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Watching my best friend die was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I just stood there, holding her hand, praying it was a dream. But it couldn’t be…it was all real. And it was my entire fault. I shouldn’t have pressured her into joining the synchronized swimming team. I shouldn’t have begged her for 2 whole weeks. I shouldn’t have coaxed her into practicing in the deep end. And I certainly shouldn’t have made her compete.
I know how the other girls get when they don’t achieve first place, and I know how they get when the team who won was their rival team. But who knew someone could hold another girl underwater for four minutes without anyone noticing? I mean, that had to be it, right? It couldn’t be that she just DROWNED. And I know who did it, too. Or at least I think I do…
I stared at the sterling silver band on my left ring finger. Then I looked at hers. I slipped the ring off her finger and put it in the palm of my hand. Our friendship rings. I just stared down, looking at it. How in the WORLD could I have taken this for granted?
Suddenly, a voice broke into my thoughts like a rock to a window. “Are you okay, miss?” The doctor asked.
“How could I be? She was my best friend…”
“Was…? You don’t like her anymore?”
“If you CAN like a dead person…”
“Miss, I think you’re confused, she was only under the water for four minutes. More than eight minutes would be fatal. All she got was minimal brain damage.” I stopped listening, but he continued. “The girl who held her under was, hmm, Brooke Evans if my memory serves me correctly. She apologized. Your friend’s mom, Annie, decided not to press charges, which I don’t understand. That would be a substantial amount of money.”
“I mean, I think she is still your best friend. I mean, turn around.”
I spun around on my heels. The machine behind me was beeping, and had zig-zag lines going up and down it. Something a two-year-old would make. “What is it?” I wondered. I had never been into this hospital stuff.
“It’s her pulse.”
I just stood there, frozen. My friend’s heartbeat was right in front of my eyes. She was still alive.
“We had to get some water out of her lungs. She’ll be exhausted for a few days but she’ll be able to return home in approximately one week.”
“Then, I better keep this.” I felt for the ring in my back pocket.
I hugged that doctor until his eyes were ready to pop out of his sockets. I heard some coughing…I flung around and saw my friend, her eyes were barely open. “Hey,” A soft voice said “where am I?” I grabbed her hand and slipped her ring back on. “Did I lose it?” She looked worried. “No, you didn't.” I told her, “And I didn't lose you.”