Sunday Scribblings #60: Mask



She heard the rumble of the engine as she jostled on a hard plastic cushion. A stern face seemed to float above her and she tried to speak but her words would not come. He quickly pried one eyelid fully open, and a flash of light momentarily blinded her. The air tasted coppery and stale, and her tongue rubbed around on her teeth like fat sausage thumping in a diminutive bowl.

The motion ceased and doors flung open. She felt herself rise and heard an abrupt snap as the gurney’s support and wheels clicked into place. The night sky sparkled briefly overhead before being replaced by the harsh glare of halcyon bulbs recessed into heavy concrete. The empty night sounds gave way to an explosion of activity as she rolled into the emergency room.

Her head, restrained by a cervical collar, could not turn to observe anything, nor would her eyes track; she was limited to survey the cold ceiling and the various equipment affixed there. Her ears could clearly hear agitated voices chanting away in a secret language of terminology and data. Another face appeared above her, and soft, brown eyes peered deeply into hers for a fraction of a second. Dizziness overcame her and she felt herself floating towards the ceiling. The voices became more disconcerted. A blur of plastic filled her vision. She could feel something cold touching her skin. The sudden, dry scent of unfamiliar air filled her nostrils, but her mind knew no more.

One heartbeat and an eon later, she awoke to the strange sound of a machine. It frightened her. Her mind tried to process the events leading up to this moment but it recalled only the haze of the ambulance. She soon realized the whine of the machine matched the breaths in her throat. A subdued ping announced her heart rate. The slow hum declared a blood pressure cuff was inflating somewhere on her body. Her eyes, taped shut, could not look around. She felt no pain. She felt nothing. She could move nothing.

Realization dawned on her. It was only a few drinks. The drive home from prom wouldn’t be so long. This was a dream, wasn’t it? She tried to pinch herself with dead arms. She fought to scream out or even shed a tear. Her body would not respond. She was trapped in her own mind; her slack face was a mask incapable of showing emotion.

____________________________________
Prevent Teenage Drunk Driving Accidents

Volunteer to help organize a fun, alcohol-free post-prom party at your local high school.

Write a letter to local supermarkets and liquor stores stating that you will not patronize any establishment caught selling liquor to minors. Get as many people as you can to sign the petition.

If you or someone you love has been affected by a drunk-driving accident,
share your story to inspire others.

If you are the parent of a teenager, download a copy of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) brochure "
Underage Drinking: You Can Prevent It When They're Under Your Influence." E-mail ten other parents of teenagers, encouraging them to do the same.

Download copies of the MADD brochure "Underage Drinking: You're Stronger Than You Think" for every member of your church's youth group. Include with it a copy of "The Drunk Driving Poem."

Download a copy of the Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) "Contract for Life," a fair, two-way agreement in which teenagers promise to call for a safe ride home if they should find themselves in a potentially destructive situation. In return, parents agree to withhold discussion about the situation until a later, calmer time. Copy the contract for distribution at the next meeting of your local high school's parents' association.

19 responded with...:

~Kathryn~ said...

amazing
you had me hooked from the beginning
and a fabulous message

gautami tripathy said...

This is very heartfelt. Much needed too. It needs wider reading to get that message across. Thanks for this very wonderful post.

Inconsequential said...

Wow, interesting stuff.
Excellent writing, most impressed.

Though the added extras...I always wanna argue with those that advocate an end to things they did.
Growing up requires life lessons, even if some are fatal or worse to the peer group.
I think shielding folk from such lessons diminishes them as a whole.

I used the word argue, because these sorts of issues can never truely be discussed in adult fashion. To many raw emotions.

Still, good stuff, good stuff...

paris parfait said...

A powerful and important reminder about the perils of drinking and driving.

Regina Clare Jane said...

Oh, this was very powerful...
Thank you for sharing this story and the links as well.
It's a scary time right now for parents...

Liza's Eyeview said...

"...her slack face was a mask incapable of showing emotion."

Wow, another thought provoking post on mask.

A very timely and important reminder scribbled so well. Thank you.

JHS said...

Bravo! Bravo! That was wonderful . . . I kept wondering where the story was going, who she was . . . and the ending was a punch in the gut. Every high school student in America should read it. They do those every minute drills in the schools here. A friend of mine lost her nephew in an accident (not drunk or prom, just driving too fast) and the young man's parents allowed the program organizers to use the car he died in during the presentation. Powerful. As is your writing.

Ally Bean said...

"her slack face was a mask incapable of showing emotion."

Excellent take on the prompt. So horrible to think about, yet so well written that I feel I must think about it.

DJPare said...

Powerful.

Rob Kistner said...

That is a tough mask to wear, and more masks will follow before time has dimmed that trauma.

uberjam said...

a very powerful reminder carefully placed in a well-written piece.

thanks for the interesting read. :)

Patois said...

Masterfully done. What a wonderful art of writing you have. It was so dramatic and seemed to very real.

Frances said...

Excellent!
I'm remembering my sixth grade teacher. Her fiance was killed by a drunk driver - she never quite recovered from the shock & she never married.
Sending good vibes your way,
Frances

Crafty Green Poet said...

Your story is very well written and I like that you gave us the extra links as well.

Anita said...

What an amazing story about an important issue! Great writing!

Clare said...

Very powerful! And this time of year it is especially important. I felt like I was right there -- beautifully written.

Jennifer said...

Very compelling and true to life. I'm glad that at the end of the post you gave a place for people to go. I hate it when I watch a movie or something of this nature and nobody leaves where a person can get help. You've given resources, good call!

Cheryl said...

Excellent. Absolutely powerful.

Chelise said...

Oy. I could feel it happening. I am cringing in appreciation of good writing. As well as, an important message.

Bravo.