I'm Still Here
It started out as an ordinary day for Esther Comely-Cox, if you consider simultaneously totaling your car, smashing a Ho Ho in your face and meeting a handsome doctor ordinary. Estranged from her family over her sister's mental illness and death, Esther can't help but feel alone. And when Esther hears the voice of her twin sister who committed suicide seven years ago, she begins to question her own sanity, leading her to wonder if anything is what it seems. Searching for answers, Esther must confront her past while looking towards a new future—one in which she is finally accepted. Through humor and heartbreak, Esther learns that blood does not mean family, that absence does not make the heart grow fonder and that silence can speak volumes.
Four hours later, I was still sitting on a plinth in the hallway of the Riverside Hospital, waiting to be seen. My neck hurt. So did my chest and shoulders. I was almost certain that I would have a might pretty bruise from the seat belt. I couldn’t actually look, because my neck was in a brace. I still had no shoes, and my dress kept riding up. I wrapped the stiff white sheet around my lower body a little tighter hoping to keep the perverted looking bum across from me from getting a show. Not that I wasn’t wearing good underwear because I was. At least this was one occasion where my mother had been right—always wear clean underwear in case of an accident.
I was leaning with my back against the wall, sitting upright. The fatigue of the day settled in and I ached everywhere. Fairly confident that I did not have a spinal cord injury, I wiggled my fingers and toes to give myself some reassurance. This was so not how this day was supposed to go. I gingerly lifted my left arm until I could peek at my watch without moving my head. It was around eleven p.m. I needed to go home and go to bed. Letting my arm sink downward until it flopped at my side, I took in a deep breath. Slowly exhaling, I mentally inventoried all the body parts that hurt. I quickly got discouraged and decided to take the shorter approach of inventorying the parts that did not hurt (earlobes and ends of my hair).
Seeing as how my ears were one of the few parts that did not appear to be injured, could I really believe what I thought they heard? It couldn’t have been Aster. No way. She had been gone for more than seven years now. I tried not to think of her very often. Of course, that was akin to telling myself not to breathe. God, I missed her. I wished she was here with me, holding my hand. Like the time when we were ten and I got dragged across a gravel road by our dog. I was terrified that the stupid animal would get away so I refused to let go of his leash. There were little tiny pebbles embedded into the skin on my knees. It took my mother hours to dig them all out, and it hurt like the dickens. Aster sat with me the whole time. She alternated between reading to me and singing to me to distract me from the pain. Closing my eyes, I could still see the hideous striped shirt she was wearing that day, and I could hear her voice reciting the words of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I thought she was so great entertaining me that day.
I thought of that day often. But tonight, in pain once again, I remembered, moments before Cinda took off, seeing Aster across the road with the neighbor’s dog. The one that Cinda hated. Aster knew it. We weren’t supposed to play with that dog. It had a mean streak. I never knew why Aster was with that dog that day. In all the excitement (and pain), I forgot to ask her. Looking back, it was easy to guess that she stayed with me while I was being patched up out of guilt. I guess I would never know.
Deep in this memory, I jumped when I heard a voice saying my last name.
“Ms. Cox? How are you doing?”
I opened my eyes. It was that nice guy who had pulled me out of my car at the scene of the accident. Here he was in the hospital. How had he found me? Wait, why was he here in the hospital? Was he some kind of deranged psycho who stalks car accident victims?
“Before you think I’m some kind of creepy stalker—”
“Too late,” I managed to interject quickly. Then I smiled. Well, sort of smiled, since my cheek muscles hurt.
Deranged-stalker guy smiled back. He had straight white teeth, so he must have had good dental and orthodontic care. Okay, I could start referring to him as “good-dental-hygiene-deranged-stalker-guy.” Good dental hygiene is important. So many deranged stalkers have poor dental care, and it pretty much gives them away right from the start.
“How are you feeling?”
“Pretty crappy. I kind of feel like I got hit by a truck.”
Good-dental-hygiene, oh crap, you know who I mean, replied, “Well, you kind of did. The vehicle you were pushed into was a Ram.”
“As in battering?”
“As in Dodge.”
“Well, then that explains it, although the battering ram would have made sense too.” I smiled a little more now. He laughed. I wished I could laugh with him, but God, everything really hurt. Maybe I was getting a little delirious from the pain, but this guy seemed kind of cute. No, not kind of cute, but really cute. “But, unless you want me to refer to you as ‘Deranged-stalker-man’ I might need to know your name. If that’s okay.”
I waited. “Okay?”
“Okay, normally I have a good sense of humor, but I’ve had kind of a shitty day. Everything hurts. My car is totaled. I have no money for a new one. To make matters worse, I lost my Ho Hos and Fritos in the car, which I totally needed today to comfort me because I was too chicken-shit to go to a speed dating thingy that my friend pressured me into. Then, I’ve been waiting here for hours. I appreciate you coming to see me, and for your help earlier, but can you just cut me some slack and tell me your name?”
“My name is O.K.”
“Wow that sucks. I thought my parents were bad, but I think yours take the cake.”
O.K. laughed. “No, they did not saddle me with the name. It’s my nickname, but it’s what everyone calls me. I’m not sure I’d answer to my given name anymore.”
“So what is your given name then?”
“Top secret information.”
“Oh, come on. Give me a break. Can you not tell that I’ve had the most crap-tastic day?”
“Oh, I guess, and only because you’ve had a crap-tastic day. But you have to promise to keep it a secret. Deal?”
“Deal. Wait, let me guess?”
“You’ll never get it.”
“Now that sounds like a challenge.” He looked skeptical. I decided to try looking desperate. “Oh come on, please? I’ve been here for over four hours, and I’m bored out of my gourd. Please?”“I guess we can play, but only because you just rhymed ‘bored’ and ‘gourd.’ You get points for rhyming while in pain.”
This book was so good, I read it in one sit. Esther sees her self as a lonely person, her twin sister had a mental illness and commits suicide. When Esther not really loved by her parents, hear her sisters voice seven years after death she thins she has gone mental too. her marriage failed and she never found anyone else. She is a social worker with a bad pay, but somehow she manage.
When Esther has a accident, she sees a handsome man come to her and she hears a line that only she and her Twin Sister Aster knew.
The book is great, i loved every minute of it, great characters and nice plots in it. I love Esther. How all goes well read it yourself, I promise you won't regret it.
Kathryn wrote a serious book but she manage to make me laugh too with patches of humor in it.