STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
EMERALD BLUE OKIKI
I barely went to sleep last night. I’m too high on joy and excitement to rest. My mom keeps me company next to my bedside, confessing about how doctors told her I would die at a very young age. We talk continuously until the morning sunlight creeps upon the hospital. Dr. Richards keeps his word and have nurses poke me with more needles. All of the tests come back with identical results.
On the surface, my mom seems happy about this unforeseen situation, but underneath she appears very insecure about it. She can’t stop asking ridiculous questions like, “is it possible your computers are malfunctioning?” To ease her anxiety, I stand up on my own once again and walk around the room for reassurance. She orders me to stop and sit back down; worried I may fall and hurt myself somehow.
Now I’m finally leaving the hospital just pass noon the following day. My mom repositions the passenger seat into place in our van, and for the first time I ride shotgun without the need of a wheelchair.
It’s very odd to get up and walk around like everyone else. I’m sure it’s going to take some time to get used to.
Shortly, we are rolling into our driveway of our newest home, which to my surprise I missed a lot. I can’t take another night on that narrow and stiff hospital bed. As we arrive another car meets us here.
Uncle Frank gets out of his car, and approaches me with wide arms as I close the van door behind me. All of a sudden, I find myself in the tightest hug I’ve ever received in my life…
Soon, we enter the house and settle into the living room to discuss my recent turnaround. The surprise expression on Uncle Frank’s face never goes away.
“Unbelievable.” He says to me yet again, confused and shocked at the same time. “But how…?”
“I’m just as confused as you.” I reply. “I was having a normal day. Then the next minute I fell out and woke up in the hospital. I know it doesn’t make any sense but it did happen. I’m still waiting to wake up.”
"It’s too much to take in.” My mom says with insecurity. “Her health improved a lot over the years but this is so sudden. I’m not sure what to make of it. I’m sure there’s some reasonable explanation for all this.”
“When something like this happen, don’t ever question it." Uncle Frank attempts to calm her uncertainty with modest words.
“I know it’s just…” My mom tries to reply but is cut off by Frank.
“Julie, listen, this is Iva’s time. Don’t look at it as a bad thing.” He tells her modestly.
Suddenly a voice calls out to him from his radio.
“Come in Frank,” the voice says.
“Damn it, never a dull moment.” He shakes his face as he lifts the radio to his mouth.
“We need you pronto. And no it can’t wait.”
“Copy that,” he says to the device and places it back on his hip.
“Sorry Julie, old habits die hard, I guess.”
“No, it’s fine. Be safe.”
“Always,” he says before standing and walking over towards the door. “See you later kiddo.”
“See ya,” I reply.
He closes the door behind himself as he exits the house. I look at my mom’s face. Her expression is unreadable.
“You okay?” I ask her.
Suddenly I see her snap back into reality as if she was in a deep thought.
“Yeah, I’m okay. I’m just a little tired that’s all,” she tells me, but I know she’s lying.
I’d probably be worried too if I were in her shoes. The fact that my illnesses just vanished for no reason is beyond me. She stands to her feet, delivering a warm kiss directly between my eyes, and then wishes me a goodnight.
“Sleep tight. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Good night mom.”
I decide to go to sleep early as well, that previous all-nighter is finally catching up on me. It still feels odd to walk around the house with my own feet. Using my legs is obviously not a thing I do on a daily basis, but I dare not complain. I kick off my shoes, and fall backward onto my bed. While I stare at my model planes hanging above me, a certain memory resurfaces.
The flashback involves me bringing a small red box into my room and cleaning it off. I sit up in bed and shift right toward my desk. There it is, unmoved, resting on top of the desk. Another flashback resurfaces. I remember trying to find its opening.
Suddenly a domino effect takes place within my brain. I remember opening it and finding a strange white light floating inside. I stand and walk over to the box very slowly, afraid that something else spontaneous may happen. I lift the empty box and examine it once more. I specifically remember it being warm, but now it’s cool and lifeless. Also the small light is nowhere to be found.
This definitely defines the word weird. I must’ve imagined the whole thing, but it seemed so real. I relocate the box within my closet on a high shelf. From below I give it one last curious thought before shutting the door.
Did I imagine all of it, or not? I turn away from the closet, but I double-take when I see my reflection in the mirror. I notice yet another strange thing.
There’s something on my right arm near my shoulder area.
I lift the sleeve of my shirt, revealing a scar that I’ve never seen before. I ease closer to the mirror for a clearer view. It resembles something close to a branding scar like those you’d see on livestock. The shape is like a diamond, but the lines are much more rounded. Then a light bulb clicks on somewhere in my head.
It’s not a diamond, but instead it’s a leaf. A leaf that looks identical to the ones I’d seen on that red box.
The thoughts about my disappearing illnesses can take a rain check, this is a lot worse. I back away from my reflection. After a lingering amount of time looking in the mirror, I go to bed with unanswered questions.
It’s a rest well needed. My mind needs time to recuperate from the odd things that’s been happening to me. But after today, something tells me this is only the beginning.
Watch out for the next episode... New episode reads on Tuesdays