The first thing I remember is singing. All of us. My mom, dad, Claire, Michelle, Allison, and myself, were all in the car singing along to “We’re A Family”.
The last thing I remember is hearing Claire yelling, “TREE!” I remember feeling like I was floating over myself. I remember sirens and screaming. I remember people rushing towards me, pulling me away from the seat. I remember seeing a tree. Then, it goes blank. Nothing.
“Nico?” A guys voice echoes in my head. I feel like I know it. I just can’t remember…
“Nicole. You’re awake.” A face comes into view and it all comes together. Jackson. My boyfriend. The guy I love.
“Jackson?” I faintly whisper. It’s all I can muster, my throat it too dry.
“Oh Nico.” He leans over and wipes my bangs away from my forehead and kisses me. “I missed you.”
“I missed you too.” I replied.
“I need to go get a nurse, we’ve been waiting for you to wake up.”
“Stay with me. Please.” I need to see someone I love. Just for a little while.
“I will. I promise.” He kisses me again and then pokes his head out the door to signal a nurse.
“She’s awake!” A nurse says as she comes in the door.
A team of nurses and doctors come flooding in the door, carrying machines of all sorts and plugging them into different sockets in the wall. Jackson comes in and sits down in a chair in the back. I’m just glad he’s here. Doctors push buttons and yell things at nurses, who make notes and grab things off shelves. Too. Much. Commotion…
“Hon?” My eyes open again to see a sweet looking nurse standing over me.
“Where’s Jackson?” Is my first thought.
“He’s in the waiting room, sleeping. He was about to fall over from lack of sleep.” She replied, chuckling.
“Where’s my mom?” I ask, thinking of her face and eyes.
The nurses face deepens. “She’s not here sweetie.”
“What do you mean not here? She has to be here! If I was here, she would be right next to me! Not YOU!” I scream. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. This isn’t who I am.
Jackson rushes in the door. “Nico?”
“Jack, tell her my mom would be here.”
“Nico… You’re mom won’t be coming.” He says, crouching down next to my cot. “She’s dead.”
Tears begin to roll down my cheeks. It starts to come back to me. Her face, smiling and singing along in the car, and then a flash of light, a scream, and her face, bloody on the airbag. Then, it goes black. “Alli? Claire? Michelle?”
“Alli and Michelle.” I want to cry, for happiness. At least two my sisters, two of the ones who know everything, are alive. Claire…
“Daddy?” My dad has always been one of the closest people to me. The one who pushes me to be myself, and no one else. To never aspire to be more like my sisters.
“I’m sorry Nico.” I can feel my sees begin to well, salty tears rolling down my face.
“No. No.” Was all I could whisper.
Jackson knelt down on my bed and held me in his big strong arms while I cried for my family. For my mom, my dad, and Claire. For Jeff who lost the woman he loved.
The next morning I woke up to find Jackson asleep in on the couch they had moved in for him, and a steady beeping coming from some machine of the many, next to me. I sat up in bed and looked around my hospital room for the first time. The walls were white, the furniture was white, the floor was white. The lights and Jackson’s sweatshirt were the only things that had any color. I thought of my room at home. The sky blue walls, my pink closet from when I painted it in 2nd grade. My bright orange bedspread and my electric green pillows. I had always been a person who loved color, and loved the feeling it gave me. This room was just too… White. I looked over to find a “CALL A NURSE” button next to my bed. I pressed the button and waited for someone to appear. I needed color. Now.
“Miss?” The sweet-looking nurse popped her head in the room.
“Yes, is it possible for me to switch rooms?” I asked her, hoping the answer was yes, and that room would a lot more colorful than this one.
“Well… That depends…” She thought for a minute before giving me a firm answer. “What would you like in it?”
“Color. Lots of it.” I replied, “Just a room with lots of color.”
“I think we can do that…” The nurse replied, winked, and popped back out into the hall.
My new room was a olive green with sky blue trim on the windows. The room was designed for little kids, and it had a table and an extra bed in the corner, specifically for parents who wanted to stay with their kid overnight. It became Jackson’s new bed for the time being. We spent every waking hour together. He brought Checkers, Chess, Skip-Bo, Clue, SORRY!, anything to keep me happy. He even brought sappy love movies, which he absolutely hates. He is probably the only thing that kept me from busting the hell out of that hospital. Him and my sisters. I learned that Michelle was in the Burn unit with Highly Intenive Care, and Alli was in a recovery wing. She had a concussion and was still recovering. I had the mildest burns and bruises.
I learned a few things about hospitals while staying in one. A) Nurses are a lot nicer than you think, and are much more preferable than doctors. B) The food sucks. C) Everything is white. Even the furniture! D) I am never going into the medical profession. Ever.
“Miss Nicole?” My nurse had sneaked into my room.
“Yeah Nancy?” My nurse and I had become very acquainted over the past few days.
“Alli just woke up miss. Would you care to see her?”
Alli. Awake. Alive. I can see her.
“Miss?” Oh right, she asked me a question.
“Yes. I would love to see her.”
“I’m assuming right away?”
“I’ll go let the nurse know!” She practically ran out of the door. My new friend, Nancy, knows that I have been waiting and counting each day until I can see either of them. I knew the it would be sooner for me to see Alli, because the doctors are trying to rebuilding Michelle’s skin. She is having trouble breathing though, which is causing some problems. They think she may have a respiratory infection.
“Jackson!” I whisper into the corner.
“Huh?” He says sitting up.
“Alli just woke up!”
He looks at me. “You serious?”
“Yeah! They just came and told me!”
“That’s great!” He says, coming over to sit down next to me. “When can you see her?”
“Soon. I hope.” I reply.
“Jackson?” I ask, after a while.
“I love you.”
“Oh Nico.” He leans down as kisses me, hard, and with passion. Just like the kisses we used to share outside my front door when we first started dating. “I love you too.” He whispers into my ear. He loves me. Jackson loves me.
Alli is lying down in her cot, eyes fluttering open and closed. She looks so vulnerable and alone. I want her to be with me, or have someone to be with her, like Jackson is with me.
“Alli?” I whisper, walking towards her.
“Nic? Is that you?” She whispers back.
I look down at my sister lying in a cot, just awake from a coma. “Yeah… It’s me.” I reply.
“Is mom here?” She doesn’t remember.
“Where is she?” She cries out, “Where is mom?”
“Alli. Listen to me!”
She gazed up at me in surprise. “What?” She asks, seeing that something is clearly wrong.
“Mom, she-won’t ever be here.” I barely whisper.
“Oh.” Alli says, lying back down. “Oh.” She repeates, and then I see a tear roll down her cheek.
“I know Alli, I know.” I lie down next to here and we hold each other, protecting ourselves from whatever comes our way.
“I never got to say goodbye.” Alli whispers, thinking of our mom.
“Me neither.” I reply, sighing. We both lost a part of our lives. Permanently.
“Is dad alive? Claire? Michelle?” She asks looking up at me.
“Only Michelle, but she’s barely holding up. She is in intensive care.”
“Oh.” She says, pondering this thought. “Nic? Will you call Micheal?”
I had totally forgotten about Micheal, her boyfriend. That is who she needs right now. “Yeah. I’ll call in a minute. Do you need anything?”
“Will you do my makeup? Please? I feel like I look like crap.”I laugh at her, seeing how strong she is trying to be. “Sure.”