Jarred woke with a start, trying to sit up while being held down by various tubes and wires. Slowly, the image of the car wreck faded from his vision, and he slumped back down again, closing his eyes. It was just a dream. No. It was real. It had happened. Opening his eyes again, he looked around his small hospital room, eyes scrutinizing all the safety hazards that might possibly be there. Trained as a paramedic, his muscular body was strapped to a hospital bed, bandages covering most of it, a cast on his arm and legs. Long, black hair covered his head, and his goatee was unshaven for days.
Slowly letting his head drop again, he sighed. He’d done his job. He was getting the people out of the spun out car. They had the lights up and everything. What had gone wrong? Anger building inside, he knew the answer. Cocain. That trucker had been on it, he was told. And because of that, because of that man’s idiocy, the family was dead, and he was stuck in the middle of a hospital, trying to cope with a living hell.
That trucker had walked away from the wreck completely fine. Jarred snorted in disgust. Heck, he didn’t even get a scratch! He hated irony.
Looking at the bed stand on his left, he saw the prayer beads his girlfriend had given him. Reaching over painfully, he picked them up, green eyes examining them. Clenching his fist around them, he snorted. “Great job You did this time, God,” he growled, glaring at the ceiling. “But didn’t you miss something? I’m still alive!” His voice rose at the end of his sentence, and he slammed his good hand down on the bed stand, cracking it. Thunder rolled outside, the steady drone of falling rain becoming louder.
Laying back again, Jarred sighed. Why couldn’t God let him die?
“Well, you seem to be making progress. Your mobility has increased nearly two hundred percent since your last visit.” Jarred glared at the therapist, letting his arm down to his side again, leaning heavily on his cane. “In other words, I can lift my arm two inches above my head instead of just one. Someone call the press.” he growled. Pulling away from her, he limped back over to the bed, sitting down hard. Julia watched her boyfriend quietly, wanting to help, but unable to do anything. She knew that anything said now would probably create a less than friendly response. Leaning back against the opposite door, she sighed.
The therapist, however, wasn’t as wise. “You had several broken ribs, a fractured wrist and two splintered leg bones, as well as a serious concussion.” Rolling his eyes, Jarred turned his back and started towards the door. “Yeah, and I’m no better off now than I was then. I still can’t live my life.” “Pardon me for saying so, sir,” stated the therapist, a slight edge in her voice, “but considering your circumstances, you should consider yourself lucky to be alive at all.”
Stopping suddenly, Jarred froze in the doorway. Silently closing it, he slowly turned around, anger emanating from his body. When he spoke, is voice was deadly. “Alive? You call this alive?” he said, barely above a whisper. “I get a congratulations and a sucker every time I can lift my arms another inch. I have two casts on my legs, I can’t walk without a cane, my career for a lifetime is gone, and you say I’m lucky to be alive?” he asked, his voice raising slightly. “Well let me tell you something. I’m not alive. I’m dead. Dead!” he suddenly shouted, causing Julia and the therapist to jump. He continued, moving toward the nurse threateningly “Every time I watch as another car crashes, and I’m not there to help my team, I’m dead. Every time I see a bunch of the guys playing football, and I’m forced to sit on the side and be reminded of how much I can’t do, how much I have lost, I’m dead! Every time I have to teach myself how to learn to walk, making the same progress I did when I was two years old, I’M DEAD!” he screamed, pushing the lady against the metal doors of the cabinet, causing glass bottles and vials to fall around him. “And every time I wake up, only to remember what I can and can’t do because some IDIOT was using crack,” he continued, his voice cold as ice, “I’m as dead as dead can be.” Moving closer, he stood inches from the therapists face. “So don’t tell me what I should be thankful or grateful for. In fact, do you want to help me? Do you really want to help me? Then go buy a gun, put it to the side of my head, and SHOOT ME!” he screamed, smashing his good fist into one of the doors, denting it.
“Stop!” screamed Julia, yanking on Jarred’s arm to turn him around. “Stop it! Jarred, stop it now! You’re scaring me!” Spinning around, Jarred stared hard at her. Her eyes full of tears, he could see that she was afraid. Afraid of him, and for him. Slowly, he lowered himself onto the bed, putting his head in his hands. The nurse quickly took advantage of the situation and bolted from the room. Julia sat down beside him, her arm around his shoulders. For a moment, neither said anything.
“It will be ok, Jarred. It will. Trust in God,” Julia encouraged softly. Jarred let out a short, harsh laugh. “God? Oh yeah, great. Trust the guy who messed up my life to begin with.” “No, Jarred! He didn’t mess up your life. It wasn’t His fault the truck driver was high, or that the crash happened.” “Oh, but was it?” Jarred asked maliciously, turning sharply towards her. “Where was God when that man was high? Where was God when that car spun out?” standing up, his voice rose. “Where was God when I was smashed by a fifteen ton truck? And,” he yelled, his deep voice casing the unbroken glass to shake, “where was God when that entire family, those children, were completely wiped out, while that same man walked away completely fine?!? Tell me where He was!” he screamed, stepping closer to Julia. She would not answer, only looking away. Grasped by fear and doubt, Jarred walked closer, his emotions a mix of anger and confusion. “Tell me, Julia! TELL ME!”
“I don’t know!” she suddenly screamed, breaking down into sobs. Jarred watched her for several moments, letting her words sink in. Slowly, he sat back down, to tired to move. “That’s what I thought,” he said quietly, his voice full of the pain and hatred his heart bore. Slowly, he put his arm around his girlfriend. Inwardly he sighed. No one had the answer to this. There was no answer to this. No God. No help. No nothing.
Both sat there, unmoving, as the sounds of dripping liquid filled the small room.