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 Feb. 9 2010 at 6:28 pm
NaCheezIt SILVER, Missouri City, Texas
8 articles 1 photo 14 comments
This is beautiful. My mother is from Medellin, but she left because of the war. This story really was excellent and I was surprised to read such a painful yet amazing story about something that happens so often.


stoked888 said...
on Feb. 8 2010 at 1:34 pm
thank you soo much, u changed my life i dont do drugs any more this really is an inspirational story, im the girl u put the sweater on thankyou

Sexy Chick said...
on Feb. 4 2010 at 10:10 pm
omg i love this its so kool su sup KANE lol

on Feb. 4 2010 at 10:09 pm
oh my god this so so awesome the way u wrote this

neo rox said...
on Feb. 4 2010 at 10:06 pm
great story and great picture yaaaaa

kanestar said...
on Feb. 4 2010 at 10:02 pm
this is a awesome picture, story!

on Feb. 1 2010 at 8:06 pm
Kayla326 BRONZE, Ventnor, New Jersey
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I love love this article.It is the best article I have ever read. It is so strong and it shines a light on how cruel reality is and how we all pay no attention and try to block it out of are minds when things like this are happening all over all the time.

on Jan. 30 2010 at 12:57 pm
Mzday73 PLATINUM, Princeton Junction, New Jersey
31 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth." -Mark Twain

So strong and inspirational!!!

on Jan. 30 2010 at 11:34 am
Allissa Younan BRONZE, Warwick, New York
3 articles 0 photos 4 comments
this was extremely inspirational and so real. it brought about how people actually were regardless of the kind acts. great job! check out my work, let me knowwhat you think:)

iOWNyU BRONZE said...
on Jan. 22 2010 at 10:32 pm
iOWNyU BRONZE, Bridgeport, Connecticut
2 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
what comes around goes around

this was a very touching story it brought tears to my eyes

courtneylynn said...
on Jan. 15 2010 at 7:30 pm
this was so good..... life deff. has its ups and downs but we all just have to stay strong from them and not turn to drugs or anything crazy

on Jan. 14 2010 at 7:32 pm
denise_2012 BRONZE, Gainesville, Alabama
3 articles 0 photos 1 comment
great article..really kept my attention and i can relate to it

NirvanaROx! said...
on Jan. 14 2010 at 7:49 am
I really enjoyed this and made me think about how i should live my life.... many of us would've just join the people walking away but she actually took the time to care

on Jan. 13 2010 at 11:48 pm
Autumn Williams BRONZE, Irvine, California
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
This article was truly amazing, even though you think it is not inspirational, it is. When i read this i get out of my own little bubble that is my world and step into reality, i see what its like, and i want to do what you did, even if it meant almost nothing to her, at least some one cared.

auna123 BRONZE said...
on Jan. 13 2010 at 3:21 pm
auna123 BRONZE, Bethel, Alaska
1 article 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten." B.F. skinner

so true it kinda reminds me of that song "if every one cared" by nickel back

lover212 said...
on Jan. 13 2010 at 1:47 pm
that is so sad! i wouldnt think its true. THIS WORLD IS DANGRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kyak said...
on Jan. 13 2010 at 12:33 am
i will translate this aticle into chinese,thank lot

Cynnamon said...
on Jan. 9 2010 at 12:00 am
Cynnamon, Corpus Christi, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Pasty white...like a Midwesterner at the pool!" - Hoops & Yoyo

This was such a beautiful article. So very sad and yet so very true. It is a shame not many people are as kind.

on Jan. 7 2010 at 10:05 pm
fall_from_grace SILVER, Lakeside, Arizona
6 articles 6 photos 56 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Most people are other people. Their thoughts someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."
-Oscar Wilde
(yes, I do note the irony in quoting this)

I am not religious, and when your only connection with people talking about their religions involves being told you need to change, to find god, you can become prejudice. But sometimes people remind me that the good people in this world have a kinship beyond belief in god, or color of skin, or any other difference. I can't tell you that Jesus was with you, but I can say I was. And every other sister and brother who would have felt that poor girls pain. The pain that she could not feel, so someone must. Thank you, so very much, for caring about her. A little part of all of us is this girl, abandoned and rejected, thank you so much for caring about us.

on Jan. 6 2010 at 12:58 pm
Toxic-NigHtMaRe BRONZE, Columbus, Montana
2 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If it makes you less sad, I will die by your hand
Hope you find out what you are; already know what I am...
A crown of gold, a heart that's harder than stone
And it hurts to hold on, but it's missed when it's gone" -Brand New-

This was amazing...I agree that it more people cared than this world would be a much better place to live in...I live in the USA and I see people just like the girl you described who sell thier body and soul to a stranger for drugs and it hurts to see that they want to change but they just can't. I always wish i could help them that i could melt away all their problems...but I am only a 16 year old kid who plays hardcore music and i Can't change very much no matter what. I can't change the world even though i still try to...This was awesome. Keep on writing. I look forward to seeing more work from you.