Broken (Chap 4) from Loving You Hurts So Good
Posted by Jalpa Williby
It had only been two days since Nick’s departure, and already, Jed fell back into depression. Trina came to see him every evening after work, forcing him get out of his room. His parents drove him to his therapy appointments, making sure he didn’t miss any. He felt completely useless and dependent on everybody else.
Jed had come a long way since the accident, though. He shuddered, remembering those horrible weeks of agony.
When he first woke up in the hospital, and his family broke the news to him, he thought it was all just a nightmare. He didn’t believe any of it.
“That’s crazy,” he told his parents. “I’m sure the doctors are mistaken. Just give me couple of days.”
Trina and his parents never left his side. He couldn’t understand why his mother’s eyes were always red and swollen, as if it was the end of the world.
Finally, when Jed still couldn’t move his legs a week later, anger like no other hit him. He hated everybody and would kick them out of his room. “Get the hell out! I don’t need any of you all!” he would shout, even to the doctors and the nurses. They had to sedate him several times because he was trying to pull his tubes out. Jed hated the world for the predicament he was in.
Once he realized nobody was planning on leaving him alone, he went into deep depression. He even told Trina that he should have died in that accident. “Trina, please, if there’s any way at all you can help me. I don’t want to live like this. I can’t feel anything from my waist down. No, I won’t live like this.”
“Jed, please. We’re all here to help you. Please don’t say things like that,” Trina begged.
Tears rushed down Jed’s face. “Don’t make me live like this. What kind of life do you think I would have?”
“Oh, I love you so much, Jed. Please, you’re my strong brother. You can’t give up. I can’t bear it.” Trina wiped her tears quickly. “Listen, Sage is a doctor. I think she’s out of the country, but I need to try to reach her. She can help you. I know she can.”
Jed pushed the IV pole down when he heard the name he despised with passion. “Don’t you ever bring her up again! She’s a nobody to me and to this family. What the hell do you think she can do for me? Just get out. You’ll never understand what I’m going through.” He didn’t care that he was hurting his sister. He just wanted everybody to leave him alone.
Eventually, when he was medically stable, he was flown to Texas, so his family could keep an eye on him. He received inpatient rehabilitation for several months and was left with no choice but to participate in his therapy sessions. Finally, when he was released from the hospital, he moved in with his parents.
Even with the support of his family at his parents’ home, to wake up every day and face the world was tough. As difficult as it was to get out of his bed, he knew the therapy sessions his parents took him to daily were important. He pushed himself to work hard, and the therapists continued to encourage him, saying that he was definitely having more movement in his legs.
When he didn’t have early morning therapy, he normally stayed in bed until he was coerced to get up. Wednesday was one of those days, so when Jed heard a knock on his door, he assumed it was one of his parents.
He grunted, hoping they’d leave him alone. But, the door swung open and he heard it close again. “Ma, I’m sleeping in today,” he muttered.
“It’s eleven o’clock. How long do you plan on sleeping in?” Recognizing Sage’s voice immediately, he lifted his head up to make sure he wasn’t hearing things.
Seeing her standing there with her skinny jeans and a snug t-shirt, Jed’s heart skipped a beat. A burst of emotions hit him—especially annoyance.
“What are you doing here? Who said you could just walk in my room like this?” Jed wanted to punch the wall, angry that she still held the power over his feelings.
“Your parents, actually.” Sage walked to the bed. “When do you plan on getting out of bed?”
“Not your damn business, Sage. You’re not welcome here. Can you leave?” The thought of her, of all people, seeing him at his most vulnerable state infuriated him. How dare she walk in here as if the last ten years hadn’t happened? Sure, growing up, she came in and out as she pleased. In high school, when they were dating, she practically had moved into his parents’ house.
“Whatever. I wanted to see you, okay? I’ll be leaving soon, and I wanted to make sure you were doing all right.”
“What the hell! Just get out!” Jed did not want her to witness him struggling to get out of bed.
“Jed, I’m not leaving. I want to talk with you, but I’ll wait in the living room. I’ll give you privacy right now, unless you need any help.” Sage folded her arms in front of her chest, her lips set in a thin line.
“Get out! Now!”
After Sage turned and stormed out, Jed threw his pillow at the door, frustrated that she had to come and disrupt his state of mind. He knew she was stubborn, though, so he reluctantly crawled out of bed and got into his wheelchair.
Heading to the bathroom, he decided he should at least get himself somewhat cleaned up since she looked beautiful as ever. She had not aged one bit in the last ten years. If anything, she was even more beautiful, her dark hair longer than in high school, and her body seemed to have more curves in the right places than he remembered. Splashing his face with the water, he cursed at where life had taken him. Knowing there was no time to dwell on anything at the moment, he finished up by putting on his sweatpants and a black t-shirt. His damp hair was more curly than usual, and he hadn’t shaved in couple of days, so a beard was starting to form. Refusing to do anything more with his appearance, he took a deep breath and headed out of his room.
Jed could hear his parents talking with Sage. Annoyed and feeling betrayed that they were being friendly with her, he clenched his jaw tightly and continued wheeling toward the one girl who had broken his heart.
“Hey, Jed. We were just catching up with Sage. Did you know she just returned from Brazil? She worked with kids there to help them. She does this kind of stuff all the time…and all over the world.” His mom was babbling, so he knew she was nervous.
When he remained silent, his dad said, “Come on, honey. Let’s leave these kids alone, so they can catch up.”
Jed’s eyes remained on Sage, trying to show her that she had no effect on him at all. Sage was nervously fidgeting with her fingers and looked everywhere but at him.
“It’s okay. Sage and I won’t be long. We can step outside on the porch,” Jed finally said.
“Yeah, we’ll be outside,” Sage agreed, heading toward the door.
Once outside, Sage sat on the rocking chair and waited for Jed to pull up next to her. Keeping his distance, Jed said, “What’s up? What do you want to talk about?”
Taking a deep breath, Sage closed her eyes. Finally, she opened them and said, “I’m going to be honest here. After I saw you the other night, I went straight home and Googled you. I wanted to find out what happened. First of all, I want to say how sorry I am.”
“Don’t need to hear that. What else you gotta say?”
Sage sighed. “You’re not making this easy for me, Jed. This is really hard—to see you after all these years. I tried to stay away this week, but I needed to see you. I needed to find out how you’re really doing.”
“Well, Sage, how the hell do you think I’m doing? I can’t walk, I can’t piss, and I can’t take a shit. I have a goddamn tube going up my penis that collects my piss. My parents have to make sure I have a bowel movement regularly. What else do you want to know?” Jed knew he was being harsh, but he didn’t care.
“If you’re trying to shock me, it’s not going to work. I’m a doctor, remember?”
“You asked how I was doing. That’s the best I got for you. Why do you care anyway? It’s not like you’ve tried to contact me through the years. Not once did you try to find out how I was doing.”
“I did try to contact you at first, but you wouldn’t return my calls, remember? Besides, I knew how you were doing because you’ve been all over the media, Jed. Your songs were all over the radio, and every time I logged onto my computer, there was usually some sort of news about you, especially on all the gossip sites. I knew about your success, your tours, who you were dating…yeah, I admit it. I kept tabs on you, okay?”
Jed didn’t respond, surprised at first. He sighed, shaking his head. “I don’t know what you want from me. Why are you here? There’s nothing left to say.”
Sage looked away quickly, staring off into the horizon. Just then Jade came running, excited to see her. Sage petted her and pulled her into her arms. “Jade! I’ve missed you, girl. You look great!”
This time, it was Jed who looked away. Pain pierced through his heart as he remembered they had rescued Jade together from the shelter during their senior year in high school. They also had chosen her name to be a combination of both of theirs. At the time, they had decided that Jade was their first baby until they were older and more responsible to have their own kids one day. But, of course, Sage didn’t even stick around to raise Jade. Instead, Jed ended up taking his baby to LA with him, and she had been his best buddy for the last ten years. The fact that Jade recognized Sage instantly felt like another betrayal.
When Jade continued to kiss Sage, he finally couldn’t take it anymore. “Jade!” he called. “Come here.” Jade immediately leaped off of Sage and approached him. “Sit,” Jed commanded. “Stay!”
He knew Jade wouldn’t disobey him, and in some strange way, he felt a small victory over Sage. Recognizing it was silly, he still wanted to rub it in her face that Jade was his baby.
Sage bit her lower lip and turned her attention back toward him. “How long are you here?” she finally asked.
“Don’t know,” he replied abruptly.
“I’m here for at least a few more weeks. For what it’s worth, you look great, and believe it or not, I’ve missed you. Like, a lot. But I know you don’t care to hear all that, so I won’t bore you. Jed, I’d like to see you more. If you don’t want to catch up on our personal lives, fine. I would love for you to tell me how your rehab and everything is going. I have a lot of colleagues who are neurologists. Maybe I can help somehow.”
“I don’t need your help, Sage. Why the hell would I take help from you?” Furious, he began to push his wheelchair back toward the house. “Take care and have a great life.” He continued without turning around to look at her.
“All right, I’ll see you tomorrow,” Sage replied.
Before Jed could turn his wheelchair around to yell at her, Sage leaped off of the porch and was already disappearing down the driveway and into her car.
Hope you guys are enjoying Broken. More to come in a near future. If you want to read the full story now, you can get it from Amazon. It’s also free on Kindle Unlimited. Link: here
About Jalpa WillibyJalpa Williby was born in India and immigrated to the United States at the tender age of eight. A voracious reader, Williby’s adolescence was marked by a promising academic career. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science from the University of Illinois, Williby went on to earn her Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Northwestern University. Her passion for helping her patients led her to a specialty in neuroscience, focusing on children and adults with neurological impairments. For the past 20 years, Williby has worked as a Physical Therapist, a career she loves because she gets to make a difference, “One person at a time!” When she is not working, she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her husband and her three children. Juggling her time as a wife, a mother, and working fulltime, her love and passion for books never subsided. Some of her favorite books are A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Twilight Series, and The Hunger Games Trilogy. When asked what inspired her to write her debut novel, Chaysing Dreams, Williby answers simply, “Because I have a story to share.”
Posted on June 19, 2018, in Uncategorized and tagged award winning author, Broken, Jalpa Williby, love story, Loving You Hurts So Good, paralyzed, rock star, short story, spinal cord injury. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.