Unresponsive: A Short Story
Crashing Back Down by Author Kristen Hope Mazzola, her debut novel, is now LIVE!! Don't miss out on this awesome read!
My grandmother strides back into the hotel room, strong and unwavering in her expression, a complete contradiction to her frail seeming body. Standing with my arms crossed fighting the tears and anger back down into my throat, I gape at her. Her small hand rests on my cheek as she promises that everything is going to be alright. My trembling hand goes to rest on hers as I ask if she had called for an ambulance. With a tear-filled nod she confirms that they are on their way.
My gaze breaks from hers as knocking cracks into my ears. I twist my body around and let a sliver shine light from the outside, beautiful and glowing, the sun feels hot compared to the dark, damp room of terror I’m confined to. My soon-to-be aunt tries to smile, asking if there was anything she or her fiancé could do. I fake a confident grin as comforting words roll off my dry tongue, looking past her brown eyes at the paramedics climbing out of their vehicle.
I move aside as four broad shouldered men nod and enter the room, two carrying a hand held stretcher. Suddenly the moment freezes while I gasp to breathe. I look down at the bed where my mom is half naked, her eyes like slits as she drools a little onto a soaked pillow. That is right where I found her this morning, it was utterly terrifying. The brown blanket I used to cover her barely responsive body this morning has twisted and bunched from her moaning, rolling, puking, thrashing.
My mind snaps everything back into motion as my thoughts scream at me to answer the man’s question. My eyes come to focus through salt water, locking on a kind face asking me if she had taken anything. I start into the description of my mother’s situation, how she has had two terrible surgeries on her spine in less than two years, how she is under the care of a pain management doctor back home, how she might have drank the night before, how I couldn’t remember her taking too much medication. I slowly move towards the bed, trembling as I start to gather all of the medication into one bag from the night stand.
A terrible groan breaks into the air as they start to move my mom completely ignoring the fact that I just told them to be careful with her neck. I scream and run to the other side, my grandmother grasping her mouth with one hand in horror. I yell that they are idiots and need to understand that she cannot bend, move, conform the way a normal person can anymore, that the first doctor was a butcher who could have killed her. Tears rushing down my face I start to put her collar around her neck to help stabilize her a little and roll her onto her side where I know she will be comfortable. I beg them to understand that lying flat is excruciating to her and that once she is in their care I am trusting them to love her.
My phone vibrates in my pocket and my grandmother nods that I should answer, it’s my father again. His voice is so strong and comforting on the other end and I wished that he was holding me. He explained what was going to happen, that I was to still come home as planned the next morning with my uncle, that my grandmother was to accompany my mother to the hospital and that I was to sign all of the paper work. Shaking through my words I tried not to let him know of my feebleness, grief, panic. With kind, comforting words of love and sorrow my phone call ends.
I hold in all of the emotion begging to surface as I lean over, kissing my mother on the cheek. One of the paramedics brushes my arm, gesturing his need to get more information from me. I sign the pages stating I am releasing my mother into their care, telling him all of the medications’ names I can remember, confirming that they are all located in the bag that I was handing him. He nods and tries to reassure me that everything is going to get better. I thank him for his kind words and grab my grandmother’s hand to enter into the cool afternoon air.
I inform her of my father’s plan and she nods, hugs me and heads for her rental car to follow the ambulance. I stand paralyzed watching as the vehicles turn the corner and vanish behind the Inn. I drop to my knees, my head in my hands and finally let it all come out, let my fear, weakness, anger, love, fall out of my eyes and leap from my lungs foolishly begging for this to all be just a nightmare. My mind shifts to the night before, my mom setting her wine soaked paper cup on the night stand, her sweet voice wrapping around a late night I love you as I turn out the light and fall asleep.