The Dream: When Roles Are Reversed
(Ok, so I had a dream… again. But this time, I was you. Gotta say, this was creepy. VERY creepy.)
I don’t remember everything clearly. I remember the ambulance ride. I remember pacing around the small room with Brenna passed out in the bed. I remember the nurses that came in. I remember the machines used to make sure Brenna was still breathing. But the accident itself, I cannot remember. It all happened too fast. One moment, Brenna said she was going to get something, and the next, I was carrying her to an ambulance. I’ll start with the call.
“Alex!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. My little brother came running.
“What’s wrong, Thomas?” He asked. I knew there was no time to waste. I got out my phone from my pocket and tossed it to him.
“Call 911. Now.” I ordered. Alex, for once in his life, listened to me. I turned to Brenna and picked her up. I carried her over to the couch and laid her down. She looked barely conscious. Her eyes were barely opened.
“T-Thomas.” She managed. I gently stroked her hair.
“It’s ok. Alex called for an ambulance.” I said. She nodded. She had a nasty bruise on her head and her legs looked pretty beat up. I knew she couldn’t walk.
“T-Thomas.” She whispered. I could barely hear her.
“What is it?” I asked gently.
“When we get to the hospital, stay. I don’t want you to leave the room. If the nurses ask, just tell them you’re my boyfriend. I want you near me.” She said slowly. I nodded.
“Ok.” I leaned forward and kissed her. She closed her eyes. I didn’t dare move. I couldn’t. I was frozen. After what felt like an eternity, I heard sirens. Brenna opened her eyes a little.
“It’s ok.” I told her. I wanted to be as kind and reassuring as possible. I knew she was probably scared. However, I was kind of surprised that she was acting so calm.
I leaned close to her ear. “I’ll be right back.” I whispered. She opened her eyes and nodded.
I went to where the ambulance was and brought them to her. They brought out a stretcher, and I picked Brenna up and carried her. Alex followed behind me, which I didn’t mind until I realized it would be bad if our parents came home to an empty house. I put Brenna on the stretcher, and turned to Alex.
“Stay here. Tell Mom and Dad exactly what happened. Can I have my phone back?” I asked. Alex tossed it to me.
“Thanks. Go back inside.” I told him. He nodded and ran back in. I turned around and went into the ambulance with Brenna. It took us about 20 minutes to get to the hospital. I was next to Brenna holding her hand the entire time. Along the way, I was asked a few questions. There were three people in the ambulance besides me and Brenna. One of the guys came back to where Brenna and I were.
“What’s your name?” He asked.
“Thomas.” I answered. He looked at Brenna.
“What’s hers?” He asked.
“How old is she?”
“What about you?”
“14.” I answered.
“Do you know what happened?” He asked me.
“She fell down some stairs.” I looked down at her face. Her eyes were closed. I didn’t know if she was asleep or maybe calming herself. Maybe both. The bruise on her head was a deep purple. I was surprised that the bruise wasn’t bleeding. Her breathing was slow and heavy.
“She’s breathing heavy. Is that a good thing?” I asked.
“Yeah. Most people breathe fast and shallow. Slow and heavy is better than fast and shallow. Breathing slow and heavy helps calm. So she’s pretty calm.” He explained.
“I’m Mark, by the way.” He added. I didn’t know what to say, so I just nodded.
“I usually drive. But Jake decided he was better at it than me so he took over today.” Mark said this louder so the driver could hear him.
“Hey!” A new voice said. Mark laughed.
“To be fair, I haven’t had a chance to drive in two months!” Jake said. Mark laughed more. Brenna opened her eyes and looked up at me.
“Hey.” I said. I didn’t think she would talk.
“Where am I?” She asked. I hoped she didn’t have a concussion.
“Ambulance. On the way to the hospital.” I told her.
“How long?” She asked.
“About ten minutes.” Mark answered.
“Actually, 5.” Jake said back.
“Ok, five to ten minutes.” I told Brenna. She nodded. She closed her eyes again. Before I knew it, we were there.
“Ok, guys. Let’s do this.” Jake said. He came forward and asked me to step to the side so they could get Brenna out. I moved and they got her down. As soon as the stretcher hit the floor, she was awake. I could hear her saying my name. I hopped out after them and followed. They got her into a temporary room. Room 105. Nobody paid much attention to me. They didn’t question me or make me wait outside or anything. I was within ten feet of Brenna the entire time. When she was moved into a room, I sat down in the chair that was closest to her. Two nurses came in and hooked up a machine that would tell us Brenna’s pulse and breathing. It would tell us exactly how much oxygen she was getting, how many times her heart was beating in a minute, or BPM for short. The nurses explained all this to me. They put five wires on Brenna. Two on her left arm, three on her chest. I looked away while they put wires on her chest.
A third nurse entered the room when the first two left. She carried a clipboard in her hands. She looked at Brenna, then turned to me.
“Hi.” She said.
“Hi.” I said back.
She put the clipboard under her right arm, came over to me and held out her hand. “My name is Emily.” She said. I shook her hand.
“Thomas.” I told her.
“Would you mind answering a few questions for me, Thomas?” She asked.
“No. Not at all.”
Emily got out her clipboard.
“I’ll start simple. What’s her name?” She asked.
“How old is she?”
“Does she have any medical conditions?”
“ADHD, if that counts as anything.” I said.
Emily wrote something on her clipboard. “It can. It counts because of medicine, if she takes any.”
“She does.” I told her.
“Do you know what kind? Specifically.” I shook my head.
“That’s alright. I can ask her when she wakes up.” Emily told me.
“How long will she be in this room?” I asked.
“What do you mean?”
“This is a temporary room. When will she be moved into a permanent room?”
“Tomorrow, maybe. I’m not sure.”
“Can I ask why what medicines she’s on is important?”
“Because if we give her any medicine, it could interfere with her medicine, or vice versa. That would be bad.” Emily explained. I nodded.
I looked at my watch. 5:05.
“By the way, you should know. This hospital has a cafe. You can order anything on this menu.” She unclipped something from her clipboard and handed it to me.
“Oh. Cool. Will it cost anything?” I asked.
“Brenna has insurance that covers hospital bills. So, no. It won’t cost anything.”
“Oh, ok.” I said.
“Well, I’ll be going now. I have other patients to attend to.” With that, Emily left the room. The next few hours were boring and long. I could hear the steady beeping of the machine that was connected to Brenna. I could see the lines on the graph that represented her breathing. I could read the graph, but I didn’t understand it. Her heart rate was steady and slow. I got up and paced around the room for a good half an hour. I had no idea what to do. Questions began to form in my head. What would happen when my parents came home? Would would Alex say? How long would Brenna be in here? Would she need an MRI? An X-Ray? After pacing the room, I finally managed to calm myself down. I sat back down. My phone rang. It was my parents. I picked it up.
“Hi.” I said.
“Hey, Thomas. Alex told us what happened.” My mom said.
“Yeah.” I replied.
“Listen, I think it’d be good if we came up and got you and took you home.” My mom told me.
“Mom, she hasn’t even woken up. I don’t know if she will wake up at all tonight. She might just sleep until tomorrow.”
“Which is why I want to come and take you home. You can get a good night’s sleep, then I can take you back up there tomorrow.”
“Mom. I want to stay here. She’s going to wake up. And when she does, I want to be here.”
“Thomas, I just don’t think it’s good for you to stay there. Plus, they might not let you stay overnight.”
“I can ask if they will.”
“Well, alright. If they’ll let you stay overnight, you can stay. But if they don’t, then call me back and tell me.”
“Alright, I will. Thanks, Mom.”
“You’re welcome. I love you.”
“I love you too, Mom.” With that, I hung up. I asked if I could stay overnight, and they said yes. I called Mom back. By the time I hung up, it was 8:00. I was starting to get worried. I hoped she would wake up soon. Luckily for me, I had managed to slip my phone charger into my pocket just before hopping into the ambulance. I plugged my phone in and decided to try and play a game or something.Then I decided it would be best if I called Brenna’s parents.
“Hello?” Brenna’s Mom’s voice said.
“Hi. It’s Thomas, Brenna’s boyfriend.” I said.
“Oh, hi Thomas. What’s up?”
“Brenna fell down the stairs in my house. I’m at the hospital with her right now.”
“Oh my gosh. Is she ok?”
“Well, she’s been asleep for about three hours now. But her heart rate and breathing is good.” I said. I figured it would be best not to explain everything.
“Well, that’s good.”
“Do you think you guys could come up and see her sometime tomorrow?” I asked.
After the phone call, the nurses came and moved Brenna to her permanent room. Room 524.
Just as I put my phone away to let it charge, Brenna woke up.
“Hey.” I said.
“Where am I?” She asked. I figured she might have forgotten.
“In the hospital.”
“I’m glad I carried you though.” I said. It was the truth.
“Wait, what? You…. saved me?” I nodded.
“Thomas…” She started.
“No. It’s ok.” I reached out and took her hand. “I’m right here.”
She sighed and looked up at me. Tears began to fall from her eyes. She leaned forward and kissed me.
“Thank you.” She said.
“Hey, I called your parents. They’re going to come and see you sometime tomorrow.”
“Oh lord. Please tell me you’re joking.” I didn’t understand why she said this. I shook my head.
“Great.” She said sarcastically.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I don’t want you to meet my sister.”
“And why is that?” I don’t know why, but I leaned forward and kissed her.
“Because I have no freaking idea how she’s going to react to….this.”
“This?” I asked.
“Us.” She replied. I had no idea what to say. So I said nothing for a moment.
“Yep. I completely wrecked her last relationship. I hope she doesn’t return the favor. In my defense, that guy was an idiot and should never have been with my sister in the first place.” I was so surprised that she was acting normal so quickly.
“Yeah. I’ll tell you all about him later.”
“What time is it?” She asked. I turned around and got my phone.
“P.M??” She asked. I nodded.
“Good lord, Thomas. I need some sleep. We can’t keep talking like this all night.”
“Why not? Nobody’s around. You shouldn’t be tired. You were out for five hours.”
“Thomas, look at me.” She said. I didn’t understand what she meant at first. Then she moved the blankets that covered her. Her right leg was awful. Her knee was so purple it was almost black. It looked like a mixture of bruise and dried blood. Her left leg was better than her right. Her left knee was pretty scraped up, but not nearly as bad as her right. She raised up her shirt and revealed her stomach.
“Oh my gosh.” I said. I couldn’t help it. Her stomach looked like she’d been attacked by a shark. The scratches looked like claw marks.
“Yeah.” She said as she lowered her shirt.
“I’m so sorry.”
“You didn’t know.”
I chuckled. “Yeah, but I should have.”
“Thomas, don’t beat yourself up.” She said. I raised my hands.
“Ok, I won’t.” Brenna laughed, and I joined her.
“I’m glad you’re here.” She said suddenly.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I’m glad you didn’t go home. You stayed.”
“Of course I stayed. You told me to.” I said, gently stroking her hair.
“Yeah… I did.” She said. I covered my mouth and yawned. Brenna laughed.
“Sorry.” I said.
“Don’t be. I’m the one that fell down the stairs. Go to sleep if you’re tired.” Brenna grabbed one of the pillows that was behind her head and threw it at me. I barely managed to catch it.
“Are you sure?” I asked. She nodded.
“I don’t need 3 pillows.” She said. I chuckled.
“Alright, if you insist.” I said.
“I do.” She said. “I insist on you going to sleep. Now sleep.” She pointed to the bed that was on the other side of the room. I chuckled.
“It’s not like you can lay with me. I’d let you, normally.”
I nodded. “Yeah, I know.” She smiled.
“I’ll be asleep soon, too.” She told me.
“So you don’t want to stay up and eat chocolate?” I asked.
“Do you have any?” She said, then laughed.
“Actually, yes. I do.” I reached into my pocket and pulled out the chocolate bars I had gotten for her. I gave her one.
“Thanks.” She said.
“You’re welcome.” I replied. I ate half of mine. She ate the whole bar.
“You should go to sleep now.” She said.
“Alright. Good night.” I said. I moved to the other bed that was, sadly, across the room from Brenna. I thought about just sleeping in the chair so I could be next to her, but she insisted that I sleep in a bed. Honestly, I wouldn’t have cared. I slept on my right side so I could watch her. She must’ve been thinking the same thing I was, because she slept on her left side. It probably would’ve hurt her too much to sleep on her right, since that was the side that was beat up the most. I laid down and fell asleep within five minutes.
I woke up to the smell of pancakes.
I got up and stretched, then inhaled the smell of freshly made pancakes. I walked over to Brenna, who was awake.
“Good morning, sleepyhead.” She said.
“Mornin’. How long was I out?” I asked. I felt bad for not being awake when Brenna woke up.
“No longer than I was.” She said, grinning. I chuckled and rubbed away the sleep from my eyes.
Brenna pointed to a plate of pancakes.
“Those are for you.” She said.
I took the plate and inhaled the pancakes. It was the first time I realized I hadn’t eaten since before the accident.
“Want more?” She asked.
“Sure. I’ll take two, please.” She nodded and called the cafe to place the order.
“It’ll be about fifteen minutes.”
I nodded and sat down next to her.
“Are you ok?” She asked.
“Yeah. Just kind of tired.”
“Ok, well you can get more sleep after you eat if you want. I have to get an X-ray before my parents get here.”
“Alright. I don’t need more sleep. I think I’ll be fine.” I felt bad. I didn’t want to sleep. I wanted nothing more than to stay right there beside her. Luckily, when the nurses came in to do the X-Ray, they let me. Brenna didn’t fight. She was clearly in pain. After seeing how badly her legs had been beat up, I wondered how long it would take for her to walk again. The X-Ray took twenty minutes.
“How long will it take to get the results back?” Brenna asked.
“Until tomorrow, at the earliest. It could be two days at the latest.” Emily said. Brenna nodded. I could tell she was tired. I looked at my watch. 9:45. It felt like noon. The nurses left and I sat back down right next to her.
“Are you ok?” I asked. She sighed and looked at me sadly.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“I probably broke my right knee. Or dislocated it or something. It hurts when I try to move it.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. It wasn’t your fault. I was the idiot that fell down the stairs.”
“I could’ve gone with you.” I said.
“Thomas, don’t blame yourself. I’d hate for you to think that this is your fault.” She laid all the way down.
“I’m tired. Again. I shouldn’t be. I haven’t had my medicine in like, two days.” She said.
“Really?” I asked. She nodded.
“Maybe I need some cake.” She said. I chuckled.
“Yeah, maybe.” I shrugged. She laughed.
“Thanks for carrying me.” She said.
“No problem. You’re not that heavy.”
“Yeah, because I lost 8 gallons of blood.” She said sarcastically.
“No, you didn’t. You probably lost one pint.” I told her.
“I don’t know. My stomach is pretty torn up.” She said.
“Yeah, it is. Can I have a closer look?” I asked. She nodded and raised up her shirt enough for me to see the scratches. There was dried blood all over them. But there was one thing that didn’t make sense. When she fell, she never hurt her stomach. So these scratches must’ve come before then.
“When did this happen?” I asked.
“A few days ago. I rammed into something metal and it scratched my stomach up. I was bleeding really badly.” She explained.
“Oh, wow.” I said. She pushed her shirt back down.
“Yeah.” She said. Just then, her parents entered the room.
“Hi.” Her mother said. I realized that we had never met in person before. They knew who I was, but they had never seen me in person.
“Hey.” I said.
“You must be Thomas.” Her mother said.
“Yes. That’s me.” I replied.
“Michelle.” She reached out her hand and I shook it.
“Don.” Brenna’s father said. I shook his hand too. I tapped Brenna on her shoulder gently.
“Hey, your parents are here.” I whispered to her. She nodded slightly and opened her eyes.
“Hey Mom.” She said.
“Hey, Bug. How are you?”
“I’ve been better.” She answered.
“This is a nice room.” Her mother said.
“Yeah, it’s pretty big. Luckily, there’s a bed so Thomas can stay overnight.” I chuckled lightly.
“Yeah. I stayed last night.” I told them.
“Oh, that was sweet of you.” Michelle said.
“It wasn’t any problem.” I said, shrugging.
“I asked him if he could stay.” Brenna said.