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.

Lexi-pex GOLD said...
on Apr. 15 2010 at 8:21 am
Lexi-pex GOLD, Billingham, Other
13 articles 0 photos 75 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

very well written!

on Apr. 12 2010 at 4:08 pm
Schnoodlebear SILVER, Ballwin, Missouri
6 articles 0 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do what you love and love what you do

I didn't understand it.

Breluvsu GOLD said...
on Apr. 9 2010 at 1:47 pm
Breluvsu GOLD, LaFayette, Alabama
15 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Live, Love, Laugh.

Its is horibble that people will sell their body for drugs. This really had me crying!

DaniSV BRONZE said...
on Apr. 8 2010 at 4:29 pm
DaniSV BRONZE, Reno, Nevada
1 article 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"things dont always turn out the way you wanted them to"

Wow. I loved it. It was great!

Eilatan GOLD said...
on Apr. 6 2010 at 6:57 pm
Eilatan GOLD, Old Greenwich, Connecticut
11 articles 1 photo 307 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Nobody is normal. Everybody in the world is a weirdo freak. Except you, which makes you a weirdo freak."

Oh. My. Goodness.

Shinystarly said...
on Apr. 6 2010 at 11:33 am

This piece is the first to move me in a deep way, many prose before it have left me wanting more.

You have successfully described the true way people give. You do it, and you feel good about it, but in the end realize it was in vain. The woman in your writing may have sold your sweater for more drugs, or she may have taken your kindness and turned her life around. Who knows, honestly?

That is the inherent risk with kindness, unlike matter, kindness can be destroyed and ended abruptly ended depending on who is recieving the act.

Thank you for the excellent writing.

on Mar. 31 2010 at 8:41 pm
bornforsports96 BRONZE, Sevierville, Tennessee
4 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
Love doesn't have a rhyme or reason, time or place, love just happens.

 This story left me in tears. It's sickening to see reality for what it is. And how dare no one else care? You have the faith and strength that no one else did. God bless you.

bobun16 said...
on Mar. 30 2010 at 7:04 pm
That sadness you felt was love for someone who would never know what true love felt like. This is a touching story. It woyuld be even better had you not ;ost faith. God lvoes all of his children, no matter there mistakes, however, he cannot correct there mistakes. Christ was watching that smiling. So was God, and so was his holy spirit. They all were feeling joy at what you did. The only reason you didn;t feel joy is because Satan had clouded your mind. He had discouraed you, made you lose all hope in the goodness of God and humanity, or maybe it was because you truely felt the sorrow of seeing someone with such a tarnished and ruined life at such a young age. My point is, do not lose hope. Your reactions and your emotions are based off of what you do. You;re act of kindness shows that you are trying to make the world a better place, and you should continue to show that kind of love to people all around you, because it will affect them, even if you don't see it right away those you interact with will be affected by your loving attitude towards them and everyone you meet, and even though it may not change the world, it will change a few lives in the world. A few more happy, kind, loving people in the world can make it that much brighter.

Icekin10 GOLD said...
on Mar. 28 2010 at 5:45 pm
Icekin10 GOLD, Highland, Utah
14 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
Charity is the pure love of Christ.

There were two muffins in an oven. One muffin remarked "It's getting hot in here!" The other muffin exclaimed, "WOAH! A talking muffin!"

Powerful, five stars

on Mar. 27 2010 at 6:22 pm
Littleabby18 SILVER, Henderson, Nevada
7 articles 1 photo 17 comments
amazing. I could almost see that girl on the street, and i felt that sadness. good job

on Mar. 27 2010 at 11:59 am
AnneOnnimous BRONZE, Peterborough Ontario, Other
3 articles 0 photos 146 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."
— John Green

This was amazing..not only was it a touching, sad, beautiful story, you told it was a clear voice that made it seem so real

on Mar. 27 2010 at 10:37 am
XXXXXShIaNeNeIsMeXXXXX SILVER, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
5 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"love is complicated but wonderful"

I love this poem its wonderful

on Mar. 22 2010 at 6:17 pm
Someone_Who_Is_Loved GOLD, Mount Forest, Other
10 articles 0 photos 82 comments

Favorite Quote:
This quote is one I made up.....
"You can't climb a mountian without a harness." It means that you can't go where you want to get in life without the help of your friends or family.

Amazing! I love it! You're an insperation (did I spell that right?) Everyone should do something that you did.

on Mar. 21 2010 at 10:25 pm
Frog-Prince PLATINUM, Lakeside, California
33 articles 0 photos 62 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it"

never in my life have i read something like this....amazing...your my hero

kateyt23 said...
on Mar. 20 2010 at 10:42 am
kateyt23, Meath, Other
0 articles 0 photos 13 comments
Brillant story:)

Boulangere said...
on Mar. 19 2010 at 11:50 pm
That was so good and I can't help thinking that maybe her life did change a little bit. It's something we all dream of doing, that you actually did do- inspiring!

moriah-gosh said...
on Mar. 18 2010 at 9:06 am
WoW, that was an amazing story!

on Mar. 17 2010 at 5:03 pm
DeadlyPoppy PLATINUM, Chehalis, Washington
30 articles 13 photos 41 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Is mayonnaise an instrument?" -Patrick, Spongebob Squarepants

Wow. It is so amazing that you did that. It is really sad that what you said is so true, that she probably used it to get more drugs. But the fact that you knew that and you gave it to her anyway is so beautiful.

mikel said...
on Mar. 17 2010 at 12:24 pm
hay this is grrrrrrrrreat

kewlgurl1994 said...
on Mar. 10 2010 at 12:11 pm
it was very good and interesting