The medicinal scent, an artificially sweet scent mixed with chemicals I can’t pronounce, permeated the room. It was a scary place. I looked over at the nightstand of my “home” for the past ten months. There was George, my best and only friend at the time.
His once-pristine jammie top was stained. Spills from careless nurses and miscellaneous hospital grime. His smile, though stitched on, told me that he didn’t mind. “Erin, we’re in this together!”
To me, it feels like maybe five years ago. I still can’t believe it has been seventeen years. I have aged, fourteen to closing in on my 31st year. A little too old to have a stuffed animal.
But George isn’t just your run-of-the-mill plush toy. Every time I look to the left of my bed sitting on my gunmetal gray loveseat, I see him, smiling widely. “Erin, this journey is scary, but again, we’re in this together!”
Looking at my friend is bittersweet. I purchased him, probably with babysitting money. When I could walk, talk, you name it. Obviously, that was pre-1998, when all possibilities were open to me. George got me through this terrifying place. A place where I survived; survived a virus predicted to take my life. Survived against all odds.
All I can say is thank you, George. But thank you isn’t strong enough.