Technically, this was the freewrite from last week, but it has taken us both a while to get this one written. For those of you who don’t know, Free-Write Fridays are when Jake and I pick a writing prompt to write a post. We don’t get to see what the other person has written until after we post, so any similarities are just proof that I am actually a figment of Jake’s imagination.
So this prompt was Jake’s personal challenge to me. “You are dying. How are you dying and what do you do?”
Jessa was driving home from the movies one winter night with her little sister Tara. It was snowing, and it was late. They didn’t see the semi until it was too late. Jessa died on impact. This is Tara’s story.
My head hurts. Who am I kidding? My everything hurts. I hear voices. My mom and dad! And someone else. I try to open my eyes but nothing happens. I focus on what the Someone Else is saying. Something about brain swelling, internal injuries, and more generally unpleasant stuff. He sounds like a doctor. I wonder who he is talking about. Mom is crying. Mom never cries. I try to focus more on what the doctor is saying but I’m getting tired. The voices fade away.
The voices are back! Or rather, one voice: my dad. I think he is sitting next to me. He sounds exhausted. I wonder again what’s going on. He’s telling be to be strong and to hold on. What is going on? I am more aware of my body now. I don’t hurt as much as before. I seem to be in some sort of hospital bed. There is a machine beeping steadily by my head. I think dad is holding my hand. I try to squeeze his hand to reassure him that I’m okay, but nothing happens. I’m starting to get scared now. Dad is talking again. “You’ll be okay. You have to be okay. God please don’t take both of my daughters.” My blood runs cold. Both. What happened to Jessa? Is she… No. She’s invincible. Nothing can be wrong with her. She’s my big sister. My best friend. We do everything together. She’s not dead. No. Both…
I try to remember that last time I saw Jessa. She had just come home for Christmas break. She is a freshman in college, so I don’t get to see her as often. We went to a movie the night she came home. I think… It was snowing… The world fades away again.
The voices are back, but softer now. The doctor is talking about time, about letting go, saying goodbye. I’m scared. I don’t want to go anywhere. Mom and Dad are crying. I don’t think they are ready to say goodbye either. I hold on. I try to be strong for them. For Jessa. Their voices fade away…
It’s late. I don’t know how I know, but I do. Mom is sitting next to my bed, holding my hand. I think she’s asleep. It seems like the voices come less often now. For the first time in what feels like forever, I don’t hurt at all. Mostly I’m just tired. Mom stirs. She says something. “I love you Sweetheart.” I want to say it back. I need to say it back. I need to tell her that I’m okay. That it will all be okay. I don’t hurt anymore. I don’t want her and dad to hurt. It’s time for me to let go, but I need to say goodbye. I focus all my energy on the hand still in my mother’s grasp. If I can just do something so she knows. My whole world has become our hands. I dig down and gather any remaining strength I have left. Anything I can use to move my hand. Slowly I am able to close my hand, just a little. My mom immediately stops what she is doing and yells for Dad. He comes rushing in and grabs my other hand. They are both talking at once. They are excited. They think I am waking up. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all. I’ve used up all of my energy, and I’m already drifting. It feels… final. Somehow I know this will be that last time I hear their voices.
This time it’s me that fades away.