Golden Age, Episode 8, Part 4
People always talk about where they were when they first heard about The Correspondent. She came out of nowhere and tried to make a difference. Some saw her as a beacon of hope, others as a sign of how far down the slope we had come. I never paid attention to all of that. I was too busy. Too busy working to pay my bills, too busy trying to figure out life. I was seventeen when it started. I was The Correspondent. This is my story.
Since I had broken my arm as well as messed up my knee I wasn’t able to use crutches, I thought for a brief moment I was going to get one of those awesome medical scooters, but insurance wouldn’t cover it for someone of my age. This all meant that a week later I was wheeling myself into my high school, in the pathetic electric wheelchair that my insurance would pay for.
My high school was three stories tall and had only recently started becoming ADA compliant. There was an elevator for wheelchairs but because their was only one I was forced to wait with the other kids who needed it. The elevator was big enough for one wheelchair at a time and was slow. I was late to a lot of classes.
On top of all of that, I was high as a kite on pain killers the whole time. I am not sure how I made it through my first week back. I came out of my fog on Friday as I waited for the wheelchair bus to pick me up and take me home. It was cold outside and my arm was aching as the wind cut though my clothes.
“Ellie,” Shelby said, as he walked up, “You all right?”
I stared at him, noticing how he now looked like he was in his mid 50s.
“I’m fine.” I was tired of that question.
“Ok,” he said, standing next to me.
We probably looked like a fine pair. The injured wheelchair girl and the old-young man, waiting in the cold for a bus. Silence stretched between us and started to eat at me. Why wouldn’t he say something to break the silence? I glanced up at him, he looked nervous. What did he want?
“Um…,” Shelby finally broke the silence, “Do you have any plans for the weekend?”
“Wanna go see a movie tomorrow night?”
That sounded amazing. Getting out of my house, out of my room, for a night was what I needed.
“Yeah,” he said, “I’ll call you.”
Shelby patted me on the shoulder and ran off to his mom’s waiting car. After he left I thought about Shelby, how he had changed and how it was my fault he was aging so weirdly. It broke my heart a little to think that he would never have a normal life. I wondered if I would ever have a normal life. Would I forever be alone and afraid to get close to people?
The arrival of the wheelchair bus pulled me from my thoughts. My knee felt stiff, my arm ached, but I had a warm feeling inside. I still had a friend that wanted to spend time with me. I held onto that warmth, knowing that the rest of my life was in shambles.
Dylan Reed has always been interested in a good story. Raised without a TV he spent a lot of time with books and loves reading. Dylan has been a professional entertainer, studied commercial diving, and loves random trivia. He brings all of this and more together in his stories.