“You’re just paranoid” Mary Rose snipped. Mary Rose and I are best friends and have been since birth because we go to the same church. She gets on my nerves sometimes though. Like today for example. After school me, Mary Rose, and my other friend Anna sit by the lockers and wait to be picked up by our parents.
Today, Mary Rose leaned over and whispered something to Anna. They both laugh. I wonder if they are talking about me.
They seem really close lately. I wonder if they could even be best friends. Am I being replaced? I feet my palms getting sweaty.
“What did you say,” I ask Mary Rose.
“Nothing you need to know” she replies.
“Please tell me”
“Mary Rose you’re freaking me out”
This continues for a while. Anna looked uncomfortable and sad the whole time. Finally, Anna’s parents came and she bids us farewell. Mary Rose was supposed to come over and I told her I didn’t even want her to come over because she is so immature.
She acted like she didn’t care so I gave in and said: “fine you can come over.
We both got in my mom, Angie’s, car and I explained the situation to her. Mary Rose said I didn’t have any right to know everything she said. I told her, “if you have something to tell Anna that I couldn’t know, tell her when I’m not around.
“Whatever.” Why can’t Mary Rose admit that I am right? I know I am.
The car was silent as we pulled out of my school’s parking lot. There is a large intersection right out of the school and we pulled into a long line of cars stopped at a red light. I didn’t like sitting here silently so I threw one last punch in order to make sure I come out on top.
“You clearly don’t want to be friends anymore so I guess I need to invite Anna over to hang out instead of you”
The light turned green and the line of cars moves forward.
“Phoebe!” Angie exclaimed.
The dashboard time changes from 3:17 to 3:18.
“I never even liked you!” Mary Rose yelled
We pulled out into the intersection filled with cars.
I see a big blue van driving straight toward us and Angie screams and I hear a bang and everything goes black.
When I opened my eyes I am looking at a baby. The baby is swaddled in a blanket and has big blue eyes. I look around and the baby is being held by my mom and my dad is standing beside her. They both have so much love in their faces it looks fake. I blink and I see a toddler waddling across a wood floor in a yellow jumpsuit toward my mom and dad. They are cheering and clapping.
I turn around and see my dad driving a girl to school. She looks like me. Wait, wait, is this ME? This is my life. This girl is wearing my special first day of school outfit. It is a sparkly pink shirt and yellow leggings. That was the first day of third grade.
I blink to hold back tears and now it is my first day of high school. I am self-conscious in my floral top. I remember that. It had a small tear in the back that I had to sew minutes before leaving for school. I laugh and now I am in a white space. I look around and the white space goes on forever.
I look down and I am wearing a beautiful orange dress. The trail is long and goes on for at least 6 feet. I clap with happiness and the dress turns black and slim. The dress clings tight to my body and highlights my curves. I blink and realize I am fading.
The dress is getting more and more transparent. I bend down to inspect the dress and realize there is no floor. I am standing on white air. The white is becoming black though. My vision is going too. I try to scream but nothing comes out and then I am back on earth.
PAIN. All I can feel is this awful pain. Blinding like a knife and sharp like a pen. I crack open my eyes and see Mary Rose. She is red and she is looking at me. I look around and see the car is on its side. I am hanging from my seat belt and Mary Rose is on the lower side.
Her head looks like it was bashed on the road. Her eyes are open but unfocused. Her eyes are open, right? I mean that is a good sign, right? She’s okay. She’s fine. I breathe a sigh of relief. My mom isn’t in the car though. Where is my mom? Once I find my mom everything will be okay. Something, something is missing. Ha! I put my finger on what’s wrong. There is no sound.
No sound of my breath or sirens or anything. I do feel the car moving through. It turns and falls back onto its original position. Mary Rose collapses in a heap in her seat. She’s just unconscious. I refuse to believe anything but that. I turn my neck and see lights flashing and men in neon suits approaching.
These are the policemen and nurses come to help me! Everything will be okay now because this is just a dream. And dreams are scary but you wake up. And when you wake up you recover and everything is fine and normal and okay. The men open my door and I try to make noise but nothing come out.
The men are talking and I can’t hear a word they say. Are they mouthing words? Why is everything so quiet? I want to scream but I can’t. I am just getting sleepier and sleepier until I am gone.
A sharp pain jabs me in the arm. I flinch and crack my eyes open. I see I am in a hospital waiting room lining in a gurney with scratchy sheets. The bright lights blind me until a smiling nurse looks down on me, blocking the lights. She mouths something but I hear nothing.
I am quite confused. Is she trying to tease me? The nurse frowns and walks out of my room. I glance around to see my surroundings. I am an inpatient hospital room. I am connected to about a million monitors. I see one that I immediately recognize as a heart rate monitor by the jagged line racing up and down.
I see a saline drip connected to my IV. I also see a whiteboard with Get Well Soon! written in a cheery font. It even has a smiley face at the end. This makes me mad instantly. Whatever happened back there I won’t be well soon. Where is my mom? The thought hits me like a train and I panic.
Where is she and Mary Rose? Wasn’t Mary Rose unconscious? Or sick, I can’t remember. My door opens and in walks a crowd of people. The nurse, a doctor, my dad, and other important looking people in lab coats. My eyes instantly tear up when I see my dad. He runs to me but has a hard time really touching me due to how covered up I am in wires and monitors. He is sobbing but still, no sound.
The doctor holds up a sign that says, “Phoebe, we believe you have gone deaf due to the trauma your ear canals went through in the crash. We are going to run some more tests when you are more stable. Your mom is fine and your sister is here to see you. We are going to teach you to sign language so you will be able to communicate like normal.”
I looked around the room and everyone was just looking at me. But they weren’t looking at me because this doesn’t happen to normal people like me. This happens to Youtubers and Instagrammers and famous people. This doesn’t happen to a girl from Salem, Virginia. I mean I have friends at school will they even be able to talk to me? My own family won’t even be able to talk to me.
I want to be an orthodontist when I am older, can a deaf girl do that? Is my life over? I try to make a sound but I don’t even know if I have made a sound because I can not hear and will I ever be able to hear again? My breath speeds up and I want to scream and the doctor and nurses rush towards me. I see their lips moving and will I ever hear those words again? My dad is waving his arms at me and I know they want me to calm down but I can’t and the room spins and I black out.
A soft, warm hand comforts me. My eyes slowly open and I see my beloved sister, Elena, holding my hand. She notices I am awake and says something, then pauses and looks embarrassed. So this is how it is going to be from now. Awkward breaks in conversation with my friends.
Meeting new people and not knowing how to communicate. I see my heart monitor start to become more jagged but then Elena makes her hands clasp in a prayer symbol and then holds a finger to her lips. Please be quiet? I haven’t said anything! She makes pleading eyes at me. I try to take deep breaths and not to think about where I am or the predicament I am in.
Elena looks around and gets out of the chair next to my bed. She goes over to the whiteboard and erases the Get Well Soon message. Can she read my mind? Then I realize she is writing something. She has written, “how are you feeling?” I want to scream. How am I to answer this? I look down at the blanket covering me. I haven’t actually seen what damage has been done to my body.
Maybe Elena understands my stare because she comes over to take off the blanket. What she reveals is 2 legs shrouded in casting material. 2 broken legs? How long will that take to heal? When can I see my friends again? When can I see Mary Rose? Mary Rose! Where is she? I look at Elena and try to communicate with my eyes. She just looks straight back and shrugs her shoulders.
I would laugh if I could. This is the relationship my sister and I have always had, even when we could speak. She has never understood me. She continues to stand there, looking uncomfortable. A nurse walks in and smiles. She says something to Elena and she nods and leaves the room. I am fuming.
I need to know what is going on! I can not continue in this way. The nurse comes over and starts checking my vitals. She smiles at me the whole time and writes things on her clipboard. I am distracted by the “how are you feeling?” phrase on the whiteboard. How am I feeling? Well, I want to know what happened to my mom.
I want to see Mary Rose. I am scared my friends will never talk to me again. The nurse puts down her clipboard and goes over to the whiteboard. Surprisingly, she takes it right off the wall and writes something on it. She brings it over and sets it on my lap. I look at her name tag. Skylar. I look her in the eyes and give a small nod. She gives me a smile back. I read the note she was written beside Elena’s.
You were making small noises as I took your vitals. I am not some hearing specialist, but I think you are trying to speak. Have any burning questions to ask me?” Do I ever. I write the words that were just in my brain. What happened to my mom? Where is Mary Rose? When can I start to talk again?
The nurse just stands there, looking at what I have written. I was beginning to like this nurse, but apparently, no one can actually get anything done in this hospital! I look up because Elena has come in with my dad. He walks over and gives me a hug.
I would hug him back except that my left arm has an IV in it and my right is sore from all that writing! Well, it wasn’t that much writing but I am weak. Very weak. And tired. My dad and the nurse are talking and gesturing to the whiteboard on my lap. The nurse leaves eventually and my dad sits down. He gives me the one-minute hand signal and leans back in his chair.
He runs his hands through his hair and takes a long breath. I can tell me being like this has him stressed to the max. And who knows what state mom is in? The doctor walks in and my dad stands to greet him. They shake hands and the doctor says something to my dad. My dad nods and looks at me.
The doctor takes my whiteboard and writes something. Isn’t doctors handwriting unreadable? I think I saw that on Pinterest or was it Instagram. He lays the whiteboard back on my lap. I read it, almost afraid of what I would read. The first thing I noticed was that only the first question was answered.
Your mom is going to be okay. She made it out with only a few scrapes and bruises and an awful concussion. She is in a room on another floor for geriatric patients.” I feel a huge weight being lifted off my chest. I feel my eyes getting kinda watery and I’m not crying I’m just happy.
As much as I want to jump up and down, I can’t let them distract me. I’m already so tired I can barely keep my head straight. I point to the second question. Where is Mary Rose? When I see everyone hesitate, I am immediately suspicious. The doctor picks up the whiteboard but is in no hurry to write anything. Elena won’t meet my eyes, nor will dad. An alligator grows in my stomach and I try to make eye contact with anyone in the room.
The doctor slowly writes something down. He puts the whiteboard down on my lap. I wonder if anyone in the room can hear my heartbeat. All of a sudden I don’t want to hear what he wrote. I can’t take any more bad news. But my eyes betray me and I look down at the whiteboard.
When the car flipped, Mary Rose wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. She was thrown around the car and her head was hit against the pavement. She didn’t make it out of the crash.” I look up and make eye contact with the doctor. Why would he lie to me? Skylar walks back in and I want to tell her, I want to tell her that everyone is lying to me. Elena and Dad look at me. Why are they looking at me? Mary Rose, oh Mary Rose.
Why weren’t you wearing your seatbelt? You are so dumb, do you ever think of anyone but yourself? I feel myself breathing heavy and this isn’t true it can’t be it never will be. Mary Rose and I have our school musical coming up we were, we are, going to try out together, be eels together. Mary Rose! No matter what my brain screams my heart knows it to be true. I feel my body start to break and it hurts.
Every cell is being ripped out and tossed in different directions. No no NO. I make eye contact with everyone in the room and give my best RBF. I hate them. I hate them all. Why would they lie to me after all I have been through? How could my dad do this? I look calmly at the whiteboard and point to my last question. “When can I start to talk again?” I can’t wait to cuss out this doctor. Could Mary Rose really be gone? No, no, why does this keep coming into my mind? Mary Rose, who did that one easter egg hunt with me at the church when we were 5 years old.
Mary Rose who when into the youth group to get my shoes when I was too embarrassed to get them from myself. Mary Rose who let me copy her English more times then I said thank you. Mary Rose, who never even liked me. Did she really mean that? Mary Rose, my best friend, her last words to me were “I never liked you.
She meant the world to me. I know one time Anna told me Mary Rose talked about me all the time but what if she was lying? I start to cry but I don’t know why because Mary Rose isn’t dead. And that’s final. So yea. I look up at the doctor and he is writing on the whiteboard. He sets it back on my lap. I don’t look at what he has written. I am too afraid. What if it is more bad news? I can’t handle any more of that.
BUT< it’s not that much bad news because ? of it is a lie. I mean it is a lie. How many times do you have to say something is a lie before it becomes a lie. I remember someone told me if you smile you’ll trick your brain into thinking you’re happy.
Does it work the other way around? But I am not sad, just frustrated. Not sad at all. Ever. I am a happy person I am fine. Totally fine. Then why do I keep having to tell myself over and over what I believe to be true but is it true? It isn’t true. I can’t go on.