Just a Little Bit of Hope
The boy twitched for a bit, as he attempted to move his body and did everything in his part to open his eyes, but with all of his strength he only had the ability to slightly crack open his eyes. It was the first ray of light the boy had seen in over a month but it felt to him as if it had been years. His eyes ached all over from the struggle to keep them open and finally they forced themselves shut again. The pain was too great. In the background, he could hear murmurs of people speaking to him, encouraging him, but he could not make out exactly whom it was or what was being said. He tried to concentrate on the tones and voices but he could not process anything that was being said. His state of mind was a complete fog and everything felt as if it was a dream, but this time he knew it was reality. He felt a small amount of pressure on his right hand but otherwise his body was numb. He suddenly became overwhelmed with fright and anxiety as he tried to piece together where he was and what had happened. He went to scream but it was hopeless and nothing, not even a peep came out of his mouth. Then he felt an impulsive rush of exhaustion come over himself and without a second thought about it, he was back asleep. He had drifted right back into his coma.
His mother was patiently waiting at the side of his bed, gripping firmly onto his right hand in hopes of it somehow bringing him back to life. She felt hopeless and worthless without her son by her side, and even though he was physically there, his mind and soul was missing.
Her son had been in a coma for eight days now. She vigilantly sat there day and night in hopes of him coming to. She had seen him jerk around a few times so that gave her some promise that he could feel her presence. At night, she would kneel by his side and squeeze her hands together as firmly as she could and pray to God for her son’s health. And every night at the same point of her prayer, she would break down into hysterics and beg for mercy and forgiveness from the Lord. It was as if she took the blame for her son’s nearly fatal accident even though she was not present for it.
“Please,” she would cry aloud to God, “please don’t take away the one thing that has any meaning left to me in the world.”
It was very depressing for the night shift nurses to watch the boy’s mother during her nightly prayer and wonder about what else this family has endured in the past, but they knew their places and that it was better if they stayed out of it. The most horrible thing for them to watch was the destruction this boy suffered because of this ridiculous accident and of course the fact that the mother was in denial of his recovery. Everyone who had heard about this accident knew that the boy was going to be impaired for life, but the mother swore, “He will make a full recovery; he is a very strong-willed boy.” The nurses supposed that it was probably easier for the mother to deny what was inevitably going to happen, especially since the boy had not even pulled out of the coma yet.
The overwhelming physical damage he had sustained made it difficult for anyone to look at him without a shudder and a disapproving shake of the head. His once beautiful brilliant blue eyes, or what seemed to be the area his eyes would be in, were covered in black and blue and looked like little mounds on his face because of the swelling. The swelling restricted any way for the boy to be able to open his eyes although the doctors were doing the best they could to treat this. His head was completely wrapped up and underneath the bandages laid a five-inch gash that had been sewn together for the time being. The impact on this boy’s head had been so great that the doctors worried of some kind of internal bleeding, but fortunately, the boy had none, which astonished them. The boy’s jaw had been broken in two places and was now wired together. In fact, almost every facial bone had been broken and his face was completely disfigured. No one would ever be able to recognize who this person was if they saw him, not even his mother. It was hard to believe that a boy that was so identifiable by his beautiful facial features was now going to be thought of as a freak. His ribs had been crushed and his vertebrae crunched. It seemed as if the only parts on his body that were not significantly damaged, besides a few scratches and bruises, were his legs, which was a shame since they would probably never be of use to him ever again.
As the boy was drifting back into his coma, he was having some sort of dream. Actually, it felt more like a nightmare. There was a flash of light and then some wild type of movement and he remembered feeling excruciating pain. This type of dream kept repeating itself over and over again in his mind, each time with a little more detail of what was going on. He realized he was in a car, in the backseat with his girlfriend. He remembered some laughing and horseplay going on in the car. He remembered enjoying himself. Then that flash of light, it horrified him and then this traffic-stopping scream escaped from his girlfriend’s mouth. Everything was happening so fast, he could not make out what else was going on. He felt dizzy and completely disoriented and then everything stopped. There was not a sound in the car anymore. Next, came that agonizing pain that was felt all over his body.
The boy was exceptionally baffled by these images and sounds. Where were they coming from? Unexpectedly, everything connected in his mind and he figured out what had happened. The extreme realization awoke him from his coma and he turned over a few times and made a slight groaning noise. He still could not see a thing and realized that he could not move his mouth as well. He felt the grip on his right hand tighten and he listened as hard as he could to a voice that was calling his name.
“Seth, Seth, its Mom, I’m here baby, its ok, its ok,” his mother managed to spit out between her sobs and tears. She watched as he tried to squeeze her hand to show her his recognition but the pain appeared to be too much for him as he groaned louder and louder at his failed attempts to clutch her hand. A tear snuck out of his swollen shut eyes and rolled down his cheek. The sight of her feeble son broke her heart. She wanted to stay strong for her boy but she could not take the pain of witnessing his strain.
“Save your energy baby, you’re gonna need it” she whispered into his ear as she leaned over and gently kissed his forehead. She knew it was going to be a long and hard trip back to his recovery. The nurses rushed in to tend to Seth and the mother stepped back and placed herself in a nearby chair. She cupped her face with her hands as the tears streamed from her eyes uncontrollably. “It’s all my fault,” she thought as she drifted into her own world, “I never should have married that monster and allowed him to be around my son for all those years. Look at what it has cost him.” She was always so hard on herself when it came to that subject. She thought he was the one that he was her knight in shining armor that was going to remove her from any troubles she endured in her life, but she was wrong, dead wrong. He became all the troubles in her life.
She worked double shifts at the diner and had dealt with many disgruntled customers in her days but this guy was one for the books. The coffee tasted like dirt, the eggs were cold and the bread was either not toasted enough or too burnt to be edible. Right off the bat, she decided this guy was a real jerk. She tried to avoid him at every cost and wished every morning that she would not have to see his face, but he some how took a liking to her and consistently showed up at her assigned tables. Daily she would complain to the other servers about this asshole who would not leave her alone and how every morning his alcohol stained breath disgusted her. She could not understand why a successful businessperson as himself would return day after day to harass her, but everyone that worked there knew why. She was stunningly beautiful and young, very young. Right out of high school, she began her career at the local diner to hopefully make enough money to be able to put herself through college. Her family had a very low income and there was no way that her mother could endure the costs of sending her daughter to a university along with supporting her two younger brothers through their high school years. She felt as if her life was hopeless, and the only escape she had from it all, was working the early bird and night owl shifts at the local diner with the alcoholic businessman, who adored her.
He was the man. Anthony Weisman the great investment banker, he thought to himself. These past few years he had been doing exceptionally well. And along with the larger flow of income came his enormously large ego. He was on top and there was nothing that could bring him down, he decided. Morning after morning he ate his breakfast at his neighborhood diner claiming that watching the servers was his motivation to work his ass off. He would never become one the bottom feeders of the world as these ones were. However, there was that one waitress he could not keep his eyes off. She was tall, thin and blue-eyed with a sweet natured look on her face. Maryann was her name and was his daily slave for his breakfast needs. She patiently waited on him and dealt with his extremely meticulous desires with great kindness. Of course, she better have done a good job with the fantastic tips he leaves her. He studied her every morning and tried to come up with new ways to find a way to make her his own. She was vulnerable and he knew it, and he determined the only way to her heart was going to be his wealth.
Maryann stormed off and away from his table as she tried to logically explain to herself why a man like him would constantly ask her on a date. He treats me like dirt on a daily basis and then thinks he can make it up with a night out in the city, what an arrogant jerk, she thought. She continued with her daily tasks at the diner trying to think up of an excuse she could give to this man, but honestly, she did not have one. It was the one night she had off and even more, when was the last time she actually was able to go out and enjoy herself. Screw it, she decided, even if this guy is a raging asshole, I am going to go out and have myself a good time. She walked back over to him and filled his cup of coffee to the brim waiting for him to make some rude comment.
“Listen sweetie, here’s my business card it has my numbers on it, home and cell, if you ever want to reconsider my offer then just give me a call cause I’ll be waiting for it.”
He gave her a sly wink as he passed her the card. She studied it carefully and read his name and position. Anthony Weisman, investment banker. Cha-ching.
“So Anthony, I see you’re an investment banker, how is that going nowadays?”
“Well babe, I’m doing better then ever, it seems that I can’t go wrong,” he knew that he was in as he smirked and added, “so how about that date?”
That was the beginning of the end. He won her over that night and even got her to enjoy his company in the slightest bit. He picked her up on time with flowers in hand and he accompanied her to the fanciest restaurant for an exquisite dinner followed by an evening of dancing in a private lounge. He knew exactly what he was doing and played off her vulnerability to the greatest extent. This was his chance and in order for him to make her fiend for his company, he would have to devote all his energy to not being such an egomaniacal jerk. He always wanted a personal slave, he thought, and she could cook, clean, and provide sex when he beckoned. All he had to do was supply the finances to this arrangement and everything would be perfect. He worked his magic that night and watched as she practically handed her heart over to him. He really was the man.
A year later and they were married. Only of course, because she had become pregnant. She was ecstatic about this, but he was not quite as excited. To him it was just another expense to take on, but to her she was finally starting a family with her wealthy husband of whom she loved dearly, or so she convinced herself. Their marriage was a disaster, she knew it, but there was no way she could ever leave him; he had removed the hardships she had endured her entire life. She felt carefree from it all because of his support and she vowed that she would never return to that disgraceful diner she previously worked at.
His drinking was worse than ever. She wondered if it was because of her pregnancy. She tried to comfort him and often begged him to cut down on the drinking but usually all that followed that conversation was a backhand to her face and hours of hysterical crying. At night, she wondered what kind of a father he would be and she frequently prayed that he would not drink or act this way in front of their son. She often apologized for making the choice of marrying this man for the wrong reasons and pleaded with God to not punish her son for her bad decisions. Nine months later and their son Seth was brought into their world.
He could not believe he had gotten her pregnant; it was exactly what he did not want to happen in this arrangement. The worse part was of course that she was going to have the baby. Just his luck, now he was stuck with her forever. As soon as he found out about her pregnancy, his drinking became a nightly occurrence. It was the only the thing that distracted him from his work and marriage. Very often, he was belligerent and beat the hell out of her for making any kind of statement that angered or annoyed him. Dumb bitch, he thought, and she still will not leave me.
When Seth was finally born, he felt as if his life was over. He did not want any part in raising this son and for the most part, he was never around. After work, he went to the pub and drank himself into oblivion. Many times, he would not even come home at night, but when he did, not only did he inflict his rage onto his wife but now onto the new edition to their family.
Maryann worried that her husband might have another woman on the side, but regularly when she thought of it she decided it had to be some sort of blessing because when he was not around he could not abuse her or her son. She and her son endured this battery for years to come. And, although she felt as if sometimes things were going to be different, they never changed. Yet, she stuck with Anthony year after year. She watched as her son grew up into a teenager and tried to guide him down the right path. She could only hope that her miserable husband would not influence Seth’s life in a negative way. She always maintained a close relationship with her son and made her best attempts to make him into a kind and intelligent gentleman. She figured she was doing a great job by steering him away from spending time with or around his father and by directing him towards his schoolwork as an outlet. Finally, her and her son’s hard work paid off when they both received the good news. He had been accepted to Stanford University.
Seth was thrilled when he received the letter from Stanford saying that he had gotten in. His father was a deadbeat and his mother, as kind as she was, was pathetic for staying with a man like him. Seth needed to get away; he needed to move away from this life and start a new one in a place far, far away from there. Going to school at Stanford was his chance. As soon as he received the letter, he and his girlfriend sat on his bed and contemplated opening it. He decided to wait until his mother came home from her errands because she was awaiting the news just as anxiously as he was. As soon as Seth and his girlfriend heard the front door shut, they ran down the stairs and eagerly showed his mother the letter.
“Open it!” she screamed frantically.
Seth ripped open the letter and skimmed down it at quickly as possible until he found the words he had been waiting for.
“We are proud to inform you that you have been accepted to Stanford University,” he read aloud. All three of them screamed with excitement and embraced each other in a group hug.
“Well, I guess we will all have to go out tonight for a congratulatory dinner at your favorite restaurant, huh? You two go get dressed and I will call your father and have him meet us there. Congrats baby!” his mother grabbed him again and pulled him in for another hug. She was so proud of him.
Immediately Maryann picked up the phone and called her husband. Six o’clock, she thought to herself, he must already be at the pub. He picked up the phone with his usual irritated tone and she relayed the information to him. He replied with a “good for him.” She was furious; for once, could he be happy with an accomplishment his son has had? She yelled at him for a couple minutes about how he needed to be a better father, as if this time it would actually make a difference. She angrily let him know about the dinner plans and then hung up the phone, secretly hoping that he would get too drunk to remember to show up.
Seth, his mother, and his girlfriend were all enjoying themselves at dinner when Anthony came stumbling up to the table. He was definitely drunk. He gave Seth a pat on the back along with Congratulations as he sat down next to Maryann and ordered himself a Chivas on the rocks. The rest of the dinner was very awkward. There was very little conversation amongst them all and eventually they all came to a silent consensus to cut the dinner short. Anything to get away from this situation.
Just as they are about to depart Anthony blurts out that he has a surprise for Seth and that he would drive he and his girlfriend home in order to show him. Maryann knew that this could turn out to be a horrible mistake but she always contained some hope that her husband would do something for their son; some hope that someday he would pull through. This was his chance, she thought to herself as she agreed to Anthony’s proposal of bringing them home. She gave all three a hug and a kiss and told them she loved them as she shut the door to Anthony’s car. She turned around and walked down the street to her car, thanking God for finally showing Anthony the way. How could she have known that thanking God at that moment was terribly inappropriate.
During Seth’s recovery period, she often thought upon that night and how different everything would be if only she trusted what she knew was true of her husband. It all came to this just because she had to have a little bit of hope. If only, was all she could constantly think. When she was finally able to mutter the words to her son about the death of his father and girlfriend, she could not bear to see the look on his face. He was emotionless to hear of his father but to hear of his girlfriend destroyed him. The image of her son’s face at that exact moment would forever remain in her mind and nothing could ever erase it.
Maryann now watched day by day as her son tried to move any part of his body. He could not walk nor would he ever be able to, he was learning how to talk again, and he needed extensive plastic surgery to bring his face back to a proportional state. She could not believe that she and Seth’s life had come to this. She had to deal with two deaths along with the fact that her son’s life was forever changed. We all had our chance, she thought, we had our chance to break away from this life. Ironically, this was what it all had come to; this was the beginning of their new life, unfortunate as it was. And, just as it all happened because of a little hope, with a little bit of hope, both she and her son could move on towards a better life.