All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
How to Save a Life
Michelle was walking back from the bathroom after her shower, wrapped in a towel. She’s humming Hum Hallelujah, and then she hears Every time We Touch. She realizes with a jolt that her phone is ringing.
She runs into her room to pick up her phone. That’s Aiden’s ringtone, and he’s the only one with it.
“Yes?” She answers breathlessly.
“I’m sorry… I’m not important-“ he began, but she interrupted.
“Yes you are! Do I not matter?!”
“Yes you matter?” He said, confused.
“Then my opinion matters. And you’re extremely important to me.” He heaved a great sigh.
“I ruined your life. And don’t interrupt; let me finish. I’m not happy. I’m not important. I’m a horrible person. So I’m done,” he said. Her throat clogged up.
“No. Don’t do this. Please!”
“I’m sorry, honey.”
“Please don’t do this Aiden! I love you!”
“Where are you?!”
“Please!” And the line went dead.
Suddenly, Michelle remembered the first text he had sent her that night. “Sorry, I just got home.” She quickly dressed and ran downstairs to check the school buzz book. She then dialed 911.
“911 emergency service. What is your emergency?”
“My friend is attempting suicide.”
“Please stay calm. Where is he? What’s his name?”
“Aiden Prenger. 107 Topaz Court. And he’s alone.”
“Emergency services are on their way.
“Thank you,” Michelle said, and the line disconnected. She ran upstairs into her sister Anna’s room.
“What?” Anna asked.
“I need you to take me to Aiden’s.” Michelle commanded, shoving her shoes on.
“Why?” Anna asked, not moving.
“He’s about to kill himself.” Anna jumped up and grabbed her keys.
“Let’s go.” They raced you the door and once in her car, Michelle gave Anna the address. She nodded. “I know where that is.”
They drove quickly across town, speeding through about three red lights. They made it there quickly, and they were pulling up as an ambulance did. Michelle jumped out of the car, and an EMT walked over to her.
“Are you the one that placed the call?” he asked quickly and calmly.
“Yes. Is he alright?” She asked anxiously. Aiden was just then carried out of his house on a gurney. He was unconscious.
“Follow us over to the hospital, and we’ll let you know when we find out.” And with that, Aiden was loaded up, and the ambulance drove away, sirens screaming. Michelle jumped back in Anna’s car, and they followed in a tense silence.
Once at the hospital, Anna dropped Michelle off at the emergency bay. She ran inside and breathlessly gave the nurse at the desk Aiden’s name.
“The doctors are pumping his stomach now. They found two empty bottles of Benicar next to him. We’ll call you when you can see him,” She said kindly. Michelle bit her lip and nodded.
“He’ll live, dear.” And with that, Michelle collapsed into the nearest chair and started sobbing in relief. “Are you his sister?” the nurse asked, and Michelle began laughing through her tears.
“We look nothing alike,” she said. The nurse smiled kindly.
“I know. I just had to ask. Are you his girlfriend then?” And again, Michelle bit her lip and turned away.
“Just a close friend…”
“Ah, I see. I’ll tell you when you can see him,” she said. Michelle leaned back in the chair and texted Luna Smith. “Aiden tried to kill himself. I’m at the hospital now, waiting to see him.”
She sat there silently for about 20 minutes, then the nurse called to her, jerking her out of a doze. “You can see him now.”
“Oh thank God,” Michelle said, jumping up and following her down a hallway. They walked past at least 30 different people in beds, but Michelle couldn’t focus on anything. Finally, the nurse stopped and pointed her to the last bed.
“Michelle.” Aiden said, undetectable emotion lacing his voice. Michelle stopped near him.
“Aiden.” She said, taking a deep breath. “You’re alive.” She looked him over carefully. He looked exhausted, with dark circles under his eyes. His left arm was bandaged from the wrist to the elbow.
“Yeah. Yeah, I am.” A doctor came around the curtain as Aiden said that, and Michelle backed up a little bit. The doctor was carrying a clipboard.
“Hello, Mr. Prenger,” the doctor said. Aiden nodded. “I’m Doctor Gates.” He looked at Michelle. “And who are you?”
“Michelle Montgomery. I’m… a friend,” she said, with a slight pause and a little blush.
“Well, would you kindly leave as I talk to Mr. Prenger here? Or would you rather she stay?” Dr. Gates asked Aiden.
He looked at her and said “She stays.” She smiled in relief. She had been unsure of what he’d say.
“Well, Mr. Prenger, we pumped your stomach of the blood pressure controller, Benicar. You took two bottles full- a fatal dosage.” Dr. Gates said sternly. Aiden looked unfazed. “We also bandaged the,” he paused and checked his clipboard. “Fourteen cuts to your left arm.”
“Great,” he said drily.
“We’re keeping you here for the next three or four days to monitor you and try to replace the blood you lost,” Dr. Gates continued.
“Brilliant,” Aiden said.
“We’ll be moving you to a more permanent room,” Dr. Gates said. A nurse walked in to help him into a wheelchair, and as she did, Michelle could tell he was really weak, although he was trying to hide it. She followed them down the hallway and into the elevator. Once the doors closed, Aiden reached back to Michelle and clasped her hand. He smiled at her.
“Calm down,” he said, gently squeezing her fingers. She rolled her eyes, and laced her fingers through his.
Once they got to his room, the nurse helped him into bed. The nurse reattached the IV in his hand to a machine, and she took his blood pressure. Thank God, it was stable.
“You need to get some rest to replenish your strength,” the nurse told Aiden. He nodded. She left, and he opened his mouth to say something, but Michelle’s phone started ringing.
“It’s Luna Smith. I’ll be back in a second,” she told Aiden, walking out into the hallway. “Hey Luna.”
“Fourteen cuts to his left arm and swallowed two bottles of Benicar. He’s alive though. Alive and perfectly unfazed,” Michelle said, pacing a little.
“I know. He’s so…” she trailed off.
“I need to get back. Don’t tell anyone, okay? I don’t think he’d want people to know.”
“Not my secret to tell.”
“Thanks Luna. See you at school.”
“Bye.” Michelle closed her phone and walked back in Aiden’s room. His eyes were closed, so she thought he was asleep.
“Hey Michelle?” he said, sleep lacing his voice. She smiled and walked over to him.
“Could you… stay?” he asked hesitantly.
“Do you want me to?” she asked, equally hesitant. He opened his eyes and looked at her.
“Okay, then sure. It’s already 11pm, it couldn’t hurt,” Michelle said. She dug out her phone and texted Anna, asking her to pick her up at the hospital tomorrow morning and to bring school clothes.
“Drag that chair over here,” Aiden commanded. Michelle raised her eyebrows, but did as he said. She curled her legs up and rested he elbow on the armrest, putting her chin in her hand. He closed his eyes and reached his hand out for hers. She laced her fingers through his and closed her eyes.
“Why are your fingers always so cold?” he asked her sleepily. His thumb traced circles on her hand, his warm hand heating up hers.
“My whole body is. I have like no body heat,” she said. His hand tightened in hers for a moment.
“Mhmm… I remember you telling me that now,” he mumbled. She smiled softly.
“Do you remember what you told me when I told you that?” Michelle asked quietly. The heart machine Aiden was hooked up to started beeping slower. His heart rate decreased, and he nodded slowly.
“Hold you… in… my arms…” he muttered. His breathing evened out, and he was asleep.
She gently tried to pull her hand back, but in his sleep, his grip on her hand tightened. She smiled and leaned back, falling asleep quickly despite her uncomfortable position.
When she woke up the next morning, it was due to her school alarm. Michelle looked up sleepily, and yawned, pushing her tangled mess of hair back. Her hand was still in Aiden’s.
Michelle pulled her hand out, stood up and stretched, and then went to use the bathroom. When she came back, Aiden was just starting to wake up.
“Hey,” she said, smiling.
“Hey,” he responded, sitting up. She sat on the foot of his bed.
“How are you feeling?” she asked.
“I like I just tried to kill myself,” he said with a cocky grin. She slapped his leg. “Ow…”
“Oh come on, that did not hurt,” she said, rolling her eyes, He raised his eyebrows, but her phone rang before she could respond. “It’s my sister. One second. What’s up, Anna?”
“Okay, so I couldn’t find any khaki’s for you, so I grabbed your shirt, white crew socks, blue button up and blue sweater vest,” Anna said.
“Okay, that’s fine. Are you on your way?” Michelle asked.
“Yeah, be there in five,” Anna told her, then hung up. Michelle turned to Aiden.
“Anna’s on her way,” she informed him. He nodded. “Do you need anything from me before I leave?”
“Do I need anything? Nope,” he said, grinning mischievously. “Do I want something from you? Yes.” And he grabbed her hand and pulled her closer. She moved to s*** up by his chest. Honestly, she had thought he was going to kiss her, but he wrapped his arms around her and just gave her a tight, long hug, trying to comfort her. She rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. She hadn’t been held like that in so long.
“I’ve wanted to give you that hug since your dad told you that you’re useless,” Aiden said, pulling back a little to look into Michelle’s eyes, which her quickly filling with tears. He caught the first to fall on his thumb.
“I shouldn’t be crying,” she said, feeling stupid and turning away. She wiped away the tears, but they were coming faster than she could wipe. Aiden grabbed her chin and turned her back to him. He wiped away the tears gently.
“Don’t cry,” he ordered. It only brought on a fresh wave.
“I can’t really help it,” she exclaimed, exasperated with herself.
“I can,” he said simply. She was about to let lose some scathingly clever remark about his total emotional control when he kissed her. He pulled her tight to him again, this time their mouths together. They hold the embrace until they both needed to breathe. They just sat there, staring at each other. His heart rate was accelerated, but so was hers.
“Can you do something for me?” he asked. Michelle nodded, staring into his eyes. Whenever she did, it felt like something was squeezing her heart. “Carry your phone with you today.”
“Yeah, sure. I’m sure Anna will let me borrow her purse,” she told him. But speak of the Devil, and the Devil shall appear- Anna showed up immediately.
“Hey Shelly,” Anna greeted, using her child nickname. “Hey Aiden.” Michelle nodded and got up, grabbing her school clothes from Anna and heading to the bathroom. She quickly changed and then went back to the room.
“Hey Anna, can I borrow your purse today?” Michelle asked, sitting on the end of Aiden’s bed and putting her socks on.
“Why?” Anna asked.
“So I can text her,” Aiden answered. Anna rolled her eyes and nodded.
“We need to go. I’m going out to the car; hurry up and say goodbye,” Anna said, and she left.
Michelle looked at Aiden, and he was falling asleep again. She nudged his leg, and he opened his eyes and looked at her.
“I need to go,” Michelle said, smiling at his sleepiness.
“Mmmkay…” he said, closing his eyes again. She grabbed her cell and started to walk out quietly. “Wait! Michelle!” he called after her. She turned and raised an eyebrow, questioning. “Sorry, I just processed what you said. Do you have to go?”
“Yeah, I do actually. School, and all that jazz,” she remarked, pausing in the doorway.
“Right. Get over here then,” he commanded. She walked over to him, and he pulled her down beside him and kissed her hard. After a long moment, they broke apart. “Do me a favor?”
“Sure,” she answered, blushing like she always did when they kissed.
“Give this note to Casi Stevens and Ali Repper. I trust them, kind of,” he told her, handing her a folded piece of paper.
“Can I read it?” she asked quietly. Casi Stevens is his ex-girlfriend. She was still extremely jealous of her. He nodded, and she opened it and read his extremely distinctive hand writing.
“Don’t give Michelle crap for giving you this. Last night, I tried to kill myself. Michelle stopped me, and saved me. Don’t tell anyone- not even your boyfriend, Ali. No one else needs to know. Visit me tomorrow, and don’t get my homework
Michelle folded the note back up and stuck it in her pocket. “I’ll give it to them,” she told him.
“Good. Now come here,” Aiden ordered. Without waiting for her to get closer, he pulled her in and kissed her, long and hard. She responded enthusiastically, sliding her arms around his neck. However, responsibility finally broke the kiss- she was late for school. She smiled at him ruefully, and he sighed. “I missed kissing you.”
She tried to hold back the huge grin that wanted to appear but failed. She bit her lip in happiness, and kissed him on the cheek. “Bye Aiden.”
“Damnit Michelle!” he suddenly yelled. She turned back and looked at him in alarm.
“I’m too awake now!” he complained. She started laughing.
“Goodbye Aiden!” she giggled. She walked out of the hospital and found Anna waiting impatiently. “Sorry, sorry,” she said, sliding in the car. Anna just glared and drove off.
Luck must have been smiling on her that day, because when she got to school, Casi and Ali were standing together, alone, at Casi’s locker. Michelle walked over.
“Hey Casi? Ali? Aiden Prenger asked me to give you this.” She held out the note, and Casi grabbed it immediately. Casi and Ali put their heads together and started reading. They gasped and looked up at Michelle.
“Is this true?” Casi asked urgently.
“Which part?” She responded.
“The part about you saving him!” Ali said, shocked.
“Um, well, yeah,” Michelle shifted uncomfortably. Ali and Casi both threw their arms around her, hugging her tightly. She was too shocked to do anything. They released her and started to walk away, talking quietly to each other. Then Casi stopped and looked back at Michelle.
“Thanks for saving him, Michelle. And tell him we won’t say a word.”
“How do you know I’ll talk to him before you will?” She questioned curiously. Casi looked her over and smiled. She waved and she and Ali walked away.
Michelle headed over to her locker, still slightly confused by the whole exchange. She put her phone on silent and slipped into Anna’s purse, grabbing her books for first hour.
During morning prayer, Aiden texted her “Bonjour, ma belle:).” She smiled. She couldn’t remember if he knew first hour was French, or if he was just trying to impress her with his French skills again.
“Oh bonjour, mon garcon!” She didn’t get the chance to check her phone again until Mrs. Harigon passed out the homework. He said “What’s up buttercup?” which always made her smile.
Just before the bell rand, she texted back “I’m confused about something. In French, je t’aime means I love you. Technically, shouldn’t it be j’aime toi?” She left class with a grin.
He texted her back during morning announcements in second period. “I don’t know. Ask your French teacher, maybe?” She tried to stifle her laughter.
“Nah, I’ll just stick to je t’aime. I love saying it; it sounds so pretty.” They were reviewing for finals in her second period English class, so when he texted her back, she was able to respond.
“I must be saying it wrong then. Tell me how to say it tonight?” His implications were obvious.
“I’d be happy to. Are you still exhausted?” Then Mrs. King started a series of board races, so she wasn’t able to text during the rest of second period.
However, Mrs. Fay doesn’t pay attention at all, so Michelle was able to text Aiden all during third period. He had responded “No.”
“What woke you up?” she felt to the need to ask. Lindsey Ells looked at her curiously and mouthed “Who are you texting?”
Michelle shook her head and mouthed back “Nobody.” Aiden texted back with one single word “You.”
Mrs. Fay called on her, and it took her a second because obviously, she was not paying attention. “Um… six square root of five y,” she answered. Mrs. Fay nodded and continued with the lesson.
“Sorry:)” Michelle texted Aiden back.
However, he didn’t respond until she was on her way to fourth period. She knew as soon as she walked in, Coach Fyrne would tell the girls to put their purses on the floor, so she checked her phone at her locker.
“Don’t be. Best wake up ever.” She couldn’t help smiling at his answer. He texted her again before she could respond. “I might be asleep when you get here after school.”
“Well then I’ll just have to wake you up;)” she responded, and then went into World History.
All during class, Michelle was itching to text Aiden, but she tried and failed to be patient. On the way to fifth period, while she was waiting for Nikki at her locker, she checked her phone.
“Don’t worry, but my blood pressure’s rising,” Aiden had said. She started to freak out.
“Of course I’m going to worry! How bad is it?!” She asked frantically.
“I’m not going to tell you because you’ll freak out. They said I can’t text you anymore. They have to do some stuff. See you this afternoon.” Michelle walked into fifth period, freaking out. She spent class in tense silence, biting her lip.
The rest of day dragged on, agonizingly slow. Finally, when the dismissal bell rang, she was gone. She almost ran to her locker and grabbed her backpack, having packed it after sixth period.
When she got out to the car, Anna was already there. Michelle threw her backpack in and slammed the door shut. Before Anna had the chance to yell at her, she said “Aiden’s in critical condition. I need to be there now.”
Anna looked at her, shocked. Then they were gone. Thankfully, the hospital was close; they were there within two minutes.
Anna dropped Michelle off, and she ran inside to the front desk. The nurse there was the same one from last night, and she smiled politely at her.
“I’m afraid you can’t see him, dear,” the nurse said kindly with a sympathetic tone.
“Is he… is he going to make it?” Michelle asked frantically, trembling.
“Good heavens, yes. They’re just stabilizing him now,” she said, but then a call came through. Michelle turned and sat down, biting her lip.
About two minutes later, a doctor came through the double doors, looked at everyone sitting there, and asked “Michelle Montgomery?”
Michelle jumped up and said “That’s me.”
He nodded. “Please follow me.” She followed him through the double doors and down the hallway. “Mr. Prenger asked specifically for you, so Dr. Gates sent me to see if you were here.”
“He’s okay, then?” She asked, but the doctor hesitated. She was suddenly more scared than ever.
“If you can keep his blood pressure from rising, he will be.” And before she could ask the all important IF, they were at Aiden’s room, and he left.
Michelle walked in, and Aiden looked completely bored. But then she took a closer look, and saw his trembling hands, paler face, and more needles. A nurse came in and removed all the needles but two- the IV in his left hand and one in his chest, right above his heart. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, but they had the sheets pulled up to his ribs.
“Hey! It’s my wake up call. Get over here,” he said. She walked over and sat down next to him.
“Are you okay?” She asked frantically.
“Calm down,” he said soothingly. “I’m fine.” He kissed her softly, but she pulled back.
“Are you sure?” she asked, biting her lip. He rubbed her back and put his arm around her.
“Calm down. You’re too tense,” he said, pulling her to his side.
She rested her head on his chest and sighed. “I’m scared, Aiden.” His arm tightened around her.
“How could I not be scared? You almost died! It could happen again. One of the doctors told me it’s all on an IF! I can’t live without you! I love you!” Michelle said, her volume rising and rising until she started crying, her throat tight.
“I love you too, Michelle,” Aiden told her quietly. He was trying to calm her down, but she went into hysterics at those words.
She stood and walked away from him, clutching her side. She was getting one of her fits. Tears streamed down her face, and fear closed her throat. She put her hand on the back of a chair, and tried to breathe. She was gasping for breath, and her lungs were screaming for oxygen, but she couldn’t get any in. She collapsed to her knees on the floor and drew in little gaspy spouts of air. She couldn’t think, couldn’t move. She was paralyzed with terror.
Aiden sat on his hospital bed, paralyzed with shock. He had no idea what was happening to Michelle, and he was terrified. As soon as she fell to the ground, he shouted “Michelle!” She couldn’t respond, couldn’t do anything as waves of terror wracked her body.
Aiden had no other thought than to help her. He jumped out of the bed, not caring that all he was wearing was boxers, and the needle in his chest was ripped out. He knelt down next to her, trying to calm her. She was unable to react. She curled up on herself and tried to let it peter out, but the fit was gaining fear and force.
Aiden had great control of his emotions normally, but he lost. He couldn’t just sit there and watch this happen to the girl he loved. He grabbed her shoulders and wrenched her out of her fetal position. It hurt, but she still was unable to react to the pain. He pulled her up standing wit him, and when her legs gave out, he carried her over to the bed. She curled up with him as the terror continued to roll through her.
He wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly to his body. She wrapped her arms around his torso with her hands clutching her wrists behind his back. She drove her nails into her wrists to try to focus. The pain cleared her head a little, just enough to help her calm. Her final tears leached out onto Aiden’s chest. Aiden just held her tight, scared of what would happen to her if he let go.
As the nightmarish terror left Michelle, her body went limp, and regular tears poured out onto his chest.
Aiden reached over and fumbled for a small washcloth sitting on the side table. He sat her up gently and wiped her face, trying not to let her see how scared he was. He used water from a water bottle to clean the tearstains from her cheeks and oh so carefully wiped off her smudged make up. He carefully hid his shaking hands, and Michelle sat there numb.
“Are you okay?” he asked quietly. She opened her mouth, but no sound would come out, so she just nodded her head. She suddenly noticed his shaking hands and the fear in his eyes.
She cleared her throat and made her voice work to say “But you aren’t.”
He clenched his fists and turned his face from hers. She could read him too easily, just like he could read her. “What’s happening to you?”
“Fear. It lives like a wild animal in me, and dictates all my moves. That’s why I worry so much. I’m always afraid…” she admitted in a small voice. She tried to get up and move away, but he just held her tighter.
After a moment, she wrapped her arms around him too, and for a few seconds, she didn’t worry at all.
She looked up at him, and saw him looking down at her. She decided right then and there that she would fight for this boy forever, as he simultaneously decided the very same thing.
She pushed her face up to his and kissed him. Unlike her, he didn’t pull back; quite the opposite actually. He grabbed her face and kissed her hard, mouth open, channeling his remaining fear into it. She did the same, twining her fingers through his hair and pulling his face to hers. Their tongues met.
After many long minutes, they pulled away, breathing hard. They didn’t break eye contact. However, she was blushing, and she felt it. She groaned.
“I’m blushing, aren’t I?!” she asked.
“Yes. Why?” he asked curiously.
“I don’t even know! It makes no sense! I’m sure as hell not embarrassed by this!” She ranted. Aiden was smiling. He knew that if she was able to rant about something so stupid, her fear had passed. Before she could continue, he kissed her again.
They were both so emotional at the moment; the best thing to do was to channel all that excess fear, wonder, and uncertainty into that kiss.
Before things could really heat up in that hospital room, Michelle heard an urgent beeping. She reluctantly pulled away from Aiden and looked at the machine he was hooked up to. His blood pressure was quickly rising. Just as it hit critical, she jumped up and a nurse rushed in.
Several more nurse and a few doctors hurried in after the first. Michelle stepped out of the way and they immediately started to knock him out. Just before Aiden lost consciousness, she saw the look of utter panic on his face.
She watched silently as they did all kinds of things to him; draw his blood, took his heart rate and blood pressure repeatedly, and try to give him medicine. But nothing was working. And suddenly, his heart stops.
Michelle screamed “NO!!!” She pushed through the doctors, and they move out of her way. They’ve given up on the seemingly suicidal boy. Michelle can’t stop screaming and crying. She pounds his chest, yet nothing happens. She shakes his shoulders. She kisses him.
Absolutely nothing happens, and she beat feebly against his chest, half screaming, half moaning, “No… no… no… not Aiden… no… no… NO! YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME! NO! AIDEN! COME BACK!” She collapses, sobbing, on his chest, still moaning her litany.
Above her, somehow, Aiden sees it all. When his heart stopped, his spirit floated above the room, watching. At first, he wants to leave, but when his spirit lingers, he watches hesitantly, and when Michelle begins screaming for him to come back, he fights. He feels himself being pulled away, but he struggles and fights to get back to his body. To get back to his girl. The tension snaps, and he returns.
Michelle gets pushed off as he back arches upward, and his eyes open. He’s breathing hard as hell, as if he’s just finished running a 5K. He looks at her, and tries to slow his breathing unsuccessfully. His hands reach out and pull her as close as he physically can. He hugs her tight, so tight it hurts, but she doesn’t care.
She’s in shock. Her hands are running all over his body, and she puts her ear over his heart to hear his heartbeat. She can’t believe it. She stares into his eyes, crying hard as ever. They’re both shaking hard.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Aiden whispers to Michelle.