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.

cfcdog13 said...
on Mar. 4 2011 at 9:57 am
This is cool

ImJustMe said...
on Mar. 3 2011 at 8:52 pm
Actually, SHE DIDN'T NECESARRILY CHOOSE THAT LIFE. If she were given the option, she would have chosen to live in a nice country without poverty. She wouldn't have chosen much of what came her way. The girl is only a young teen, not an adult, and is naiive. She didn't chose her poverty, she was born into it. One little slip or naive childish mistake and BAM! you're lying on the ground in the street, high, poor, homeless, and nearly dead. So please think before you accuse her of choosing her own life, it isn't always an option if you want to have to be burdened by something beyond her control. Maybe she grew up around drugs and was taught by her parents it was OK to do drugs, and if a child can't trust her parents, what can she do? Thank you.

MKimmi said...
on Mar. 2 2011 at 6:29 pm
MKimmi, NY, New York
0 articles 0 photos 103 comments
Why do british spelling use s instead of z?

MKimmi said...
on Mar. 2 2011 at 6:26 pm
MKimmi, NY, New York
0 articles 0 photos 103 comments
I thoguth I read this article once before somewhere, but it had like exactly the same words for teh most parts, but the girl came back alive adn she wasn't a drug addict

on Mar. 1 2011 at 1:11 pm
LiviHatcher BRONZE, Mexia, Texas
1 article 0 photos 6 comments
Lovedd this, God bless Yoou :)

on Mar. 1 2011 at 12:57 pm
xXprettybrowneyesXx SILVER, Coonrapids, Minnesota
7 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"find hope where darkness hides and where truth and lies are indifferent . "
Best friend Taylorr :)

wow , that was a really good story. was it true? it made me feel exactly as you may have..

on Feb. 26 2011 at 4:59 pm
Justbeme SILVER, Burlington, Washington
8 articles 0 photos 15 comments
I really like how you wrote this it showed the emotions very clearly. I have felt like this before and I liked how you expressed your feelings.

on Feb. 20 2011 at 8:16 pm
xJuneBugx BRONZE, Plymouth, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 14 comments
that was heartbreaking yet amazing. even if she doesn't recognize your kindness, you will always know. and that can give you peace of mind and soul. God bless :)

Kelsers120 said...
on Feb. 18 2011 at 2:55 pm
This is really sad, but it can open up so many people's eyes. I really like the description in it and i like how the feelings are brought out. This is really good. Good job, keep it up!

on Feb. 17 2011 at 8:29 pm
blues_are.still_blue BRONZE, Southampton, Pennsylvania
3 articles 0 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
This sentence is false.
- Unknown

There are two spellings. Civilisation(British) and Civilization (American).

on Feb. 11 2011 at 10:08 am
TeenInk-is-good, Swampscott, Massachusetts
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
altho i fly thru the valley of death i shall fear no evil for i am 80,000 feet and climbing


on Feb. 11 2011 at 10:04 am
TeenInk-is-good, Swampscott, Massachusetts
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
altho i fly thru the valley of death i shall fear no evil for i am 80,000 feet and climbing

she chose that life its too bad, now she is a crack head and its too late to save her  R.I.P. 

on Feb. 10 2011 at 11:50 am
TheAmazingJoysie BRONZE, Cork, Other
4 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
'Your going to die anyway so you might as well craft.' The Anticraft

my heart aches reading this and knowing that no matter how hard we try some wounds will never heal and it is wrong to cover up the wounds and scars of our civilisation

on Feb. 10 2011 at 8:05 am
CassidyMarturana BRONZE, Califon, New Jersey
1 article 4 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life isn't about just waiting out the storm. It's about learning to dance in the rain."

Wow. That was amazing!!!!!!!!! :)

on Feb. 9 2011 at 8:12 pm
buddhist.chick SILVER, City, Michigan
6 articles 4 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I write to ease the passing of time."
Jorge Luis Borges

Sorry, I meant to start a new cmt, not reply to yours!

--sarah SILVER said...
on Feb. 9 2011 at 6:03 pm
--sarah SILVER, Andover, Massachusetts
5 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.
~Louisa May Alcott

Absolutely amazing. Truly.

The act of kindness was balanced perfectly with the realization that not everything in life is fairytales and butterflies-- perhaps no one's life would be drastically changed by your action, but maybe it was important anyway. The writing was fabulous... I hope you never stop(:

on Feb. 9 2011 at 12:14 pm
BlackXxXKisses SILVER, Niles, Ohio
9 articles 4 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
You don't know what you've got til its gone.

This makes my heart ache. I just don't see how people can ignore a scene such as this. I can't explain  the feeling I get when I realize my, our, world has come to. We all lice here. We are all human! You wouldn't let your brother, sister, mother, father, son, daughter sit there as he/she rotted. We are all the same no matter what differences we have. 

on Feb. 9 2011 at 7:58 am
Griffinwing SILVER, Manchester, Michigan
9 articles 0 photos 37 comments
Beautiful, beautiful. Such a lovely act, such a lovely writing. Maybe perhaps some day, whether through your words or through your actions, this world can be changed

RozaB SILVER said...
on Feb. 5 2011 at 8:08 pm
RozaB SILVER, Milpitas, California
8 articles 0 photos 39 comments
Very powerful. I wish more people would be as genuinely nice as that. 

wilden_lover said...
on Feb. 1 2011 at 8:23 am
that was so nice of  wow u to do dat u are a speical peerson...