Everything Sounds Better in the Dark
The story of one boy and his incredible journey to follow his dreams.
By Grace Elliott-Smith (Plymstock School)
“You better hurry up or the shop will be shut by the time you get there! Take a tenner from my purse that should be plenty”.
Ryan sighed and kicked his ball against the wall one last time before going down to the kitchen. His mum had been nagging him all day-‘watch your sister’ ‘pop to the supermarket for me’ ‘tidy your stuff up’ …. She was making such a fuss about him just hanging around the house that getting out for ten minutes, and picking up the bits she needed would probably be a relief!
He grabbed the cash from her purse and headed out, slamming the door behind him. The supermarket was on The Parade, only a couple of streets away, next door to the post office and laundrette. Ryan daydreamed as he walked along, thinking about the next term at school, looking forward to playing football with his mates again. Everyone else seemed to have gone off somewhere for the holiday, Finley was at his Gran’s, Jacob with his Mum and Dad at their caravan and Regan’s Dad had taken him and his brother back with him to Spain for the last week of the holidays.
He shook his head thinking how weird it was to be looking forward to going back to School. He knew he was nothing special and that sooner or later he’d have to start ‘knuckling down’ as his Grandad called it, but it was football that made him want to go to school. The chance to play and be in a team, finally feel like he was good at something, really good. As he walked round the comer into The Parade he was in a world of his own, scoring the winning goal and racing round the pitch with his
hands in the air, so he hardly heard the shout and it was only when he finally looked up that he stopped dead in his tracks, not really believing what he was seeing…
A red car came flying around the corner. Suddenly all of Ryan’s vision went black; the last vision in his mind was that of a sleeping man in a red car, swerving out of control. There Ryan lay unconscious in the middle of the road. Water trickled down his face and into his eyes, causing them to burn. Or was it blood? Within minutes sirens were piercing the cries of passing women. Then nothing!
“Beep, beep, beep”. Ryan could smell antiseptic cream and fresh sheets. It was a relief to have the sounds of familiar voices encouraging him to stay calm.
“Ryan, Ryan how are you feeling”? It was the soft gentle voice of his Mum. Another voice came from the bottom of the bed.
“Ryan, it’s okay. You were involved in a car accident you’ve been asleep for a couple of days. You may feel a little bit of pain so we’re going to take it nice and easy”. Ryan opened his eyes but everything was still pitch black! His heart rate quickened and he could hear the nurse’s confused breath that was echoing through the room.
“Mum what’s happening”. But the voice that answered was not that of a soft caring woman but of a deep manly voice, emanating from the left side of the bed.
“Ryan what’s wrong”. But there was no reason for Ryan to answer because they both knew what had happened.
Several weeks passed, and Ryan’s vision did not improve. He could not see the faces of the people that came to visit him. All that there was, is his own lonely little world of pitch blackness that he had been unexpectedly placed in. He couldn’t even read his phone or the letters that were written to him. He longed to be at school with his friends but most of all he wanted to be playing football. Rather than just lying in his bed having some sort of ex-ray or scan every other day. It was not he was ungrateful for all of the help that he was being given but it was just that he felt shut out. Ryan explained this to his nurse. She recommended him to a brain therapist which he saw once a week. It seemed to help him understand everything that was happening.
Ryan didn’t remember much but the picture of the red car and then waking up in a hospital bed.
Two months had come and gone, but still nothing, Ryan’s vision did not improve he was still stuck in his own little world.
“I’ve learnt to cope and to find my way around”! Said Ryan to Finley. Who had come to visit one afternoon.
“At least you’ve got a private room”. Finley laughed. Ryan cracked a smile. Suddenly the door opened and the deep manly voice echoed around the room.
“Ryan, you’re going home”. Ryan’s smile was ear to ear. He was so excited that he even managed to rope Finley into helping him pack. Together the both of them were rushing around the room (Finley more so than Ryan). Everything was folded up very neatly and placed into the suitcase, in order for everything to fit in. As the car came to a stop Ryan’s heart started to pound.
“Are we here yet”? Asked Ryan.
“Yes”! His mum smiled and Ryan’s little sister popped out of the car to open Ryan’s door for him. He gave a little nod of appreciation as he walked passed her and up to the front door. He had to hold his Mum’s hand in order not to fall over. When Ryan walked in he could smell his favourite meal, apple and parsnip soup, it was being cooked by is Grandma. As soon as he stepped in he was greeted by what felt like a dozen family members. Although he wasn’t sure! Sat down to lunch Ryan thought about how nice it was to finally be able to relax and to not hear the tedious ‘beep’ of his heart rate monitor. He felt peaceful.
Ryan wondered up to what he thought was his bedroom but turned out to be the toilet. His Mum rushed up to help him. Holding each other’s hands they made it to Ryan’s room with minimal stumbles. It was just the way that he left it with the ball by the wall and the door plastered with football stickers.
“I tried to do a bit of tidying but I haven’t had much time”. Said his Mum in a voice that made her sound disappointed with herself.
“Oh Mum don’t worry its fine it feels more natural anyway”. His Mum laughed and hugged him even tighter. Ryan broke free of the chain like grip, that his Mum was holding him in. He stumbled over falling onto his bed. He then crawled under the covers and laid still.
“I’ll leave you to sleep then”. His mum tip toed out shutting the door behind her.
After a week or so Ryan had got to know his surrounding’s again and almost never fell over. He found himself playing a lot of mind games and listening to a lot of music. He desperately wanted to be at school but what he really wanted to be doing was playing football with mates.
“Ryan lunch is ready, it’s pizza”! His Mum was at the bottom of the stairs calling up to him. He got up off his bed sat down and slid down the stairs like a baby (It was the safest way). Ryan’s Mum had taken a few months off in order to care for him but he knew that money was tight and that she neededto do some hours every so often, he was very grateful but it was time. When he sat down ready to clear his mind and explain to his Mum what he thought, she started to speak.
“I’ve been researching and I’ve found a football club on a Friday evening”.
“Yeah so”. Ryan replied in a grumpy tone.
“It’s for the blind … I thought that you could give it a go”. Ryan got up and took his plate to the sink before turning around and nodding. He then flopped on the sofa and put his headphones on. His Mum gave a cheeky smile to herself.
Finally Friday came and Ryan ran down stairs stopping just before he hit the door, his Mum grabbed her bag and shut the kitchen door. The unexpected slam made Ryan jump. He was dressed in his old practise gear. On the car ride over Ryan thought about what it was going to be like. When they finally arrived Ryan was greeted by the coach and his closest friends!
“What are you guys doing here!? Ryan was over joyed.
“You’ re mum let us know”.
“Yeh we’ve got blind folds”. It was Finley and Jacob.
“Hi mate”. And Regan. The whistle blew and they all lined up in a long row and started jogging (Ryan was defiantly not as fit as he used to be). Once the warm up was finished Ryan thanked his Mum, she then went off leaving the boy’s to play.
At last Ryan was playing once again! Everything was as it should be.
Ryan now knows that being blind isn’t a curse. Although his sight was lost, many things were gained. His courage and determination show that dreams can still come true. Even in the darkest of circumstances!
Congratulations, Grace, on a fantastic winning entry.