This woman looks broken, broken beyond repair. A team of white coats is fussing over almost every inch of her battered body. They talk quietly, but with a sense of urgency. Surely they cannot expect her to recover from the mess she is in. Wires attached to her lead to complex beeping machines. Tubes go into her, with blood and a drip of some sort. Tubes come out of her – blood from some internal bleeding, urine from a catheter. A machine is breathing for her. She is comatose, and doing nothing for herself. Limbs are at crazy angles that look unnatural. Eyes are swollen shut. Clumps of hair are missing.
I am curious, trying to get a better view, over their shoulders. Then, to my surprise, I realise that she is me. Shattered, battered, bloodied and bruised, but unmistakably me. I can see her/me, but feel no pain, just a sense of disbelief and wonder. How can I be here, and also be there? This is confusing.
Someone who I once loved, and who once loved me, is calling my name, and telling me to come and join him. But that can’t be right. He died decades ago. Then I hear my father, lovely man that he was, but again he died many moons ago. He is not calling me to come to him. He is telling me I need to stay, I need to fight – my children will need me, it is not my time yet.
Goodness, this is too much to comprehend.
I think of my children, my lovely children. Do they really need me now? They are adults, with lives and loves of their own.
Or do I think only of myself, and return to the arms of my long lost love?
I am torn.
They are working on her, I see the flatline on the machine. I watch them as they attempt to restart her heart. Once, twice, three times, and oh, such pain, and whoosh I am back in that poor broken body, no longer an outside observer.
Through my brain fog I hear them talking about how I ended up in the hospital, and as they talk some of it comes back to me. A dark alleyway, my wrecked ankle, a gorgeous looking doctor, who was not what he seemed. Effectively I was abducted, locked in the back of his car, going who knows where. Then followed attempted assault, with my clothes half-ripped off. I kicked him so hard that I broke the other ankle. He retaliated by hitting me so hard that I could hear bones breaking. I reached for a discarded stiletto and jabbed the heel into his face. He yanked me by the hair and flung me out of the car and sped off.
I don’t remember what happened next as I must have passed out. But I hear the doctors telling that a passing motorist rang 999, and an ambulance scooped me up and delivered me to them, barely in time.
I drift in and out of consciousness.
I hear my daughter’s voice, and feel her stroking my one unbroken hand. I can’t quite open my eyes yet, but I can move my fingers enough that she knows that I am alive. Then I hear my son’s deeper voice.
I made the right decision. I will fight.