While You Were Out
A fanfic from the slightly disturbed mind of the Californian who hates California.
Chapter 1: Good Morning and Happy Anniversary
I could hear the steady beeping of some anonymous sound. Beep… beep… beep… What was it? It sounded so familiar, almost as if I had lived with it for a long time. I lied there, with my eyes closed, listening to the sound of the beeping, not even realizing that I didn't know where I was. That I had been asleep for the longest time, so long that all of my body, except for my tuned ears, was still in a numb state of slumber.
When I finally discovered that I couldn't feel my arms, legs, hands, feet, or anything, I heard the beeping increase its tempo. Beepbeepbeepbeepbeep… And then I at last realized what I was listening to… My monitored heart beat.
I strained to feel, but I could only see darkness and hear the sound of my heart monitor. Finally, I was able to pry my eyes open. The light was blinding and my vision was blurred for quite some time, but when everything came to focus, I found myself lying in a hospital bed. And the memory of what had happened visited my thoughts…
It was summer. School was finally out and that happy, joyful feeling of freedom touched every kid in South Park. No longer did we have to sit through another boring lecture, slave over some computer project, rack our brains trying to finish an in-class-essay before the bell rang, or stay up until two in the morning to finish that god awful math assignment. It was summer, and if you were a normal teenage boy, it was what you had prayed for all school year.
Not only was it summer, but it was my last real summer. My junior year of high school was finally completed and next year I was to be a senior. I had one more year of high school and then I was off to college. It was my last real summer as a kid. As a teenage boy, who did things because "he was only a kid" and was able to get away with shit because of it.
The first day of vacation was celebrated by sleeping in until three in the afternoon. My little party would've lasted longer and possibly all day if it wasn't for my kid brother, Ike. He needed a ride to his friend's house and my ma made me wake up and take him. I was slightly pissed off, but I obeyed. After all, as a jobless teen, my ma was my only source of money. And during the summer, being without money is sheer suicide.
After dropping my brother off, I decided to drop by Stan's house. It seemed to be that whenever I had no other plans, I found myself with Stan. And if I could somehow manage, and I frequently made certain that it was, Stan was apart of my plans anyway. I was in love with him. It was something I had lived with for several years, since about the sixth grade. I was hopelessly and utterly in love with Stan Marsh, and no one knew it but me. I had almost confessed my feelings to him on several occasions, but never succeeded. I was scared. I was scared that I would ruin our nearly perfect relationship. It was a perfect relationship, save the fact that I could never touch him in the ways I secretly and habitually fantasized about. No, Stan didn't need my touch. He had Wendy for that.
When I arrived at Stan's he looked as if he had just woken up himself. "Hey, what's up, Dude?" he yawned as he let me into his house.
"Nothing. Just wanted to stop by." The two of us walked down the hall and into Stan's bedroom. Stan threw himself on his unmade bed and I took a seat at his computer desk.
Stan yawned again, "Fuck, I'm so tired." I gave a short laugh at the fact that he was stating the obvious. He scratched at his jet black hair, looking about the messy room, "Dude, we should go to the community pool or something. It's fucking hot."
"When?" I asked.
Stan stretched out lazily on his bed, "I dunno. Tomorrow? Not today. I'm too tired." He sat up and looked more studiously around his room, "Shit, this place is a mess. My mom's gonna go nuts if she walks in."
"How do you let it get like this?" I inquired, spotting a dirty sock on the desk behind me and throwing it at him.
Stan caught the laundry, "We can't all be little mama's boys, Kyle." He flung the sock across the room, narrowly making it into a laundry basket in the corner. He stood up and began to collect candy and food wrappers, various articles of clothing, and soda can after soda can, attempting to tidy up the place.
I watched him with a smile. I watched him and wondered how much longer I would be able to do this. How much longer would I casually sit by and just be able to watch him. He could be doing anything, so as long as I could see him, it was heaven. As I saw him dump some things in a small trash bin and he looked up and laughed at me, I felt like screaming, "I love you, Stan! I love your smile! I love your laugh!" but as always, I remained silent.
Tugging at his bed sheets, he began to make his bed, "Dude, you can turn on the TV or something."
I looked around the room, "Where's the remote?"
Stan smoothed out his sheets and then looked up, "…Good question."
I laughed, "I'd look, but I'm a little scared."
Stan grinned, "Dude, it's not that bad," he paused, "Look under that desk."
I got up and fell onto me knees, looking under the desk, "I see… old sneakers…"
Stan walked over and knelt beside me, "Hey! I've been looking for those!" he reached out and retrieved the pair of shoes, "And look!" laughing, he pulled his television remote out from one of the pairs of old vans. He tossed it to me.
I turned over the remote, "Yeah… you kinda need batteries for this to work."
Stan snatched the remote from my hands and threw it over my head, "Forget TV then. Let's play some video games."
"Sure," I replied, "but we're gonna need a television set for that, too."
I started to laugh again.
"Dude, shut up and help me find some batteries!"
About an hour later, Kenny came over and joined us in our determination to uncover some batteries buried in Stan's room. About three hours later, we succeeded in finding two AA batteries which we salvaged from Stan's old CD player that he had lost over a year ago. Unfortunately, by that time, my ma had already called for me to go pick up my brother and I had to leave them.
"Dude, don't forget! We're all going swimming tomorrow!" Stan called out as I walked down the driveway to my car.
"I know!" I answered, climbing into my car. Waving goodbye to Stan and Kenny, I pulled out of the driveway and began to head over to pick up Ike. It was around seven in the evening, and it was a little dark, but not enough to cause me to focus heavily on the road. I almost wished I had, because I would soon regret it.
I was trying to change the radio station when I heard loud honking. I looked up and saw two headlights coming towards me. I screamed and frantically turned the steering wheel, but not in enough time. The car scratched against the passenger side of my car, hurling me into on coming traffic. I heard more honking, and then screeching. I witnessed two more headlights coming towards my stopped car. The last thing I remembered was closing my eyes tightly and wondering how much it was going to hurt.
Now I was in the hospital and I couldn't feel anything. I started to cry, thinking that I was crippled for life. I couldn't feel anything. I lied there, trying my best to look down at my own body, to see if it was even intact. I couldn't even lift my head. I tried to send messages to my fingers and my toes, to do something, but I remained numb. It wasn't long before my eyes were flooded with tears, and being unable to wipe them away, I simply closed my eyes. I felt like I was going to eventually drown in my own tears, but then there was a slight tingling coming from my finger tips. I did my best to blink the tears away from my eyes, and I indeed saw that I had succeeded in wiggling my fingers. I started to laugh, for pure happiness and joy that I was not crippled after all.
Soon I was able to flex my wrists, lift my hands, then arms, and eventually sit up in bed. As I sat in bed trying to coax my legs to move, a nurse casually walked in, unaware of my state.
"Excuse me," I said after watching her for several minutes, writing stuff down on a clipboard.
She jumped when she heard my voice and then quickly ran out of the room without any word to me, or explanation, or what seemed most appropriate, an apology for completely ignoring me.
She returned with a doctor who turned to her and said, "Call his parents." She nodded and left the room. "How are you feeling, Kyle?" he spoke to me as if I were retarded.
"I… I can't feel my legs," I only just noticed that my voice was very weak and dry. Another nurse came in with a tray of assorted vegetables, crackers, water, and juice. I wasn't hungry, but I was thirsty and I quickly grabbed the water bottle and strained to open it, but I found myself too weak.
The doctor took the bottle and opened it for me, "Just your legs then? How about your head? Do you have a headache?"
"No. I feel… tired."
He nodded, "And?"
"And…" I paused as I felt a gentle ripple run through my legs. I was starting to feel them again, "I… feel… confused."
He nodded, "You were in a car accident."
"I know that," I fought to try to lift my right leg. As my knee bent slowly, the doctor pushed it back down.
"Don't strain yourself," he said.
"What happened?" I asked. "I mean… after the crash…have I been unconscious for a while or what?"
The doctor seemed hesitant, "Kyle, you've been unconscious for quite some time," he paused, "For one year to be exact."
I stared at him, "A year?"
"Exactly one year."
I didn't know how to respond. How does one respond to the news that one has been completely oblivious to everything around them for a total of 365 days? It was surreal. I was in complete shock for several minutes and the doctor could tell, for he was dead silent.
"Am… am I okay?" I finally said, "Can I walk? Do you have a mirror? Is there some horrible scar across my face or on any part of my body? How long until I can leave the hospital?"
The doctor smiled at me, "Nurse!" he called out, "Kyle," he said looking at me again, "You appear to be fine. You have three noticeable scars from surgery, but none on your face. One is on your back and two on the thigh of your left leg. And by the looks of things," he said gently tapping my foot, "I don't think you'll have any trouble walking and you could be out of here as soon as tomorrow morning."
The first nurse came into the room, "Yes, doctor?"
"Did you contact the boy's parents?"
"Good. Get Kyle here a mirror," he turned to me, "Anything else?"
"Can you call someone else for me?" I asked.
"Sure," the nurse smiled, "Who?"
"Stanley Marsh. I have his number if you need it."
The nurse came over to me with a pen and paper and I wrote down Stan's number, "I'll call him right now," she said leaving.
"Stanley Marsh? Is he a friend of yours?" the doctor smiled.
"Stan's my… yeah… friend."
I quietly ate the food and drinks given to me, while watching the doctor scribble illegible things on a clip board. The nurse came back in with a mirror and I discovered that I looked the same. My hair was a little more muddled and long, but other than that, I couldn't see anything else different. My parents and my brother came some ten minutes later. They looked the same, except Ike did seem to be a little taller.
They asked me how I was feeling, how long I had been awake, and apologized over and over again for what had happened, like it was really their fault. I felt weird sitting and listening to my ma crying about how she visited me while I was in a coma… it was just… weird.
My doctor pulled my parents aside to talk to them. At that moment the nurse came in with some kid.
I didn't even recognize him at first. His hair was messier and longer than mine. I could hardly see his face. He was pale. He wore baggy, dirty clothes that didn't even match. But it was him. It was Stan.
I stared at him and he stared at me. I could only partially see his left blue eye through his thick, black bangs. And that one eye didn't twinkle that crystal blue color I remembered; it was almost a gray color now. Everything about him seemed to have a vacant gray appearance to it. I also noticed that he had a scar on his left cheek, that could have stretched all the way across his face, only his hair prevented me from knowing if that were the case. He looked nervous and fearful of everything around him. He couldn't even really look at me for a long time without shifting his view from me, to the floor, to the ceiling, to his feet, and back. He slowly approached my bed. I expected him to erupt with laughter, joking and talking about everything I had missed out on, but he was silent as he stared at me.
His stare… it was strange. I almost felt that Stan wasn't even there, at least not mentally. He just stared at me, not revealing any type of emotion or sympathy. His stare… it was frightening.
What the hell happened to him while I was out?