Open. I was bored. I know high school parties are supposed to be fun and upbeat, especially when you’re a senior, but I couldn’t find myself having fun. I had been to one other high school party when I was a freshman, and I had regretted it as soon as I walked in. I had ended up leaving early, but that’s another story.
“Earth to Samantha!” said my best friend, Daisy. “I can’t believe you came! Come, let’s get a drink!”
She took my hand and pulled me through the crowd, which was literally parting like the red sea for her. She was super popular and the life of the party. I, on the other hand, was not. I was that awkward childhood bestie that just happened to stay friends with her, even when she got popular.
She was so excited that I was here that I couldn’t say no to her. So I took the red Solo cup from her hands and took a tiny sip. Ugh, I hate beer. But I painfully swallowed it, all the while trying to act like I loved it.
“YOU SHOULD CHUG IT!” she screamed over the loud party music.
Still not able to say no, I chugged it. Close. Open. She then took my arm again and pulled me out to the dance floor. There was a table in the middle, and everyone told her to dance on the table. She gleefully jumped up and invited me up. I was skeptical and a little lightheaded, but I wanted to have fun for once. Close. So I joined her up on the table and danced.
It was fun at first. But then I started to feel queasy. Open. Not good. I puked everywhere. Literally on three different people’s heads. It was mortifying. I quickly jumped off the table and ran out of the house. I couldn’t take it anymore. I ran the rest of the way to my car, but ended up puking again on the short way there. I quickly unlocked the car and jumped in. I locked it and turned it on. I put on the AC and let it blow on my face for a few minutes. After that, I felt better and decided to go home. I had only had one drink. I would be fine. People only crash in the movies. So after I convinced myself that I just couldn’t go back in and ask for a ride home, it was just too embarrassing, I decided to drive myself home.
I look to my left, nothing. I look to my right, nothing. I walk forward and SCREECH. SLAM. SMASH.
Open. Close. Open. Close. Open. I am able to keep my eyes open for a few seconds, enough to capture my surroundings. Where am I? Close.
Open. I slowly wake up, and this time I can stay awake for a few minutes. I try to scream “HELP!” but end up letting out the tiniest whisper. I try and pull my head up, but fail. My neck is heavy, and I don’t have enough strength to raise it. I try and raise my arm, but it too can’t move. A person in a white lab coat, who I realize is a doctor, comes over to me and smiles. He also seems to say something, but I can’t hear a thing he says. I furrow my eyebrows, and a skeptical look appears across my face. He then realizes something and puts something in what I think is my ear. I can’t feel anything. And then I hear it.
Beep beep beep.
A steady beeping sound is coming from a machine across the room. I’ve heard that somewhere before. What’s it called? Oh right, a hospital.
He then says, “Welcome back, Samantha. You are currently at Mount Sinai Hospital in treatment for two broken ribs, temporary hearing loss, a concussion, and a broken arm. You are currently on morphine to deal with your severe injuries. Do you know how you got here?”
I quietly whisper, “No.”
He says, “You were in a major car accident. You drove on a red light, and there was a girl crossing. You swerved off the road to avoid hitting her and went straight into a lamppost. Your mother is on her way. Is there anyone else you would like me to call?”
I shake my head ever so slightly, but he sees it and finishes telling me about my injuries. I heard most of it, but after two minutes or so my eyelids start to feel droopy.
I whisper, “Sorry.”
Open. A nurse says I have visitors. My mom and dad enter the room and urgently rush to my bedside. Close. Open.
I smile weakly and say, “Hi.”
They tell me that my siblings are outside waiting for their turn to come in, since they didn’t want to overwhelm me. My mom starts crying, and my dad puts his arm around her to provide her comfort. I raise my left hand, the one without the gigantic cast, and gesture for her to come closer.
She leans in, and I whisper, “I’m fine. Don’t worry.”
“She’s awake!” says my sister, Sara.
I smile weakly and greet all of them — granted of course I whisper a greeting to them — but it’s the thought that counts. I can see their mouths smiling, but I can see their eyes have this pitiful look in them, like they feel bad for me. But I ignore that look since it just makes the situation even more depressing than it already is. They sense a bit of a hostile vibe, and so they tell me they brought me something to make me feel comfortable. Jeremy, my youngest brother who still happens to be in diapers, shows me my baby blanket. I smile. It’s the blanket I’ve had since I was three years old. I’ve never spent a night without it. He gives it to Sara, who gently spreads it across my legs. I can’t keep my eyes open much longer, so I take the last bit of energy I have and whisper “Thank you” with a weak smile to go along with it. Close.
Open. Today is the day! I would finally be let out of the hospital.
My mom asks me, “How are you doing, honey? Do you feel okay? Do you need some food or water? Do you want me to tell any of your friends that you’re getting out today? Do you need anything? Anything at all?”
I smile and shake my head slowly. I walk through the automatic glass doors as if they’re the gates to heaven. Even if I’ll be on bed rest for a while, at least I won’t have to eat the gross hospital food. And even better, it will smell like home and not like a hospital. I’m in desperate need of a change in scene. I breathe in the fresh air, but my rib shifts and “OW!” It hurts with every deep breath. I forgot I was supposed to take shortened breaths. Okay, I officially hate ribs. I start to feel a little woozy. I sway a little bit to the right and then a little bit to the left. Close.
Open. Okay, maybe tomorrow will be the day. I guess pain meds are necessary, especially since I fainted from the pain. Ugh, why does God hate me so much?!
“Ow. DOCTOR, I’M READY FOR MY DRUGS!” I call out, praying that the pain would just go away any second now, and I could just walk out the door and breathe in some fresh air without the pain and burden of having two broken ribs.
Right there and then, right as the five different pain pills are going down my throat, I decide to never go to a party again. And then I decide to swear off all alcohol. Close.