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Friendship TG2017

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posted on Nov, 16 2017 @ 04:02 PM
The car must have rolled a dozen times before it came to a stop at the bottom of the ravine. The only survivor a thirteen year old male, unconscious and with massive injuries. He was airlifted to the nearest hospital and there he lay in a coma for three weeks. When he finally awoke to the panic of bright lights, a tube in his throat and all sorts of needles and wires attached to him, the duty nurse very nearly had to sedate the boy as his heart rate soared into dangerous territory.

Over the next several weeks he came to learn that his mother, father and little sister had died in the crash which the Highway patrol had attributed to his father's high blood alcohol level. He was denied even the small comfort of being able to blame someone else for ripping his family and his world away. He overcame the debilitating fear and depression of finding he had no sensation in his legs...Of learning to use his left hand for all the things his right, now missing, had been used for previously....The nurses were kind, sad faced angels who looked on the broken being with compassion, but little hope and it started to occur to him that there was no one left. Both his mother and his father had been only children, there weren't any uncles or aunts to claim him, no friends of his parents visiting to tell him he would be living with them. A counsellor told him he would probably go to state care and that “hey, it's really pretty neat in the homes, kid, you might just like it.” With that insincere cheerfulness of one who knows that the real truth is sometimes just too bitter a pill to swallow,

It was after one of these meetings, a day before Thanksgiving, when one of the nurses he hadn't seen before suggested she take him down to meet some other kids for a few hours. He wasn't keen, his brown eyes dark and brooding as she wheeled him down the long corridors, seemingly never ending until, with a suddenness that almost took his breath away, he saw the sign above the double doors. “Pediatric Oncology” He was a clever boy and his brows knitted as he wondered what the hell she thought she was doing bringing him here. He looked down at his dead knees, covered by the blue blanket as she pushed him through, the hum of the air conditioning a constant thrum that he thought was keeping the building alive in a similar way to the ventilators keeping people alive in some of the wards.

He sighed quietly on rolling into the common room. Cringed at the desperate cheerfulness in the nurse's voice as she introduced him to the other staff and the dozen or so kids around the place. Some laying in day beds, some in chairs like his, some up and walking about. He shared a look with them, that jaded slight raise of the chin and barely perceptible curl of a lip that said “Hey, I suppose we gotta humour them, eh?” Just as he was wondering how long he would have to be an interloper in this place he was aware of her leaving him and only just resisted the urge to turn in panic and call after her.

He focussed in front of him, muttering a resigned, “Hi” to a group who neither needed nor wanted to get to know him and felt his heart lurch as a strange voice near his ear said “Jenny said she was bringing us someone to pad out our Thanksgiving dinner..You don't look like much of a dancer though. I'm Sophie, ya been in the wars huh?” And without another word, she took the handles of his chair and wheeled him into the centre of a group of five other kids. He looked around in shock at the expressions ranging from bored to slightly interested on the faces of the four boys and one girl. The names just rattled past him and he barely put each to a face before Sophie spun him around and continued the introductions. She was obviously the leader down here, among the kids, anyway and when she had finished, she took him back to the first group and put him between a couple of chairs while she sat in front of him on a low table.

She looked a little punky, with her spiky black hair tipped blue and dark eyeliner. A little older than him and waaaay out of his league he thought, even before his accident and he smiled self consciously, just enjoying feeling the way he did right now. A way he hadn't felt in what seemed a lifetime. Her blue eyes sparkled as she gave him a rundown on everyone he'd just been shown to and promptly forgotten and though she smiled, he saw the light fade in her eyes and noticed her breathing become laboured.
“You OK?” he asked, concern making his voice a little less sure and manly so that he mentally kicked himself and she nodded, her hand on her chest.
“Yeah, yeah, gimme a minute, I get outta breath and ….uhhh....just need to take a break. Its the chemo.” she panted and forced a little smile to put him at ease.
“ want I should call one of the nurses?” He offered, his skin prickling with discomfort and she shook her head.
“No, Its cool. They leave us be mostly, we have like our own little kingdom here....Its kinda neat.”
Her breathing began to slow and the colour came back to her cheeks and she swallowed, her eyes looking way older than they should have for a moment before she continued. “This is the terminal ward, well, they don't call it that, but that's what it is. Maybe one in twenty of us makes it out of the front door. I've been here the longest, 8 months now so am kind of everyone's big sis” She grinned self consciously, obvious pride mixed with a little embarrassment before she brightened again and said “Hey! Wanna see my room? We all have our own so we get a little bit of privacy, our own space.” before he could say anything, the walls were almost blurring past him as she pushed him along in a rush of energy towards her room and he sat there, looking from the Green Day poster to the notepad where she had been drawing what looked like a picture of someone in ballpoint pen and, with a flush of his cheeks, over to a little blue blue bra on the bed.

“Oops, cleaner ain't been by yet.” she said with a laugh, scooping the bra up and tossing it into the partially open wardrobe then flopping down on her bed, leaning her head in one hand and eyeing him expectantly. “I know a bit about ya, car crash, yeah? Sorry 'bout your folks, that must be so hard.”

He felt his eyes burn and raised his left hand to rub angrily at them, surprised how much hearing that had hurt and snapped angrily “What the hell would you know?” Then, seeing the hurt in her eyes he shook his head and said “Sorry. I uh, I don't wanna talk about it, I get enough of that with Andi the counsellor. Always going on...”
“You need to lighten up.” she replied. Nodding to the open door “Out there, everyone's looking death in the eye, how'd ya think that feels? You think you got it bad losing your mom and dad? Imagine every time they look at you seeing their heartbreak in their eyes cos they know what's coming? Imagine knowing from the minute they get here to the time they go home that they are just counting the seconds until they can go home and drink until it doesn't hurt so much. You think you got it bad? I am a plus two, at least you are gonna see another summer. I won't.”

The shame he felt drove him to skip most of that and he simply nodded and asked “What's a plus two?” Just to move the conversation on from the part where he felt like such an idiot if nothing else.

edit on 28pThu, 16 Nov 2017 16:21:28 -060020172017-11-16T16:21:28-06:00kAmerica/Chicago30000000k by SprocketUK because: Day for days

posted on Nov, 16 2017 @ 04:02 PM
a reply to: SprocketUK
“They gave me six months, I have been here eight. So I am a plus two.” she said simply, making him feel like a tick on a dog's ass for feeling so low at his own lot.
She took her notebook and started flicking through her drawings, her face still for what seemed an age and then asked brightly “What music you like?” as she held up the sketch of Joe Strummer, who she explained, was the greatest songwriter and poet in the history of the world and, without waiting for his answer, turned to switch on her little stereo and the tinny, under amplified strains of “Guns of Brixton” washed over him. Something from another time, but with an energy and determination in it that seeped into his soul and it was at that moment he knew he was in love.
He bobbed his head slightly out of time to the strong beat, trying too hard not to try too hard and then indicated the pad. “Who are the others?” He asked, causing her to look down at the pages and shift on the bed to angle the book towards him more.
“These are the kids who have gone.” She replied softly, flipping the pages to show skilful portraits of smiling faces, each one different, yet each managing to capture the essence of life in a smile or the creasing of the corner of an eye. Below each was a name and she said “It's just something I like to do, it helps, remembering them when they are....” She paused then just sort of breathed “Gone.”

He swallowed and just nodded along with her as she flicked through the book, telling some tale about each of them that just washed over him as he sat, dazed. He didn't know how long they were there, twenty years before the afternoon might have been punctuated by the periodic turning of records on the turntable. Now though, one old punk song faded into another thrashing social commentary that would, forever in his mind, be part of her.

They spent the evening with a few of the others, just hanging, playing games and talking, reminding him he should really have picked a better team than the Dolphins, but it was too late now and so, he took his ribbing as gracefully as he could and learned a little about the rest of them. Their stoic acceptance of the fate looming over each, humbling and also terrifying him.

Every now and then one of the nurses would come and take one of the kids away, sometimes because their parents were visiting, at others because it was time for chemo or radio therapy. He couldn't decide which was worse, the looks on the faces when their visits were over or the gaunt fragility of the ones who had just been loaded up with some deadly toxin.
A little black kid, called Reuben excused himself and ran off, tears streaming down his face and he looked to Sophie, his eyes questioning and she said “We have this rule, never let anyone else see us cry. It's bad enough for our folks anyway, seeing that would be the end. Hell most of the nurses couldn't cope either, so when anyone feels like they just can't hold it together any more, they go to their room and let it all out and no one mentions it when they come back, so make sure you don't either, OK?” She grinned evilly then and added “Else we will roll ya down the stairs into the laundry.”
He swallowed, not totally sure if she was joking and trying to imagine having the strength of these other kids, facing what they faced, to still think of others in this way.

She kissed him on the cheek before he was wheeled off to a vacant room. The nurses explained he could stay for the night so he didn't need to be wheeled back for the party tomorrow and he drifted off to sleep with a smile on his face for the first time in years.

He took a moment to adjust his tie in the mirror, then looked to the right, just as he had always done, to the small ballpoint sketch of a pretty young girl with spiky hair that hung, taped securely inside his locker door. He smiled, seeing the way she grinned back with that lopsided grin and, just as he had done every day since the nurse brought him the envelope on that Thanksgiving day morning, felt his heart break a little.
She had passed in the night and had left the sketch on her bedside table together with a CD chock full of her favourite MP3's inside an envelope marked “Johnny”. She knew she was going and that was possibly the worst thing of all. Over the next few months, the pain receded from the sharp, savagery of an open wound to a gnawing, emptiness. His legs started to regain their function and he got the hang of the prosthetic arm and hand...The care home was as awful as he thought it would be but Joe Strummer, John Lydon and a bunch of other angry young men gave him refuge, welcomed him into their circle and he made it out, went to college and got his degree. As he swung shut the door he saw his name stencilled on the locker and the title “”Counsellor” Which gave him a small lift as he turned to head down the long corridor to the “Pediatric Oncology” ward where he was sure, there would be turkey, ham, roasted potatoes and, if he was really lucky, some grits.

The End

posted on Nov, 16 2017 @ 04:20 PM
Wow. A real tear jerker. No more feeling sorry for myself.

posted on Nov, 16 2017 @ 04:22 PM
a reply to: Justso
Thanks, hopefully a little bit of redemption there too

posted on Nov, 16 2017 @ 04:23 PM
a reply to: SprocketUK

That was great man, very nicely done!

posted on Nov, 16 2017 @ 04:24 PM
Beautiful inspirational story . Well done!

posted on Nov, 16 2017 @ 04:26 PM
a reply to: FauxMulder Thank you

a reply to: Sheye And your tenner is in the post too

posted on Nov, 16 2017 @ 10:00 PM
Great story and well done!

Many years ago I heard about kids at a local hospital who were always grateful for anyone who would spend some time with them. I always got along with kids and thought I would try volunteering. They introduced me to an angel of a girl who looked like any normal healthy kid except for the hair loss and the surgical scars. I asked how she was doing. She said today wasn't a bad day and she wanted to play. We played games and had a tea party. I asked about her family and when they come to visit. She got a very far off look and said they don't spend much time there but they make sure to visit every day. I went home feeling pretty good about myself for filling in the gaps and thought I would go back in a couple days and do it again. When I went back I asked the nurse where my little friend was and she just said she's not here any more. It took me a minute. And then I learned something. You see, I had broken the cardinal rule. You never ask them when they are going home and you never ask them about their families. Its never a good answer and its easier for them to not think about it. A little piece of my soul died having discovered that. I pray for that little angel to this day, and every other little angel forced to deal with failing health. And I am thankful for having learned the lesson of well chosen words. I just wish I had learned it two days earlier.

posted on Nov, 17 2017 @ 01:32 AM
Thanks and wow, that personal story is a real clincher. God that must have been hard. Thanks for sharing it.

a reply to: Vroomfondel

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