There is no prompt for this piece. It just came to me in a dream.
As a writer, I know how important it is to write things down. It can make a difference between nothingness and a best-seller. The former is where you will stay if you do not transfer your thoughts onto paper. Too many times have I had a brilliant idea for my debut, only to forget it the moment I got out of bed, out of the shower, out of the car. I know, I know. I should always just keep a notebook on me. At least that is what the experts recommend. But have you tried sleeping with a notebook? The pages become dog-eared and wrinkled. It is plausible that you would recommend placing it on my nightstand. If only I had any space there. Between a pile of books, medication, and at least two pairs of glasses, there is no room for an ant to breathe, let alone a notebook and a pen.
Have you tried walking around with a notebook in your pocket all day? First, we had wallets; then, we added a bunch of keys with a collection of plastic rectangles that hold the power to store discounts. Then came the phone. Apparently, size does matter after all – the bigger the phone, the better. So, you see, there simply is no room in your pocket for a notebook and a pen. No matter how small. However, we have already established that we like big things more than small ones.
Over a decade ago, Apple came up with a catchy slogan: “There’s an app for that.” There are so many different apps. One that allows you to search for people near you who would like to cuddle, one that will tell you if you will miss anything important if you go to the restroom while watching a movie, and one that helps you remember where you have gone number two. Not even one, however, can cure cancer. So, IS there an app for that?
But never mind. I am getting off-track. Where was I? Ah, yes! Writing. Writing things down. In notebooks. Since my phone already does most things for me (like reminds me of birthdays, responds to texts and emails, directs me to my destination), I figured that it had to be what would help me become a best-selling author, albeit I did not know how back then.
About a year ago, I received a text message, which included a link for an app download. Now, I know what you are thinking. I was not born yesterday, and I know of all these nefarious characters out there just trying to hack us and make our lives miserable. But, after a little bit of research, I confirmed that the link was legitimate. The app was in its beta testing phase and available only to select individuals. While I was eager to share the news with everyone, I could not, since I had signed a non-disclosure before even finding out more about the app.
By the time the app was released to the public, I was so used to it that I thought everyone must have heard about it. It was a revolutionary app that anyone would find helpful. A writer, a student, a mother. Everyone! This is why I was so confused when I saw Peter construct a “to-do” list. Sitting down at the kitchen table, I observed him with pity. Peter kept walking around the kitchen, opening the fridge and cupboards, chewing on his pencil, hemming and hawing, and occasionally writing things down. Mom kept spewing some random words and phrases, which I assumed had to be added to the list.
“You know there is an app that you can download onto your phone that reads your thoughts and then jots them down for you, right?” I asked both my brother and my mother.
They both looked at me as if I were crazy.
“Here, I will show you,” I said, opening the app store on my phone.
Peter looked interested. He placed his list and pencil on the counter and made his way towards me. Mother, on the other hand, looked as if someone had just died.
“Sam?” she asked, bringing her face close to mine.
“Yes, Mom?” I asked, confused. “I know it sounds insane, but it is real! I have been using it for months. It has changed my life,” I added, seeing the disbelief in her eyes.
“Sa-am?” she asked, a little teary-eyed.
“Mom, why are you shaking me?” I asked, realizing that it is not disbelief in her eyes after all.
“Peter, call 911,” she screamed at my brother.
“Are you alright, Mom? Are you experiencing any pain in your chest?” I asked, seeing the now obvious terror in her eyes.
Peter dialed the three digits on his smartphone while my mother kept caressing my face.
“Yes, please come quickly. My brother fainted. Or something. He… is not responding to us, but his eyes and mouth are wide open,” he said into the phone.
“Wha-” I tried to ask but realized I could not.
I was speaking, and my family could not hear me. I wonder if my mother could see the terror in MY eyes when I realized what was going on.
“I’m here! Can’t you hear me?” I yelled with all my might, shaking my mother.
“What would it take for me to snap her out of it?” I wondered to myself.
“Mom! Look at me. What is going on?” I screamed and pleaded to no avail until the paramedics arrived.
The past couple of months have been torturous. All sorts of doctors are coming by, poking and prodding, trying to figure out what the problem is. I keep trying to tell them that they need to stop treating me as I was not there and that they need to start listening to me.
“That is so bright! I am FINE! Leave me alone!” I shouted at a young Indian man, who I assume is a medical student, when he shines a light into my eyes.
They do not even introduce themselves when they enter my room. How rude is that? They all know my name and many other things that I hoped to keep hidden from strangers.
“Mom!” I exclaimed, forgetting that she probably cannot hear me, as she enters the room.
She has been solemn ever since that night in the kitchen, but today… there is less hope in her eyes. She looks defeated. I want to ask her what happened and wonder if Peter got into trouble at school again. He has always been a bit of a nuisance. A black sheep, one might say. I am the golden boy – the rising star. The best-selling author to be. The moment I get out of here, I will publish my book about being imprisoned in my own body. Luckily, the phone has been next to me the whole time, recording all of that. Nothing will be forgotten. No detail left unsaid.
“Are you sure there is nothing else you can do?” my mother asked the doctor that just walked into the room.
“I truly am sorry,” the doctor replied, placing his hand on my mom’s shoulder.
Thankfully, Peter was there to catch her in time.
“We cannot torture him and ourselves like this any longer,” Peter said, leading Mom towards the chair by the nightstand.
“We agreed if there was no improvement, we would let him go,” he whispered, wiping away a tear.
“Whenever you are ready,” the doctor announced.
Peter gave him a gentle nod, and Mom buried her head in Peter’s chest.
The medical student reached for the cable leading from the wall to the respirator.
“Wait. Hold on. What are you doing?” I shouted out in terror, but no one heard me.
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