Short Story on Odyssey: Alone

Short Story on Odyssey: Alone

A young girl has many hardships to deal with throughout her life.

Alexandra opened her eyes and saw that she was in an enclosed hospital room. The bright lights blaring caused her to squint her eyes. Alexandra woke up very disoriented, she didn’t remember why she was in the hospital. All she kept feeling was a sharp pain in her jaw. It felt as though someone was stabbing her with a knife on her jaw line. She also noticed that her left arm had a purple cast around it. The cast went past her elbow and she had a black sling holding up her arm. She looked around and saw that her room was on the surgical unit of the hospital. A white curtain was surrounding her bed and there were needles and clamps next to her. The sight of any type of needle made Alexandra sick to her stomach. She was terrified of needles. She kept trying to distract herself from looking at them. A few minutes passed by and three doctors came into the room. One was male, he had light brown hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a white and red over coat and had blue gloves on. The two other doctors were female. One had black medium length hair with brown eyes and the other woman had blonde hair and green eyes. They were also wearing the same hospital wear.

“Honey, my name is Dr. Anderson and this woman is an anesthesiologist her name is Dr. Wilinski and that other lady is her assistant Dr. Baker. We brought you here around 1pm. You fell off your skateboard and broke your arm and jaw. Before we could put you in the ambulance you were having a panic attack. We calmed you down and then brought you here as fast as we could. You fell asleep and we managed to put a cast on your broken arm. Now we need to perform surgery on your jaw.” said Dr. Anderson.

Alexandra’s jaw was very warm and inflamed. She started to breathe heavily through her nose and didn’t know which doctor to look at first. She has never had surgery before and being surrounded by all these doctors made her feel overwhelmed.

“Who can we contact in your family before we perform surgery?” asked Dr. Wilinski. Alexandra’s mouth was very sore she could only mumble a few words at a time.

“I don’t live with my parents. My legal guardian is my aunt, but she hasn’t been home in weeks,” Alexandra said slowly. She saw a black pen and a notepad next to her and decided that would be a better way to communicate. She took the pen and wrote, since I am seventeen I know I need my parent to sign my medical papers, but what happens if I literally have no idea where my mom is? My dad can’t help me because he is in prison. The doctors glanced at what she wrote and decided to all go outside of the room and figure out what was the best option for her.

Alexandra sat there and began to over analyze the situation. She thought back to the accident, bits and pieces were coming back to her. All the people at the skatepark saw her fall down. She began to think that someone purposely messed with her skateboard. Alexandra has been skating for years and it seemed extremely odd that she happened to fall the way she did. She started to think that her life was a curse. All these negative thoughts were coming to her and she felt very sorry for herself. She had no idea how these doctors were going to help her without her parents.

“This young girl has a point. We need to try and contact her mother since her father is in prison. Hopefully her mother will have her medical records with her at home,” said Dr. Wilinski.

“We need to find out more information about her mother. If we can’t get any information we will perform the surgery in 45 minutes,” said Doctor Anderson.

The three doctors slowly walked back into the room Alexandra was patiently waiting in. They looked at Alexandra and saw that she was crying. Doctor Wilinski sat down next to her and explained to her that everything will work out, but Alexandra wouldn’t stop crying and her heart rate began to race. Doctor Wilinski helped her with some breathing techniques for ten minutes and Alexandra finally began to calm down.

“Alexandra I know this is a traumatic day for you, but we are only here to help you. Can you give us your mother’s full name please?” said Doctor Wilinski.

Alexandra wrote down on the notepad, Christina Marie Hoffman. Doctor Anderson is the chief of the hospital and he recognized this name. He sat down next to the computer and began to search the name in the system. He looked up her history and found out that she was on the second floor in the psychiatric unit.

“Alexandra your mother is on the second floor above you. She was admitted three nights ago because she had a schizophrenic episode. Her levels are becoming more stable now,” said Doctor Anderson.

Alexandra looked quite worried. She knows her mother suffers from this mental illness. It has frightened her ever since she was a child. She has been worried majority of her life about inheriting schizophrenia. Her mother never takes her medication properly and that always causes her to go in and out of psychiatric units.

***

She was sitting in the corner with her hands around her head rocking back and forth. She lost the love of her life. He was sentenced for twenty years. She kept trying to swallow her tears, but they were overflowing her tear ducts. She hasn’t slept in days and began to think there were secret spies that set up her husband. She stormed out of the house trying to find the men in black suits. She began scurrying back and forth in the back alley when a police car rolled up. Christina thought he was the secret spy. She began to yell at him and kicked him in the face. The policeman knew she wasn’t mentally stable, they took her to a psychiatric unit that same night. Every since her husband Jimmy was sent to prison her mental condition became worse and worse. Depression became the best of her. She sat in silence everyday not able to speak to her only child. Alexandra learned to keep silent as well. She would sit in the corner of her dingy room and felt the cold tiles on the back of her thighs. Alexandra felt abandoned and laid her head on the floor as tears began shedding down her face. At age seven she had no one to turn too until her aunt Jenny had them move in with her.

Alexandra blankly stared at Doctor Anderson and couldn’t find any words to speak. To think that her mother is in the same hospital as her at the same exact time was bizarre. The last time Alexandra saw her mother was three years ago. They were at her aunt Jenny’s house and her mother Christina was sitting in the corner drawing symbolic messages on a whiteboard. Her sister Jenny knew that she wasn’t okay and offered to take her to go get some help. Her mother became very angry and began punching the walls and throwing around furniture in the house. She became so enraged that she stormed out of the house and rode her bicycle away at ten o’clock at night. Jenny and Alexandra tried to follow her in a car, but they lost her.

“Your mother will be back. She always comes back eventually,” said Jenny as she began driving away from the scene. Alexandra sat in silence watching rain slowly hit the windshield wipers. Jenny got out of the car and told Alexandra to come inside, but all she wanted to do was sit in solitude. Silence was echoing in her ears as her body became numb. She couldn’t move from the black leather seats in her aunt’s car.

“Alexandra...are you okay?” asked Doctor Anderson.

She began to snap out of her thoughts and nodded up and down. Doctor Anderson and Doctor Wilinski explained to her that they were going to start the surgery after Doctor Anderson goes upstairs to the psychiatric unit to have Christina sign the paperwork for the consent of treatment. They both left the room and Doctor Baker was nearby checking in on Alexandra periodically. Loneliness began to creep up on Alexandra as she laid down on top of the hospital bed. Her jaw felt disjointed and swollen. She kept looking outside and saw rain drops hitting the window. The room became darker and darker and all Alexandra could hear were the monitors beeping, her heart rate, and the fluids dripping from the IV.

Alexandra kept staring at the clock because she wanted this surgery to be over already. She kept thinking about her mother and hoped she would be able to help the doctors sign the proper paperwork. If only her aunt Jenny were around, this whole procedure could have been much faster. Her aunt Jenny became Alexandra’s legal guardian after her mother left. Since she was gone for over three years, Alexandra needed someone else to help her out in situations such as this one. After Jenny got guardianship over Alexandra, her behavior started to change. She would mentally abuse Alexandra.

You are a waste of space. Nobody wants you! I only took you in because of my younger sister. Your mother and father should have never had a child!” yelled Jenny.

Everyday it was like clock work when my Aunt Jenny went on a rampage. She screamed and yelled about how expensive I was to take care of. I learned to just stay inside my room and lock my door. I didn’t want anything to do with Jenny. I think she has anger management problems. As I sat in my room my world became cold and empty. I thought my family would love and nurture me, but all they do is leave me or yell at me. I wish I could fade away, anything to stop the ever-present pain.

As the years went on Alexandra began to hate her mother. It’s very unfortunate, but Alexandra prefers to be away from her mom. Her mother’s instability has really affected Alexandra in a negative way. As Alexandra was waiting for the doctors to come back, her body started heating up. Her neck became as red as an apple and hives started forming. Her nerves were getting to her. She couldn’t stop touching and itching her neck. Doctor Baker walked back in and looked alarmed.

“Alexandra you are beginning to get hives on your neck. Let me go get you some Corticosteroids,” said Doctor Baker.

She returned in less than a minute and began to help Alexandra apply the medicine on her neck. The swelling, redness, and itching went down and Alexandra began to calm herself by breathing in and out slowly. A few minutes went by and she glanced to her right and saw Doctor Anderson walking back into her room. This time he came back with Alexandra’s mother. He had to bring her down here in a wheelchair. Alexandra noticed that her mom had dyed her hair since the last time she saw her. She had a strawberry blonde color this time. As her mother approached her, Alexandra also noticed that she looked much thinner than before and she was very pale.

Doctor Anderson began to speak, “Alexandra your mother Christina is at a balanced level with her medications now. She is being very cooperative and wanted to come down here to make sure you were alright.”

As they both made eye contact with one another Christina began to shed several tears, her face turned pink, and her eyes became enlarged. She looked at Alexandra and said very loudly, “My baby girl!” She seemed relieved to see her only daughter. Alexandra on the other hand was not as happy to see her. Her eyes shifted side to side as she began to bite her lip tightly in attempt to hide any sound that wanted to escape from her mouth. She didn’t want to speak to her mother. All she wanted was this paperwork to be over with, so the doctors could proceed with her jaw surgery. A heavy silence settled over them, thicker than the uneasy tension in the atmosphere. Doctor Anderson went on explaining the paperwork and procedure to Christina. She followed all his directions and filled out everything correctly.

Doctor Anderson began to ask, “Christina do you know if your daughter has had any previous surgeries and if she is allergic to any medication?”

Christina stared blankly for two whole minutes and finally said, “Alexandra hasn’t had any surgeries when I was raising her. I don’t think she is allergic to anything either.”

Doctor Anderson was hoping her mother was giving him the correct information. Since they were running out of time he believed her and had her finish the paperwork. After Christina signed the consent for treatment form she began apologizing for being a terrible mother. She kept trying to get through to Alexandra, but all she did was stare straight ahead at the white wall and ignored her mother as if she wasn’t talking to her. The doctors told Christina that they had to wheel her out of the operating room. They also told her that Alexandra and herself will be getting released tomorrow morning. She waved to Alexandra goodbye and the doctors took her away. Once her mom was gone Doctor Wilinski and Doctor Baker came back into the room.

They began to get the sterilized metal tools ready and they started to get out medicine. Since Dr. Wilinski is an anesthesiologist she explained to Alexandra that her surgery will be forty five minutes long, and that she will be put to sleep for it. The doctors told Alexandra that this procedure has been done several times in the past. Since her jaw is broken they will need to wire her mouth shut for a total of six weeks. She will only be able to be on a liquid diet. Alexandra didn’t like the sound of that, but she knew it had to be done to help the pain. Doctor Baker began to put a breathing mask on Alexandra because that will help put her to sleep. The medication through the IV will also help numb any pain. Doctor Wilinski and Doctor Anderson were working hard together, while Doctor Baker handed them tools and kept and eye on Alexandra. They first had to pull out one of Alexandra’s teeth so that they could fit the wire through her mouth. Once that was done they wired her jaw shut. The space from the tooth will help her eat and drink and it can also help her get some verbal communication out. Alexandra’s eyes bit by bit became smaller and then she fell asleep.

***

Memories and despair were clawing at her brain. Darkness was all she saw. Loneliness eats you alive and swallows every hope you had left to spare. Hoping one day soon she could run up into her father’s arms again. Thoughts of her mother before her breakdown ran through her head. She kept wondering how much time she will have until she breaks. First it was her mom, now her aunt is acting strange. What is next?

After forty five minutes Alexandra needed to be taken to the recovery room. They needed to allow the anesthesia to wear off for another fifteen minutes. Once that was over Alexandra slowly began to open her eyes. Her vision was blurry and she was gasping for air. Alexandra sat on the hospital bed rocking back and forth always in motion. Her face was just the same as when she was a girl in distress, buckling under the strain. Every few seconds her hand flickers to her face patting her jaw. She was trying to open her mouth, but before she tried to move Doctor Baker stopped her.

“Alexandra just calm down everything's okay. You just finished surgery and will be heading home tomorrow morning,” said Doctor Baker.

She understood and began nodding her head and sat in silence. The two other doctors came into the room and explained to her the after treatment instructions and told her she has a follow up appointment in a week. They handed her several pieces of paperwork that also explained what she needed to do at home. Then they told her that her insurance only paid for two hundred dollars of the procedure. The whole surgery ended up costing a total of $1,200 dollars and the cost will be seen on her mother’s hospital bill. Alexandra knew her mother wasn’t going to be happy about the bill. Alexandra was afraid of her mother, her heart was racing and all she wanted to do was curl up into a big ball and wait for someone to save her. But no one would no one was ever there.

The doctors then gave Alexandra her prescriptions and told her before she gets released the hospital’s pharmacy will fill them. They turned on the TV for her and told her to get some rest. Alexandra waved at all of them and tried her best to say, “Thank you very much!” There at night loneliness dominated her emotions. The room was very silent without any company. All she kept thinking of was the resentment of her mother until she fell asleep.

The next morning Alexandra woke up around 7am and Kayla her nurse was there. She began to ask about her living situation and told her she needs to go home with her mother, so that she can be released. Alexandra really didn’t want anything to do with her mother, but she knew her mother probably had no other place to go. That means she is going to end up at her aunt Jenny’s house. Minutes later Kayla brings Christina in the room.

“We are going to your aunt Jenny’s house. She has agreed to let me stay there with you, but we have to take a cab there,” said Christina.

Alexandra’s face fell faster than a corpse in cement boots. She was very offended that her aunt only answers her mom’s calls and never hers. They walked down the halls of the first floor of the hospital with Alexandra’s nurse. She stopped at the pharmacy and gave Alexandra her medication and also handed her mother the hospital bill. She then gave them a cab voucher so that they could get home for free. The cab outside was bright yellow and had black leather seats. They got inside the cab and told the driver that Jenny’s house was is in Palmdale. He turned his head as fast as a race car. He was shocked to see that they were from that ghetto area in California. That suburb is very close to Los Angeles and is one of the most run down towns in the area.

Finally they arrived at Jenny’s house and Alexandra was not comfortable having her mom stay with them. Jenny opened the door to the house.

“Alexandra skateboarding finally got to you huh?” laughed Jenny.

This really pissed off Alexandra, so she stormed into her room stomping her feet. She sat on her bed for a few minutes and she hears her mother already screaming in the kitchen to her aunt.

“What do you mean this hospital bill is $1,000! I am not paying for this! I wasn’t the idiot who fell off of a skateboard!” yelled Christina.

Jenny was on her sister’s side and they both scurried into Alexandra’s room. Christina threw the hospital bill at Alexandra’s face and told her that she can pay for it. Jenny was just standing there laughing at Alexandra. This began to build up more anger in Alexandra, her adrenaline was pumping and she began to turn beet red. She began running toward her mother and started punching the lights out of her with her right arm. Jenny tried holding them back and Alexandra found the strength to even kick Jenny with all of her force. She hit them so hard they both were knocked out in the center hallway of the house. Alexandra took the hospital bill, flipped it over and wrote on the back of it, Thanks for causing so many problems in my life. I hate both of you and I hope I never see you again. She threw the paper on top of both of them and started packing a suitcase. She took her aunt’s car keys and decided to start driving away. She didn’t care where the road took her. She drove for miles and it never got any easier. Abandonment made her feel utterly alone.















Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Everyone's First Job Should Be In Customer Service

Being a hostess in a restaurant for two years has given me the opportunity to not only learn about myself but learn about other people.

I will always believe that everyone's first job should be in retail or in the food industry. I have come across way too many people who have no respect for these workers. Most of them are over worked and under paid. Some customers just have no patience and compassion for the job that the worker is trying to get done. If more people started off working in retail or in the food industry, they'll have more of an open mind when visiting these places themselves.

When working in retail or the food industry, you improve your communication skills. I used to be super shy when meeting someone new. I have also witnessed many co-workers just barely say "hi" to a customer, let alone try to have a conversation. Eventually as time goes on, conversations begin to flow and the shyness goes out the window. I used to be terrified to make phone calls and avoided it whenever possible but after working as a hostess and having making and receiving phone calls be part of my job, I became confident. Being thrown into situations really broke me out of my comfort zone which I will always appreciate.

Being a hostess in a restaurant for two years has given me the opportunity to not only learn about myself but learn about other people. I have learned about how to diffuse situations and work under pressure because when a rush hits and guests get impatient, it can be hectic.This is when my opinion about customer service being everyone's first job became solid. Some people have no patience with the workers and assume that we're not looking out for the guest's interest. While our job is to make their experience as pleasant as possible, it is unfair to us if this customer begins to not trust the worker. I have dined out with my family where we were told to wait for some time. Someone I was with began to point out the tables available but being a hostess and understanding, I realized that the workers have a plan and for us to barge in and ASSUME makes us look bad. If everyone started with this as their first job, they'll become patient, understanding, and thoughtful to situations.

Blaming the workers for something that we have no control over is also something that needs to end. There have been numerous amounts of times when a customer blames a server for not being able to modify something the way they like or when a restaurant doesn't have valet. A cashier does not deserve to be yelled at because the customer's coupons didn't go through. The rules are set up the way they are and you cannot blame the worker because they just work there. It's as if people who complain about not getting their way were always given everything on a silver platter. Life lessons get thrown at you from every direction.

If you have worked in one of these industries, you know very well that the saying "the customer is always right" is not correct. The customer is not always right. I have had customers abuse that saying and turn it into something that was very dishonest and greedy. Not everything is going to go your way and that's okay.

Working in these industries give you a look at the behind the scenes to how stores are ran. If you start off working in retail or the food industry, when you shop or dine at a certain location, you'll have an idea of why things happen the way they do and they teach you skills you'll carry with you forever.

Cover Image Credit: Work Pulse

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What Do College Students Want From Their Future?

I asked 10 college students what their hopes for their futures were, and here is what they had to say.

As a college student, especially in my senior year, I spend a lot of my time thinking about what my future may hold. Will I end up with a job in my field? Will I even enjoy working in my field of study? Or will I go down an entirely different route and end up doing something entirely unexpected? It has often seemed like everyone around me has their lives planned out, and like I may be the only one who doesn’t yet know what I want to do after college. This is surely a thought process that most college students go through over their time at school, and that made me curious to see what other people around my age had hoped for in terms of their own futures.

I asked ten college students what their hopes for their own futures are, and I received a wide variety of responses. Here are some of the responses I received.


“As a college student I hope for a future where I’m in a position or job that I truly adore so I can look back and say that my time at college wasn’t a waste. I’m also able to stand on my own two feet and be able to provide for myself and my loved ones.” –Jess Leftin


"My hope as a college student in healthcare is to one day be able to make a positive impact on at least one person I come across. At that moment I will be able to say that the debt, endless stress, and all nighters are worth it." -Ekta Patel


“To get a job I’m going to be happy with.” –Kim Hamilton


“As a college student, my hopes for the future are sort of split between short term and long term. Short term, I hope to graduate from Lesley with a MA in clinical mental health counseling program with a trauma specialization. I am in a dual degree program so it’s been a long haul nonstop. I’ve thought about taking a break after an surfing in Costa Rica or Thailand for a bit (where I have enjoyed staying in the past) but it would really depend on the job offers I get when graduating as I may want to finish up my post grad hours for licensure. My long term goals would be to be involved with an international organization that implements crisis intervention after an acute trauma ie. Natural disaster, civil conflict etc. while there is an immediate (well with this president not so much) desire for aid on a physical level the push for aid on a psychological level is not as apparent and I believe it can be crucial to someone’s well-being. Who knows where I’ll end up really? I’ll probably end up doing something that doesn’t use this degree that thousands of dollars was poured into haha… Probably won’t end up in the United States but famous last words.” –Vera Bednar


“I’d have to say succeed in my own way using the knowledge I received from college. Whether that be from in or outside the classroom. Success doesn’t mean getting a lot of money but having that sense of accomplishment and pride that makes me feel like I don’t have anything to regret.” –Abby Lynch


“What I would like for my future, and this is certainly one of the reasons I went to college in the first place, is so that I can use the things I’ve learned to make myself better at the things I want to do. I know that I want to keep going with the marine science thing, and that there are many ways that I could work on helping the environment, protecting animals, or making the interactions between humans and the ocean more productive and less destructive. Even that insight is something that I’ve developed during my time in higher education so I really hope that whatever I end up doing, I’ll be able to build on everything I’ve learned and done these past few years.” –Eric Alpert


“My hopes for the future are to secure a good, steady job. I’d like to do it in my field but it’s such a hard industry I doubt I’ll be able to.” –Ryan Sullivan


“After 4 years of leading young Naval Engineers through a variety of obstacles, I simply hope they’re ready for what comes after college. It’s easy for students to focus on academia, but the real obstacles aren’t strenuous exams or 5:30am wake up calls. The real obstacles come when we make decisions that affect other people’s lives. Whether it’s sailing through the battering waves of the North Atlantic or facing the bitter cold waves of mental anguish, each Naval Engineer I’ve trained with will need to make decisions. No matter what decision they make, I pray they will make it with the utmost confidence in themselves. Within each of them is a sense of endurance that was forged here through the toil of the past four years. I hope this endurance will help them navigate towards blissful lives and that they will serve as beacons of hope for their loved ones in the worst of storms. I can only hope that I’ve done my duty to myself and those in my charge when college ends and grand the adventure begins.” –Robert Peterson


“Honestly? I just want to have a future worth remembering. To witness something beautiful, and to live my life the way I want. Anything else is a mystery if I’m going to be honest. Happiness is the one word I would use to describe what I hope for in my future.” –Talon Stout


“Right now I’m working on graduating with a geology degree and everyone keeps asking me what the hell I’m going to do with that. But I hope that I can get into a good grad school and become a high school science teacher. Tutoring at school really opened my eyes that there are so many students in university that don’t even understand how the earth they live on works. One student of mine wasn’t even sure there were other planets out there. That’s when I just wanted to set up a classroom and start teaching everyone everything there is about our earth and solar system. And if I don’t become a teacher I hope to win the lottery or work on my farm selling Christmas trees.” –Nellie Reeves


Something that I learned from these conversations is that I am definitely not the only college student who doesn’t have my entire life planned out down to every last detail. In a world where most students leave school and start their lives with a huge amount of debt hanging over their heads, it is understandable that many of us are unsure of how our lives will play out. There are so many factors in the world that could change the course of your life at any time, and it is impossible to make a plan for every possible circumstance.

I may not know my exact plan right now, but it is definitely reassuring to know that many other people do not have a specific plan either.

Cover Image Credit: pxhere

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