Born in the Baltimore-Washington area, Chloe moved to Charleston, SC in her teens where she experienced the historically rich, and often humid, ‘old south’. Her reading and writing interests lie in literary fiction and creative nonfiction as she loves to create fictional worlds closely resembling our own. A recent writing graduate from SCAD, Chloe now resides in football-crazy Tuscaloosa, AL where her works have been featured in the town’s own magazine. In her writing, Chloe strives to captivate and intrigue; she believes all great storytelling should leave its readers not only entertained, but hungry for more.
A kind voice over the phone requested my presence.
“He keeps saying your name, ma’am, and he doesn’t have long.” My chest tightened; I hadn’t heard your name in years. I had successfully forgotten about you and I thought you had done the same. You stopped answering my calls five years ago. I walked myself down the aisle.
I pulled my car into a spot on the third floor —the same spot I frequented as a hopeful and naive teen. Back then, you ended up here almost every month: new injury, same story.
The fluorescent lights through the hall were bright and the smell of sanitizer burned my nose.
My heart raced as I thought about what you would look like. I was about to see your face again after so many years and this time would probably be the last.
“He hasn’t opened his eyes in a few hours, but feel free to talk to him,” said a nurse. I could hardly recognize you. Your hair was long and unkempt, and your jaw held patches of grey. When you left us, you were fresh-faced and unremorseful. Now, your nose was flattened and one eye was covered in red-stained gauze. Dried blood grasped pieces of your brittle hair.
I could smell you: booze, blood, and death. I grabbed your cold hand and leaned into you. “Why me? And why now?” I asked. You didn’t move. Your eye didn’t even squirm under your lid. I grabbed your arm and squeezed tight, repeating the questions. Still, nothing.
It’s strange what death did to your hands. Your loose skin turned pale, nearly transparent as if the blood had already left them. But the monitor’s rhythmic beeping proved you were still alive, or at least your heart was.
“Why isn’t he answering? I know he can hear me.” I asked the nurse. She explained to me the extent of your injuries. Your body was tired and losing the battle.
I released my grip on your arm, leaving it glowing red from the pressure. I stepped away from your side, watching the monitor slowly spike up and down, and I turned to the nurse, who seemed to pity me more than you.
“Thank you,” I said to her. “Whether he wakes up or not, please, do not call me again.” She nodded her head. I grabbed a coffee from the cafeteria and made my back way to the car. It tasted horrible, so I dumped it on the street.
I will forget you again.