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Watching Sarah Blightman
Watching Sarah Blightman
On Monday, Sarah came to school with four fresh, horrible, dark blue bruises and she seemed terribly tired and very sad. She was unable to concentrate on her Algebra class work and she had not done any homework from the previous Friday. On Tuesday, Sarah got in a fight with Jamie- Lauren Blake because Jamie- Lauren wrote her name on the board when she fell asleep in class. Sarah was also sincerely unsympathetic towards Jamie- Lauren after she bloodied her nose and gave her a black- eye, nor did she show very much emotion all day. On Wednesday, Sarah ate hardly any of her lunch. She simply bought the lunch, ate a cracker with pepper, threw the plate away, and asked to use the restroom. Nobody saw her again until the end of lunch, and when they did, she was trying poorly to conceal a tear- streaked face. On Thursday, the drama class held a school play for the whole middle school. Sarah was supposed to play the small role of the daughter of a shopkeeper. Not only did she refuse to play the part, but would not go anywhere near the auditorium during the scene when Dana (her character) went to talk to her father. Nobody knew why. Finally, on Friday, we had pizza for lunch. Sarah did not even purchase a meal. She sat outside alone on the bench for an hour, anyone coming near her getting a threat and a horrible scowl. And again, during Earth Science, Sarah was sent to Principal Gainer because she had done no homework, and she fell asleep for about 45 minutes, missing a huge chunk of class. She was also starting to distrust everyone, and distance herself from her friends. I know this, because last year, I spent a month watching Sarah Blightman.
Okay, I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot. My name is Charlotte Trambelin and I am not a stalker. Now that that’s settled, let me tell you why I started watching Sarah. Early last year, I did a project on child abuse. It was a very sad task, but nonetheless, I accomplished it, and that makes me proud. See, when I was younger, in 4th grade, my best friend was Jasmine Laughterson, and she suffered from alcoholic abuse. No, I don’t mean that she was an obsessed, hypnotized, alcoholic and partier. No, that’s not the case at all. I’m sorry to say that everyday Jasmine went home to two parents who had spent the day getting wasted and about the time that Jasmine arrived, they had a huge hangover that they would rather die than suffer from it. They abused Jasmine and her 4 siblings in many ways; physically, sexually, and even emotionally. It breaks my heart to know that I was the Tattle- Tale who told my parents what was going on. Not that I knew, but it was obvious. Jasmine was tired at school, terrified of any physical contact whatsoever, hardly eating lunch, and often getting in fights. But, I noticed none of this at my young age. What I noticed was how many days Jasmine came to school bloodied up or bruised. I noticed that she was often crying in the restroom. I noticed that she had bite marks on her neck and ankle, as well as on her stomach- that one was the biggest, but not by far. I noticed that every time I spoke of her home life, she looked like she was about to burst into tears. I noticed…that she didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. But, I didn’t take it personally; I knew something was wrong. The thing I noticed most, though, was not anything physical. Oh no, not at all. I noticed the great amount of clearly noticeable, inexcusable fear she showed towards her parents. That was what gave me the signal that something had to be done. So I told. I told my parents, who told the Mounties. Jasmine ended up being sent to a children’s home in the States. I never saw her again. But I’ll always know that even though I snitched, I did the right thing, and now Jasmine is safe.
Like I was saying, I did a project on child abuse. I learned a lot of helpful facts, and they are things everybody should know. For example, did you know that one in thirteen kids with a parent on drugs is abused regularly? I didn’t! Facts and signs like these gave me the feeling that something was wrong with Sarah, and I knew that if someone didn’t find out what it was, Sarah could get seriously injured or worse. So, on the Friday before last year’s (5th grade) Christmas Break, I followed Sarah home from school.
Her house was on Lincoln Avenue and it was the fourth house on the right. It was not painted, but made out of brick. There were no shutters on the windows, but there were damp looking dark yellow blinds on every window. There was a distinct smell in the air; alcohol. From outside and across the street I could hear two people yelling at each other, their voices wavering dangerously. Oh boy….
Sarah crossed the street and disappeared into the house. I prayed to God that there would not be any form of blood shed on that day. I waited across the street in the bushes, looking for a sign that I should go on. I waited, and waited, and waited, and waited…nothing. I was dozing off when the screaming ceased and the blinds were drawn up by someone hidden from my view. I took that as my sign and crept across the street with no trouble except for a stray squirrel that I accidentally tripped over. No big in this situation.
I made it too the window and peeped inside. What I saw I will never forget. Sarah’s father, Lawrence, was slinging Sarah about the room. BAM!! She hit a bookcase. BANG!! Into the door for Sarah! CLASH!! Sarah was thrown into a closed window opposite me, shattering the glass. She was currently on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably, and covered in blood.
“Please Daddy, let me go! I’m so sorry that I forgot to get the mail! It was all my fault! Daddy, I promise it will never happen again!!”
“You’re darn right it won’t!” Sarah’s father threw her into her room, which happened to have a dead bolt. He locked it, an deposited the key into his pocket. “Oh my goodness… what is going on here?? How could somebody do that to their little girl, no matter what they did?? No child deserves that!” This was all that I could process through my mind as I watched in horror. After Sarah’s dad locked her in her room, he proceeded to grab an icy cold beer from the Westing House refrigerator, and sat down in front of the tube. But this was not my problem. I had to get Sarah out of that house.
I sneaked around to where Sarah’s room was. I had to make absolutely sure I had the right room, so it took a bit longer than I had hoped, but I was there and that was that. I knocked on the window. Nothing. I knocked again, this time a little louder, in the hopes of Sarah still being alive in the room and ignoring me, rather than something else that I do not even want to think about. There was still no answer. It was then that I noticed that the window was open, it just appeared not to be, because the lilac blinds were drawn to a close.
“Sarah Blightman, this is Charlotte Trambelin from school. I hope you’re decent, because I’m coming in!” My entrance was somewhat lame, but hey, I was actually there, you actually weren’t, so get over it.
I walked in, and saw something a bit worse than I had imagined, but not by much. I slowly let out my breath, which I just realized that I had been holding, because Sarah was still alive. Score 1! But she was bleeding…everywhere. It seemed that every inch of her body was covered in blood, and she knew it. She wasn’t crying, though- this is not a score 2. It seemed that Sarah was beyond all of the pain and the crying- she knew that she was going to die if she didn’t get some professional help. I mean, I was a student almost through with her 6th grade year- my dream was to become a doctor, but that was not exactly going to happen while I was 12 ½ and daydreaming about subjects of many things.
It was then that I realized that she just hadn’t heard me; she was lying in fetal position with her dark red stained hands covering her ears. Oh…wow.
“S-Sarah,” I coaxed. “Sarah, t-t-this is Charl-lotte, from s-school,” I spoke slowly, fumbling over my words. Oh, yeah, before I started talking, I gently removed her hands from her ears. Well, at least I did something right! Mini- Score 1!!
Sarah just looked at me. One look- and then she fainted.
“Oh, Lord, please let her be okay! It’s not her fault, and you and I know that, even if she and her father don’t. Lord, I’m putting all of my faith into you, because I know that right now, you’re the only one I can trust to guide me on the right path in this situation and in life. I’ve never had a reason not to trust you; please don’t let this be the first. I know what you can do, I’ve seen miracles in my own, plain life, and I know that you can do anything. Oh, Mighty God, I ask for forgiveness for everything that I’ve done wrong so far in life, and I humble myself before you. Just please let Sarah live and be okay. I love you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
I opened my eyes…still no sign of Sarah. Last night, after she fainted, I brought her here, to the emergency room. The EP (emergency personnel, if you didn’t know) took her back immediately. I had to tell the nurse, 2 doctors, 4 random passerbies, whom I got cranky at and yelled at, and my parents, whom I telephoned shortly after we arrived at the hospital. They drove strait to the hospital when they found out, and were then completely shocked at their baby’s Mission Impossible; Rescue Edition adventure. Oh yeah, and the way Sarah and I got to the hospital; I called my cousin Dallas to come pick us up. She understood and asked no questions, so I decided it would be okay to tell her the story, and I did.
My favourite Australian doctor came out of the room in which Sarah was being kept in. Only Sarah wasn’t being kept in the room right now. James, the Australian doctor, was wheeling someone out in a wheelchair- Sarah! My heart skipped a beat.
“Well, my Lullaby Baby has finally woken up! She has a few bruises and scratches and one other problem. Sarah is paralyzed from the waist down. She will never be able to walk again. I’m so sorry,” James said with tears in his eyes. The reason he called her Lullaby Baby was because last night, she couldn’t get to sleep. And when she dozed off, she woke up in a sweat and sobbing. Luckily, James was there in a heartbeat. He sang her a lullaby, and she was fast asleep. She was his Lullaby Baby.
Everyone in the room was crying, some more than others- all except one person. Sarah had on the happiest expression that I’ve ever seen in my life. She was grinning from ear to ear, apparently missing the point. I walked up to her. “Sarah, you’ll never be able to walk again, play sports again, or dance again. Why are you smiling? Don’t you understand this??”
I was mad. I was mad at God. He kept her alive, but he didn’t keep her okay. I was mad at Sarah’s dad. He did this to her. I was mad at myself. If I had gotten her here sooner…If I had taken an earlier interest…If I had cared before last night…she might have been okay. I started sobbing. It was all my fault. I could have saved her!! My parents came up to hold me, but I shrugged them off; they didn’t know what I had been through!! Dallas was already gone; what did she care?!?! James and his nurses came up to hold my hand and be there for me, but I moved away; they didn’t even know me!! No one could help me. I was the lowest, meanest, most horrible person on the face of the earth. Then someone touched my shoulder. I thought, in my young state, that it was an angel.
“Do you want to know why I’m smiling?” Sarah whispered into my ear. I nodded, still crying. “Because of you. Tonight, my father won’t hurt me. Tonight, I’ll have a best friend stay with me. Tonight, I’ll feel safe for the first time in my life. Thank you, Char.”
Then, just abruptly as the tears came away, they left me. Just as swiftly as the anger had evaded my body, it was gone. God was back on my side, and it was the only thing I wanted.
That night, I made up with my parents. Sarah slept at my house, and we stayed up all night talking. Then I asked, “Sarah, what will the kids at school think? You, the loner, and me, the geek, best friends. Sarah, what will those kids at school say about your wheelchair? If they have anything to say, they better–“ Sarah held up her hand.
“Char, I’m not going to Harold Boone Memorial anymore. The people responsible for me now think that it would be better if I moved away from my father. It’s crucial that he doesn’t know where I go, though.”
I was a vampire with a wooden stake through its heart. And then, nothing. I was a vampire no more. I was getting more mature, and I understood why she had to move. I only had one question.
“Where?” She knew exactly what I meant. “Auckland. That’s the only good part about this whole thing.” “Auckland, New Zealand?? Wow, at least you’ll be safe in a beautiful place. And, we will make sure to keep in touch!” “Absolutely!”
Over the years, Sarah and I exchanged a few letters and phone calls here and there. Then, we graduated from high school, and the letters stopped. The phone calls stopped. I never saw her again. But, we never forgot about each other.
One day, I was watching my youngest child, Scarlett. I was about to run and get Luke from preschool, when I stopped to get the mail. ‘That’s strange! A letter from Auckland, New Zealand! And look at where its been!’ I thought. There were about a bazillion postal stamps on the envelope from all over the world! I opened the letter.
We haven’t talked much over the years, but I will always remember you. You saved my life. I want you to know how much I appreciate that. You are my Guardian Angel. Best of luck in your future.
See you in another life,
My mind went back to the day when I was a little 12 year- old- girl, sobbing on the floor in the hospital. Everyone had just found out that Sarah was paralyzed. When I started crying, people tried to hold me and help me. Nobody could. And then someone touched my shoulder. I thought it was an angel. But, it was just Sarah, smiling down at me. Now I realize that we all have Guardian Angels watching over us, but only some people are lucky enough to meet theirs. That day in the hospital, I knew who my Guardian Angel was, if only for a second. But now I know. I know that Sarah Blightman has changed my life forever, and is my Guardian Angel.
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