You can learn a lot when people think you aren’t listening…
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had insomnia. I’ve always been a night owl and a morning person, surviving on five, maybe six, hours of sleep cobbled together in restless bouts. In hindsight, I realize all my life I sort of resented having to sleep. I suppose I was afraid on some subconscious level I’d miss something important or exciting or unrepeatable. Which makes my current predicament all the more ironic.
I am in a deep vegetative state…better known as a coma.
Other people refer to my situation as “sad,” “heartbreaking”...even “tragic.” I find all the attention rather strange considering before I landed in Bed 3 in the long-term care ward of Brady Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, I was the girl no one paid much attention to. I was the middle child—middling pretty, middling smart, a middling achiever with a middling personality in a middling job at a middling company. My name is Marigold Kemp, but these days I’m more commonly referred to as Coma Girl. Apparently, I have a bit of a following. I’ve trended on social media. I have my own hashtag.
Since it appears I’m going to be here for a while, I thought I might as well start telling my story; there have been a few twists and turns as to how I got here, and doubtless more to come. The list of pluses of being in a coma is pretty darn short, but if I had to name the best thing, it’s that you can learn a lot when people think you aren’t listening. I am the ultimate eavesdropper, and friend, if I ever wake up, I’m going to write a tell-all.
Meanwhile, I’ll tell you.
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October 27, Thursday
“CAN I HELP you?” Gina asked.
“I came to see a patient,” a female voice said. “Marigold Kemp?”
“Are you a friend?”
“My fiancé is a friend of Marigold’s. We used to Skype with her. He’s out of the country, so I came in his place.”
“What’s your name?”
“Trina Gold. I signed in at the desk, and I don’t have a phone or camera.”
“Ten minutes,” Gina said. “It’s bedtime for the patients, and Marigold especially needs her rest.”
My brain is moving sluggishly these days, especially as the day goes on, but I realize with some amazement that Duncan’s fiancée Trina is here. I rally all my resources because I’m curious as to why she would come to see me. And I feel completely exposed because I wonder if she knows, or does she suspect the baby is Duncan’s?
“Hello, Marigold,” she said. “I’m Trina, Duncan’s girlfriend. This is a little strange because we’ve never met in person. I don’t know if you remember, but we did Skype a few times.”
I’m trying to recall what she looks like… all I can remember is pretty blonde hair.
“Duncan is still working with refugees in Germany, although I’m not sure where since he moves around so much. I haven’t talked to him in weeks, but he promised to be home before our wedding. I know he was hoping you could be there.”
I was hoping I could be at Duncan’s wedding, too, but not as a guest.
She gave an awkward little laugh. “I used to be jealous of you. Because you knew Duncan first, I felt like the intruder. I know how much you mean—meant to him.”
“I hope you and your b-baby recover soon. And I know Duncan wishes it, too.”
I wish I could hate her, but I don’t even have the strength. And except for the unfortunate choice of a pink grapefruit wedding cake, she seems perfectly lovely.
“I’ll go now,” she said. “I’ll tell Duncan I saw you.”
Then her footsteps faltered and she gave a little laugh. “A San Antonio Spurs hat. That’s so strange… someone asked me recently… no, I can’t recall. Goodbye, Marigold.”
Goodbye. Take care of Duncan. ~