Maddie

"Madison, currently you're in the ICU - which stands for 'Intensive Care Unit.' The cause of your coma is unknown, but our best guess is that you hit your head extremely hard. Also, you're having symptoms of severe dehydration. That's why you have more tubes giving you the nutrients you need. You're malnourished, too. You've been here for three weeks now. Patients have been here a lot longer. You're lucky to be alive." I hear a doctor tell me.

Me? Lucky to be alive?

That's amazing.

Jennifer talked to me today. Her brothers did too.

"We've learned a lot about you. I just have to say, you're one hell of a girl. I mean, coming from Chicago? I don't know how anyone could have done it. If it were me, I would've died a long time ago." Ben says.

"Ben's right. Even I couldn't have made it. I wonder how you did it. When you wake up, you should tell us all about it." Blaine says.

Even their mother showed up.

"Hey Madison, I can't even begin to imagine what you've been through. I just want to say, we're here for you. Gary - their father - is at work but I'm sure he'll show up. We're going to stay here until you wake up." Karen says while squeezing my hand.

To be honest, Jennifer is the one who spends what feels like hours of time talking to me. It could be about random things. Like the weather.

"It's so nice outside. If you were awake, I'd take you to the beach."

The beach. That phrase floods memories back into my mind.

I remember feeling the warm, soft sand in between my toes. The summer sun shining upon my face. The breeze blowing against my hair.

I want to go back.

"You know, the doctor says you're getting better. You're more responsive now." Jen says.

I have been able to wiggle three fingers now.

"I'm so proud of you."

If I could smile, I would.

* * *

"It's been over three weeks. 24 days to be exact. I know you're able to wake up. If you made it all the way here on your own, you can do this." I hear Jennifer's words of encouragement.

Today I barely was able to smell the perfume she was wearing. It smelled really nice. She even kissed my hand.

She would rub my hair in soft strokes.

She's just so amazing, I don't know what I would do when she leaves. They all know that I'm a runaway from Illinois. They'll just turn me in when I'm better.

* * *

It's been 30 days and I'm still here. I have been making improvements, the doctors have told me.

I can wiggle a few fingers on each hand.

Hopefully, I'll be cured.

* * *

The doctors say that I'm slowly starting to respond more. It's a bit easier to grasp someone's hand and wiggle my fingers.

I can't wait to wake up and to see their faces.

* * *

I heard a conversation between Jennifer and her mother.

"Mom, I love Madison so much. I don't want her going to foster homes or even an orphanage. She needs a family. And we're able to provide that."

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