For The Love Of A Sister
What if everything you held dear was destroyed, would you keep the will to live and preserve or would you give up and fall into a world of gray, where you don't know who you are anymore? Most of us would like to think we would preserve but we don't know, can't know, until the unthinkable happens...
When the ones you hold dear are hurt, seemingly beyond repair, a part of yourself dies. You have to remain strong for them, but you're breaking down slowly. What can you do now?
Chapter 2: She Won't Be The Same
Lets just say I might have terrified the nurse with my fast movement. I needed to see Piper. My dad gets up as quickly as he can, he was always a deep sleeper, I'm actually surprised he got up this easily.
As the nurse brought us though the sterile smelling hallways of the hospital she told us a little bit about Piper's condition. "She had a major hit to the head on top of the cars general impact on her body." She pauses and seems to be trying to find the right words. "She is not going to be the same," the nurse chokes out in sympathy. "These things change people."
"But Piper will still be the same Piper?" I ask this stupidly, still holding on to childish fantasies.
The nurse looks at me sadly, blue eyes full of compassion. "I am going to let Docter Walace explain this to you, it's highly complicated and there is a lot of information. Unfortunately it is going to take him a while before he can discuss it with you."
My stomach picks that time to growl. I look at my watch. It's face was a soft mint green with silver swirls. On the back it said in cursive "I will always believe in you Soph. Love You! ~Pipes". I choke back tears. She gave this to me for my thirteenth birthday and she saved her money for ages.
The nurse was a perceptive one but wasn't one to pry into another's business. "It's 6:34am," she says kindly.
We left the meet at around 5:30 last night. Was it really about thirteen hours ago when our life fell apart because of one idiot?
"Is there anyone you can call to bring you food and clothes," the nurse asks. "You could be here for a long time."
"We are from out of town," my father replies. The nurse purses her lips and says, if even possible with more sympathy than before, "I'm sorry this happened on your vacation."
I felt the need to interrupt. "No, not vacation. A championship swimming meet. Piper did amazing." What is happening to me? I never talk in front of strangers! I barely talk in front of people I know.
"She," the nurse chokes on her words then recovers, "she was an athlete?" I note the 'was'. Past tense. This is bad. This is very, very bad.
My father nods and I say in a hushed tone, "one of the best". It's not bragging, Piper was extraordinary in her sport, and she was the best to me.
We walk in silence for a while. Finally I can't stand it. For once in my life I need the sound of human noise. "I'm calling Taylor," I announce. "I have Piper's phone, Taylor needs to know and she has a key to me and Piper's room. She can get our stuff and ask Will to get the front desk to get you and moms stuff out of your room."
My dad looks at me in surprise. "Doesn't Piper have a lock on her phone?" Dad please, we figured out each others locks a long time ago. I could tell him that, but I fall back into introvert Sophie mode and shrug.
I find the silence that follows awkward. This is new, I rarely find silences awkward. Oh Piper, everything has changed.
"I'm going to, um, call Taylor. Where is the room, or what's the room number, or," I say stumbling over my own words like always. Well at least that's still the same. "Where do I find you at after I'm done?" I finally manage to ask that simple question like a normal human being.
"Room 402A," the nurse says kindly with a smile. "Take your time, oh and take this to the cafeteria and get yourself and your parents something to eat." She hands me money.
I am shocked. "Oh no ma'am, I can't take this, I have my own-"
She cuts me off. "Honey, take a treat. I hope the times get better for you all."
And she and my father start off towards Piper's room while I stand there in complete and utter shock. My father who was very anti-charity with himself and his family (he was all for donating to charity though) didn't say anything when she gave me the money. Why?
When I get over that, I realize something very important. I have no clue where the cafeteria is. I look over and see a guy at a desk filing files. I walk up shyly to him. "Excuse me," I say in a small voice. A mouse is louder than I just was, so it really wasn't a shock when he doesn't even look up.
Let's try this again, I think as I clear my throat. My voice has cracks in it from all the screaming I did yesterday. First I yelled straight for 23:58.12 minutes, giving Piper constant encouragement. Then I of course screamed my futile warning for her to watch out. Then I had my meltdown. Little, shy, timid Sophie Jones has a surprising set of lungs on her.
"Excuse me sir," I say, louder this time. This time the man looks up. "Can I help you?" He asks this kindly and that encourages me to go on, well also the sharp pain from hunger eating away at me.
"Can you tell me where the cafeteria is?" The guy seems to be looking at Piper's pink bag which I am still holding. She had her name sewn on to it.
"Oh course Miss Piper," the guy says. I feel like I have been punched. He was trying to be courteous, I know that. It also makes sense, most people when they walk around with a bag with a name on it, it's usually theirs.
"My name isn't Piper," I inform the man. "This is my sisters bag. I'm holding it for her." That's one way of putting it.
"Oh I am sorry. Honest mistake." He seems flustered, I can relate to that feeling.
"It's quite alright," I say surprising myself again. I hate when I do this! "I would have thought the same thing. Now can you please tell me where the cafeteria is?"
Oh no, that was too pushy, wasn't it. Oh no! I'm such a terrible person, I should have-
He interrupts my over-thinking, worry-wart, string of thoughts with directions. "You go straight down this hallway, then when you reach the end you turn into the 51 hall, then you make a left at the desk and the stairs to down below ate right there. When you reach downstairs you go straight until you see the cafeteria. Then you are there."
I have no clue what he just said and my facial expression must have showed it too because he just sighs and hands me a map, which in all honesty, is much safer with me. I have a terrible sense of direction. It's one of the few similarities me and Piper share.
I somehow, by some miracle make it down to the cafeteria without getting to terribly lost. I buy food for my parents and some for me, though it's more than my parents servings put together. I don't know how Piper and I haven't eaten them into poverty yet.
I inhale my food, not even caring about manners. I was about to walk out of the cafeteria when a news report on one of the TV's caught my eye.
"A sixteen year-old swimmer from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina was hit by a speeding black SUV last night, here at Atlanta's athletic facility. The driver did not stop and Piper Jones remains in critical condition. Police has refused to let anything else out. This is Fox News, back to Rick in the studio."
Yeah it's time. Taylor needs to know what happened, and not from Fox. I take my mom and dads trays and leave the cafeteria.
It's quieter in the hallway. I set the tray down on the ground and pull out Piper's phone. 6:58. Taylor will definably be up. While for most swimmers, morning practice was a "I can't believe I have to get up at this time", Taylor was already up. She considers waking up at 7am wasting half the day. She's crazy.
I unlock Piper's picture code, it is a "P" with a slash though it. I see her background is a silly photo of us in a tree, acting for all the world like monkeys. Despite the circumstances I have to smile and let out a small chuckle. Piper was also nuts.
I go to her "calling area" as she would say, and pressed 5. That was Taylor's speed dial number.
An angry Taylor immediately answers my call. "Piper Irene Jones, where have you been? Will was about to-"
"Taylor it's Sophie. Piper is in the Emergency Room. She got hit by a car and it's bad."
And Taylor starts cursing everything under the sky.