Beginning of Chapter One - the Magic of Matchmaking
Here's a first chapter. Feedback is appreciated. Thanks,
“In every country on earth, for as long as there have been marriages, matchmakers have helped bring people together. Mind you, not all matchmakers are the same. Some are far more successful than others. I believe that’s because they possess certain characteristics. The best matchmakers are kind, caring, and patient. They understand human nature. They have a ton of faith and a good sense of humor. Importantly, if the people to be matched are separated by thousands of miles or hundreds of years, access to a little bit of magic is essential.”
- Father Malachi
Glaring hospital room lights and the smell of disinfectant made it difficult to sleep, worse was the noise. The night staff yelled back and forth as if they were outside in the middle of the day. The rumble of their voices soaked through the entire ward. Since I was at the center of activity, in the room closest to the nurse’s station, I could make out most of what was said. The nurse at the front desk had a particularly shrill and permeating voice.
“Did you see the girl in room one?” she screeched.
“No but I heard about her,” said a second voice that was just as loud, though thankfully, not as high pitched. Of course she had heard, I thought. Everyone had heard. The unrelenting updates on my condition were one reason I didn’t watch TV. The other was I didn’t give a damn about anything.
“Is she as pretty as she looks on TV?” said a third nurse who suspended her duties to join in the gossip.
“No!” the woman at the front desk screamed. “Her skin was this disgusting shade of grey, probably because of the pills. She is real skinny though.”
That was one of the talking points from TV: I was taken to the hospital wearing no make-up and without an ounce of fat.
“I’m sure she has a personal trainer,” the third woman said. Her voice was thick with envy. It was ironic, I thought. She sounded jealous of me after I swallowed a mountain of pills, all because of money.
“She had vomit in her hair,” the woman at the front desk divulged. “I guess it could look pretty …..if it were cleaned and brushed.” Note to self: Next time they rush me to the hospital, ask them to stop by the hairdresser’s first. The women lowered their voices. For a few minutes, I could only hear them mumble. Then someone bellowed,
“I just can’t understand why anybody with all that money would do that.”
“I hear that!” screeched the cleaning lady. “If I had all that kinda money I wouldn’t ever be sad. I’d throw a huge party every single night!”
“And I’d be there,” another voice gibed. This feeble joke was followed by a round of polite laughter.
“I bet she did it to get attention. Honestly, how much attention does one woman need?” The woman at the front desk complained with a voice that was as piercing as ever. She probably thought people fawned over me day and night. The reality was I lived a life of forced isolation.
I wondered what time it was. Based on the way I felt and the staff members present, I guessed two or three a.m. Then again, so many drugs had been pumped in and out of me nothing I felt was meaningful. I pulled the covers up over my head forming a cocoon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t soundproof. I could still hear them call me rich and spoiled. Someone speculated I spent all my time partying and ended up in the hospital when the alcohol and drugs finally got to me.
“She-it!” howled the cleaning lady. “She’s probably doing the good stuff! Nobody from my neighborhood gets to do stuff like that!” The cleaning lady and one other person laughed.
“Well, if I had all that money,” the lady at the desk said, “I’d use it to do some good.” I wondered if she knew how cliché she sounded. I’d heard it all so many times before. Every person I’d ever met had a plan for spending my billion dollars, if for some magical reason, the money became theirs overnight. Charity and partying were two of three of the most common themes. If I were a gambler, I’d bet another of the voices would opt to do nothing.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” said the third voice. “I’d stay in the same house, in the same neighborhood, and pay off my bills.” I should have made that bet.
I was used to people judging me. They’d done it my entire life, without knowing me, and usually harshly. These opinions sprouted from knowing I was set to inherit a billion dollars and believing they deserved it more than I. Nearly 20, I still hadn’t learned to heed my mother’s advice.
“Don’t pay any attention to ‘em,” she had said in her thick Irish brogue. “If they knew ye, they’d know ye’re naught but a good Irish girl.”
“I was born and raised in New York,” I reminded my mother.
“I know Shivawn,” my mother retorted. “I was there. Don’t ye know New York is filled with Irish?”
I sighed wondering what it would feel like to be free to speak my mind. I’d begin by telling these women they were the lucky ones, not me. They had families and friends. I’d tell them at some point money shifts from a way to buy things to a way to control other people. That little fact should be kept in mind when I point out my father was a billionaire and I had nothing. Finally, I wanted to set the record straight. In my family, overindulgent behaviors, like the money, belonged to my father, not me. My alcohol consumption was limited to an occasional glass of very expensive wine at dinner or cheap wine at mass. The only drugs I ever abused were taken in a sincere attempt to end my life.
The women went back to work and the ward quieted down. I yawned and closed my eyes. I could sleep, at least for a few hours, and dream of all the things I would say and do, if I were free.
No more than an hour later, I was jostled awake by someone who bumped into my bed. Opening a bleary eye, I saw a strange man stood next to me. He wore a plain, white, hospital issued lab coat. The absence of a name tag made me think he was either new to the hospital or didn’t want to be identified. I pushed myself up to see what was going on. I made it just high enough to see the man inject something into my IV. The drug took me over in waves. The first wave made me dizzy. The second made my muscles weak and forced me to slump back down. Then my eyes closed.
“That’s right,” the man said to me, “don’t fight it.” How could I? The drug pulled me further and further under without my consent. I was unable to see, speak, or move. But there was a short period when I could hear, although not respond to, the people around me.
“Why’s her father want her moved?” asked a man with a distinctly deep voice.
He explained that my father didn't want reporters or police bothering me. "He wants Sybon's privacy protected."
“Shivon, not Sybon,” corrected the second man. “It’s Irish.”
“Shiv? Really? S – I –O – B and you pronounce it Shiv? Well you’re Irish. You should know,” the man with the syringe said.
“Aye laddie that I am.”
If I could have laughed I would have. Siobhan: my mother, Erin Eileen with the maiden name of O’Cleary pronounced it “Shivawn” heavy on the aw. This self-proclaimed Irish man had nearly gotten it right. His pronunciation could have convinced me he also had a parent who spoke Irish or, as I’d heard it put, was fresh off the boat. But laddie? No way. The terms lads and lassies come from Scotland, not the Emerald Isle.
“Coast is clear,” the cleaning lady said. She cackled excitedly. “Mr. Parks wants Shivon at the airport in thirty minutes. I don’t want to be late for that kind of cash!”
Someone shouted an order to move me that was followed by a few subtle nudges as the locks were released off the wheels of my bed. Then, I felt myself being wheeled out of the room. I was in my bed gliding down the hallway when a final surge of anesthesia pulled me under.
Last edited by KDG22; 07-19-2012 at 04:37 AM.
KDG22, commas are very important.
One sentence in particular: I pulled the covers up over my head forming a cocoon. Without a comma after head, this reads as the head is forming a cocoon. Corrected, it would read as such: I pulled the covers up over my head, forming a cocoon.