Can’t Stop Shaking

Note: I wrote this shortly after my brother’s accident. Since I posted a couple non-fiction essays recently, I figured this would match up. I find it experimental to tell the same story in different ways. 

by Jennifer M. Dryden (c) 2004 

 

I slowly close my eyes

To begin a rights rest

I drift off to my dreams

To start a new quest.

 

All of a sudden

I’m shaken awake

To here some bad news

Something I knew I couldn’t take.

 

So here I am rushing around

Trying to tie my shoes

When the strings cross

My fingers won’t move.

 

I’m shaking all over

I’m rubbing mom’s back

I pray to God,

She doesn’t have a heart attack.

 

“Who do we call”

Mom cries.

“Uncle Rick,” I say

I hope no one dies!

 

I hear strong, manly footsteps

Right outside our door.

I rush out to meet him

My stomach hits the floor.

 

This is really serious

Oh my god, what’s going on?

My vision’s a blur.

Two words, “Let’s go” and we’re gone.

 

Speeding down the street

Of once a fun ride

Mom is still crying,

(“Please God please don’t let my brother die.”)

 

We pass the hospital,

We turn back

I pray again.

I just want my brother back.

 

The car doors slam

As we rush in, to the emergency room,

Ask if they have heard anything

All they say is… Not yet.

I think, hopefully soon.

 

As I sit holding on to mom

Our shaking is synchronized

Twenty minutes go by, I think, at least.

We knew our plans were finalized.

 

“He was supposed to follow us back”

Mom keeps on saying.

The terror in her eyes

Hits my heart like a knife, keep praying.

 

I tilt my head towards the floor,

To close my eyes and make it a bad dream.

I blink them open just in time.

Red, white, and blue lights flash at me.

 

I say, “He’s here mom, he’s here.”

Uncle Rick holds mom as we stand.

I stare outside, shaking all over.

Just then my aunt grips my hand.

 

Two people wheel out on stretchers.

Something tightens in my chest.

But that’s not Chad

It’s someone else’s mess.

 

We sit back down

Still no word

When I hear ringing of a phone

I stand to move closer, it’s blurred.

 

The lady stands and walks over

“They are working at the scene and should be here in 15 minutes.”

Working at the scene?

Is it that bad, is Chad okay?

 

The lights I have been looking for

Finally arrive

It’s Chad this time

Aunt Brenda and I go outside.

 

I yell, “We’re here, Chad.”

A few times to him

He’s not moving…

Oh my god, what happened to him?

 

They rush him in through the doors

Into the emergency room

I look at my mom,

Her eyes scream doom.

 

The nurse comes out

Asks for the family.

My mom steps up and I do too

“He’s in a lot of pain, but is going to be okay.”

 

A sigh of relief

Swarms through my mom and I.

Next thing I knew

We were standing by his bedside.

 

All cut and bloody

That’s what he looked like

Scared to death, he was

I was thankful he was alive.

 

I checked him out

Looked him up and down.

His feet are crocked.

Pointing outward instead of straight down.

 

He was moaning and groaning

And yelling, “Give me some f-ing morphine or something.”

Getting x-rays left and right

Moving his foot, hurting him a lot more.

 

I want to yell,

“Stop it!” but shouldn’t

I hated him being hurt and seeing all that blood

I wanted to make him better but couldn’t.

 

The morphine came,

I went back to the gathered family

Because Chad relaxed a bit

To tell them he was going to be okay

And I could swear the darkness lit.

 

Jeremy got released,

That son of a bitch

The policeman came and the relaxed mood changed a bit

 

He looked at Uncle Rick and explained

Some stuff

Then he said something

 I will never forget.

 

“There was a fatality in the other car”

Everyone started crying

The tears came naturally

I turned to Aunt Carol and

My head hits her shoulder.

I try not to think about it…

I really am trying.

 

Mom calls Dad

But Dad doesn’t come just yet

Has to make sure it’s “serious enough.”

I knew he would do that

I would have placed a bet.

 

They moved Chad to Des Moines

Early that day.

30 minutes is the sleep I got that night

But I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

 

Eventually I went back,

To the hotel

To try and sleep.

They all were out like a light

And for two hours didn’t make a peep.

 

The whole way back

The only people I wanted to see

Were Casey and Bryan

They are the people

Who I can relate to.

 

Casey took me down to see Amelia.

That made me smile

And a hug from her

Felt good once in a while.

 

My stomach hurt

I felt like I was gunna puke

I couldn’t eat

I was too beat.

 

I said my good-byes

To the rest of my family

They had to get going home

 

I appreciate their help

And all the sympathy and guidance too.

But when things come together

Then what do I do?

 

So here I am

Sitting at home

Chad bandaged up.

And on crutches he can roam

 

Things are always tense

Nothing’s ever going to be the same

Will Chad be innocent?

Or on every headline, will there be his name?

 

So here I stand

Out of the way

Just living the life

I live everyday.

 

But everyday

I sink into the shadow

Into the background

Of another stressful day.

 

And sometimes,

I catch myself,

Staring off into space

And thinking back.

I realize I’m shaking,

And I do try to stop….

But sometimes……

You just can’t stop shaking.

 

Written: Shortly after Chad’s accident in 2004.

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