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.

EmelyJ GOLD said...
on Jan. 1 2010 at 8:43 pm
EmelyJ GOLD, Bronx, New York
10 articles 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A mistake is not a mistake if you learn from it. If you learn from it, it's not a mistake, it's a lesson."

Eso fue muy lindo y verda. This was very true and inspirational. Que Dios se quede con tigo.

on Dec. 30 2009 at 8:15 pm
Nicolioliolsterz_1 GOLD, Manassas, Virginia
14 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy.
Scott Alexander

A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.
Emily Dickinson

Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.
Emily Dickinson

"she was breathing,but wasn't alive." Thats the best sentence in my opinion.

Mick said...
on Dec. 25 2009 at 5:13 pm
WOW that was really sad but the way she cared about some grl on the street if more ppl were like that in thisw world then maybe we could get along !

kakashi1992 said...
on Dec. 23 2009 at 11:34 am

on Dec. 19 2009 at 9:19 pm
Lisa-marie SILVER, New Haven, Connecticut
5 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Most of our lives are a series of images, they pass us by like towns on a highway. But sometimes a moment stuns us as it happens and we know that this instant is more than a fleeting image. We know that this moment, every part of it, will live on forever...

this really was qood.

LaVonna SILVER said...
on Dec. 17 2009 at 3:30 pm
LaVonna SILVER, Owatonna, Minnesota
6 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
"dont let education get in your way of learning" -my American Lit teacher

this was sooo good :) ♥it!

husla@ BRONZE said...
on Dec. 17 2009 at 6:49 am
husla@ BRONZE, Roslyn Hights, New York
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:


husla@ BRONZE said...
on Dec. 17 2009 at 6:48 am
husla@ BRONZE, Roslyn Hights, New York
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:


CH01C3 BRONZE said...
on Dec. 15 2009 at 9:37 pm
CH01C3 BRONZE, Hartland, Wisconsin
2 articles 0 photos 7 comments
This was a touching story and a beautiful action. Just think, if every person stopped to care, the world would be so much less ugly.

on Dec. 13 2009 at 11:08 pm
emmajumbilia SILVER, Bellingham, Washington
5 articles 8 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
"As soon as you stop wanting something, you get it" - Andy Warhol

This is beautifully written, and your story touched my heart. Don't stop writing! :]

on Dec. 13 2009 at 11:16 am
abbycadabby3 BRONZE, NJ, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"A true friend walks in when the rest of the world walks out"

Omg i love this! So well detailed! So sad thought:( Keep on writing!! :D

on Dec. 11 2009 at 11:46 am
Alexandra Ruiz BRONZE, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 2 comments
i love this.. it reminds me my country Dominican Republic.

on Dec. 10 2009 at 5:57 pm
TFkNS_14 SILVER, Bowling Green, Kentucky
5 articles 94 photos 38 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."
-Henry Van Dyke

that was really sad but at the same time a tstimony to what we all should feel the need to do when we see someone in trouble or pain or suffering. Jesus really did use you to help that girl, just keep praying for her,

TEAM JACOB said...
on Dec. 10 2009 at 3:18 pm

HonorLHall said...
on Dec. 9 2009 at 10:51 pm
hi this is absolutely amazing!!!

j,m said...
on Dec. 7 2009 at 3:06 pm
wao thi is cool

on Dec. 5 2009 at 12:31 pm
HurtTiger SILVER, Jacksonville, Florida
9 articles 2 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
Sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind.
No risk, no reward


on Dec. 3 2009 at 12:50 pm
Anastasia Gibson, Aroura, Colorado
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This is a wonderful heart touching story. If more people like you started to care more about the people around them wether there strangers or not, they should do something good for them bcause they know its right. This article is one of my most favorite writing pieces!!! You did a great job!

on Dec. 2 2009 at 10:02 pm
lexrex95 BRONZE, Littleton, Colorado
2 articles 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"The world needs your beautiful light, so shine on!\"

wow. this story touched me and almost made me cry. im so sorry yu had to see that and hope that you wont have to again.

fishie5 SILVER said...
on Dec. 1 2009 at 8:24 am
fishie5 SILVER, Christiana, Pennsylvania
7 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since. "
-Salvador Dali

beautiful....thouching...makes you think about the unseen in the world.