I enter to see multiple doctors working on me, trying to revive me. I take one more deep breath, and brush against my physical form, uniting with it once again.

I release a series of sputtering gasps as I sit up, starting to breath normally again. I look down, and feel slight pain, and smile gently. “I suppose it’s not my day to die,” I whisper. “Thank you, Stella.” the doctors continue to rush around me, bothering with the machines and upping my dosage of painkillers. I lay down, and slowly slip into a peaceful state of sleep.

When I awake again, my mother and father are at my bedside. “Ava!” they cry in enthusiastic unison. I smile, and nod my head slowly as they begin to fill me in on what happened while I was out. I silently thank God for saving my life, even though I haven’t really done much to deserve it.

 

SEVENTEEN YEARS LATER……….

 

 I’m working my usual shift, finally becoming an OB/GYN after rigorous study, and now my practice is really kicking off. I am hustling around, checking up on various patients. I get a call on my radio. “Dr. Laufer, we need you down here, it’s a birth. She specifically asked for our best.”

 “On the way,” I respond with a nod, rushing down towards the maternity unit. “I’m here.” I announce, putting on my sterilized gloves. The baby is already halfway out. For some reason, this patient looks familiar, but I can’t put my finger on it. I ignore the premonition and deliver the baby successfully. However, as I look at the baby, with her large, imploring, chocolate brown eyes, and the beginnings of wispy blonde hair, I realize who she reminds me of. Stella, the little girl who died the day I almost did. “A healthy baby girl!” I shout happily, although tears are in my eyes. “What are you two going to name her?”

 “I think Stella is the perfect name,” The mother responds with tears in her eyes. “After my baby sister.”

 Later today, I decide to head down to the cemetery where I learned that Stella is buried. I buy a bouquet of white roses, and I lay them on her grave. “Hello, Stella. It’s been a long time since I met you. I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me with your gracefulness in the time of death, thank you for inspiring me to become who I am today. I delivered your niece today. A beautiful, beautiful, healthy baby girl. She looks just like you. Her name is Stella.” I begin to cry, and as the tears continue to flow, I feel a presence beside me. I look to my left, and see Stella, just like she was all those years ago. Except now she looks happy, happy and healthy. She smiles at me, tears running down her face, and embraces me.

 “Thank you for delivering my niece.” She whispers, fading until she disappears. If only she had had one minute to live, would she have survived? If she only had one more minute with her family, what would she say? What if I had been her? What if I had had only one minute left to live on that dreary August day? Would she have survived in my place? These are the kinds of questions that haunt you for a lifetime. But one thing is for sure, I will never forget Stella Eltair.

 


© Copyright 2019 Thalia Bronwen. All rights reserved.

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