A New Reality
“Name, please.” “Sandra. Sandra Paulmonson.” “Alright, Ms. Paulmonson, the doctor will see you now. “ As I walked past the receptionist, the only thing that popped was her flashy, white-toothed smile. Could you be any more fake? I thought. It was her job, to have a generic beam plastered wide across her face. I was tempted to ask her if I could borrow that, her smile… she’d only think I was kidding, but I hear that smiling, no matter if it’s genuine or generic, can trick your body that you are happy. These days, I can hardly think about anything, let alone exert the energy to smile. “Hello, Sandra,” said the doctor as I seated myself in the seat facing him. There was a somber air around him, and I felt he really understood the situation at hand. He was genuine. I waved. “I heard what happened,” he said. “ Would you like to tell me about it?” Brief and concise. No I do not want to I do not want to think I do not want to remember I want to stay home and sleep be miserable hell all I really want is a second chance… a second chance Instead, I mumbled, “Yes.” ———— “We were driving home from school, my little brother sitting in the back seat, experiencing heavy rain. I was always a decent driver, so you would never expect…” I could feel the tears, “that I could cause something like that.” “Go on,” said the doctor. “You see, I had applied for early admissions at Yale, and that’s when the acceptances went around. We were stopped at a red light, so I decided to check to see if there was any news. But I had left my foot on the brake and…” I could barely talk through the gasps for air and the sobs. “And the car kept going as it hit the bridge of the freeway ahead of us and we fell. When I came to, my body felt mangled, ragdolled. I turned over, and…. I…. couldn’t…. I couldn’t find Ricky. I let myself go, and the next thing I knew, I was in the hospital with injuries to my head and chest and that Ricky… Ricky was in critical condition in a medically induced coma.” That is when I completely let myself go. “And do you wanna know the worst part, doc?” I laughed bitterly. “I got deferred from early admissions. Deferred! And I risked it just so that my sweet, nine year old brother could be stuck in his deathbed! I thought the people who get themselves in car accidents were supposed to be the ones that died. That’s their fault, you know, and they paid the price? But I think they really die just to get away from the repercussions; so tell me, why am I still here? Why do I have to see my family suffer, feel my heart burn and twist, because of one, silly, decision?!?” The doctor smiled and said, “Because whatever is done is done. This is how you make amends- you live with the guilt of knowing what you did every day. You pray to God that your brother will get better, but your main job now is to deal with the wake of the storm. You left the eye of the storm, and now, it’s time to face your new reality.” And for the first time in a while, I flashed a smile, not because things were suddenly better, but because I was able to come to terms with my new reality.