Every morning, I wake up to the faded star-shaped stickers staring down at me indifferently from the pale blue ceiling above. My mother hopes that someday those twinkling things will take my mind off the horrid memories of that night but as much as I try to like them, I feel nothing. Lately, the monotony of darkness has become more comforting because then I can easily slip into nothingness as soon as my eyelids weigh down on my numb eyes.
With months of practice I have mastered the tactic of pulling myself upright into a sitting position all by myself. An anchor point near my waist and a strong determined pull to my shoulders, and there…I’m up. With the blanket lying crumpled over my still legs, I look up through the web of messy hair to see the one thing that’s always there to greet me with its dull presence – my black wheelchair. A recent addition to my room décor, it has found its permanent spot in the inset of the opposite wall, which was earlier occupied by my football gear before it had to be cleared up after that dreaded fall. Now, as I fixate on the cold metal bars of the chair, I can feel a sting go up my spine, just like the one I felt that night when his cold hand slowly crept around my waist.
It was a usual house party with booze, loud music and lots of intoxicated adults. The smell of alcohol and futile attempts of trying to make conversations over the loud thud of speakers had exhausted me completely. I came out into the corridor and made my way towards a window nearby, desperate to get some fresh air. With only one apartment on that floor, the corridor had no soul in sight. And I was glad there was no one there. I let the wind make a mess of my neatly set hair and for a minute, stopped caring about how I looked. Resting my arm on a high railing, I was staring at the blurry traffic lights in the distance when the touch of a firm hand around on my waist suddenly broke my reverie. I froze to make sense of the unfriendly touch that kept getting bolder as it made its way all over my lower body. Every second that I wasted trying to make sense of what was happening, I was giving him an open invitation to further smother me into his alcohol-stenched embrace. Not being able to take it anymore, I suddenly turned around with all my might and lashed out with my free arms, pushing him away from me as much as I could. What I did not realize was that in the struggle to break free, I had moved to the extreme edge of a staircase behind me. One slight push was all that was needed to send me down the steep descent. I remember my body rolling down, my head hitting each step in a continuous rhythm. With every passing moment, the pain in my entire body kept aggravating up to a point that I couldn’t feel my legs anymore. I had no sensation in below my waist. The quick rollercoaster ride felt like a slow motion through hell, till the excruciating pain in my head drowned me into complete darkness. That was the end of that night’s reality and the beginning of a trail haunting memories.
My morning rituals have undergone a few changes ever since. Everyday, I lift my legs with my hands from under the weight of the blanket and let them fall to the ground. I feel nothing. I try to push myself up to stand on my own, but my feet give way and I fall down onto the edge of my bed. Finally, after all these pointless efforts, I lean forward and ring the bell lying next to my pillow. Like always, my mother comes into the room, flashing a bright smile and wishing me ‘good morning’ in her happy shrill. She pulls the wheelchair next to my bed, helps me up and gently places me into the seat that is still cold from the night.