Unconscious | Teen Ink

Unconscious MAG

August 26, 2008
By Samaiya SILVER, Medellin, Other
Samaiya SILVER, Medellin, Other
7 articles 0 photos 9 comments

There was a dead girl in front of the library this morning. She was breathing, but she wasn’t alive. Whatever existence she’d had during her few years – I calculated she was around 13 – certainly wasn’t life. She was tossed carelessly on the trash-­littered sidewalk in front of a boarded-up doorway, drugged and utterly unconscious of the world around her. The filth and stench of the city were caked into her skin. She seemed part of the garbage she was ­lying in.

My home in Medellín, Colombia, has a lot of poverty. I’m used to seeing dirty, starving children begging in the streets, unkempt old men sleeping ­under newspapers, and hopeless teen­agers forgetting their pain in glue and needles.

But this … this was different.

The girl’s clothes were pulled high above her chest, ugly testimony to what had been done to her the night before. Person after person walked by. Boys leered. Children gaped and were pulled away by mothers who wrinkled their noses and quickened their pace. Not once did I see a trace of caring.

I knelt down and shook her gently.

She stirred and turned her head to me, and a grimace flashed across her face. I realized she was no child. All concept of age was erased from my mind. Perhaps she was barely a teenager; perhaps she was as old as humanity.

“Señora,” I said softly. A fly alighted on her cracked lips, and I brushed it away. Still she did not wake. I don’t know why I cared. Certainly no one else did. But I couldn’t leave her like that. I couldn’t. I should cover her. I reached out to pull down her shirt but retracted my hand. I had no right to touch her.

I knew what I had to do.

Even as I pulled the sweater over my head, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to give my favorite sweater to someone who would just sell it for drugs. I didn’t want to care. But it was too late. Once you open your eyes and see reality, you can’t close them again that easily. And even though I wished I didn’t care, I did. She was a girl, my sister in ­humanity, a person just like me. God have mercy on us both.

I draped the sweater over her. The pulsating noise of the street suddenly quieted. The outside world ceased to exist, and a deafening ­silence enveloped us. Time slowed. The moment seemed eternal. We were the only ones in the universe – just me, the girl, and the dark blue sweater fluttering down in slow motion.

I had the sensation you get when you pull the sheet over the face of a corpse and say, muerto esta. The last fold of cloth settled on the gray cement, and suddenly time was once again going. I heard the rushing cars at my back, felt the burning sun, and smelled the filth. Nothing had changed.

I got up too quickly, nearly losing my balance. I needed to get away.

“La felicito,” an old man, who had apparently been watching me, said in congratulations. “Is it a little girl? So sad, so sad. What a shame.”

“Yeah … I don’t know,” I mumbled, hurrying away, horribly embarrassed that I’d been seen. Supposedly, when you do a good deed, you get a warm fuzzy feeling inside. But all I felt was a deep, aching sadness.

I used to believe those heart-warming stories about how people’s lives were changed by some small act of kindness. If this were one of those ­inspirational stories, years later we’d meet again. She would have risen from her poverty and pain, achieved success, and been converted to some nice religion. I’d be down about something, perhaps thinking that my life was worth nothing. On an impulse I’d step into a church and – voilà! – she’d be there giving her testimony about how she’d lived a totally empty and meaningless existence until her life had been changed by the act of a caring stranger who had covered her with a sweater.

And then I’d get up, with tears in my eyes, and shout, “I am that stranger!” And we’d hug and become best friends and I’d go home completely happy in the knowledge that my life had been good for something after all.

But this isn’t an inspirational story. The real world isn’t that nice. When the girl came out of her stupor, she probably wouldn’t even notice the sweater or wonder where it had come from. She’d use it to get more drugs. That night she would again sell her body and her soul, and the next day she would once more lie on the street with her shame open to the world. And my feeble act of caring would be worth nothing.

I headed down the street and sud­denly, to my disgust, found tears running down my face. I dashed them away, not knowing whether I was crying for that girl, my favorite sweater, or the fact that no one had cared.

I thought of the Jesus I’d been taught about in church. He would have cared, I think, if he’d been there. But he wasn’t there. I wished he were. It hurt.

People at church would tell me that he was there, that he’d cared through me.

I sighed. Maybe. Maybe.

But all the way home, the pain ­remained.

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This article has 481 comments.

LadyShady GOLD said...
on Apr. 23 2011 at 4:38 pm
LadyShady GOLD, Jamaica, New Jersey
11 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To the people I forgot, you weren't on my mind for some reason and you probably don't deserve any thanks anyway." - Eminem

Wow this was great.

Hejlna said...
on Apr. 20 2011 at 12:20 pm
Wow, this article is something that makes me want to cry. I don't cry very easily either. Wow.

on Apr. 19 2011 at 3:08 pm
xxrockerxxcutiexxxx, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
dude that is f**kin epic..i luv it!!!

on Apr. 15 2011 at 4:37 pm
KaitlynMarie GOLD, Northborough, Massachusetts
10 articles 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I finally understood what true love meant...love meant that you care for another person's happiness more than your own, no matter how painful the choices you face might be."
-Nicholas Sparks

This is beautiful and really does deserve to be in the magazine. Outstanding! It makes you think.

catieereyess said...
on Apr. 15 2011 at 3:34 pm
really nice. u had the guts to do something good that i wouldnt of done GOOD JOB!!!!

Faith said...
on Apr. 13 2011 at 12:48 pm
Wow this story is abosolutly amazing. Its real we don't see a lot of that now a days we see more fairy tales...  we need more writers like you Keep up the good work... 

thecrazyone said...
on Apr. 11 2011 at 3:00 am
thecrazyone, Calgary, Other
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everything that comes together, falls apart. The suffering was caused by desire, we'd learned, and that the cessation of desire meant the cessation of suffering. When you stopped wishing, things wouldn't fall apart, you'd stop suffering when they did." - Looking for Alaska

wow.. this is outstanding!!! i love it!! 

on Apr. 6 2011 at 10:12 pm
BananaHana GOLD, Chinook, Montana
16 articles 16 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-

This is absolutely beautiful. I totaly understand where you are coming form.

Great Job!

on Apr. 4 2011 at 2:43 pm
rockstardream GOLD, I&#39m Not Saying, Georgia
12 articles 2 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you dream it you can do it." ~Walt Disney

Absolutely wonderful! Fantastic word choice and great meaning. I love this!

meg992 BRONZE said...
on Mar. 29 2011 at 3:46 pm
meg992 BRONZE, Eatontown, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Do not dwell in the past, Do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment


lmost started to cry, so good

on Mar. 24 2011 at 9:56 pm
Neautique132 SILVER, Minneapolis, Minnesota
6 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
If I wanted antioxidants, i'd just hold my breath!

This story is deep, smart, it tore me to pieces when i read it.


cheerchick said...
on Mar. 24 2011 at 11:15 am
outstanding writing great story

JasonG. said...
on Mar. 18 2011 at 10:37 am
JasonG., Otto, Wyoming
0 articles 1 photo 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
why work against the system when its easier to work with the system. -unknown

Wow! What a eye opener, it brought tears to my eyes. i liked it. great job.

Tilicious said...
on Mar. 18 2011 at 1:40 am
this is a really sad story.....it really makes you think

peterc BRONZE said...
on Mar. 16 2011 at 12:46 pm
peterc BRONZE, Chattanooga, Tennessee
1 article 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Muscle Cars. Get some."

So sad. What has the world come to today?

Stephine said...
on Mar. 15 2011 at 3:54 pm
Stephine, Cottonwood, California
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"you are what you eat"

i like this.. i mean it made me cry, but your a very good writer

boby said...
on Mar. 15 2011 at 10:17 am
this thouch my heart

on Mar. 13 2011 at 11:45 am
WrittenwithWords411, Bellingham, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't give up, because it will get better. It may be stormy now, but it can't rain forever."

Wow. This story made almost cry. You are a very talented writer 

on Mar. 11 2011 at 7:39 pm
SavannahRose24, Gulfport, Florida
0 articles 4 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:

Every place is different and has different ways, it's just like speaking a different language.


helpfull kid said...
on Mar. 8 2011 at 3:50 pm
thanks alot u opend my eyes to the world