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 Mar. 4 2010 at 2:55 pm
Niquee147 BRONZE, Williamsport, Pennsylvania
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments
This Is Hawttt W/ 3 t's

cotigwrites said...
on Mar. 2 2010 at 11:24 am
do you not realize that God was there? how could you not see that if God hadn't been there, you wouldn't have been there to help her.

on Feb. 27 2010 at 2:57 pm
yesimdarrian101 BRONZE, Millville, New Jersey
3 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everything may not be perfect, but at least we tried." Stephen Jerzak/Chase Coy

this was incredible. thank you for sharing your story with all of us. I really hope you realize how caring your small kind act was. :)

i<3steven! said...
on Feb. 26 2010 at 3:53 pm
i<3steven!, Newcastle, California
0 articles 0 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
Inside Joke

yes, yes it is

i<3steven! said...
on Feb. 26 2010 at 3:52 pm
i<3steven!, Newcastle, California
0 articles 0 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
Inside Joke

i agree that it can, and also, i give the girl props for doing what she knew in her heart was the right thing to do

on Feb. 26 2010 at 10:45 am
stephanie BRONZE, Omaha, Nebraska
4 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
you can if you try hard


on Feb. 25 2010 at 7:23 am
missca1229 GOLD, North Tonawanda, New York
11 articles 5 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life makes my heart sing

This is true. And let me tell you it's sad. Some people go through those kinds of things everyday. But some people help with out knowing why they do. That's true humanitarinaism. An act of the kindness can go a long way for a stranger.

on Feb. 25 2010 at 7:23 am
missca1229 GOLD, North Tonawanda, New York
11 articles 5 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life makes my heart sing

This is true. And let me tell you it's sad. Some people go through those kinds of things everyday. But some people help with out knowing why they do. That's true humanitarinaism. An act of the kindness can go a long way for a stranger.

i<3steven! said...
on Feb. 24 2010 at 4:16 pm
wow, i feel for you and totally understand what you are talking about, in SanFran, there are a lot of things like this and it helps that peopole like you are trying to help the human population

on Feb. 23 2010 at 10:05 am
MyFairyTaleEnding SILVER, Villa Ridge, Missouri
7 articles 0 photos 86 comments
This is sooo touching and true. It's sad to believe that we do such acts of kindness and people waste it away. I love how you show that things won't be changed by doing one simple but kind thing, but we have to remember that if we do several act of kindness, we really can change the world. Great Job! :D

on Feb. 23 2010 at 9:45 am
Rock_Lobster BRONZE, Cochranville, Pennsylvania
4 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
The wind blows my hair and blows mind
The wind so soft so fluffy takes its time
It touchs the the grass so smooth and fine
The wind pushes it self through everything
To keep this wind going strong
You must sing a beatuiful song
The wind blows my hair and my mind
You can feel the beatiful wind even if you`r blind

wow i really like what you wrote if you have any others posted i will read them for sure!!!! good job and keep up the good work

on Feb. 21 2010 at 5:23 pm
SimplyFiction, Arlington, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments
Wow, this is really sad, but like everyone else said, very true. Great job!

zobean GOLD said...
on Feb. 21 2010 at 8:11 am
zobean GOLD, Northfield, Massachusetts
16 articles 1 photo 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A Good player inspires themselves. A GREAT player inspires others."

I loved it and keep reading it over and over almost once a week, it is so... wow and just TRUE.

on Feb. 19 2010 at 2:54 pm
juicyfan6 BRONZE, Mount Laurel, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 46 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." - J.K. Rowling

This is sad, but true. Good job.

baby11seal said...
on Feb. 18 2010 at 9:50 pm
Wow... This is really good work. It is the sad truth, too. Nothing can help us now.

Ashly SILVER said...
on Feb. 16 2010 at 4:23 pm
Ashly SILVER, Louisville, Kentucky
9 articles 1 photo 16 comments
You are a really good writer and you speak the sad truth. The world isnt nice, its good to have people speak honestly. Please check out my work...any comments would be appreciated.

staceynyc28 said...
on Feb. 15 2010 at 12:04 am
staceynyc28, New York, New York
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments
i noe exactly wat u mean bout the world not being nice. ur writing rocks i love it!

on Feb. 10 2010 at 6:15 pm
the_Horsegirl SILVER, Minneapolis, Minnesota
8 articles 0 photos 118 comments

Favorite Quote:
People need dreams, there's as much nourishment in 'em as food.
--Dorothy Gilman

If there is such a thing as truth, it is as intricate and hidden as a crown of feathers.
--Isaac Bashevis Singer

You are such a good writer. I admit, when I started reading, I assumed it would be "one of those heart-warming stories". But it wasn't at all!

Please check out my work? I'd appreciate any comments you have!

KRAZY106 said...
on Feb. 10 2010 at 3:48 pm
sad.............=( i loved it though yall should read this

on Feb. 10 2010 at 1:33 pm
pemaquid BRONZE, Rockport, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This is so inspirational and sad. Its great that you're sharing this story