Unconscious | Teen Ink

Unconscious MAG

August 26, 2008
By Samaiya SILVER, Medellin, Other
Samaiya SILVER, Medellin, Other
7 articles 0 photos 9 comments

There was a dead girl in front of the library this morning. She was breathing, but she wasn’t alive. Whatever existence she’d had during her few years – I calculated she was around 13 – certainly wasn’t life. She was tossed carelessly on the trash-­littered sidewalk in front of a boarded-up doorway, drugged and utterly unconscious of the world around her. The filth and stench of the city were caked into her skin. She seemed part of the garbage she was ­lying in.

My home in Medellín, Colombia, has a lot of poverty. I’m used to seeing dirty, starving children begging in the streets, unkempt old men sleeping ­under newspapers, and hopeless teen­agers forgetting their pain in glue and needles.

But this … this was different.

The girl’s clothes were pulled high above her chest, ugly testimony to what had been done to her the night before. Person after person walked by. Boys leered. Children gaped and were pulled away by mothers who wrinkled their noses and quickened their pace. Not once did I see a trace of caring.

I knelt down and shook her gently.

She stirred and turned her head to me, and a grimace flashed across her face. I realized she was no child. All concept of age was erased from my mind. Perhaps she was barely a teenager; perhaps she was as old as humanity.

“Señora,” I said softly. A fly alighted on her cracked lips, and I brushed it away. Still she did not wake. I don’t know why I cared. Certainly no one else did. But I couldn’t leave her like that. I couldn’t. I should cover her. I reached out to pull down her shirt but retracted my hand. I had no right to touch her.

I knew what I had to do.

Even as I pulled the sweater over my head, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to give my favorite sweater to someone who would just sell it for drugs. I didn’t want to care. But it was too late. Once you open your eyes and see reality, you can’t close them again that easily. And even though I wished I didn’t care, I did. She was a girl, my sister in ­humanity, a person just like me. God have mercy on us both.

I draped the sweater over her. The pulsating noise of the street suddenly quieted. The outside world ceased to exist, and a deafening ­silence enveloped us. Time slowed. The moment seemed eternal. We were the only ones in the universe – just me, the girl, and the dark blue sweater fluttering down in slow motion.

I had the sensation you get when you pull the sheet over the face of a corpse and say, muerto esta. The last fold of cloth settled on the gray cement, and suddenly time was once again going. I heard the rushing cars at my back, felt the burning sun, and smelled the filth. Nothing had changed.

I got up too quickly, nearly losing my balance. I needed to get away.

“La felicito,” an old man, who had apparently been watching me, said in congratulations. “Is it a little girl? So sad, so sad. What a shame.”

“Yeah … I don’t know,” I mumbled, hurrying away, horribly embarrassed that I’d been seen. Supposedly, when you do a good deed, you get a warm fuzzy feeling inside. But all I felt was a deep, aching sadness.

I used to believe those heart-warming stories about how people’s lives were changed by some small act of kindness. If this were one of those ­inspirational stories, years later we’d meet again. She would have risen from her poverty and pain, achieved success, and been converted to some nice religion. I’d be down about something, perhaps thinking that my life was worth nothing. On an impulse I’d step into a church and – voilà! – she’d be there giving her testimony about how she’d lived a totally empty and meaningless existence until her life had been changed by the act of a caring stranger who had covered her with a sweater.

And then I’d get up, with tears in my eyes, and shout, “I am that stranger!” And we’d hug and become best friends and I’d go home completely happy in the knowledge that my life had been good for something after all.

But this isn’t an inspirational story. The real world isn’t that nice. When the girl came out of her stupor, she probably wouldn’t even notice the sweater or wonder where it had come from. She’d use it to get more drugs. That night she would again sell her body and her soul, and the next day she would once more lie on the street with her shame open to the world. And my feeble act of caring would be worth nothing.

I headed down the street and sud­denly, to my disgust, found tears running down my face. I dashed them away, not knowing whether I was crying for that girl, my favorite sweater, or the fact that no one had cared.

I thought of the Jesus I’d been taught about in church. He would have cared, I think, if he’d been there. But he wasn’t there. I wished he were. It hurt.

People at church would tell me that he was there, that he’d cared through me.

I sighed. Maybe. Maybe.

But all the way home, the pain ­remained.



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This article has 479 comments.


on Oct. 21 2010 at 10:05 am
xaimegan11 BRONZE, White Castle, Louisiana
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Be who you are, not who everyone else want you to be.

This is a touching story. It took a lot to write this story and it is amazing.

DrewSki SILVER said...
on Oct. 19 2010 at 4:17 pm
DrewSki SILVER, Bridgeport, Connecticut
7 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
I laugh at your demise...
What if...?

That was so beautiful. amazing, and very down to Earth. This brought tears to my eyes.

on Oct. 19 2010 at 10:54 am
UnwantedNinja GOLD, Pretoria, Other
17 articles 0 photos 70 comments

Favorite Quote:
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
Walt Disney

this is an amazing story you are very talented!!! :)

ThreeWishes said...
on Oct. 18 2010 at 10:53 am
ThreeWishes, London, Other
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
That was fantastic. You have amazing talent.

on Oct. 15 2010 at 12:58 pm
This is a really great story.

on Oct. 15 2010 at 8:48 am
LaDyElFuNkOe SILVER, Male&#39, Other
5 articles 1 photo 12 comments

WOW!!....this is soo TOTALLY amazing

i LOVE it!!

keep it up


on Oct. 15 2010 at 8:32 am
This is really good

iicey_14 said...
on Oct. 14 2010 at 1:30 pm
aw wow thats just wow

on Oct. 11 2010 at 10:19 am
TheEdgar PLATINUM, Fayetteville, North Carolina
22 articles 1 photo 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you are in need of forgetting something, make a note to remember it."

I was practically walking with her.

on Oct. 9 2010 at 6:07 pm
squalur996 GOLD, Henderson, Nevada
10 articles 3 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character....would you slow down? Or speed up?
-- Chuck Palanick

u have amazing imagery. I felt like I was there and feeling all the emotions.

on Sep. 29 2010 at 2:55 pm
CuteAsIce PLATINUM, Pretoria, Other
20 articles 0 photos 42 comments

Favorite Quote:
Today is always a good day because tomorrow is new day.

amazing!! nothing else to say - purely amazing

on Sep. 28 2010 at 4:16 pm
this was the most inspiring article EVER!

on Sep. 26 2010 at 1:02 pm
yellow-pages SILVER, Still Not Available, Other
9 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." -Dr. Suess

Beautiful, utterly beautiful. The raw truth and emotion in this gives me a feeling of indescribable awe.

You almost had me tearing up a couple times, which is saying something.

Overall, this was amazing. Bravo!


on Sep. 26 2010 at 10:32 am
sleepinginthegarden BRONZE, Kingston, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 66 comments
WOW AMAZING!YOUR WRITING RINGS WITH BEAUTY!YOU REALLY GIVE THE READER A GREAT VISUAL CHCK OUT MY WORK I THIK U WILL LIKE IT

sunny said...
on Sep. 15 2010 at 4:09 am
I like this artical so much

on Sep. 14 2010 at 8:23 pm
This was absolutely amazing. I love it. You're so brave to do that! It's so sad how so little people care nowadays :(

on Sep. 14 2010 at 8:41 am
cutebunny_10 BRONZE, Marrero, Louisiana
4 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
Everything Happens For A Reason! :)

this is a very good story. me and my friend was reading this and telling the teacher about it. its very sad, but very well written. keep up the good job!

on Sep. 10 2010 at 11:54 pm
kayogirl94 BRONZE, Salinas, California
2 articles 1 photo 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be a man of Right, Never one of Might. Be a leader of the people, Never the tool of authority. Be the friend of the masses, Never the slave of wealth. Be a wise man of good, Never a cunning evil one." -Daisaku Ikeda

I loved this so much! Thank you!

on Sep. 7 2010 at 11:32 pm
splinterstar BRONZE, Arcadia, California
1 article 0 photos 10 comments
You did a wonderful job: For writing this article, being brave enough to call attention toward this issue and being brave enough to do that deed. Not many people would be able to do something like that. ;)

on Sep. 7 2010 at 7:32 pm
speech.write.crazy GOLD, Bailey, Colorado
19 articles 3 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can. Go for it and don't look back, go for things with your whole heart."

I absolutely love this! It really makes you think about what you're doing with your life. I think it was a great thing that you did though! She might not care, but that man did!

If anyone would please read my stuff and comment on it, I would really appreciate it! Thank you!