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Chaos at school today.
Rumors spread, and even worse, truths were revealed. The pain of the entire school grieving over my best friend’s mother flew ominously and heavily through the air. Truths twisted, and whispers were breathed around the cafeteria.
“She’s gonna die.”
“Nobody knows what’s happening.”
Only the last of the three was confirmed. No matter which way I turned, I was told something I couldn’t bring myself to believe about Mia or Mrs. Smith.
One of the many things I still don’t understand about today is why when even the doctors failed to understand what was going on inside of her coma-stricken body, the insensitive classmates could manage to make something up to gossip about within their cliques.
I reached my house after school in what felt like hours later. Why is it that the worst, most confusing, mysterious days seem like the longest? Dropping my backpack and going straight to my room without a light or a sound, I began connecting the truths. Best friend’s mom in coma. No brain function. My heart fought me; I wouldn’t let myself believe anything besides the right thing will happen, she’ll be okay.
I glanced around my room helplessly. The “best friends are forever” picture frame standing on my desk caught my eye. The picture on the interior was of Mrs. Smith, Mia, and I ice skating together. In the bottom right-hand corner, the date January 9, 2003, was written in red Sharpie. Seven years ago, today. The image of the three of us skating a couple of feet, falling, and helping each other up before falling again replayed in my head with a soundtrack of giggles. I need to be helping Mia back up right now.
Both the picture frame and my heart fell. I opened my closet and dug out my old figure skates. My feet jammed into them as best as I could and I backed up against my closed door and sunk to the ground. My chin rested gently on my knees, and tears overflowed from my eyes.
My mom slipped through the crack of the door and put her arms around me. Her warm embrace didn’t comfort me in the least. It only frightened me terribly, as I imagined Mia, desperate for a hug or a hand or a shoulder to cry on. It devastated me to envision Mia getting ready for senior prom with only her dad there to marvel at how grown up she’d become, or standing taking pictures before her wedding with her mom only there spiritually or her first baby boy or girl never being able to say “Grandma.”
Mrs. Smith had enough love in her for everyone in the world, and she could always find a sparkling light in everyone to love. If she passed away, her heart never would go. But even for me, if I could hear her voice right now….it might have just healed everyone. She has the power to heal a million hearts, but even a million hearts might not heal her.
My mind raced. I wanted to block out some of my thoughts, but plugging my ears and closing my eyes wouldn’t fix anything. I expected the whole world to freeze, that everyone to be sitting in the dark like I was. I didn’t want to acknowledge the snow falling on top of our roof, or the children thrusting snow balls towards each other, or the dogs playfully barking to one another.
Whenever I think of Mrs. Smith, I remember the picture of her from when she was seven up in her attic. She was wearing a hard, red fire-fighter hat that her mom had given to her. “You’ll always be fighting for the best,” her mom had always told her. When they cleaned out their attic last time I was over, they gave it to me to give to my baby brother.
I stared up at the ceiling and cleared my mind. I prayed for Mrs. Smith, the fighter. I decided I wasn’t going to move from my carpeted corner until things were better. And when Mia was ready, I’d be there waiting, the light from the window shadowing right over me.
The phone rang.