Cold surrounds me like a blanket. It prickles against my skin and sends starbursts of pain down my spine. I welcome the uncomfortable sensation.
A muffled noise disturbs the silence of my cocoon. Hands grab at me, pulling me from the safety of my shell. I burst forth into the air, into the chaos. I can hear screams and tears and sirens. I can feel the pain in my chest but it is a distant thing. I can feel my body being wheeled on a gurney into an ambulance. I can feel the distance increase from my sanctity. I can feel everything and nothing all at once.
Hours later, I sit in a lumpy bed. A paper thin gown drapes my shoulders and does nothing in the ways of warming me. Various tubes and monitors surround and penetrate my body. I focus on the steady beep of my heart as it echoes around the room. It is constant, reliable, mocking.
The door opens to reveal a woman in a white coat. She looks at me with pity in her eyes that she is clearly trying to hide. It doesn't matter anyway because someone is pushing past her and then my mother is standing over me. Her arms wrap around my body and though I am the one in the hospital bed, she is the one being held together. Her body wracks with sobs and her arms shake as she grips me tightly.
"Mrs. Jones, I can assure you that Melanie will be completely safe under our care." My mother's body still clutches my own and she has buried her face against my shoulder. The hospital gown is already soaked in her tears.
She wrenches herself away and takes the sides of my face in her hands. Her eyes still glisten but there is a fiery anger behind the tears.
"Lanie, this is Doctor Harper. She's going to be taking care of you for the next few weeks but I am going to visit you every opportunity that I get, understand?" I nod. She squeezes my face a bit and then slides her hands down my arms, covering my wrists, before letting go. Turning on her heel, she swiftly exits the room. Doctor Harper stands awkwardly in the doorway and smiles. After a few moments, she speaks.
"Melanie, it's nice to meet you. I'm sure we're going to be great friends." I don't acknowledge her attempt. Instead, I turn my head to look out of the window. She says something else and then I hear the door close but I continue to gaze outside.
The world that doesn't want me sits behind that glass. I can see the cars that slide along the streets, the trees that surround them, the sky above them. I can see the sunlight hiding behind a cloud, teasing the passerby below. Some people might say it is inviting, but I don't want any part of it and the feeling is mutual. I lay my head down on the un-fluffed pillow, pull the scratchy blanket over myself, and continue to observe the scene before me. I fall asleep to the steady rhythm of my crying.
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