Note to My Younger Self | Teen Ink

Note to My Younger Self

September 16, 2014
By SpidersAcrossStars PLATINUM, Hayward, California
SpidersAcrossStars PLATINUM, Hayward, California
36 articles 0 photos 160 comments

Favorite Quote:
For you, a thousand times over.

When mom and dad come up and ask to talk to your sister downstairs, keep on watching T.V. And however selfish it may seem, you are only ten years old and you deserve a couple more moments of ignorance. For all you know, she is in trouble. Enjoy these moments. They are simple and things will not stay like this for much longer. Turn to your brother and casually snicker at her impending punishment. Press your back up against worn cushion of the couch. Notice the dull, blue hue that the television reflects on to the living room walls. It’s sort of pretty, isn’t it?  Only when you hear the cruel shriek of sobbing that you recognize as coming from your sisters throat, do I give you permission to panic. There it is.  Okay, you can panic. You do not need to bang on the door for them to let you in. They will do it willingly. When you enter the room, you will see your sister curled up on your dad’s lap, her tears sliding down his dark, sturdy neck. Dad is crying too. Five years later, it is still the first and last time you ever saw him cry. You knew that something was very, very wrong.
You and your brother sit there. Your are bodies awkwardly stiff and filled with tension. Through a series of broken sentences and choked words, you find out that your sister has a brain tumor and surgery is required. You are relieved to find out that it isn’t cancerous, but it does not change the fact that you want out of this room. It is too small to hold so much fear. You twist your head from side to side, your eyes searching for a safe spot to land because right now anybody’s eyes would prove to be too much. You should scoot over next your mom. Maybe hold her hand. It would make her feel better. You do not do that. Instead, you sink into yourself and wait. Now, I know that you are young, but you are being very selfish. Snap out of it. Say something reassuring. Do anything but what you are doing right now. No? Fine then. Sit there.
When you are finally excused, you clumsily pat your sister on the back and tell her that everything will be okay in a whisper that is barely audible. You run out of there. Where are running too? You should have hugged her. You really should have.
It is not okay to pray for blindness. That is exactly what you did when mom confided in you and told you that there was a fifty percent chance that your sister could go blind during the operation. It was a heavy secret to carry. Fifty is a high percentage and you were scared. So, you prayed to God that if anybody had to go blind, that it would be you. That prayer didn’t make any sense. God would never inflict blindness on to you in place of another, but it’s okay. I think He knew what you meant. You don’t have to be so frightened. She will keep her vision. Nobody is going blind, so you can relax.  Mom and dad are really struggling right now. They are only human and they are just as fragile as the rest of us. Remember this when you are mad at them for something stupid. They are trying the best they can and nobody is perfect. You should know this.
The hospital is so bright. You nearly have to squint your eyes when you walk down the hallways. Why is everything white? Despite the persistent fragrance of cafeteria food and rubber and the constant clicking of shoes on the shiny, tiled floors, the hospital isn’t so bad. You actually think this place is kind of nice. Such a beautiful building fulfilling such a sad purpose.
Try to picture a time when we won’t need hospitals anymore. Remember the prophecy in the book of Isaiah. A time when “no resident will say ‘I am sick.’” Remind your family of that promise and let it wash away some of the anxiety and frustration that they are holding in. You can help if you really want to. In places like this, where hopelessness seeps out from under the doors, good things are easily forgotten. And don’t forget; even though you aren’t the patient, the gameroom is always open to you. You should have gone there more often. It would have been time better spent than sitting in the uncomfortable lobby chairs mulling over things that you could not change. I’m sure that grandpa wouldn’t have minded playing another round or two of Wii Bowling with you.
The day of the surgery, you notice that everybody is quiet. They walked like their bodies were made of glass and one wrong step would send them shattering all over those tiled floors that the hospital staff tried so hard to keep clean. Unsure of what to do or how to act, you mimicked their demeanor. You kept your head down and your thoughts to yourself. Yes, it would have been nice if you had been a little more optimistic. But, I know you were afraid too.
You watched as they led her away surrounded by a cloud of the people that loved her. Oh, yeah. And thanks for giving her a hug instead of a pat on the back before she left. That was a good idea. Now, all you have to do is wait. Six hours later, you are still waiting. I know you want to stay and wait it out for the night, but you should really go home. Your family thinks so too. That’s why your aunt woke you up and told you that you were going home with her. Keep your mouth shut and don’t try to argue. You will lose and have to go home anyway. Try to make things as easy as possible. Enjoy the car ride home. You have always liked car rides, especially at night when all the city lights are shining. I want you to know that even under such taxing circumstances, you did a pretty good job. Remember that life is a gamble. You never know how things are going to turn out. There will be times when life tries to knock you down and sometimes it will succeed. Just remember to get back up, straighten your shirt and wipe the dust off your knees. Your sister will never have perfect health until God decides to fix things and make her right again. I don’t know how long that will be, but you have to be patient. When she isn’t doing so well, do not be resentful when you have to carry some of her load. An extra batch of dishes isn’t going to kill you. When you wake up in the morning,  your aunt will drive you back to the hospital. They will let you know that the surgery was successful and that your sister is okay. Mom and dad are okay too. And so are you. We are all okay. But,  that isn’t until the morning. Right now, it’s almost one o'clock and you look tired. You should really get some sleep.

The author's comments:

Written in English class in the style of Julie Orringer's "Note to My Sixth Grade Self". 

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