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AZLEA! WAKE UP! For some reason, today something worked. My eyes actually opened. I couldn’t move the rest of my body or my neck. I could see some of my hospital room, but no one was there. Somehow it was more frightening to be able to see everything and not move than only seeing black and hearing sound. Suddenly, my body went into shock, and I started having a seizure. Doctors and nurses rushed in. And the world went back to black. “Hey Azlea, they said I should come talk to you, ‘cause I guess that’s what you’re supposed to do right before somebody—you know—stops existing,” my cousin Jonathan says. He’s only two years older than me, and he has been my big brother in place of Jordan for most of my life. We’ve grown up together, and the whole time I’ve known him, he has never been unsure of his words. I feel him take my limp hand in his. “This is so stupid,” He whispers to himself, “It’s not like you can hear me anyway, and even if you could, you can’t respond to me.” There is a long pause before he speaks again. “You’re like the younger sister I never had, Azlea, and you know I’ve never liked being an only child. You were always there for me and I was always there for you. I can’t lose you now. I’m about to go to college and I need a pen pal. I need somebody to watch my parents and me. I need you to keep me in line, Azlea. I feel like I need you for everything.” “Azlea? Can you hear me?” The whole time Jonathan is talking, I try and move one small part of my body. I almost stop listening to his words because of how hard I’m concentrating. And then, I succeed. My hand closes tighter around his. “Azlea? Can you hear me?” After that, everyone who comes in tries to get me to hold their hand. Sometimes it works, and other times it doesn’t. The doctors don’t think much of it, but my family sees it as a milestone. Unfortunately, the doctors are still keeping with the original timeline of one week. Today marks the end of that one week. “Please don’t do this, my baby is still alive,” I hear my mother say. “She’s in there still, just give her more time,” Heather says. “All of you are clouded by your emotions. You need to let her go. Azlea can’t continue to live like this. Stand back and let the nurses through please,” says the head doctor. “Giving her another 30 seconds doctor,” says a young nurse. “Please don’t. That’s my-” starts my father. The doctor interrupts him saying, “Don’t worry sir. If your daughter is still alive, she won’t need this machine anymore.” “15 seconds sir,” says the nurse. That’s when I start counting. 14. I have to wake up. 13.

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