“Will she ever wake up?” a figure uncurled from a huge lounge chair in the corner.
“I don’t know, she might eventually but for the time being we must wait,” the doc said with no emotion or concern.
No one really cares if she does or not. Everyone is just reeling in their paycheck after paycheck. I know I’m only seventeen but I know that as long as she stays immobilized and unconscious they all continue to get money. That doctor is just one of those people, but her family has paid him handsomely over the years for her care, so he wouldn’t say no to an easy mark like this.
“You don’t have to stay in here Daniel, I will sit with her if you want to go outside for a while,” the doc said as he begun to drag a chair towards her bed.
“BACK OFF! You don’t care about her. Get out!” I’m young but not weak. I will defend her.
“Okay, okay, and you are wrong Daniel, I do care.” He gazed at her once again before leaving the room.
The room was quiet now, leaving the only sound to be echoed down the hall as the doc slipped away. “He doesn’t care, not like I do.” I creep towards her as she lay softly breathing in pattern to the light breeze. Everyone says I’m foolish to give her too much hope; that I should be outside enjoying the life I have. “How can I enjoy it, if she is not here?”
The day continued into night, and continued into days. The household continued to bring food, change her sheets, dust the room, and snicker to themselves about when the she will depart.
No one truly cares for her; no one here wants her to survive, besides me. She is the reason my heart still beats; I wish I could make hers jumpstart.
Months passed and still no change, the doc has given up hope. He just wants a higher pay grade before he continues to, “waste his time” his words, on someone who might never awake from their comma. “I’m sorry son, but I think we should just call it; she hasn’t made change these last eight months, it’s cruel to leave her in this state.”
“You touch her and you will die. I know you are only here for the money, you don’t care for her. You just want to fill your pockets before she goes. NO ONE CARES! Leave us!” I lost it, as his hand reached for the plug. I remember lunging and squirming with the doc; I know my fists made contact with his jaw more than once. I remember several voices, limbs, and bodies; then all went black.
…8 years later…
My life changed after that day. I guess I made real damage on the doc’s face because he pressed charges. I don’t know how, but I was sent to jail for the night; I was seventeen and they thought I deserved it I guess, because I wouldn’t let her go. I was released eventually; I guess they worried that my revenge for blood would cause me to hunt down and murder the man that put me here. But what was the point, my reason for breathing was gone. Since she was denied the ability to breathe, why should I waste my breath on worthless scum?
After that day, I swore I would fight for people who couldn’t fight for themselves. Of course I was a teenager and faced various fears and horrors but I kept protecting the “littler guy”. Which caused me to land in prison occasionally, but I couldn’t stand to see people treating loved ones so harshly. You should care and protect them, because they might be taken from you.
After the last time in the tank I decided enough was enough; I couldn’t be in prison for another moment. No matter the actions of people in the world, I can’t experience the brutal, harsh, environment as jail again; no one had my back, no one protected me from others, no one cared enough to sacrifice themselves for me like I had done.
I moved upstate away from everyone. I didn’t care if I never saw a familiar face again. A hermit’s life is the best way of life. I got a small putter job at a large estate as a gardener, good money and peaceful work. I became one of the plants; something alive but just puttering around waiting to be done.
You know when you can feel someone watching you, but every time you turn there is no one; that is when you know you have been alone to long.
“What are you doing?” a voice said.
The voice startled me, and I jutted backwards and stepped in hole as I tumbled backwards. “Crap!” Looking up I stare into the eyes of a child, a small girl. “What are you doing sneaking up on people?”
“Sorry, I’ve been watching you, and I was just curious what you planned to do with the rose bush?”
The small face glowed with laughter and excitement. I haven’t seen a child smile in many years. “You shouldn’t sneak on people,” or stock people I mumbled low enough she wouldn’t hear. “What do you care what I’m doing?”
“No reason, you just moved it there, then there, then there, then…” she continued on and on pointing at the various spots I did indeed move it.
“I don’t know, it just isn’t thriving as it should be.”
A small giggle escaped her mouth, “It won’t unless you give it a chance.”
“What…” but the small figure ran up the driveway and waved good bye. “Strange…oh crap my ankle…”
It’s odd but I waited all morning for the small figure to return. I wanted to complain to her, about her being the cause for my ankle swelling. But she didn’t appear and there was no lingering feeling of being watched. Strange, her being the first person I have felt comfortable with since that day so long ago…
“What ya up to now?” a girlish squeal came from behind the tree.
At least this time I was clipping the branches of a different tree, “I’m just puttering along. My supervisor said to just do a little of this and a little of that…nothing too exciting. What are you up to?”
She popped out from the tree, skirted around the trunks, to my side, “I’m just out and about. I’m supposed to soak up as much sun and fresh air as I can before returning home, or at least that is what I’m told. Can I help?”
About to tell her no, or I work alone; however instead, I looked into her excited but longing face; I understood the feeling, “Sure, take the cut-off branches and throw them in the waste, but first go get some gloves.”
“Okay!” she scurried off to find some, then began to help me. It was nice to have help, but mostly the company was very new.
Not one peep of complaint came from her all morning, but I could see the strain on her face. I called her over to take a break and sat on the tailgate of my truck swigging back a coke enjoying the sweet summer air. “So do I get to know your name or what?” I asked her as she finished her last sip, “and also your age?”
“Gabriella and 9 ½, yours?”
“Daniel, and umm….blmfpf”
“Oh alright, 25.” And of course she giggled…
Again sitting in silence we just watched the leaves float through the air, and the birds soaring a hovering through the tall pines. “Should you be getting back home? Someone will be worried,” as I lifted her to the ground and closed the tailgate.
“Maybe, but I’ve never been missed. I just am…” a flicker of sadness trickled through her face, but disappeared as soon as it appeared.
“Do you want a lift? I’m driving that way anyways, I’m done for the day.”
“Sure. Your old body can’t take any more…” she roared with laughter.
“I’m not old, little missy, I am at my prime age; thank you very much.” Attempting to tickle her, but instead opening the passenger door.
She hopped up and yanked the door shut as well as she could. I sunk into my seat and we were off. Cruising down the road she stuck head out the window letting her flop of hair twist and fly about. To be young and carefree, I haven’t felt that way since I was her age. Her directions were not so much as directions as sudden go this way and that way, but we were driving for a while before she yelled, “Turn!”
Sharpest turn I have ever taken, “Little warning next time please.”
There on a small hill sat a small house. It looked familiar, like evoking a memory from a dream.
“Thank you mister, see you tomorrow,” she clambered out of the truck and started toward the house. I just watched her go, and then the front door opened…Her…