When She Fell




Aspen opened her eyes to beeping monitors. She was laying in a bed that wasn’t her own. Bright fluorescent lights hung close to the ceiling, and as she looked up the nearly blinding light overwhelmed her. Doctors and family began to swarm around her bed when they saw she was awake, for the first time in 18 hours.
“Hi darling, I’m so glad you’re okay,” her mother said, leaning over Aspen so that she didn’t have to move in her hospital bed.
A man, who appeared to be about 5 ‘8, with a bit of stubble on his chin, and circular glasses approached the foot of the bed. He was dressed in blue scrubs and a white doctor’s coat, and he smelled like he had never even seen a shower. This man, whom Aspen was quite daunted by, lifted his head and looked into her eyes.
“Hey Aspen, how are you feeling?”
She didn’t know how to respond, she had barely been able to process her setting, when yet another person, muttered quietly
“How could you do this to yourself?” in an exhausted, exasperated manner. Overwhelmed by the anger this question arose in her, she impulsively blurted out


It was as if a heavy blanket had settled over the room, nobody dared to utter a sound. The quiet room, with the exception of the consistent beeping of the monitor, allowed Aspen to collect herself. She glanced around, and realized that there were 3 people in the room. The doctor, her mother, and her father.

The doctor waited for a couple minutes before calmly asking once again,
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine.” Aspen responded.
“I’m here to let you know that you had an overdose yesterday. You were brought in last night in a pretty dangerous condition but you’re looking much better now. In order to know how best to treat you I do need to know, what caused this?” The doctor asked her, quickly following up with
“You won’t be in trouble for anything you did take or do, just so that you know. You’re safe to tell us.”
“I don’t know. I was drunk, and then I found pills on the ground. They were unlabeled, and I found them and took them.” Aspen responded, making no facial expression whatsoever. No tone change, acting as if what had happened wasn’t cause for concern. The doctor nodded, then said
“Okay, thank you. I will be back in just a few minutes,” and he promptly exited the room.

Her mother sat on the foot of her bed, and began to rub her leg in a calming way, in an attempt to reassure Aspen she was safe at that moment.
“I’m just glad you’re okay now.”
“Thank you,” Aspen whispered.
“We’re going to get you help, okay? Everything’s going to be alright, I promise,” her mother said, with an obviously forced grin on her face.
She stood up slowly, and gestured at Aspen’s father to step out of the room with her.
Aspen, now alone in the room, could hear the quiet muffling of her parents talking in the hall.
She could distinguish that it was primarily her dad talking to her mom whilst she was sobbing.
“Are you kidding me? How are you not mad at her? She is 16, this isn’t normal. Get that girl some damn help already, you clearly can’t handle her by yourself,” echoed from the halls, followed promptly by the all too familiar sound of her father stomping away, angrily.

Aspen’s mom entered the hospital room once again. With her bloodshot, puffy eyes, she approached Aspen, and said
“There’s someone here to see you,” with a smile on her face.

Cynthia entered the room. When Aspen saw her, her heart dropped. She felt that weight of the entire universe on her chest once again. Aspen’s mom promptly left after saying,
“I’ll give you two some time to talk.”
“Hey” Cynthia muttered.
“Hi Cynthia” Aspen said, feeling as though she was the most vulnerable being to exist in this moment.
“Apparently your mom didn’t know about our falling out, she called me when you got to the hospital.” Cynthia said, with the most caring facial expression Aspen had seen before. She felt as though Cynthia was looking into her soul, and not just at her face. She missed her.
“I didn’treally tell her, it wasn’t something I had really come to terms with yet.” Aspen said, stuttering her words.

“You know, I thought that ending our friendship would’ve given you a wake up call, but it just made your addiction worse. I’m sorry for leaving you when you needed me the most. You have been there for me when I’ve needed help, and I’ll be here for you to help you, as long as you want help.” Cynthia blurted out.
It took Aspen a minute to respond, but she eventually was able to get out the words
“I do want help, but I dont know if I can be helped.”
“I can help you try.”


6 Weeks Later


Aspen had been released from rehab earlier that day, and was sitting in her bedroom. She soon realized, that the last time she was in this room, she overdosed. Sobriety had hit her like a truck, but she had started to feel more confident in herself, until she got out of rehab. She opened her phone and was confused – not one text from Mark. She got curious about this and opened his contact, Hey, long time no see, She typed out on her keyboard, and felt a second of worry, before pressing send.

Less than 5 minutes later, she received a text back. It read Hey. I heard about what happened and figured it was best to talk to you when you were back. I wanted to let you know that I’m glad that you’re safe and that you got the help you needed. I don’t think we can be friends anymore though, I just think we’re going down different paths in life at this point. I’m grateful for the time we spent together though, thanks for being a good friend.

Her heart sank. How could someone who was with her every day for 3 months do this? Someone she went down this dangerous path with, abandoning her. She started to realize that Mark was never really her friend, he was just using her. He never cared for her the way Cynthia did, or talked to her the way she did. It all felt fake now that she looked back on it. Everything she went through felt fake.
The anxiety this realization brought upon Aspen led her to spiral into her own mind. Aspen wasn’t okay with being better, she didn’t want to be better. She wasn’t ready to be better. So many people told her how proud they were of her, when she felt like she hadn’t changed at all. She felt as though she were suffocating on her own breath. This overwhelming feeling of pain and worry washed over her, then she remembered. She remembered she had a hidden dime bag, full of the substance she had been addicted to since the beginning, coke.

Aspen started manically pacing around her room, contemplating what to do. She was so scared of what everyone would say, but she was exhilarated to give up, because it meant she wouldn’t have to be held to their standards anymore. She wanted to feel like she was outside of herself, at least for a second. To feel like her problems weren’t hers to deal with. She pulled out the bottom drawer of her dark brown dresser, and started rummaging through it. Soon her right hand felt a small, plastic bag. She felt her heart pounding as she grabbed the bag, sat on the floor, and poured out the contents of the bag. She cut up 4 lines. She rolled up a dollar bill, inserted it into her nose, and snorted each white, powdery line, one by one. And then she fell.