By Jacob Yoon Staff Writer
Dull. White. Empty. That’s how my room looks.
I never have to feel my heartbeat. I hear it, in the form of a quiet little beep coming every second from my left side. Actually, it’s the only thing I ever hear, other than my father and doctor talking outside the door.
I can name every single object in this room; everywhere they’ve ever been placed and when they’ve been used.
I think it’s been thirteen years.
My only comfort is also my cruelest reminder of my place in this world. A small window, on the far right side of the room, is the only glimpse I have to the outside world.
More than anything, I want to jump out of it. I want to fly with the birds that pass by, land next to the people walking below…
I want a normal life. Or any life, really.
The same thought I have everytime I close my eyes to sleep…
I’m staring out the window again, like I always do.
And then I hear a voice. I know exactly who it is. Few can mistake the gentle voice of my father.
“Hey Morgan. How are you feeling?” he asks.
I don’t answer him. I don’t even look at him.
You know full well how I’m feeling.
He kept talking, nonetheless. “Uh…there’s a friend of mine.”
This part, however, was new for me. I turn to him.
He continues, “I told him about you, and he insisted on coming here.”
“…who is it?” I ask.
As if on cue, the stranger enters the room in a very flamboyant fashion. He’s wearing a white suit jacket with a light pink button-up underneath. I can’t see his pants, but I assume they are the same color as his jacket. His most notable article of clothing, however, is his white fedora with black and red trim. His face resembles my father’s, if only a little.
“Hey there, kid!” he says to me. He sounds unusually excited. “Name’s Kishuna!”
“Hi…mister. I’m Morgan,” is all I can say to him.
I envy him. He looks like he really enjoys living.
“Not the most chipper of kids, huh? Eh, that’s fine,” I say to her.
Poor kid. I’ve seen a lot of people down in the dumps, but I think she takes the reward for ‘most miserable human being.’ Robin told me she’s been in this hospital for about thirteen years.
Thirteen years. Good. Lord. I could barely live in a house for thirteen years. And Robin’s telling me this one boring ass room is where she’s been holed up for that long? Even thinking about that happening to me would make me wanna kill myself.
No time for that now though. Right now I had to cheer her up.
“Hey, Robin. Mind leavin’ us alone for awhile?” I ask him.
“Of course. I’ll be back, Morgan,” he says.
So here I am. This boring as hell hospital room with a girl facing cancer, disease, and severe depression, and I’m currently armed with nothing but my charming personality to help her where the doctors and her parents couldn’t.
Situation status: awesome, clearly. But even so, I’ll feel bad if I don’t help her out, even a little.
Her quiet voice calls out. “Mister? Are you okay?” she says.
Then I realize that I’ve been in there for about a few minutes and so far said nothing to her.
“Whoops. Sorry there, girlie. Blanked out. Happens a lot,” he says.
I don’t blame him. There’s nothing in this room that’s even remotely entertaining. Just a room full of medicine, medical machines, and me. I’m really wondering why he even bothered to come here in the first place.
I look to the window and ask him, “is it fun out there?”
“Of course it is. Loads of fun,” I reply.
A true statement. I love the thrill and excitement this life gives me.
“Do you think that one day, I can have fun out there?” Morgan asks.
“One day, kid. I’m sure of it.”
Debatable. I’ll be honest, when Robin told me all the stuff she was going through, I was surprised she even lived this long. But you know, nowadays few things seemed impossible. She has a chance. At least, I like to hope she does.
Awkward silence. C’mon me, think of something.
“Why do you think I’m alive?” she asks me. “Why do I even exist if I can’t change anything?”
Well damn. I can’t give the usual answer. Living for the sake of living may not exactly appeal to someone who’s been in a hospital their entire life.
So instead, I say to her, “you can change a whole bunch of things just by existing, you know. If you were never born, some things that have happened in the world may never have occurred at all.”
She stays silent. But she’s facing towards me now. Am I getting to her? Can’t stop myself, so I keep going.
“You’re living right now. You’ve already changed me, you know. Maybe you can’t see it now, but trust me. A mere sight of something can go a long way.”
“Changed? I haven’t changed anything. I…won’t change anything. I can’t change anything!” I yell.
Kishuna looks surprised. I don’t care. I just keep yelling.
“Why!? Why do I have to be stuck here!? Why am I even alive!? What’s the point of my life if I can’t even do anything!? One day…NOT ONE DAY HAVE I BEEN OUTSIDE THIS ROOM! EVERYDAY FOR THIRTEEN YEARS I’VE SEEN THE SAME EXACT THINGS, THE EXACT SAME SCENERY, THE SAME EXACT PEOPLE!!! I’ve done nothing…I’VE CONTRIBUTED NOTHING TO THIS WORLD! TO MY FAMILY! TO ANYONE OR ANYTHING, I’VE DONE NOTHING!!!”
Only now did I feel the tears pouring out of my eyes.
“Just one thing…I just want to change one thing,” she says before she finally stops screaming.
I’ve been told that I’m a very talkative guy. My friends have told me that they really love how I always have something to say. Whether it be a witty comment, a corny joke, or valuable life advice, I had something for everyone.
And I’m about to disappoint all of them by saying I have nothing.
Nothing I have right now can help her. At least, nothing I can think of right now.
All that yelling must’ve drained her, cause she fell asleep real quick after that. It must’ve drained me too, because all I can think about now was the fact that I need a nap. And to help Morgan, of course, but fat chance in Hell that’ll happen today.
The second I walk out the door I see Robin, his disheveled white hair and black coat with yellow trim. He doesn’t have much variety in his clothing, so recognizing him was a simple task. His face looked…weird. I don’t know, it’s like his face can’t make up whether to smile or cringe, so it ended up looking like some awkward combination of the two.
“I appreciate your help…but I’m sorry you had to hear all of that,” he says to me.
“Nah. It’s fine,” I tell him.
“I’m sorry you got involved,” he says. “It’s just that… I thought she just needed someone… I don’t know. Cheerful. Someone who could like, distract her from her pain. And I thought that person might have been you.”
“Well, sorry for not bein’ good enough, I guess.”
“No it’s not your fault. It’s just that… I don’t know what can help her now…”
I don’t blame him. I don’t know either.
Or maybe I do. An idea just popped into my head. But I can’t exactly do it now.
“Hey Robin, mind if I try again tomorrow?”
“Of course not. But what are you going to say to her?”
All I could do was smile at him. Feels forced to me, but I don’t think he notices.
“Well, you’re free to listen in later, buddy,” is the last thing I say to him.
I hope he comes back is what I think to myself. That’s all I can think about. I want to apologize to Kishuna. He was only trying to comfort me. He was only trying to make me feel better. He was only trying to make me happy. And I screamed at him like my condition is all his fault. I yelled at him like it was his fault I was sick. When he took time out of his life to help someone he barely even knew, he was given hatred.
I opened the door to Morgan’s hospital room. It surprised me, seeing how quickly Morgan turned around. She looks relieved, like she was just holding the whole Earth on her back and just now, God decided to hold it for her.
“You’re back,” she says tearfully. Honestly, she looks like she doesn’t help anymore.
Doesn’t mean I’m leaving now, though.
“Hey kid. You sure fell asleep quick yesterday. Trust me, I know people who would kill to fall asleep that fast,” I say. Always good to start conversations with a joke. “You’ve got a natural talent.”
“I’m so sorry,” she says back. Poor girl’s crying now. “You tried to help me… I just yelled at you… for trying to help… I’m sorry…”
“Eh, don’t worry about it,” I tell her. But she doesn’t stop crying.
So in the middle of that boring old hospital room, I do the only thing I can do for her.
“How about a story for you, eh?” I say. “It’s a long one, so get comfortable.”
So, I tell her a story about a boy who grew up lonely and abused. A boy who had killed his mother and several others under the name of justice. A boy who valued his friends, and the excitement of life even more so. A boy who became the most wanted criminal of all time, and who would most likely hold that record for decades.
A boy named Akira Robinson. A name no one has called me for over twenty-five years.
Robinson, just like my family name.
It’s weird. Everything in the room is exactly the same, except for the man standing in front of me. And even though I’m in the same, white bed listening to the story about Akira, the boy feared by so many, I feel more alive than I’ve ever felt. But I don’t think it’s the story itself.
I think it’s this: the story couldn’t feel as real if anyone else told it. The way his eyes light up at certain parts of the story; the way his voice growls when talking about the boy’s family and how chipper it gets when he tells me about the boy’s friends. All these little things I couldn’t hope to describe were what made it so…genuine. I couldn’t help but think, “is this a true story?”
I guess I must’ve said that out loud, because I immediately heard him say, “that’s for you to decide, kid.”
It is true. All of it, actually. But it doesn’t matter. It worked. That spark in her eyes tells me it worked. And honestly, I’m kinda glad I got it all out. I feel free, almost, knowing I can tell her this and not get screwed over. Hopefully.
“I’m…tired,” she says. I don’t blame her. It is a long story.
So I say to her, “how about this: sleep now, and tomorrow, I can tell you even more about the life of Akira Robinson. Sound good?”
“It does. I’m…looking forward to it,” I tell him.
“Great. See you tomorrow then?” he asks.
“Yeah.” I’m excited. It’s a nice feeling, being able to look forward to something.
“Heh. Night kid.”
He has a bright smile on his face. I can’t help but smile back as I say goodbye to him.
“Good night, Uncle Akira.”