The road was above me. Small figments of glass were scattered on the blacktop. I could smell the gasoline fumes as the liquid poured from the car, on to the pavement. I looked around at the world around me; the sky was streaked with purple and bright pink as the sun fell below the horizon. In every direct, there were groups of people talking quietly amongst themselves, wondering about our wellbeing.
In the distance I heard approaching sirens. The police and the fire department were on their way. I couldn’t move. My friend, the man behind the steering wheel of the car, wasn’t moving; he was slumped over the steering wheel, blood running in streams down the side of his face. I tried to call his name, but my voice escaped me.
The sirens were close.
The seat belt was tight around my waist and chest, holding me tightly into the seat, protected from all harm.
“Are you okay?” a man continued to ask. I couldn’t answer. I looked around me, people were standing in a large circle around the street, tears and concern masked their faces.
What had happened?
The sirens were close. The police car had pulled to the side of the car. An officer hopped out of the car, heading toward me.
I couldn’t move, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t move a muscle. I looked back at my friend, slumped over the steering wheel. Was he dead? Is he all right?
With a little effort from the fire department, the police officer managed me out of the entrapment of the safety harness. I couldn’t feel my body, I was numb. I was placed on a stretcher and harnessed, (so that I could not move) and I was rushed to the ambulance.
What had happened?
I looked back at the car, my friend’s car, the friend who was still trapped in the front seat, slumped over the steering wheel. I tried to warn them, to tell them that there was another life at stake, but I couldn’t speak.
The car was badly damaged. The metal that was once formed in the shape of a car, is now dented and balled up into a mess of metal, that could never been used again to make a car.
A tear came to my eye, but I couldn’t shed it. My friend was dead.
I closed my eyes, where I saw my dead friend sitting in the front seat of the car, blood draining from the top of his head. Everything went black.
I came to. I was being wheeled through the bright halls of the hospital on a long stretcher, being pushed by numerous men and women of medicine. The large florescent light over head bothered my eyes. I was being fed air through a tube, it looped around my ears, across my cheeks and the ends were in my nose. I tried to move. First, my hands, then my arms, I couldn’t move. It hurt too much.
I heard footsteps; the footsteps of my family and friends. My mom sat in the benches, her head buried in her hands. I couldn’t see it, but I knew she was crying. My younger sister stood next to her, her hand on our mother’s shoulder.
In the distance I heard the voice of my friend, “Hang on, Homey.” I didn’t see him, but I could imagine his face; it was disfigured, twisted in worry and concern. His hands were placed on his head, fingers intertwined.
From a nearby hallway, a man with white lab coat came to my side, “What’s his status?” He asked.
“Car accident, he’s in pretty bad shape,” one of the nurses told him. They continued to wheel me further through the large, white hallways. More medical jargon shot from the doctor to the nurse, jargon that I couldn’t understand. I just hoped they could help me.
All my life I was dragged to church, even when I didn’t want to go, my Grandmother made me. Every Sunday I sat through the sermons, hardly listening to a word that was spoken. Sitting in the church benches, I would watch my grandmother singing and dancing to the choir. [And when she prayed, so much love and compassion for her words, how is this?] How does she love these ideas so much? What does she see in this religion that I don’t see?
I wondered this for years. After a while, I thought I would never get an answer, it was just something that I would have to live with and accept. It’s not like I looked down at her or anyone else for their love for their religion, I just couldn’t see what they saw. I can’t feel what they felt.
“Every person must find their own path to God,” my grandmother would tell me. “Don’t worry, you’ll find your path.”
“He’s not going to make it.” I heard the doctor say to the nurse, who continued to fight and struggle for my survival.
Would I make it?
I thought of my grandmother, the woman who always told me to pray and put my problems in God’s hands. [I never seemed to do that], I always took my problems into my own hands.
Praying, I never did that, either. I heard my grandmother pray numerous times. I thought of all the prayers I’ve heard over the years. What was the method to these words they spoke to God?
~I looked up at the ceiling, watching the doctors and nurses continue their efforts of saving a life; a life that, according to them, was just the life of a dumb teenager. Why did they care about me? Why was I so important to them? I am not. I am nothing to them, just a person.
I closed my eye, turning a brightly lit operating room into my own dark, safe sanctuary. God, I know I never spoke to you, but I need to talk to you. Now, I’ve never been the best person. I’ve stolen things that hadn’t belonged to me. I’ve been mean to friends and family for no reason, except for the pleasure of it. I know there’s no reason for you to keep me alive, but I pray that you do, please.
[I paused. Mind clouded of new thoughts.] My heart filled with new feeling that I’ve never felt before.
I ask that you give me another chance, a chance to change my life for the better; a chance to right all of the wrongs that I have committed over the years.
~The nurses and doctors continued to hover over me; I remained stretched over the operating table. Once of the nurses looked into my eyes, I looked into hers; so beautiful, so gentle. She was an angel, my angel.
“We’re going to get you out of here; you’re going to be all right.” She told me through her facial mask.
God, please allow me to get up from this table. I promise to change, if you just let me see tomorrow, I will never be the same again.
The room was dark. Small streaks of light came through the blinds, illuminating the room in dim white light. I heard the rustling of the door knob as the slowly opened. As the door open further, I felt a gust of fresh air flow passed me, in inhaled the air, filling my lungs.
The light rap of the figure’s every step echoed through the silent room as he slowly walked toward me. Even though I hadn’t seen his face, I knew that his face was twisted and disfigured as he looked at me lying in the bed.
“Hey, man,” he said, nudging my knee, which moved slightly then moved into its original position. “How’s it going? You look good.” Hearing his voice, I could see that he was trying to hide his emotions. In my mind’s eye, I could see him sitting in the chair that sat next to my bed, his face formed into a mask of despair. His eyes reddened by his tears.
“Man, I’m sorry, I never meant for this to happen. I never meant to hurt you. And I definitely didn’t want Robin to die.” His tears ran down his cheeks, he didn’t bother to wipe them free. “My brother,” he said under his breath, leaning forward. His hands were intertwined, positioned right below his chin.
“I knew it was wrong to smoke, but we did it anyway. I never should have let you and Robin drive home that night, but I didn’t even try to stop you. I let go. I let this happen….” I could hear the anger deep in his voice. I’m sorry; I mean you’re my boy, why would I want to hurt you? You have to believe that; I never….I love you.”
He bowed his head, burying his face in his palms. “God, let him live,” He said in a whisper. “Our journey isn’t finished; we still have much to learn. We still have much to accomplish.”
No, no, that’s not what you want to say. Say it.
“Lord, I ask that you don’t punish him for my mistake. I ask that you give him another chance, another life, give us the chance to see the world as we should; a world with you in it.”
I felt his gaze fall upon me. Through the small slits of the blinds, a beam of light flashed through the room. He lifted his eyes from me to see what it was; a car, turning a corner on to another street. I heard the legs of the chair scratch against the linoleum floor as it backed up. The rapping of his shoes echoed ass he walked toward the window, where he stopped. Looking out to the street through the broken blinds, he sighed.
“You know, I haven’t smoked yet. Not since…” he paused. He knew what he wanted to say, but saying it would bring awful memories, and he didn’t have the strength to relive the news of this accident. “Your grandmother is here.” I heard him turning back toward me. “I think she’ll be coming up in a minute. We’ve been praying constantly for you. She hopes for a quick recovery.”
He walked back toward, where he leaned to the side of my bed, grabbing my hand. Squeezing my hand, he bowed his head, a single tear streaked down his cheek, settling on the edge of his chin.
How could this happen? How could I live a life without believing in something? How do you know how to live your life if you don’t have a role model? How can you be positive when all you see is negative? I sat in the bed, unable to breath. My mind was spinning inside a sea of thought, clouding my vision and diluting my perception. I began to watch my life play before me like the slides of a slideshow. My fatherless childhood: my nights on the streets with my friends; the hours sitting in a church, ignoring the many sermons that were spoken.
The sermons, the one thing that the church did for me, the one thing I had to know how to reach the Lord, and I didn’t listen. I began to try to recall any fragment of any of the sermons that I heard. Nothing; all I could recall were minor notes that I remembered from the teachings, nothing concrete enough to help me.
Lord, I need you. I thought to myself. Looking back now I see that I could have changed some things. I could have been a better person, not hurting others for my own comfort. I should have followed my heart, instead of allowing my peers to push me into trouble.
The room was dark; the only light came from the outside world, projecting through the blinds. The room was silent, the kind of silence that you would only see in movies, in hopes to project fear into your veins. As I began to settle to the silence, I heard a sound. A doorknob, someone was coming in.
The door opened slowly, revealing an elderly woman I quickly recognized as my grandmother.
“Hi, there,” she said, not expecting to see me sitting up in the bed, facing her. “How are doing?” she asked as she continued into the room. She sat in the chair next to the bed.
“I’m fine.” I said, trying to hide the fear and distress in my voice. “I mean, I’ve seen better days, but I’m fine.”
“Well, it was a pretty serious accident,” She said in an angelic voice. “Let’s just thank God that everything worked out, no one was taken too early.”
I nodded in agreement.
“Hey, what’s wrong? You look you’ve got something on your mind?” she asked. She looked deep into my eyes. Grandma was always able to see what was hurting her children, no matter how hard I tried to hide it, she would see it.
“I don’t know, Granny,” I said, bowing my head in thought. “Since this accident I’ve been thinking a lot.”
“What’s on your mind, Baby?”
“God,” I said, lifting my head enough to look into her eyes.
With a concerned look on her face, she said, “Do you have any questions?”
I didn’t answer.
“Well, all my life I was taught about God and his story, so I thought that is what I believed in, but I always doubted it. I never really followed God. But with this accident, I feel like I’ve been given another chance, like God….” I looked down at the blanket draped across my lab. With my forefinger and my thumb, I began to pick at the seam of the blanket. “…Like God kept me alive to change, to grow, to grow in him.”
I looked up at my grandmother’s face; a smile grew across her face. She looked down the bible that lay on her lap. The cover was worn, the pages brittle from years of being handed by many hands. “Did I ever tell you about the day God saved me?”
She ran a finger over the lettering on the front cover. I saw the many years of memories in her eyes, as deep as the deepest ocean.
She leaned forward in her chair, “You know I grew up a long, long time ago.” She started most of her stories with this sentence. Every time I hear it, it brings back memories of every story she has told me. “Now, I always went to church, it was just what you did as a child at that time. But I too doubted the words they were telling me, just like you.” She pointed a finger toward me. I looked into her eyes, I thought of the many years they have seen and lived through. I knew then what she told was true. “I spent years trying to figure where I was meant to fit in, especially in my teenage years.” She placed her hands back on the cover of her bible.
“Then one day, when I was twenty I was given a choice. You see, when I was twenty I had be come pregnant. As we prepared for the baby to come, we began to fight. He knew that he had to provide for the child, but he was unwilling to try. He acted as if he wanted nothing to do with me or the child, saying that it wasn’t his….”
I looked into her eyes; they were filled with tears of sorrow and despair. All I wanted to do was wrap my arms around her, comforting her, but I knew that she would say she was fine.
“Well, when I was four months into my pregnancy, I had run into complications. Next thing I knew I was in the hospital, lying in the bed, doctors trying to learn what had happened.”
She looked down at her bible. A tear ran down her cheek.
“I sat in the empty room, looking through my teary eyes at the empty walls of the hospital room. The only thought in my mind was will my child be alright. So, I waited, waiting to hear what the doctors had to say. Next thing I knew I saw the doctors walking toward me in the distance. I surveyed their faces, I knew something was wrong.” She lifted a hand from her bible, wiping the tears free with her forefinger.
“When the doctor came into the room, he rested his hand on the edge of the bed. His eyes were sorrowful; he bowed his head, trying to find the words. When he finally spoke his voice broke. He told me that I had lost the baby.”
The words struck my heart like a knife to the heart. I couldn’t hold the emotion from flowing from my eyes. “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that.” I said, laying my hand on hers.
She hadn’t broken her rhythm, she just continued with the story. “After I had lost the child, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t understand it. I constantly asked how God could do this, how he could allow this.”
A tear streamed down my cheek. I didn’t wipe it free; I just looked at my hurt grandmother.
“It was then that I began to talk to my mother again. I needed answers and I felt she could give them to me. I told her of the miscarriage and what I was feeling.” She paused.
“What did she do?” I asked, unaware that I had said anything at all. My grandmother lifted her head, our eyes meet.
“She loved me.” She said with a smile. “She saw my pain, so she said nothing; she wrapped her arms around me, comforting me.” She paused. I knew she was remembering the love and beauty of her mother. “When she finally spoke, she told me that even though the child was only here for a short period of time, it made a profound effect on everything around it….”She paused, trying to find the right words.
Wiping a tear from her eye, she said, “….she had told me that God planned my life, every minor detail. I thought I’d never be happy again, but five years later I became pregnant again. Next thing I know I was laying in the hospital bed, my new-born daughter in my hands. I can remember it like it was yesterday, my mother sat by my side and when I looked into your mother’s eyes I saw God’s grace. It was then that I learned that when I was pregnant the first time I wasn’t ready to be a mother. God knew this, but he put the child in my life to bring me closer to him.” She looked at the bible laying on her lap, a tear of joy streamed down her cheek.” She lifted her head, looking into my eyes.
“That’s a great story. I’m sorry you had to go through that.” I said, seeing the memories that swirled in her mind.
“Don’t be, I’m not. Like I said, God put these moments in my life to bring me to him, to his grace.” She stood to her feet, leaned over kissing my forehead. “I love you.”
“I love you.”
She turned and slowly headed for the door.
“Grandma,” I said in a low whisper. She turned toward me.
“How will I know God’s love?” I asked, looking up from the blanket, no longer feeling ashamed of my feelings.
With her free hand (her purse hung from the grips of her other hand) she pointed to my chest. I looked down at my shirt, where her finger pointed. “My heart,” I asked, looking at her.
She smiled. “Listen to it.”
She walked toward the door and left me to my thoughts. I lifted my head to see the door latch into the frame. My hand clinched the fabric of my shirt that guarded my heart.
Anthony K. Giesick
I grew up loving stories and quickly found myself loving writing poetry, stories, songs! Here is a sample of what Beautiful Feet Writings is all about!.