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Regionals Part 4
She looked awful. That’s all I could think during my little bit of time I was allowed to spend with her. We all wanted to see Megan so the nurses only let three people in at a time and only for four or five minutes. I sat there, trying to take everything in. Her eyes had deep purple rings under them and the cast on her leg went halfway up her thigh. Her head was wrapped like a mummy’s and she had stitches everywhere. But she’s going to be alright, I reminded myself. The doctors called early that morning saying that Megan had survived her first night and was expected to return to full health. We all got dressed quickly and came down to see her. The doctors warned us she wouldn’t be very interesting today, seeing as they had pulled her under with plenty of painkillers. So now we all huddled around the bed of a person completely oblivious to the world. But we talked to her anyway.
“Hey Megan,” I whispered as we walked in. There was no response of course but we kept talking.
“The doctors all say you’re going to be fine, no need to worry,” Torrie cooed to her. This coaxed a smile out of me. If Megan could actually hear us, she would blush and roll her eyes as soon as Torrie had turned around. I glanced at Erin who’s mood took a definite upturn this morning. She stood at the foot of Megan’s bed and she was ready to talk too.
“I swear Megan Marie Smith, if you ever do anything to put yourself in this condition again, I will disown you from the band family tree!” Erin was glaring at Megan in a teasing manner and it seemed like she thought that Megan could hear her. But when Torrie and I giggled, she added “I mean it!” for our benefit and I realized it was an act to hide how relieved she must be feeling. After that we stopped talking to Megan and started talking about her.
“I bet this is weird for you Erin,” I said with a grin.
“What? Seeing my best friend in the hospital or her actually taking pain killers? Not that she had the choice, but still…” Erin replied. I knew it was still part of the act but I grinned in spite of myself. Megan never took even ibuprofen unless it was entirely necessary.
“No, I meant having your roles reversed. Aren’t you usually the one in the hospital?” I asked jokingly but Erin darkened.
“Not like this, no.” She shook herself out of it and came back though. “Megan’s gonna hate it, just wait. She’ll force me to hobble on crutches too just so she won’t be alone.” I ignored her first comment like she wanted and just laughed. We all knew she was right, Megan would hate being the center of so much attention. She liked a little but having everyone pity her would definitely make her uncomfortable.
Then our time was up so we left and a few more people went in behind us and we hung out in the hotel lobby all day. We played ninja, an awesome game Natalie taught us, and cards, especially Emily’s game called Mal that she brought her from her old Tennessee home. The day passed quickly and before anyone could think about food, the hospital asked if we’d like dinner. We ate in the lobby, our new stomping grounds, and laughed our way through dinner effortlessly. Everyone had a terrific day, seeing Megan and knowing she’d be alright. Late, almost nine, we were about to go home when a familiar brown-eyed nurse came out and caught my eye. I dragged Torrie with me as I went to see what the nurse wanted.
“She’s awake, if you want to see her. She’ll probably be a little foggy so only four visitors tonight. Unless she falls asleep, then just let her be and you can see her tomorrow,” she said, her eyes casting around, like she was passing me a secret message. She probably was, I mean, if everyone heard, they’d all want to see her and she probably couldn’t handle that right away.
“Thanks!” I said and Torrie and I made our way to Megan’s room. We both paused at the door, peeking before we went in. Megan was staring at the wall, playing with her fingers.
“Hey Megan,” Torrie said quietly, in that comforting, soft way that I could never get right. Megan jumped, winced, and then looked at us. Her face broke into a huge grin.
“Kelsey! Torrie!” she cried, but it came out barely a whisper, her voice was so hoarse. She fidgeted a little and I leaned in for a hug. I squeezed her in that way my mom always does to make me feel better but she gasped a second later. I pulled back and her face was just smoothing out from a grimace.
“What did I do?” I asked, worried.
“Just squeezed a little hard, it’s fine,” she said. You would say you’re fine, I thought with a chuckle.
“How’re you feeling?” Torrie asked as we dragged chairs over to sit by her.
“I’m alright, just a little sore,” she said with a smile that faded as we raised our eyebrows. “What?”
“You do realize that your leg and three of your ribs are broken, your skull is cracked, and you have over five hundred stitches in you, right?” I asked. Sore, my foot.
“Ouch. How did I…Oh! Scott! Is he alright?” she was frantic now, and even though she was trying not to show it, her heart monitor started speeding.
“Relax, he’s fine. What happened to you two, though?” I asked. I hoped I wasn’t being insensitive by asking but I was dying to know why she was in such bad shape when everyone else was alright.
“Scott got swept away by the current inside the bus so I grabbed his arm and started pulling us both forward. The water pushed me back and then, I don’t know how, but my leg was tangled in the posts under the seats. Scott just thought I got pulled under by the suction so he pulled me forward,” she said as she winced a little, just thinking of it. “But I wiggled it free and we finally got out of the bus. Scott must have swallowed some water because he was starting to panic instead of swimming towards the surface. So I just tugged him along until we got to the surface but”
“Wait,” I interrupted, “you didn’t swim through that current with your leg mutilated like that, that’s not possible.” I was sure I was right, I barely made it with four good limbs. But Megan laughed.
“My mom and I joke about that all the time. Neither of us ever uses our legs to swim, just our arms. Our legs are pathetically useless when it comes to swimming. But I was wondering what happened after that. I remember getting to the surface and someone taking Scott but then everything gets kind of fuzzy,” she said, looking embarrassed.
“That was me. I would’ve grabbed you too but I thought…” I was the embarrassed one now. She saved Scott, dragged him to the surface with a broken leg and I hadn’t been able to find it in me to even try to help her. But like typical Megan, she smiled.
“You’re silly. I was fine but the current pulled me under again and that’s when things got fuzzy. I think I hit my head on something I guess. Maybe a floating rock or an aquatic meteor,” she said as she rolled her eyes and laughed.
“Hey, we’ll send Erin in, okay?” Torrie said, saving me from the awful need I was feeling to apologize.
“Okay,” she chirped with a smile and her eyes were lit up.
“Come with me,” I whispered into Erin’s ear and led her to Megan’s room. Megan didn’t even say anything, she just smiled like Christmas had come early. Torrie and I left them to it and came back out into the lobby to play more cards. Erin came out later and sat down to play with us.
“How is she?” I asked.
“She’s Megan. She says she’s just a little sore and tired but she doesn’t feel that bad. But every time I looked away, she squeezed her eyes shut and let out a breath she was holding. Eventually I just called a nurse to give her more pain meds. She protested of course but then she was out,” Erin recounted, looking tired herself.
“Did she tell you what happened?” I asked.
“Yeah.” Her voice was lower and when I looked over she was brushing her cheek with the back of her hand. “She saved him for me, but she almost got herself killed. Idiot,” she mumbled under her breath.
“Hey,” I said, trying to sound gentle. “She knows how you feel about him and so she saved him. She didn’t know what she was doing, just that if she didn’t save him, you’d be miserable.”
“So stinking noble,” she said with a laugh. The atmosphere suddenly lightened and Erin was over her anger. “Whatever. She gets to enjoy crutches for nine weeks, I say I win.” I just grinned and rolled my eyes. Freshman, I thought with a smile.