A girl sits alone on the edge of a plain white bed, wishing she was anywhere else in the world. This place feels more like a prison than a hospital. Sitting requires about as much energy as she can muster. She wants to cry but cannot. Whether it is because of the years she spent teaching herself not to, or because she does not have enough energy or moisture left in her body is anyone’s guess. She is scared, trapped, frustrated and sick, but, more than anything else, she feels overwhelmingly alone.
After intense stomach pain, she had finally convinced herself to go to a walk in clinic, just to make sure there was nothing serious. A quick visit became overnight, which then became a week.
In the beginning there was only pain. Pain so blinding she could not read more than a page of her favorite book, or listen to an entire song without wanting to throw her ipod across the room. Somehow, it had driven every single word in her spanish vocabulary out of her head. It was doubtful she could even have communicated in English.
When she had finally calmed down enough to communicate with a translator, they asked her who they could contact to tell where she was. Flatmates? Family? Friends? She had not realized that there was no one. She could have stayed for days and it was doubtful that anyone would notice. Acquaintances were all she had.
Somehow, before that moment, travelling alone had always seemed easy. Continents, countries, cities and landscapes flashed by, some shared some savored alone. That was life–that was her life. She was in love with it. Of course there were moments that had felt lonely and intimidating, but that was all part of the adventure. The thrill of success is non existent without doubt and uncertainty. Yet it had never pressed upon her from all sides like this. There is no one. If she did not wrestle with herself enough to resolve to go to the doctor, there was a decent chance she would not even be alive. There was no safety net. No room for errors. And she had never noticed.
Finally, now, a smile had returned to her lips and words to her tongue. She jokingly called the nurses vampiristas as they drew more blood, and talked with them about Spain, their families and their lives. Her back ached from spending too much time in bed, and she spent hours sitting by the window, breathing the fresh air and willing the sunlight to beam through the building beside the hospital to kiss her skin. Last night, when they brought her soup for dinner, she almost started crying of happiness when she found noodles in the bottom. It’s the little things.
Every day, she fights to remember why she is here, and why she has chosen this life. Is it worth it? Should she take her insurance company’s offer to fly home? Of course not. This is the life she chose, this is something she cannot bear to lose. No matter what…