This story contains references to blood, drug use, and child neglect.
Sienna Blake’s fingers tensed on the steering wheel as she felt aluminum, fiberglass, and metals tear into her flesh as her bones begin to splinter. Glass fragments began to shred the left side of her face as her Mazda began its ascent into the air, cartwheeling across the intersection. She could see the sunset doing a crazy dance as red-orange droplets of light rained down on her. When the car finally stopped its rotation, she heard a woman screaming in a high-pitched strangled-sounding voice. She tried in vain to reach for her phone but realized it was lost in the chaos when her car was broad-sided. Dangling upside down from the harness, her limbs growing cold, Sienna realized the miserable howling woman had finally, thankfully ceased her screaming. She tried in vain to shout for help as reality dawned on her that the wretched screaming banshee woman had been her the entire time. Her throat was raw from screaming for so long. She had no idea how long she might be here before another passerby came along.
Sienna grew colder as the warmth seeped from her body in the ever-darkening California night as the light in her eyes began to fade. Memories of her family played in her mind as she prayed for just one more minute to spend with them.
Sienna woke in a panic. She sat up in a darkened room. Not knowing where she was. Her thoughts were all jumbled. She must be in a hospital. But that could not be right. It was nearly pitch black. She tried to move her body… to get up… but everything felt wrong. Her body felt wrong.
She finally willed herself to pull the covers back and swung her legs over the bed. Her feet didn’t touch the floor. She managed to make her way to a doorway... it was a bathroom, but not a hospital bathroom. It was a home. And a meager one at that. Slowly making her way to the mirror, Sienna gazed upon a reflection that she did not recognize. In her place stood a girl in her teens maybe. A young girl. Gaunt. Almost emaciated. She held her hands up and saw the grimy unwashed hands of a child.
Sienna closed her eyes and looked at her reflection again. Rubbing her eyes with small balled-up fists that weren’t her own. But the image in the mirror remained the same.
Sienna splashed cold water on her face and looked again. No matter what she tried, the image remained the same.
Convinced that she had suffered brain damage from the car accident, Sienna went to lie back down and decided when she woke up, she would be back to herself again. This had to be a glitch in reality.
In the first days after the accident Sienna tried to convince anyone who would listen to her that she wasn’t this Kirsten Waters person from Kentucky. That her name was Sienna Blake. She was a thirty-two-year-old personal trainer with a family who needed her in California. That her son Danny needed her. Her husband Jacob would be frantic. But this woman, this person who was the mother, was an addict, and clearly, one who could care less about her children or if there was food in the house. Sienna’s pleas were first met with looks of wild skepticism, then later came the stiff swats to the head. Sienna/Kirsten stopped telling her mother, or anyone else for that matter, the truth about herself. It was of no use.
There was no father on the scene, or anything resembling family, and the closest thing she had to a friend seemed to be the younger siblings who were dependent on her for their every need.
Sienna/Kirsten had no one to listen to her. So, she tried to make the best of her situation. But she kept a detailed journal. Every day she would write down a memory from her life as Sienna. Infusing the journal with as much life and joy and happy memories as she could recall. Some sad memories too, because life is not all happy and light. Each day refusing to forget who she truly was. Until of course, this new life began to blow away the old life like a candle being snuffed out by a breeze, it became harder and harder to remember. The life that had been so clear to her was barely a whiff of memory and was quickly becoming a far-distant past.
By the tender age of fourteen, Kirsten bore the responsibility of caring for her three younger siblings while their mother whiled her hours away with drugs and men, or men and drugs, as not much else held her fancy for very long. Definitely not her children or their welfare. The new “old” Kirsten made sure they got on a food assistance program and then sought out a counselor at her school to help find a new home for her and her siblings when the mother found out about the food assistance card and stole that from them. It took some time for life to get better as these things do. Because as the saying goes, it’s always darkest before dawn. But Kirsten held out hope, because she had been through the darkest nights of the soul in her youth, and she knew there were brighter days ahead. And somewhere, in the recesses of her memories, there was a woman named Sienna fighting alongside her.
Four years after the day that had virtually ruined their lives, Jacob Blake received the call that he had given up hope on ever receiving. “Mr. Blake, your wife has woken up from the coma. She’s asking for you. You should come now.” Jacob called his son Daniel’s school to tell them he was picking him up. It was a family emergency. They rode to the hospital in silence, uncertain of what they would find when they got there. She had been in a coma for four long years. The doctors weren’t sure if she would ever regain consciousness and now this. Jacob didn’t want to get his or Daniel’s hopes up.
They entered the hospital room in the same silence they had arrived in, uncertainty fraying their nerves. Sienna lay in the hospital bed, eyes closed, her breathing barely perceptible.
Tears began to course silently down Daniel’s face as he reached the bed and took his mother’s hand in his own.
Jacob held in a sob as he took in the scene. Heartbroken that he hadn’t made it in time to speak to his wife.
Sienna’s eyes fluttered open as her fingers curled around Daniels.
Her voice sounded like she had drank a glass of gravel but it was the most beautiful sound Jacob had ever heard. “My Danny Boy, why are you crying?”
Daniel looked up at his mother, eyes overflowing, tears of despair intermingling with tears of pure joy, “I’m not crying, you’re crying” he said, as he sniffed and grinned at his mother with more love than he knew he could ever feel at his age.
Jacob rushed over to the duo and hugged his family, overcome with emotion as the doctors and nurses began to filter in from the doorway. Sniffles being heard all around.
Sienna Blake did indeed recover, and this time when she spoke to her loved ones, they listened. She told them all about her time as Kirsten Waters and her plans to make a difference in the lives of some very special children.