“Honey, we have to talk.” Whenever those words came out of my mother’s mouth, bad things were sure to follow. In this room, part of me questioned what could possibly go wrong anymore. “Come on in, mom. Let’s talk.” I responded, sighing and sitting up in the bed that had slowly become my home over the last few months.
“I talked to your doctors and baby…” She looked on the verge of tears, and suddenly I felt sick. Nauseous, I looked around the sterile room, full of smiling faces that betrayed the thought of actually staying in here before me. I wondered how many people came into this room before I had; how many faces this room had seen, marred with the same disfiguration as me. How many people may have been slightly comforted by the smiling nurses, making proclamations that thing wouldn’t hurt a bit.
I just wanted to leave. I was sick of this smell; sick of thinking I was going to get better. I was sick of putting on a happy face for those around me, and pretending that everything was going to be OK. The only thought that kept me going was Sam. My twin sister, who came in most days with her unruly blonde hair piled in a messy bun with one of my huge football shirts and shorts, with something spilled on the shirt. It was her comfort that gave me hope. And as she so often reminded me “Hope Brings Strength.”
“Lay on me mom. How much longer am I going to be in here for? A month? Two? A year? Will I ever get out, or will it be the same repeating endless pattern; getting better to get worse?” I asked her, my eyes full of anger. I know I had no right to be angry at her, but I was angry at everything right now, and she was the closest target.
“They can’t do any more surgery.”
The six words were like knives in my heart; piercing individually with each passing word. I felt my heart drop into my stomach, and no longer hid my emotions. With tears in my eyes, I looked up at the only real care-giver I had ever known, desperate for her to take back what she had said, or tell me I had heard it wrong. But as I glanced at her red-rimmed eyes, I knew I had heard right. I would never walk again.
The force hit me like a truck. I would never walk again. I would never again play football. Drive. Ski. Swim. Live. Breathe. I would never be able to chase my kids around the yard. I would never pick them up and twirl them around the room. I would never walk down the aisle. I would never walk up on stage to get my college degree. I wouldn’t be able to carry my wife. My girlfriend. If someone got hurt, I would be completely useless. I would never see Sam at eye level. I would never see anyone at eye level. I was a cripple. A useless deadweight, forever left in a wheelchair because of a stupid accident.
“Mom, leave.” I watched her face crumple, and her eyes water. “Brennan, please listen,”
“Leave, or I call security.” I knew I was being a jerk, but didn’t I deserve that right? I knew it. I knew not to believe in false hope, in avoidance of the truth. I deserve to wallow in silence after all I had been put through? Didn’t I set the right to be a jerk until I could come to terms with the life-altering way my life had just been changed?
Sighing, my mother got up and left made a motion towards leaving me, and I had to get last one sentence in. Because I couldn’t, when in so much pain, see the cause; see what could have been. I couldn’t bear the sight of someone born at the same time I was who got an opportunity to do everything I couldn’t. So, as my mother was reaching to close the door, I regarded her with one last sentence while glaring at the floor, angry at life.
“And make sure Sam doesn’t come to see me.”