Dr. Marshall looked at the heart monitor which had slowed to what sounded like half the normal amount of beats. When another alarm went off on a machine to the right he bent down on his knees and jabbed some tools up into my stomach.
I just laid there. Not moving a muscle. How could all that not hurt? Why wasn’t I moving? There was no flinching. No wincing. No response at all. I watched with morbid curiosity as the doctor worked, and after a few minutes he said that he had stopped the bleeding for now, but they needed to get me to surgery immediately.
I looked up and down my body. I was beaten up so bad that I hardly recognized myself. “Am I… am I going to …” I couldn’t say the words.
“That is up to you baby girl.” Grammy said with a sadness in her tone. “You could give up and join your friends, or you can fight. I won’t lie to you, it doesn’t look like it will be an easy fight and if you do chose to stay, there is going to be a lot of pain, both physically and in your heart. I mean a LOT of pain.”
“Wouldn’t it just be easier to join you and my friends?”
She laughed at that. “In some ways, yes.” Then she took my hand and made me face her. “There are things to fight for though.”
When I didn’t answer she continued with concern in every part of her body. “There are things to fight for aren’t there sweety?”
Was there? There was a huge lump in my throat as I turned back to the table to look at myself. Then when I did speak, the words came out much harsher than I had ever spoken to my Grammy before. “Like what? All my closest friends are dead, my boyfriend is dead, and look at me Grammy. I’m a mess. Even the doctor doesn’t look like I’m going to make it.”
No sooner were those words out of my lips did that very same doctor, put his hand on mine, face my beaten, bloody face, shake his head and say, “Fight girl. You have to fight. I can’t do this on my own. There is only so much I can do to put you back together. I’ll do my best, but you have to want to come back.”
“Doesn’t look like he’s given up on you yet.” Grammy said poking me with her elbow.
“Guess not.” I said a bit shocked and feeling a little sheepish.
“Your friends may have died in the crash, but there are things to fight for. Look through that window over there.” She said pointing to the window at the far side of the room.
I walked over to where she was pointing and peered through the window. There, in a chair, in a very small waiting room, was my Mom and Dad. Dad had a tear running down his cheek and Mom’s eyes were red and puffy. She looked like she had cried so much that she was out of tears. Next to her was Hunter’s Mom, holding my Mom’s hand in support.
“Mrs. Haywood? What is she doing here?” I said turning to Grammy.
“As soon as she heard about the crash, obviously she rushed to the hospital. Your parents stood with her as the doctors told her that Hunter died on impact. They held and comforted her as she cried, and she has been with your parents since.”
I don’t know how or why I asked. I’m not really sure I wanted to know, but I felt a lump in my throat and my stomach drop to my feet as I asked her, “Hunter. He died on impact? How?”
“A piece of metal pierced his chest and heart.” She squeezed my hand and I could only nod. At least he went quickly and didn’t have any pain.
I looked back through the window and looked at my parents and Mrs. Haywood. Mrs. Haywood had always been so nice to me. It was her rule that if Hunter was with me, he could do whatever he wanted. I smiled at some of the memories flashing through my head. I love him for his generosity, his kindness and his consideration of others. She is the one who instilled all those values in him. That is reason her son is … was so loving. Here she was. She just lost her son, and what is she doing? Comforting the parents of his girlfriend. I shook my head not quiet believing it.
I took a deep breath and sighed.
“Your Mom and Dad need you too.” Grammy said softly. I wondered if she saw her son’s pain if I died, or mine for everyone I lost.
She didn’t say a word as I looked back from my parents and Mrs. Haywood and back to my body over and over again.
“I don’t know what to do Grammy.”
“This is only a decision you can make sweety.”
“I’m scared.” I said wringing my hands in my shirt after a few moments.
“Dying. Not Dying. The pain of recovery. The pain that it would cause my parents if I decided not to fight. The unknown, on either side. Death or Life.” I said.
“How do I make this decision?” I said and Grammy just came over and wrapped her arms around me. I inhaled her scent again and let it warm me. It made every cold piece of me warm like hot cocoa spreading over your stomach on a cold morning. God how I’ve missed her.
If I don’t go back to my body, I could stay with her. I could stay with Hunter and Halie and everyone else I’ve ever loved and lost.
If I do go back to my body, I won’t have any of them, but I’ll have my parents.
“Grammy, can I ask you something?”
“What was it like when you died?”
She sighed and her eyes turned sad. “Painful for me. It’s complicated. … My body died, but my soul didn’t want to leave your grandfather.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I can’t explain it sweetheart. Like I said, it’s very complicated. Not everyone’s experiences are the same. Some souls move right on without any pain or confusion, some stay around because they have unfinished business, or they try to contact someone to get a message through. Then there are religion ties. There are so many paths a soul can take.”
After a moment longer she sighed, “I want to tell you that it will be painless and you would join your friends and I, but I can’t do that. There maybe things here that you have to finish before your soul can move on and there is no guarantee that your soul will end up in the same place as ours, or that everyone will be in one place. I don’t even know if your friends souls have moved to where mine stays.” She bit her lip like she had already said too much. “Chloe honey, you have to make the decision to fight, or to … move on.”
The more I thought on it, the more unsure I was of either decision. There were a million images flashing before my eyes like a disjointed movie. The theme was all the same though. I was imagining what everyone would say if I gave up and didn’t continue to live my life. There was one image though that ultimately did make up my mind.
Hunter and Halie were standing on the beach. When I tried to walk up to them they crossed their arms and looked at me with eyebrows raised, lips pursed and cocked to one side. They both had and unspoken guilt trip written all over their faces. I could practically hear Halie say, “Seriously? No. Get your butt back in that body and be the kick ass bitch you are.”
“Ok. I’ll fight.” I said sighing, but after a moment I asked, “So Grammy? Ummm, how do I … get back into my body?”
“When the time comes, you will be able to. You’re such a strong soul. They will find you.” She said, then kissed me on the forehead and vanished.
“I love you Grammy and Thank you.” I said to the air.
I sat down in the chair under the window and as I brought my knees up to my chest, wrapping my arms around them, I watched the doctors start the first of 6 surgeries to stop the internal bleeding, the punctured lung and the swelling in my brain.
Grammy was right about one thing. There was going to PAIN, and a lot of it.
( Note: This will probably be the last part that I will be posting here on the blog-o-sphere. The story has taken on a life of it’s own and I am continuing on with it. My hope is to finish it into something that can be published later. This seemed like a good place to stop what is posted for the internets to see as it is where she stops being who she was in the past, and starts her life “after the accident”. The remainder of the story, will be slightly different, but there are clues as to what the story has grown into within these three parts ( chapters ). I will keep you updated as it continues. Happy Reading! )