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Tammie Smith

The long journey 

No-one would ever think that a young girl like me, barely sixteen could do anything even remotely close to what I’ve done. All of my time and effort spent researching and studying tediously late nights. My mom would always say “Bev, are you still awake?” I’d giggle with a sarcastic smile along with it and say “Yes I am mom”. Then she’d peek into my room and shake her head but smile at me, as if she were saying “that’s my girl”. Eventually I’d fall asleep, only to be awakened by my extremely loud alarm clock. “Is it 6:30 already?” I asked myself. I can hear my mom yelling to me that she’d be up to help me get ready for school. She’s such an amazing part of my life. Ever since the accident, she’s been that extra boost that I need to keep going. To never give up on my journey. Being a paraplegic, it gets difficult sometimes, but there’s always hope that I’ll walk again, with all the advances in science and medicine, I truly believe that one day I’ll be up on my feet. Once I’m done with getting ready for school, my mom gets herself to work, and there’s a special needs transport that takes me to school. I love the driver, she’s so caring. She also has a daughter who is paralyzed. Which makes the bond more special. Every morning she asks me ” are you still doing your research?” Beverley,  one day you’re gonna be a doctor,  she’d tell me, and I’d smile at her, because I knew in my heart that once my journey was complete, she was exactly right. I’m going to discover a way for paraplegics to walk again, it is a mission for me, the long journey I call it. Ten years pass and I’m still doing research, still studying as tediously as ever, only difference is that I’m in a college dorm. My roommate is a bubbly blond girl named Melissa. She’s always happy and upbeat, but I knew she was trying to keep me in good spirits. “Are you still doing your research?” She’d ask me. “Why don’t you come with me to get something to eat?” You’ve been in this dorm for weeks Bev,  you should take a break. “I’m not hungry” I’d say to her, and continue reading.  “Want something back?” She’d ask.  And I’d say again, “I’m not hungry “. “Ok ” shed say in a sad tone. I felt bad for being a bookworm but i couldn’t give up on my journey.  I had to find a way, a cure. I was studying medicine in college and was succeeding in classes. My professors were blown away, in awe of my grades, and my attitude toward learning all that was laid in front of me. But nothing could hinder my need to complete this mission. Four months into college, and it’s Christmas break. I look forward to going home to be with my family for the holidays, and in my mind, I know I can’t take a break from my research. I laugh a little at myself because I feel like I’m obsessed.  There is snow on the ground and the roads are icy, so when I talked to my mom, I tell her to be careful on her way to pick me up from college.  “I will sweetheart” she says to me, and I end the call. An hour passes as I look at the clock,  “where is she?” She should’ve been here already,  I ask myself as I wait in the study hall in my wheelchair.  Theres a small flat screen television mounted on the wall next to the admissions office and I was watching the news. A broadcast comes on saying something about an accident, involving four vehicles. “Oh my goodness!” I thought, I hope everyone’s ok. Then as I’m watching the news broadcast, I see my mom’s car is one of the vehicles involved in the accident. “No!!!!!!” I screamed to the top of my lungs.  That’s my mom!!!!! Everybody was running over to me, but i was screaming so loudly.  And crying like I never have before. I had a lady from the admissions office call the police and I talked to an officer.i was told that my mother was involved in the accident. The roads were icy and she lost control of her car and  collided with three other vehicles. “Is she… I couldn’t ask the question.  “She’s alive, but she’s in emergency surgery”. “And the others?” I asked.  A cold silence.  I started to cry even more for the other people involved.  An officer came to pick me up and take me to the hospital where my mom was. I  waited in the lobby patiently but scared to death. A doctor finally walked through the double doors with a look on his face that made my stomach hurt. He approached me and said my mom’s surgery went well. “But…” I said to him, I knew there was a but.. “is she ok”? I asked the doctor.  He looks at me and says, ” I’m sorry, but your mother is paralyzed, she had a broken leg and ruptured spleen, surgery was performed to repair both her leg and ruptured spleen,  but she awoke saying she couldn’t feel anything,  we had to sedate her, so she’s sleeping now, and we’ll do further testing once she awakes again. I’m sorry.  It was like I went into a zone. Like I was in shock.  Paralyzed? My mom? What was I going to do? I need her. Now she needs me. There was no way I’d end this journey,  and now my fight is worth it all. I was able to see my mom when she awoke. Doctors did further testing to confirm diagnosis.  My mom was paralyzed. From the waist down. This will be the longest journey of our lives but I’m willing to complete it with her.

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