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Masked (Part One)
“It’s strange when you think about it, the way everything changed, the way we went from hiding behind a figurative mask, pasting on fake smiles, to literally being masked.”
I nodded, understanding exactly what Kayla was saying, and I knew exactly what she was saying, I remembered the fake smiles, the unspoken words, especially in the days after the accident that changed Kayla’s life, and in turn change mine, she was my younger half sister, but more than that she was and still is my best friend.
“I guess we’re all adjusting to this new normal.” I said with a sigh.
“The isolation isn’t so new to me.” She said, in the days after the accident, most of my friends stopped coming to see me, stopped calling, in the hospital and even when I got home. “But you’ve always been there for me, even when I tried to push you away.”
“I promised I wouldn’t let you go through this alone.” I said. “You weren’t going to be alone, not when you needed me.”
“You were the only one that I didn’t have to put on the facade of being okay, when I felt as if the world was closing in around me.”
I had seen the fear in her eyes, as the reality of what happened took hold, and she realized this wasn’t something she would walk through unscathed. In an instant her whole world changed.
Life can change in an instant.
In the eleven months following the accident the world had too.
Everything we knew turned upside down.
“Life has a way of teaching us lessons Hannah, some of those lessons are hard, downright heartbreaking, I was coming to terms with a life changing injury, the world was coming to terms with a new reality, we all felt as if the entire world had the rug ripped from under them.”
I nodded, she was absolutely right, that was exactly how it felt.
“I couldn’t have gotten through the last eighteen months.” Kayla said. “I needed you, even when I didn’t even want to admit it.”
“I needed you too.” I said. Grateful that we were not alone, that we had each other to lean on, as the world was falling apart around us. We had each other, sisters who had chosen long ago to be friends, I would always be there for her, and she would be there for me.
Kayla had born the year I turned eighteen, and I protected her fearlessly even back then. I was like a second Mother to her, she was like a daughter to me, so when I got the call the night of the accident, my world sunk, and I prayed the only thing I could pray, God, don’t let me be to late, I can’t loose her, my sister, my best friend.
I looked at her sitting there, concern etched on her face. “Are you okay?”
I shrugged, I didn’t know that much was true, our world had changed twice in the space of a year, when the doctor had looked at Kayla, with a sorrowful glance, and spoke of Spinal Cord Injuries, and for a moment, I wanted to pretend that this did not refer to her, my sister, but I could see the tears in Kayla ‘s eyes, and I knew she knew.
“You’ll get through this.” I had promised her.
Kayla’s look brought me back to the present, she wasn’t yet twenty three at the time of her accident, but it seemed she’d grown by a decade in the last year and a half.
“I’m only here because of you.” Kayla said. “You reminded me I had a reason to fight.”
“And you remind me of that everyday.” I said, as I set down, the last eighteen months had taken a lot, but it wouldn’t break the bond of sisterhood. “I hope you never doubt I’m proud of you.”
“And I hope you know that I’m proud of you too.” I said, and I was, we had all been tested a lot in the past year, some tested in harder ways than others. We had one another, but so many had lost so much.
“We have a lot to be thankful for.” Kayla said.
“Yes, we really do.” I agreed.