“I twisted the hard plastic bracelet on my wrist. Kara J. Teal, intensive care. It matched my sister’s bracelet, except Dee was the one strapped to a hospital bed. And it should have been me.”
I remembered about a story contest the day it ended, dashed off some flash fiction words, and thought I would share them with you guys too!
My story had to be inspired in some way by a song, and I chose one that is very special to me.
Seven years ago a friend discovered “Blessings” by Laura Story while in the ICU with her dear baby boy, and since then it has encouraged me even in the midst of tears. I can’t recommend it enough. : )
❤ , Anna
I twisted the hard plastic bracelet on my wrist. Kara J. Teal, intensive care. It matched my sister’s bracelet, except Dee was the one strapped to a hospital bed. And it should have been me.
“Try and eat a little something,” our dad set a bag of fast food next to me on the window seat. I jerked my head no, scooting away from it. He sighed.
Dad had been doing that a lot these two hours since we’d finally been admitted to my twin’s emergency care room. Mom had at least cried, the doctor had frowned grimly, but all Dad could do was huff out tiny little breaths like he was trying to keep them a secret from the room. From me. So that I wouldn’t be scared. But it only made me more frightened. My lip felt raw where I had chewed it, worrying if there was something they would not say out loud.
My eyes darted to Dee’s face, and no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t make myself look away again. She was smiling in her sleep. Curls fanned out on the white pillow that held a rivalry with the paleness of her face.
Unconsciously, my hands curled into fists. “How I wish it was me instead,” I muttered under my breath.
My throat burned from silent crying. Dee… bursting with energy and ideas, forever calling our daily walk to the mailbox a perilous quest.
I squeezed my eyes shut tight against the memory of how I would beg to not have to go with her. Every flower must be picked, every neighborhood cat chatted with, and every bit of that day’s sky complimented before we had finished the job. Just now I longed for a simple, wandery walk to the mailbox with my twin. If Dee was made of sunshine, I dripped of rain.
The quiet, even beeping that monitored Dee’s heart rate filled my head until I almost screamed. Digging earbuds out of my jean pocket, I punched a playlist and pressed against the streaming window. The glass chilled my forehead.
Slow piano music melted into my brain as I forced my breathing to match it. Watching the shattered bits of water fall lazily down the pane, I let lyrics steal away any other thoughts.
“We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering”
The words zapped something inside me awake, and I began to actually listen.
“All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things”
An anger rose in my chest. No, it had been there ever since I first saw Dee limp in that horrible perfectly made bed. I was mad that this had happened. At who, I don’t know. Not much in my brain made sense anymore.
Maybe I was mad at God, reeling that He had let my twin get hurt. That there was even pain and mean people and crushed dreams and fear and everything else bad in the world.
“We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough”
I blinked hard at the timely reminder, whispering, “Knock it off, Kara, you know He’s good,” and pushing my earbuds further in.
“ ‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise”
Hugging my knees to my chin, I stared out at the rain spilling over the gutter. Suddenly the song stilled, and I waited.
The singer’s voice broke ever so slightly on her next words.
“What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise”
A single tear slipped down my cheek as I lowered myself to the floor beside my twin’s hospital bed. “I discovered a new song, Dee. It’s real but also hopeful.”
I brushed her curls aside and put one earbud into her ear.
“It’s a mix of sad and happy together, just like you and me. Ready?”
I carefully moved my arm under the medical tubes, tucked my hand into hers, and tapped the phone’s play button. The clear melody began and with it courage flowed into our veins.
P.S. I hid tributes to three precious people within these characters’ names.