Thursday, December 13, 2007


Here is the final draft of my final short story for my creative writing class. It feels so good to be done with at least one of my classes. I think it turned out really well. I am actually going to send it off to try my luck at having it published, which is something I would like to try to attempt a little more often in the future.


Clark’s brain woke up at 6:32 a.m. but his body did not. A sensation of panic made breathing difficult because he wasn’t sure if his body still existed.

“Am I dead?” he wondered.

He told the muscles of his eyelids to lift open and they did. He spent 8 minutes telling his body to sit up but it would not.

He started to wonder if he was paralyzed, “ No, I can see my fingers moving. Look at my leg, can I move it too?”

He could see his left leg, which he threw up in the air causing him to roll out of the bed onto the floor. He cried out as he knocked his head against the cherry-wood nightstand that sat next to his bed. This action knocked him unconscious for 2 hours, until the driver of his work carpool group came to see if he had slept in. He had previously worked as a systems analyst for 12 years at Microsoft, where he was confined to a cubical for 9 hours a day on weekdays and attended swanky parties on weekends. He was 3 years away from a promotion and a pay raise of $5,673 per year. None of that would matter anymore.

A strong, antiseptic smell was the first thing he sensed upon waking at 1:00 in a hospital bed in Seattle, his eyes only opening after he willed them to do so for an entire minute. He laid in bed for 3 months while doctors worked him over attempting to discover the problem. Clark was 33-years old and it would take him 7 years to find a doctor who could explain exactly what had happened to him.

“You have lost your sense of proprioception. This is the ability to know if your body is moving with required effort, and communicates to your brain the knowledge of where your body parts are located in relation to one another. This condition is very rare, only a handful of reported cases in the entire world are known.” Dr. Singh looked sympathetic as he explained the gravity of the situation to Clark.

“Is it reversible?”

The Dr. paused a moment before looking over the tops of his glasses at him. “I am afraid we do not know enough about it to give you a reassuring answer concerning the reacquisition of your proprioception.”

Clark closed his eyes for 2 minute and 17 seconds to take everything in, and experienced the sensation that he had begun to grow accustomed to. In this action he felt like he lost all sense of who he was, where he was. Part of the diagnostic process for the loss of proprioception had included what should have been the simple act of closing his eyes and pointing to his nose. He spent 7 minutes and 32 seconds concentrating with everything he had, but was unable to do it. He felt helpless and allowed this helplessness to overtake his life, losing his job and all of his fair-weather friends in the process.. No one brought him flowers, and he never expected any balloons. He found the stark-white hotel room of the hospital to be an agonizing place, where time seemed to stop It wasn’t until he was released from the hospital that he realized time had been quickly advancing without his knowledge.

2 years and 63 days later Clark found himself walking into the lobby of the hospital once again. He hated it there, but his mother had insisted that he come down to see his nephew, 7 hours old.

“Congragtulations!” He told his sister awkwardly (he felt awkward every time he spoke to anyone).

“I know you are going to object, but please hold him for me,” his sister sweetly asked.

He started to object, but she looked so tired and frail that he knew he could not refuse. It took him 12 seconds to lower into the nearest chair by glancing behind himself to see when his body and the surface of the chair would meet. The nurse seemed to recognize him (for he was famous throughout the hospital) and she gently laid the blue bundle into his arms, standing by to assist him if he should need it. He resented her closeness. He looked down as the baby hiccupped softly. Jealousy welled up inside of him. In many ways, he hated this baby for possessing something that he no longer had. That baby started to wail, and the nurse came and took it away. Clark was not ready for all of this. He needed more time to accept his new life. It was painful for him to be around a creature that possessed the one thing he desired most, a fresh start at life.

As he hurried through the hallways of the hospital, he nearly bowled over a bald, sickly looking girl in a bright pink robe.

“Merry Christmas!” She smiled up at him, handing him 3 mini candy canes.

It was then that Clark cried for the first time since his brain woke up without his body. He squatted down right next to that little girl and hugged her so tight he worried she might break. She started to pat his back and told him everything was going to be okay, and he believed her.

The next morning Clark burnt his finger as he tried 8 times to get his english muffin out of the toaster. He ran his swollen finger under cool water for 47 seconds as he thought about how this condition had forced a complete redefinition of himself. When he didn’t know what proprioception was, he defined himself using his accomplishments. Now retrieving toast from the toaster without burning himself was an accomplishment. And yet, when he thought about this simple act of toast retrieval, he remembered burning his old self a few times. This thought made him smile. Or at least he thought he was smiling, without a mirror to look into it was hard to tell.


Anonymous said...

I like this version much better than the previous on you posted. The references to times reminds me of the narrator on Pushing Daisies, but also makes the disease seem worse because it quantifies the time for things that most of us don't ever even give a second thought.

Hope you got your A.

Anonymous said...

one... previous one, not on.

Jenna said...

Thanks Anon! I hope I get an A too, I will find out in a few weeks.

I am really glad that I portrayed the "times" references how I wanted to, you got the EXACT message out of it that I was trying to convey.

Thanks for reading, and for sharing your feedback. I plan on posting more in the future.

Who links to me?