There once was a young boy of around ten years old. He had lived most of his life in hospitals due to a rare, life-threatening genetic illness that, although not incredibly dangerous at first, could kill him in a matter of minutes when (or if) it ever reached its low point. His illness was rare enough that the statistical evidence was still unreliable, meaning there was no way of telling whether or not he would indeed hit that low point. At this period in his life, he was once again in the hospital. This time, however, was different. This time, he had been in the hospital for three months. He was put on a new medication. And this time, his hospital stay was due to a low point in his illness.
You see, at nine years old Jamie Maguire hit a point in his disease where even the term ‘critical condition’ didn’t begin to cover the severity of the situation. The doctors told his parents that he had a ten percent chance of survival, unless they wanted to try a new treatment that had been discovered only a few months before. Jamie’s parents were told that there was no guarantee that it would work, and there was a slight chance that it may even do the opposite of what it was believed to do, but they agreed with close to no questions. Their baby was the most important thing in their lives, and they weren’t ready to lose another one.
Young Jamie was immediately put on this treatment and his medications were switched around to accommodate the change. He and his parents were warned that there may be severe side effects, but all three of them agreed to the treatment anyway. Within just a few days of his new treatment, Jamie was already improving. He still wasn’t mobile like he had once been, and he was still quite weak, causing him problems when he wanted to move around in bed, but he was stable and his health had increased to a point where doctors were almost completely sure he would survive.
One day in particular was just slightly different from all the others up to that point.
He woke up slowly. Before he even had a chance to open his eyes, he had this great feeling that it would be a good day. He laid there with his eyes closed for a few minutes, just soaking in the few rays of light coming in from the window. A quiet cough caused Jamie to open his eyes. At first, it seemed as if there was no one else in the room. Upon a somewhat closer inspection, at least for what he was capable of from his vantage point on the bed, he noticed a young girl of about twelve years old. Like him, she had dark brown hair and dark eyes. Their skin tones were similar as well. In fact, her whole appearance was quite similar to Jamie’s own. There was one slight difference though: her eyes were hazel, with green being a slight majority, while Jamie’s were a solid brown.
The young girl approached Jamie’s bed and introduced herself as Jamie, though she mentioned that she much preferred the nickname Gypsy. Like most people, Gypsy gave Jamie a rather good first impression. She was one of those people that he immediately liked, but no matter how hard he tried he just couldn’t explain why. She was one of those extremely outgoing people who made everyone feel comfortable right away, and her happiness made most people around her happy as well. Jamie was one of those people she could make happy with just a simple smile. Her randomness infected the room with Jamie’s laughter as she made a fool of herself just to see him happy. He didn’t know who she was or where she came from, but he was incredibly happy that this strange girl had come to his room.
What Jamie didn’t know though, is that this new friend was invisible to everyone else. She was a one of a kind person, in so many ways, and Jamie didn’t have to spend a lifetime with her to figure that out.
The two became fast friends and Jamie spent every waking moment with her, aside from the time his parents came by to visit. Since his health had evened out, they took shifts visiting him and worked when they weren’t visiting. Since his health wasn’t critical anymore, they weren’t allowed to stay past visiting hours either, so Jamie had a lot of spare time to spend with Gypsy. She was always so patient with him. When he didn’t feel like doing something, she would suggest something else that she thought he might want to do instead. When he felt like sleeping for a while, she would patiently sit in the chair on the other side of the room and wait for him to wake up once again so they could continue their somewhat crazy antics.
As Jamie’s health continued to improve, he was able to do more and more with Gypsy. When Gypsy asked him to try standing up, anyone could see the fear etched in Jamie’s face. He wanted more than anything to be as normal as he could be, but he was scared of trying something like standing up—especially when he hadn’t even been able to lift himself enough to shift positions for nearly a month. However, he was quite a determined young soul, and he made the decision to stand up on his own two legs at least once. Gypsy stood close by ready to catch him if he fell, and fall he did. He fell a good few times before he managed to hold himself up for a full minute. Exhausted after the over exertion, he sat himself down on his bed again. Telling Gypsy that he wanted to nap for a while, he closed his eyes and drifted off into a dreamless darkness.
Gypsy watched him for just a few moments as he slept. If there was a person that could see her, they would easily be able to see the sadness in her eyes as she watched the ill little boy rest. There was something in her eyes that said she knew something no one else did, and clearly, it wasn’t a good thing. She sent a sad smile his direction and walked out of his room.
For the first time in a few weeks, Jamie awoke to an empty room. His parents hadn’t stopped by yet and Gypsy wasn’t in her usual place by the table at the food of his bed. The room seemed darker, gloomier, than it had the last few weeks. Though he didn’t know the reason, Jamie did know that something wasn’t right. He didn’t feel very well that day either. He thought about how nice it would have been if Gypsy had been there as usual. She always made him feel better, even if he didn’t feel like feeling better. The usually bright little boy didn’t feel like himself that day. But that was just the beginning of a long ride.
Although Jamie’s new treatment was working far better than the doctors had predicted it to, something inside young Jamie was incredibly wrong. He appeared to be getting healthier and stronger. His hallucinations, as the doctors had called Gypsy, were becoming less and less common—meaning the treatment was doing its job. But on the inside, his system was becoming weaker and weaker. A case that will forever remain a medical mystery, Jamie was slowly dying on the inside while his body gave the impression that he was improving drastically. There was no cure for his illness; and that is something his family would soon discover.
The day Jamie woke to an empty room was the first of many, but it’s not quite the end of his story just yet.
Though less and less frequent, Gypsy continued to visit Jamie in his dreary hospital room. Her visits were less punctual and expected. Jamie never knew when to expect her anymore. The first string of days without a visit from Gypsy was depressing for Jamie, but he managed well enough. His parents would bring movies for him to watch, and when they visited they would play games with him. When she was able to make a quick visit, Gypsy was forced to explain her sudden inability to visit constantly. It was like having a knife through her heart… She didn’t know why she wasn’t able to visit as often, and her difficulty trying to discover the reason was heartbreaking for her as she scrambled to think of an excuse for Jamie.
Like a parent trying to explain death to a child, she told him that she just had to go away for a while. She explained that he probably wouldn’t see her very often anymore and that it was a good thing because it meant that his treatment was working the way it was supposed to. With glassy eyes, she hugged Jamie one last time and walked out of the hospital room.
The next morning, his parents received a phone call from the hospital saying that there was an emergency and Jamie was in critical condition again.
By the time they arrived, there were only a few seconds to see him before his heart rate flat lined for the second time that day. His heart rate didn’t pick up as fast the second time; in fact it was believed that they had lost him for good. But not all hope was entirely lost. One doctor saw something that no one else did: a young girl by Jamie’s side, crying silently as she watched her brother’s soul slowly leaving the body. This sight brought the doctor’s determination back and she continued the attempt to bring Jamie back with more passion than before.
Like many hospital stories, this one unfortunately doesn’t have an entirely happy ending. The doctor’s attempts continued to fail as Jamie fought and fought to no avail. As the doctor watched her attempts continue to fail, she couldn’t help but be discouraged. Unbeknownst to everyone in the room, Gypsy had formed a plan of her own. It may not be believable that a twelve year old can save someone’s life, but I suppose in a weird sort of way, her way of saving his life makes the disbelief easy to believe.
She didn’t really save his life in definitions that most people would consider saving, but he lived on in a way that no one could have predicted.
He was in fact dead for almost eight minutes according to the doctors’ official time, but he did come back that second time. And when he opened his eyes, it was almost as if nothing had happened since he had first flat lined. There was one slight difference that no one ever really noticed, though… Jamie’s eyes were hazel, with green being a slight majority.
When he was sent back to his room once again, a small note was discovered on his bedside table. In small, childish scribbles it read:
“I am the voice of Never, Never Land
The innocence, the dreams of every man
I am the empty crib of Peter Pan,
A soaring kite against the blue, blue sky,
Every chimney, every moonlit sight
I am the story that will read you real,
Every memory that you hold dear”
Since Jamie’s revival, Gypsy was never seen again—and just as she had predicted, Jamie would never be the same child he had been, no matter how much he pretended to be the happy little boy everyone thought him to be.
Because behind those hazel eyes was a secret that no one would ever believe.