We decided that dad would take the first ‘shift’ – I hated that they called it that. He sat on the chair by my bed and just talked to me. He didn’t give any more information about what had happened or what I had missed; instead we just talked about life. About the silly things I used to do when I was a toddler. About the holidays we used to go on. About the fish and chip shop down the road that made the best chicken and mushroom pie known to man. For the whole 3 hours he stayed with me he never mentioned the accident, or what I had missed, or what we would have to do when I finally got out of here. I liked that. It almost made me feel, almost, normal again. I kept willing him to bring up the rings, and whatever was going on between him and mum, but he never did.
When the doctor took over for my dad it was very different. He handed me a book he said mum had picked out, and I took it gratefully, glad to escape. He sat where my dad had, reading his own book. We stayed like that, reading in silence, for the whole 3 hours. I would have expected it to be awkward, but it wasn’t. I felt comforting knowing that there was someone there, but that I didn’t have to acknowledge them.
Mum came at 10:00pm and at this point I was exhausted. She said she would go home and sleep so she could take the ‘night-shift’, but I could see she hadn’t; she had dark circles under her eyes. She delved into her bag and brought out a piece of what looked like glass. It was only a couple millimetres thick and was completely see-through. It was about the size of a laptop screen, and looked kind of like one too. She tapped the glass and suddenly it was no longer see-through: images were projected onto the glass by God-knows-what, and it appeared lit from within. It looked something like a futuristic IPad. She caught my curious look and understood that I did not understand what she was holding.
“It’s an IPad, believe it or not. I know, they look a bit different to how you remember them. Ipad 8th Generation. Brilliant thing, capable of things you wouldn’t believe..” She noticed my sad look. “Oh, honey. I know you’ve missed a lot but trust me, everything’s going to be OK. You’ll pick up the new technology quickly, we’ll find you a job... And I thought we could catch up on Gossip Girl tonight. Maybe not everything, but we’ll have a jolly good go!” She winked. “That’s why I brought this, it can project programmes, see?” She tapped the glass several times and suddenly a beam of light emerged from the back. She aimed it at the wall and the familiar scene of the Gossip Girl titles appeared on the wall. It wasn’t like any hologram I had seen before: the images were so clear and realistic I thought they were in the room with us. Mum patiently showed me a handful of the things the tablet could do while I attempted to understand this new technology, and then we settled down to Gossip Girl.
After several episodes I could tell we were both beginning to get bored of the show, so I suggested we read. I picked up the book from earlier while mum loaded up a virtual book on the tablet and we lost ourselves in our own separate worlds of fantasy. After several chapters I could really feel my eyelids drooping and my eyes had that stinging feeling they get when I’m really tired. I glanced over at mum who had accidentally fallen asleep in her chair. A fleeting thought crossed my mind as my eyelids shut: what happens if I don’t wake up? I couldn’t bear missing another section of my life – I have to stay awake! Just open your eyes and pick up the book. Open your eyes and...