Author's note: Hi all. Your reviews made me as giddy as a little school girl, not gonna lie. So yeah, you're all pretty wonderful and I thank you very kindly for your words and even just taking the time to read my story.

If you'd like to check it out, I made a sort of 'book cover' (picture) for this story. The link is in my profile if you're curious…

Also, I apologize for the lengthy duration between now and my last update. I felt you all deserved something better than what I had originally written, so yeah. Here ya go. I felt almost pretentious writing it, but hopefully it wasn't a miss.

Okay. I'll be shutting up now. Enjoy, please.

Make me lose my memory

In the hospital waiting room, you watch the morning sun rise through the panes of the clean, glass windows. Your mind replays the events of the last few weeks. You search yourself to find a time you can go back to when everything was normal. As normal as normal can be with a family like yours.

Family. Somehow you feel you'll never be normal again.

Mom paces the floor. She's long since past pretending everything will turn out okay. She's just as frightened of life— death — as you are. You act like you can't see her red eyes or her anxiously biting her nails down to the beds. You think the last time you saw her like this was the night before you left Dad behind for the very last time in Fresno. No, you decide even that can't compare. This is something else entirely. At least you all knew your father would go on breathing.

You stare blankly at your hands. This is something else entirely.

Hanging around 'til two or three

You're sorry. So sorry. You're guilt-ridden. You don't want this to be her deathbed, her end. You still have no idea what's going on.

Grandma and Grandpa say nothing by your side. They arrived roughly an hour after you. Already it is past five o'clock in the morning. Mom is still pacing. She hasn't stopped. Her tears are silent. You see her shiver in her thin sweater. You too feel the cold wind. You wonder if the rest of the world feels it, too.

You stare blankly at your hands. This is something else entirely.

Make my body fail

When the sun is not yet halfway up the sky, Aunt Julia, Uncle Joel and Syd come rushing in. They each hug Mom in turn and your heart painfully constricts and your eyes itch as Mom's knuckles turn white, holding on for dear life to her living, breathing family.

When Uncle Adam quickly strides in with Aunt Kristina, Max and Haddie and even Uncle Crosby, too, eventually comes running, you feel the enormity of this accident…this tragedy… sinking in. Now that the whole clan is here, waiting, hugging, sad-faced, you fear the worst.

You stare blankly at your hands. This is something else entirely.


You think about time. You look at the clock on the wall and for once in your life you wish the hands would move slower; if it meant she'd be here longer, breathing, smiling, alive. But you can't stop time. You can't do anything. You sit and feel small. Just a little kid again, waiting for his sister to come around. Except this isn't the same. No, not at all. This is something else entirely. The stakes are higher here. You fear the unknown and it worries you.

For the briefest of moments, you almost envy her: lying still in her hospital bed, unthinking of life and death and consequences, the whole family nearby with only her in their thoughts.

You and your cousin Max must be of the same, feeble mind. You wonder if you possibly have some undetectable form Asperger's too. Maybe that would explain how you're feeling right now…truly starting to hate your own sister in this moment. You're starving and cold and numb and you're beginning to think the only person on the planet that makes any sense at all and the only one who has any hope of understanding how you're presently feeling, is your young autistic cousin.

"So if Amber's not going to die, and even if she was going to die, we're not doctors. We can't do anything to help. Just sitting here isn't helping."

By now Max is up and out of his seat, embarrassing your aunt and uncle by making such a scene. But you understand how he feels. His words ring sharp in your ears. If you could cry right then, you would. But you can't. Your eyes are frozen to the floor. You suddenly wonder what Mom must be thinking through all of this. Her eyes are surely streaming waterfalls by now.

And with that in mind, you snap out of it, the bitterness. You know you can't resent your sister for this. She's been stupid and reckless and yes, impetuous. But she's your sister. You just want her alive.

In helpless horror, you observe Grandpa as he stands up to his full height. "Max. You will eat the frickin' Danish."

With a sense of unyielding shame, you listen as Max commands your grandfather to shut up and the silent, breathless gasps and halting footsteps of passing doctors and nurses.

You barely hear Aunt Kristina apologize profusely for her son who doesn't realize he no longer feels the same way as you.

Amid an unbearably powerless sense of déjà vu, you watch as your aunt takes her son by the arm. Horrible recognition dawns on you as Max pulls away, hitting her in the process. In your mind, Aunt Kristina's face fades into your mother's, and Max's implodes, giving way to Amber's. In your mind, you hear her heartless parting words clearly as if she were right here in the room with you. You swear you even hear the rumble of the car driving away. Forever ago, it still seems.

You stare blankly at your hands. This is something else entirely.

Make me lose my memory

When the waiting room calms down after the outburst, you are assigned the job of calling Dad. Again. You need more than all your ten fingers to count the number of times his cell has gone straight to voicemail. "Hey. It's me. You know what to do." Beep.

You take a deep breath. You hate that you hear his voice more often through the phone than not. You hate that it all sounds so cold and unfeeling. You know what to do. Yes, you think to yourself. You know what to do. He's never been around to show you. You learn it all on your own.

You shake the feeling and try to focus on the task at hand. Even though the rest of the family is here, Mom told you to call him. You just wish he would finally answer.

You take a deep breath and leave a message at the beep. You try to keep your voice steady. You can't let the anger, resentment or tears get to you. That was always Amber's job.

"Hey, Dad. It's me again. Drew." You speak into the phone, standing in the waiting room, a safe distance from disappointed eyes, as if you needed to clarify, as if you really needed to remind your father of his own son's voice…his own son's name.

You're not sure of anything anymore.