I didn’t know how long I was out, I didn’t know how many breaths have past, I didn’t know how many heartbeats I’ve missed. All I know is that I’m staring at complete and utter darkness. Where am I? What am I doing here? What have I become? For some reason, it was difficult to move, it was hard to even the slightest budge. Beside me, I could hear the steady beeping of an instrument. Where am I? I couldn’t feel my arms or legs. It was like something was keeping them from moving; like I was clamped, restrained. I had to use my last resort. Using the limited oxygen I had, I had enough air to utter out a word.
“Help,” I said. Somewhere in front of me, I heard someone gasp; or at least I think someone gasped. It was hard to hear for something was obstructing my ears. It was something thick and adhesive. I heard the shuffling of feet, which wasn’t hard to hear; then the voice of woman talking. Apparently, she was talking on a phone. “Nurse? Yeah, This is Lee Seo Young, Lee Donghae’s mother. Can you send a doctor here in room S-259? I think he’s regaining consciousness.” Excitement and relief vividly present in her voice. Mom, I thought. She was here with me? I’m in a hospital? What happened that night? How long was I out?
The doctor, judging from the shuffle of footsteps, was accompanied with a few nurses. They were coming closer to whatever bed they’ve laid me on. “Are you sure he made signs of consciousness?” the voice of the doctor asked.
“Yes,” said the familiar voice of my mother. “He uttered out a word. He said, “Help”. It wasn’t very clear, but I am sure that he talked.
“It’s a start,” said a nurse’s timid voice. “He’s already responding to stimuli.”
“Which means, he’s not going into a coma,” said the second nurse.
“That is, if we were absolutely sure he made some form of movement, or whatsoever. We can’t afford guesses and speculations in medical processes.” The doctor said.
I could’ve rolled my eyes if I could, but my eyes were as shut off to the outside world as the rest of my body was. It seemed like my lips were the only ones moving. A doubting Thomas, that’s just great. Consuming what was left of my neophyte energy, I had enough strength to utter out a few words. “I’m here,” my voice sounded weak – like it just came from a zombie rising from a freshly-covered grave. Weak as it was, it was enough to grab their attention. I heard their gasps of astonishment and I could feel them around me. “It’s true! He’s regaining consciousness! Hurry nurse! We’ll have to move him to the E.R. Bring the electrocardiogram; we’ll resume the medical procedure in the E.R.” Obediently, the team of nurses literally took my bed and dragged me towards the room the doctor told them. My bed must have wheels, since they didn’t screech along the way. Absorbing every detail I’ve come across since I awoke, it tired out my newly revitalized brain. The sudden turn of events was so overwhelming; it took me a while to remember what caused me to be here in the first place. Suddenly, the blurry images of the last night I remembered came into focus:
Me, attending a party in Jung Jessica’s house
Me, seeing Kyuhyun’s worried face frantically searching for Yoona
Me, finding Yoona but she ended up walking heatedly out of the scene
Me, catching up with her, only so she could threaten me by saying she’d call the police
Me, about to give up on giving her a ride home before she nodded at the last second
Me, giving her a ride home
Me, talking with her and see her smile at me for the first time
Me, seeing her alarmed face when she heard the rumble of thunder
Me, lending her my jacket so she could make it through the rain
Me, dropping her off her house while she run hastily to the veranda to avoid getting wet
Me, waving goodbye to her
Her, waving back
Me, driving back to Jessica’s house at a safe speed, only to be intercepted by a huge honk of a truck, followed by the flash of headlights, the sound of collision, the squeal of the brakes, and, finally, the force that struck me into darkness.
I couldn’t remember anything more after the last scene, the collision. That was the reason I was here. That was the reason I was confined in this place. That was the reason why I missed a lot of days. That was the reason why I never got my jacket back from her again.
The team doctors and nurses began their job slowly, but surely. One by one, they began to peel off the excessive bandages that were used mainly in applying pressure. It was a good slash weird feeling, like picking a scab off a sore place. It doesn’t feel right at first, but you get relieved once it was gone. One by one, I could feel my strength returning, my blood flowing normally again. My rapid breathing immediately decelerated, giving me more space to breathe more air. The doctor still didn’t take the bandages off my eyes, and I guess he was saving those for last. As the number of bandages removed receded, I grew more comfortable, knowing I was going to be alright. “Almost there,” the doctor said. “Just a few more snips and we’re done.” I could hear the snips coming from the scissors the doc had been using to undo the tight bandages. “There, we’re done. You still have a few bandages on, but these ones are to stop concussion from the wounds you received from the accident. This will be removed in about a week or two. Both of your feet and one of your hands are broken, so they’re casted. The only free limb you have at the moment is your right hand which is connected to an IV.”
I was relieved to find out that I could move my right hand. Of all the limbs I had, this was the only one that wasn’t broken by the impact. But I still wasn’t satisfied. The doctor still hadn’t taken the bandage off my eyes. “Doc,” I said, my ability of speech returning to me. “About my eye bandages, when could I take them off?”
“Right,” the doctor said uneasily. “You see, during the crash, your head was subject to major injuries and had to undergo a major operation.” He paused. “We even had to shave part of your hair for that reason. So, that’s it, the damage may hopefully heal itself through time.”
“Okay, I see, I took quite a knock in the head. But could you please take the bandages off? I don’t like seeing darkness anymore. I had enough of that when I was unconscious.” I said.
The doctor’s reply came in confusion. “They ARE off, Donghae. There’s nothing covering your face except a few bandages in your scalp, forehead and chin.”
It took me a while to internalize what the doctor said. But when I did, it wasn’t very pretty. “Oh, I get it.” I said, my voice between anger and despair. “You mean to say I’m blind?”
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