I can still remember what happened.
I don’t remember everything, of course, but what I remember are the worst parts.
It was a Sunday night. I was driving home, after a little reunion with my university friends, when a freak explosion in a petrol station sent my car flipping sideways and on to the opposite lane.
My memory is still fresh with the sight of flames engulfing my car and the strange feeling of being pushed into the air by the heat waves. When my car made a full 360° flip and landed on the ground, I thought it was over. But before relief could sweep in, I knew I was wrong.
Cars were swerving to avoid me, and even though the road was not as heavy as it was on a Monday morning, there were enough cars to cause chaos and panic. It was terrifying to be stuck in a car while many others approached head on in your direction.
Strangely, I don’t remember screaming or attempting to free myself at that time. I was awake, yes, but I felt powerless. In those few minutes, as I held my breath hoping not to be killed, I lost my consciousness.
The last thing I can recall is looking down at my seatbelt, and everything went black after that. I never really knew how I ended up in the hospital and what had happened to me, until a nurse told me about it.
A truck was not able to swerve in time and it crashed into my car. I was trapped for hours and when they got me out, I was barely alive. How I wished I wasn’t.
I knew I should be thankful for being alive, and I was, until I met my doctor. As I lay on my hospital bed, unable to move, my doctor told me I suffered from broken bones, minor burns, and disfigurement. That explained the bandage on my face and the strange feeling in my lips. But that news never hit me until a few days later, and that was when I stopped seeing him.
He had been by my side since I was admitted to the hospital. He never left… until I forced him to. He kept assuring me that I would look fine and that he still wanted to marry me, but I convinced myself it was a lie. He had not seen my face, neither had I, and I had a bad feeling I was never going to look ‘fine’ ever again.
After he was gone, I was all alone in bearing the horrible news. I would cry every night and dream of ripping the tubes from my body so that I could die. I even tried to suffocate myself once, but I backed out at the last minute. I was so afraid of the day where I had to remove the cloth and look at myself. Would I recognize me? Could I live with me? Will I be able to accept myself?
That dreaded day soon came and when the nurse placed a mirror on my lap, I hesitated for a very long time. I remember watching my shaking hand reach for the mirror, and I remember regretting it.
When I saw myself, I was too shock to look away. I was ugly; my lips were not where it once was, my nose was crooked, and the flesh on my right cheek was stitched on as though it had fell off before. I hated myself and that was not me. I immediately went into a frenzy and screamed at my doctor to give me back my face.
“This is not me!” I yelled, over and over again. They had to calm me down with sedatives
The next day, a nurse told me he was waiting to see me. She said family and friends will help me get through this nightmare if only I let them in.
I told her ‘no’. How was I going to face them when I could not even face myself? How could I bear the sympathetic looks and the shocked expressions? I knew many would have to put up an act when approaching the hideous creature that I am, and I knew they will never look at me the same again.
This person, lying in the hospital, is no longer Christeen. This person is a monster. That was what I told myself day and night, and I soon believed it wholeheartedly.
When I was finally able to get back on my feet and return to the real world, I ran from my family and the man I loved. I started going for all the plastic surgery I could afford, just to fix this ugly face. But none of them did much, as it seemed like my entire future was now scarred with the curse of an accident.
All was lost at that time. I dreamt of happiness once in a while, but reality crushed it. Reality kept squeezing me up against a corner until I pinned my last drop of hope on my final attempt at plastic surgery.
I can still clearly remember sitting on the bed and getting my face unwrapped. I was hoping that I would look better this time, but when I saw my reflection I threw the mirror against the wall. I screamed and demanded my money back, but the doctor said it was the best he could do. I couldn’t accept his answer, but I managed to pull myself together before the nurses had to pull out a needle.
Everyone left me after that, and I thought I was alone again. But just as I was about to drown myself in hopelessness, I heard my room door open. I immediately demanded for privacy until I saw who it was. He was walking towards my bed and I quickly hid my face in the pillow.
“Get out! I don’t want to see you!” I said.
“But I want to see you,” he replied.
“Just get out!” I yelled. I was ready to call for a nurse when he reached for my hand.
“Christeen, would you look at me?” he asked in a gentle voice.
I did not answer. I really wanted to look at him and to see his face. It had been so long since I last saw him and my heart was aching to turn to him. But my mind told me not to.
“Christeen, I don’t care how you look like. I just want to see you. I’ve missed you so much.”
I attempted to pull my hand free from his gentle grasps, but instead he pulled me. He managed to pull me up into a sitting position, and I was angry. I didn’t know why, but I was so angry.
“You want to see me?!” I yelled. “Well, look at me now!”
His concerned expression did not change into horror when he laid his eyes on mine. He just looked at me so intently as though he was looking at a painting he admired.
When he took a seat on my bed, he wiped the tears that began rolling down my cheeks. What he did next shocked me, as he cupped my face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on my lips.
For a brief moment, I thought I was dreaming. I wanted the moment to last, so I shut my eyes and hoped it would not end. But of course it did, and when he finally pulled away, I heard him whisper, “You’re beautiful.”
My ears could have deceived me, but when I opened my eyes, he was still there. Only then I realized that he had never once left me, and in his eyes… I was always beautiful.
We are all beautiful. Our emotional scars, past hurts, bad decisions and everything that might make us a monster cannot take away our true beauty. Even if no one else thinks you are beautiful, SOMEONE does.
They say beauty is skin deep, I say beauty is soul deep. Despite our flaws and failures, we are beautiful. No one and nothing can change who we really are inside and that is all that matters.
If only we all know how precious we are, we would not hurt ourselves and drive the world away. If only we all know that someone cares, we wouldn’t beat ourselves up for our past. We are not perfect beings, but we all have a value. It’s time we all believed it!
Well, as always, leave a comment and let me know what you think of this story!
© 2013 Jeyna Grace
(For more short stories, click HERE)