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Ticking Chances

Short Story; Just a Minute Entry

By Lindsay SfaraPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 4 min read
Top Story - April 2024
Ticking Chances
Photo by Paolo Chiabrando on Unsplash

Just a Minute Entry | Word Count: 844


When I woke up in that hospital bed, I wondered if it was better I died instead.

Because starting over with what was left of me was painful.

He was there at my side, gripping my hand with both of his so tightly, he must have thought I would slip away if he let go.

But I was already gone.

Because when he lifted his head from my stirring, and his bloodshot eyes lit up with my name escaping his lips in a joyous breath, there was a problem.

I didn’t know the name he called me by.

And I didn’t know who he was.

And as soon as hope brightened his face, it vanished. Darkness stunned him with his features sinking in his skin, sinking as much as my heart drowned in the darkness I felt inside; an empty void. My chest tightened.

He must have seen it in my eyes—The lack of recognition. He must have felt the stiffness in my fingers at the touch of a stranger. I wondered if my silence to him spoke louder than any word I could have uttered back. Maybe I should have uttered something back to make it better.

But just like that, his hand dropped mine, my palm a victim to gravity as it landed with a soft thump against the sheets. All I could do was stare at him, watching his face kaleidoscope through pained expressions as he processed the present moment. Something I couldn’t process at all. All I felt was the empty void inside me. All I felt was something missing, broken, and in pieces.

His voice cracked as he broke his gaze away from mine, a somber frown at the vinyl floor. “The doctor said there was a chance of losing your memories after the accident.”

I saw in his distant grief the same thought that entered my mind.

How sudden things can change. How do we change it back?

But I didn’t even remember what to revert back to. I didn’t remember if I actually cared for what I had in the past.

I was forced a clean slate in my hands, and life wouldn’t give the old one back. The past was done. No redos available.

I couldn’t change life back, and I couldn’t redo the seconds that passed by with the tick of the clock on the wall. The clock on the wall I stared at in the hospital room in total silence after his words. The clock on the wall, I hoped, would stop time if I stared at it long enough with sheer force of will. Just so I had more moments to get a better grip on things.

Yet time won’t wait for anyone. I realized that when the clock refused my silent demands and continued ticking, while he, still at my bedside, lowered his head to his hands to suffer alone.

I watched him. My silence deafening the both of us more and more the longer I waited to say something. My ears pounded from it.

I guess time won’t wait for you to make a choice either. But I had no idea what choice to make. I had no idea what I was like. I had no idea what “past me” would do in this kind of moment. This was a decision for the new me.

The past me was left at that accident. The new me was here in a hospital bed, lucky enough to wake up.

I wondered if “past me” would have come up with these same thoughts. She sounded oddly pragmatic. Maybe that’s because I had no idea what to feel in the hospital room, staring at the stranger so distraught by my own health as the clock ticked.

I was already gone. And yet, I was still here.

My heart resurfaced from the void inside, fluttering with my next thought. And I reached for one of his hands with a gentle grip.

“Then,” I hesitated, uncertain of my own words and voice soothing from my lips, “maybe we take this chance to make it better than the first round.”

That had to be better than kicking and screaming at fate for my woes, right?

He studied me for several moments, perplexed. Then he surrendered with a soft twitch at the corner of his lips. Sucking in a deep inhale through his nostrils, he sat up straighter in his seat, and introduced himself with slow, pained words. His eyes glistened at our past together left behind.

Time will also heal.

Using the name I heard him give me, I introduced myself back. The void inside me responded with a ripple. Its darkness shifted to a lighter shade, but I knew well enough it could take a long, long time for that void to diminish completely.

Or, maybe it never would. That would be for new me to handle.

Starting over with what was left of me grew curiously hopeful.

When I woke up in that hospital bed, I wondered if this was a second chance for me instead.

PsychologicalStream of ConsciousnessShort StoryLove

About the Creator

Lindsay Sfara

I'm just a daydreaming nerd writing poetry and fiction about mental health.

Follow my novel journey and more:

"Not all those who wander are lost" - J.R.R. Tolkien

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Comments (20)

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  • Christy Munson3 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story! 🥳 The writing holds together, and yet your protagonist feels a slip of breath floating through choices. Loved how you achieve that sensation.

  • Rachel Deeming25 days ago

    Nicely evoked, that sense of being mentally lost with amnesia. It must be so disorienting.

  • Anna 29 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Flamance @ lit.about a month ago

    Great job congratulations

  • John Coxabout a month ago

    Came back to congratulate you on your Top Story. Well deserved!

  • Silver Serpent Booksabout a month ago

    This hurt and I loved it haha. You wove an incredible story here that somehow captured the ache of years in such a short span. Wonderfully done, congrats on the Top Story!

  • ROCK about a month ago

    This certainly was mentally and emotionally gripping; what would anyone do int his situation. This me would cry. The new me might do something old me would regret! Good writing!

  • Eddiereaderabout a month ago

    Great story

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Great storytelling here. Congrats on your top story.

  • Caroline Janeabout a month ago

    These 60 second pieces are emotional powerhouses. This is no exception. You really tackle some deep emotion here. Well done!

  • Mescaline Brissetabout a month ago

    I felt your story so deeply, Lindsay. Congratulations on the Top Story!

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    This is beautifully written. Congrats on the TS.

  • D. D. Leeabout a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story! This is another entry from the challenge that I enjoyed.

  • Dana Crandellabout a month ago

    Written as if from experience. A spectacular entry!

  • Stephanie Hoogstadabout a month ago

    I love this entry for the challenge. I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how to write a full story that only takes place in a minute, but you really hit it out of the park. This is beautiful and both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Well done.

  • John Coxabout a month ago

    This is courageous, beautiful storytelling, Lindsay. Perhaps its only metaphor, but your story feels real and true. I loved it.

  • Shirley Belkabout a month ago

    Enjoyed reading this!

  • Heather Hublerabout a month ago

    Goodness this was touching and thought provoking trying to put myself into both of their shoes. Beautiful storytelling :) And I just loved these lines, 'The void inside me responded with a ripple. Its darkness shifted to a lighter shade'. Well done!!

  • Mark Gagnonabout a month ago

    I liked how real you made the characters feel in a very unreal situation. I'm sure someone finding themself with no past would be similar to being lost at sea or in space. Well done and good luck!

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