Alice Pandraud

Until It Stops

Clouds scurried, overwhelming the city. They created a thick layer of dust and moisture, weakening the sun’s rays from piercing through the overpowering storm. Traffic intensified triggering unstoppable honking. As unlucky as she was, Grandmother was caught up in the traffic coming home from grocery shopping. A small breeze of fresh fruit scents swayed in the car as Grandmother braked and accelerated again. The car in front of her spat out fumes of smoke, engulfing the car in a thick and dusty cloud preventing Grandmother from seeing anything, not that she saw very well in the first place. Knowing she had to get home quickly, having bought ice cream that had already begun to melt, she persisted in driving slowly. A few minutes later, the exhaust fumes from the car in front of her diminished. She carried on, even when the sun was fully hidden away from the world. Speeding up a bit, and a bit more, Grandmother soon enough was able to get away from the traffic. More secure, Grandmother continued on her way home. Suddenly, sudden new puffs of black fumes encircled the car in front of her. CRASH! Dull, lifeless grays and blacks took control of the car whirling it in circles. Grandmother’s head bobbled side to side, knocking it on the wheel. A wide and deep opening let out a river of blood streaming down her face. Faintly, Grandmother peered out the window. From what she could see, an 18- wheeler truck was heading towards her.

“Move out of the way! NOW! We’ve got a 401 case. BAM! Get her oxygen. Where is the oxygen? SHE NEEDS THE OXYGEN! BAM! Put the mask on her. NOW! Try to stop the blood. BAM!” Slamming into each hospital doors, the doctors and the interns surrounding them tried to help the wounded body regain life.

“Mrs. Baune? Mrs. Bauuu-“

“Mrs. Baune? Are you awake? Mrs. Baune, can you hear me?” A week had passed and the nurses were sure that no life would be able to come out of this lifeless body.

“It was Sunday, November 12th. The accident happened around 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Three cars and one 18-wheeler truck were involved. A first accident had occurred starting with two cars…”

It took her a while for her to adjust her eyes and her hearing. She could barely hear what the television was broadcasting. It didn’t take long for her to figure out that they were talking about her. Grandmother realized what condition she was in from the doctors. Everyone rushed towards her as she tried yelling. “Help meee,” she mumbled trying as hard as she could. Her pale face reflected upon the sunlight peaking through the window. She felt isolated, not remembering anything that had happened. The only thing she could feel was part of her head; banging and thundering inside like some rock concert was taking place in her skull. A huge bandage was covering the bloody wounds, the cuts, the bruises. She tried to feel around her head, feeling every corner, every dent. But as thick as the bandage was, when she removed her hand traces of blood imprinted in between every crease of her old prune-like hands. “Nurseee… I can’t… Nooo. Nurse!” cried Grandmother very weakly. It took a few days to explain the whole situation with every detail that had happened during the accident.

A month after recovery, Grandmother decided not to tell anyone about the accident. She had just come back from the doctors for a check up to see how she was doing. As warm and pleasant as the weather was, Grandmother’s day turned into sorrow and melancholy.

“How am I doing doctor? I feel much better, apart from pounding headaches,” she stated happily.

“Take a seat you might be more comfortable.”

“Haha, usually when doctors say that, it means something bad has happened.”

Nervously, the doctor replied, “Well let us look at the chart. Your blood pressure seems fine, compared to last time. Your heart beats are still a bit slow, but it’s much better than it was right after the accident.”

“So that’s it? I’m fine? I mean I feel great, which is really surprising considering what has happened to me,” Grandmother assumed.

“Um. Well, let me just spill it out… You don’t have much time left to live.”

“…w-w-what? Haha, let’s not joke around Doctor,” Grandmother replied fearfully.

“I’m really sorr-“

“You mean? I’m going to die!? Soon? How much time do I have left? HOW LONG IS THAT? HOW MUCH LONGER?!?”

“A little less than a week…"

As she walked home, Grandmother pondered about her life and all the wonders she explored, the relationships she had, the adventures she encountered… She continued, walking one step in front of the other, vanishing away in the distance.


Copyright 2002-2008 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2008 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.