the short story project


Let Me Sleep

They say that before a person dies they have an outer body experience. I am one of those people, although I didn’t die. I tried to die, but instead ended up here in a coma.  How do I know that I am in a come? I can hear my family member crying and begging me to open my eyes. I can also hear the doctors telling them that there is a chance I may never wake up again.  And waking up is the last thing I want to do.

Here, in this space I have Jeff.  My husband, my best friend, my soul mate. If I open my eyes, all of that disappears.  This is why I choose to stay inside my own mind, where I can continue my life here with Jeff like nothing ever happened.


I met Jeff in the winter of 2011. I was bundled up (because NY winters are no joke) walking down Myrtle Ave to the M train when he almost knocked me over because he was not paying attention to where he was walking.  He was apologetic saying that he should have been paying attention to where he was walking. I was caught off guard, not only by the fact that he almost ran me over walking, but he had these dimples that were just adorable. There was no doubt that he was handsome, and his smile….. could melt an ice berg.  I told him that it was no big deal and started to walk to my train.  Jeff asked if he could walk with me because as he said “a woman of my beauty shouldn’t be walking these streets alone”. I assured him that being the only girl child with two brothers I was ok to handle myself, and if not my taser would handle what I couldn’t. This made him laugh. I enjoyed hearing him laugh. It was so light and honest, not one of those forced laugh that people do.  He told me that his parents had raised a gentleman and insisted on walking me to the train. As we walked we chatted a little bit, but it was freezing out so I was more focused on getting to that train ASAP and not freezing to death. We got to the platform and exchanged numbers. I remember his asking if this was my real number, which made me laugh. I assured him it was and hurried to my oncoming train.


From then on it was constant calls and face time talking about movies, music, tv shows that we both enjoyed.  He took me out often and was always a gentleman. It only took about 2 months before I realized that I was falling in love with this man. And falling in love again was the very last thing I wanted to do. As much as I tried to fight my feelings and push them aside, I felt very safe when I was with him. He made me feel like I was the most beautiful/sexy woman in the world.  When we’d go out, I always had his attention. His eyes never strayed which was such a nice feeling.  Finally after about 4 months of dating we were out to dinner when he told me that he loved me. I didn’t say it back right away because I am a very guarded person. But I told him that I had the feelings for him. He laughed and said “ you know Im going to get you to say those words right?” And he did. One night while we were laying in bed waiting for sleep to come, his back to me with me pressed against it I said “ I love you Jeff” so quietly that I hoped he didn’t hear me. He turned over rubbed my cheek and whispered “I am going to love you and make sure that every day you know that for the rest of my life”.

And he kept his word.  Up until the day he was murdered and taken from me, I never once doubted his love for me. Our wedding was simple, he knows I do not like people looking at me so he understood when I said I do not want to stand in front of a bunch of people saying how much I love you. He said he didn’t care about that stuff, so we went to the justice of the peace, got married and had a small party with our closest friends and family to celebrate. That night was the best night of my entire 37 years on this earth.


“Please baby, open your eyes for me” I can hear my mom crying. I can even feel her hand squeezing mine.  But she of all people should know that I can not live in a world where Jeff isn’t. That is why I took my whole bottle of sleeping pills that I had for my insomnia.  How was I suppose to carry on like nothing happened when I saw the man I love gunned down right in front of me? How was I suppose to go to sleep every night without him laying next to me? Yea, some may say I chose to quit and take the easy way out, but I don’t care what those people think. I knew what I was doing.  So I popped open the bottle counted out the 27 pills I had left, opened a bottle of water….. and down the hatch. If my mother hadn’t come to check on me I would have succeeded in my plan. But now I lay here asleep. I want to tell her to just please let me go, but I can’t.  I refuse to fight. I gave up the minute his casket was lowered into that cold ground.


We were walking to the corner store to get breakfast. Bacon egg and cheddar cheese on a roll with butter. Every Saturday morning.  This morning as we ordered, one of the guys in the store stared arguing with another guy. We thought nothing of it….. It’s Brooklyn, this kind of stuff happens. We just moved further away from the commotion. As Jeff went into the cooler to get our orange juices I heard the loudest sound I ever heard in my life. Then I heard it two more times. I had absolutely no idea what it was. Did a car back fire, was there a car accident outside? The only thing I remember was one of the guys running past me and pushing me out of the way. I found this weird because I was standing next to Jeff as he was opening the cooler door. Did he knock over Jeff first then me? Where was Jeff? The clerk is screaming something but I can’t make out what he’s saying. Probably because if that loud noise I’m still trying to figure out. I see the other guy on the floor and there’s this red liquid coming out from underneath him. Me being a nurse I immediately know its blood.  That’s when things started to click.

“Jeff”?!?! I scream. I look around and I see that he is laying on his side on the floor. I fall to the ground next to him and there is blood coming out of his mouth and his shirt is becoming saturated with blood.  Jeff is looking at me,  he is trying to say something but he’s choking on his own blood. I turn him on his back and apply pressure to his wound in his abdomen. He keeps trying to talk but I tell him to save his strength. I tell him that I love him, that I need him, I beg him to please keep looking at me, open your eyes! OPEN YOUR EYES! Jeff smiles at me and I see his dimples for the last time. His eyes slowly close and his whole body goes limp. I start screaming at him to wake up, but he doesn’t.

Jeff is pronounced DOA, Dead On Arrival. Gunshot wound to the abdomen, the bullet hit the abdominal aortic artery, Jeff didn’t stand a chance, bled out in a matter of minutes. And that was when my world crashed.  


Now here I am. My own choice. Here Jeff is with me. I can hear him, I can smell him, I can see that smile and those dimples. Its like I have every memory recorded and I just put it on repeat. 7 years worth of memories right in front of my eyes playing 24/7 and I am happy.

Our first kiss, our first date, or first time being intimate, our wedding day, our wedding night. 

I wonder how long I’ve been here? Days? Months? As I’m trying to figure this out I suddenly hear my mother and father talking to me. They are telling me how much they love me. Is that my brothers crying? I hope they finally decide to let the past be the past and work on being in each others lives again. I go back to my memories when the weirdest thing happens. I hear Jeff’s voice. Not in the memories that are playing, but I hear him like he is right next to me. Oh and I can smell him. I feel someone wipe my cheek and I realize that I must be crying. Jeff is telling me how much he loves me, that we will be together and finish out our lives one day, he promised that.  He told me that its time for me to wake up and live out the rest of my life happy. I tell him that without him that’s not possible. Jeff assures me that I will.  Have you ever been able to hear a smile? If that makes any sense. But I could hear Jeff smiling as he was talking to me and I pictured those dimples.

I could also hear the doctors telling my family that it was time. Time for what I wonder.  Jeff is telling me to wake up, the doctors are telling my family its time, and all of a sudden I feel this jolt. My breathing is slowing down. I can’t….. I can’t breath anymore. I hear my mother wailing, my father’s voice telling me it’s ok to go. Things are getting darker…. All the voices are fading….. darker…….d..a..r…k…._______________


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