Shaken But Not Stirred: Chapter One

Hospital Hallway

An explosion. It was like an explosion. But not the glitzy, glamorous kind, like you see in the movies. Full of bright sparks and blinding light.  No. This one was small, silent, subtle. But I could feel it as soon as her limp body hit the floor and those soft hazel eyes gave me a blank, glassy stare. BOOM. It shook me from the inside out, rattling my bones, dismantling my core. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t speak. All I could do was wait. Wait until my lungs expanded and allowed oxygen back into my system, wait until feeling returned to every nerve in my body, wait until the mass of muscle inside my skull began to process everything again. Some call it shock. All I know is that there was a deep and powerful eruption from within me, and its debris sliced and seared my flesh, causing all my senses to shut down. The only thing I was aware of was the deafening, yet somehow soothing silence that filled the house, spreading to each and every room like the plague.  I don’t even remember picking up the receiver and calling them, but I must have, because it wasn’t long until I heard them outside my door, banging and wailing. God, that incessant wailing. I just wanted them to go away. I just wanted it all to go away. Everything was just too loud, too disarming, too surreal.

Soon our solid oak door came crashing down, and hundreds, truly thousands of bodies covered in blue uniforms filled the empty space surrounding me, pushing out the silence.  Numerous limbs prodded her motionless body, and before I could utter a single word, she was airborne, and headed to a place unknown. I wanted to tell them to leave, to shout and scream and yell that their help wasn’t needed, to just go and keep the entire house in that empty, comforting quiet.  But my voice didn’t seem to work anymore, and all I could really muster were strange groaning sounds.  Nothing felt real, nothing made sense. I remember them shaking me, asking me questions, shining light into my eyes. But I was completely gone; my mind had disintegrated and abandoned me.

As soon as I stepped through it doors, the sharp, sterile whiteness of the hospital seemed to stab my very soul, and its unsettling odor of sickness and death made me feel weak and dizzy. Dad came rushing in about an hour after she’d disappeared behind the swinging white doors, his face etched with worry. He too assaulted me with questions, none of which I could properly answer. But he didn’t really want a response, just felt like he had to ask; felt like he had to fill up the pregnant silence with words, all in a vain attempt to distract us both from the present, from the severe apprehension that had gripped us both, and held us firmly in its grasp. My stomach was in knots, twisting and turning in every direction. I kept my eyes on the floor, concentrating on the blue and white patterns that stretched endlessly before me, trying to imagine how it would all be once it was over. But my brain was still on vacation, and all I could truly concentrate on was the continuous thumping of my heart, ringing fiercely in my ears.

Days, years, centuries later the doctor trudged in, his deep black hair tousled and his eyes lined with fatigue. The sleeves of his blue scrubs were rolled up to his elbows, revealing a well-maintained tan. He was young, new probably; it was apparent from the way his legs trembled as soon as his eyes caught sight of us. My eyes slowly left the structured blue and white squares and looked into the azure orbs that accented his face, and I knew then, that my life would never be the same.

“She’s gone,” he said, his words hanging above us like a dark rain cloud before a tumultuous storm. The entire world seemed to shrivel up and disappear within that single moment. The doctor continued to speak, but his words fell on deaf ears, as my heart ceased its rhythmic thumping.  Something had been torn savagely and irrevocably from my life, with such inconceivable suddenness that I believed that I would never be whole again. Somehow I had known all along that the fairytale ending I had concocted would never come true; but having this hidden truth vocalized and brought into the light was a different matter altogether.  My mind struggled to understand, grasping at fleeting straws. Everything began to blur together, creating a muddled ocean of whites, blues, and grays. Immense guilt and inconsolable sadness engulfed me, and I closed my eyes in hopes of finding a far happier plateau.  The rain cloud had burst, and was pouring in torrents.

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