When what you love is taken away, part of you is also...
Back When I Was Someone
Who I Used To Be
I used to be Sabrina, the 13-year-old girl who was always happy and loved everyone and was so amazingly graceful when she danced. Sabrina, who was so outgoing and popular and fun and kind. Sabrina, who could walk. Sabrina, who could write big, loopy letters on her schoolwork. Sabrina, who is gone forever.
Because now, I’m Sabrina, the 13-year-old-girl who sits in a wheelchair has one arm and mumbles when she talks because her face is lopsided and she sometimes drools. Sabrina, who talks to a computer to write and is so terribly unpopular and boring and shy. Sabrina, who gets stares from everyone who sees her, and those starers think to themselves ‘Boy, she must be retarded.’ Sabrina, who feels dead inside. Sabrina, who almost died on the outside, too. And this is how.
It had been a long, long day at Oakland Middle School, even though it was early release. Since my mom had to work, Emily’s mom had picked me up along with her daughter (and my all time BFF). I stared out the window of her minivan, pressing my hand to the cool glass, trying to make out the blurry splotches that were Maine’s houses and cars splattered with gallons and gallons of rain, like an artist had painted my entire world and then cried on their canvas.
Smoke billowed out of our mouths with the cold air, like a fire was just put out in our insides. Emily chewed a sliver of her bright red-orange hair as she turned away from her book and towards me to say, “Gosh, it’s already March. I can’t believe we started 7th grade over six months ago.”
“I can believe it. What I can’t believe is the fact that we have about double the homework that we had in 6th grade.” Rain blew by in huge gusts, like floating ocean waves. The air bent pine trees into heavy bows, and the wind howled like a banshee.
“Well, they did tell us there would be more work in the Arts program.” This was true. But to be fair, I thought a magnet program for Arts would have more homework along the lines of ‘big projects you do at home that aren’t that boring’ kinds of things.
Thunder boomed overhead. Emily grabbed my hand tightly, her face ghostly white. I got the message immediately; I needed to calm her nerves or she’d go bezerk. Emily has amazing musical talent, and I think she has bionic hearing, which would sound good, but in a hurricane-ish thunderstorm, it would not. I rested my head on her shoulder and read Harry Potter along with her. Her shoulder relaxed as we giggled together, and soon, we were almost home.
I live on the other side of the river from Oakland. As we drove over the bridge, I realized how quiet it was, though the rain made quite a racket on Emily’s blue Subaru. There were only three other cars driving on the bridge. I guess it would be smart to stay indoors if you could on a day like this. It was only me, Emily, the rain, and the smudged headlights of the other cars, swerving and - swerving?!
I jumped out of my seat. “ Look out!
It was too late. The other car, a small silver sports car, hydroplaned and crashed right into us. An enormous dent appeared in Emily’s door and part of the sunroof bent, rain gushing on all of us. At first, I thought it was all over. Emily’s car was destroyed, but no one was hurt.
Boy, was I wrong.
All I felt was a slight tipping, like it was just the impact of the crash. But we didn’t bump back onto the asphalt. We kept tipping, slowly, creaking nearer and nearer into the fierce churning of the deep, dark river below. Emily shrieked. Her mom gasped in horror, gripping the steering wheel, paralyzed, her knuckles as white as her ghostly face. I held Emily’s hand tighter, skrewed my eyes shut and prayed my hardest that we wouldn’t fall off the bridge. My long black hair brushed the window. There was a creak, a thud, and then everything went black.
When I opened my eyes, it was still raining. I was lying on the asphalt propped up on the curb, and someone was shaking my shoulder. Emily’s crushed blue minivan was lying sideways on my left. Red, blue, and white lights flashed everywhere like strobes. Sirens wailed around me. Everything was blurry and double. Thunder crackled and lightning splintered the dense, cloudy gloom.
And that’s when I felt it. Pain. Excruciating pain. Pain in my head and my right arm and almost everywhere. I looked to my right and saw the most horrifying sight I have ever laid eyes on. My shoulder was lopsided and was bent at a very odd angle. But the freaky part was my arm. Well, my not-arm, actually. Because where my arm should have been was just my squashed t-shirt sleeve, red and gushy and slimy and; ugh, I’m getting sick just thinking about it.
Anyways, it was so painful I couldn’t even cry out. I just spluttered and stared at my gruesome sleeve. It was so painful I almost fainted.
“Sabrina! Sabrina, can you hear me?!” A woman’s voice shouted over the storm. She shook me again. I didn’t know how she knew my name - I couldn’t recognize her at all. Her voice was sharp, strict, and professional, like a more important version of my math teacher. I could make out a figure in soaked, sky blue clothing with a squared jaw and long, nut-brown hair. A much smaller, kinder, and more shaky voice coming from a drenched flowered dress and fiery hair asked her, from farther away, “W-will she be okay?” Phew. Emily was okay. Her mom was standing next to her, hugging her. She was okay too. Good. But, I wondered, What about me?
The sky-blue lady said something into a walkie-talkie, scooped me up and placed me on a drenched white bed, except it was skinnier, longer, and taller than any bed. Somebody else, also wearing sky blue, - an Asian man, I think,- wheeled the bed-but-not-a-bed into a bright white room. It had drawers and cabinets everywhere, and a red duffel bag sat on the mint green cushions of a bench. Emily and her mom stepped into the room and sat down on the bench. I was pretty sure her mom was silently crying. I felt terrible for her - it wasn’t her fault whatever had happened to me happened.
The Asian man bustled swiftly out of the room and closed the think double-doors behind him. Something rumbled underneath us and we started vibrating, and then turning slowly, and pretty soon we were bolting down the road, the sirens wailing all around us, the red, white and blue lights engulfing us in flickering strobes.
“It’s okay, Sabrina, you’ll be okay,”the sky-blue lady said. Something sharp and small slid into my neck, and then everything went black.

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Chapter 2

How Who I Was Has Changed Forever

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