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I'm Sorry, Who?
The thing most people don’t seem to understand about dying is that it isn’t so bad.
I was never very popular in school because I didn’t like other people. They made me uncomfortable, and I would much rather be alone. No one seemed to understand this, and they thought it was weird. That I was weird. But as long as they left me alone, I didn’t really care. Because you see, the thing is, that’s who I was. And I was okay with it. So the day I tried to change that, I ended up here.
There was a party at a girl’s house—I didn’t even know her name. But I knew Noah Cameron would be there.
Noah played soccer at our school, but he was different from the other athletes. He was in advanced English by choice, and when our teacher asked for volunteers, he always willingly stepped to the front of the class to read his work. It was usually funny, but insightful at the same time.
The one time the teacher forced me to read my work aloud, I was terrified. I didn’t like speaking in front of people, and I never shared my work with others. But as I finished reading and returned to my seat, Noah leaned across the desks and said, “Jane, I like what you wrote.”
I never had the courage to say it back to him, but I watched the back of his head in class for the rest of the semester.
So when the end of senior year rolled around, and I learned of the last party of my high school career, I decided to go.
It ended up being really boring and stupid—merely a socially acceptable excuse for everyone to drink what they weren’t supposed to, shoot things into their bodies with needles, and take their clothes off.
I left early. I was almost home when it happened—a street away from my neighborhood. I’m not sure if he was drunk or distracted, but either way, his car was much larger than mine, and it was going much faster.
I’m sure you can deduce what happened.
I remained conscious nearly the entire ride to the hospital, which allowed me to see the tight anxiety in everyone’s eyes. I gripped the doctor’s arm as we neared the hospital. He leaned his ear close to my lips as I spoke. “Can you tell Noah Cameron that I liked what he wrote?”
He assured me that I wasn’t going to die, and that I could tell him myself, but we both knew that was a lie.
I could feel it happening. Despite the panic of the people around me, pounding on my chest and forcing oxygen down my throat, I felt utterly calm. Because death is not a major event for the person it happens to; it just is. The people who are affected the most are the people who aren’t dying.
When it was over, when all of those people stopped swarming above me and left me alone to lay still on those white sheets, my parents, oddly enough, stopped crying. But I supposed what happened next was worse than their tears. They wiped their faces, took one long, blank look at each other, and then lapsed into a silence so thick you could drown in it.
The doctor whom I had told to deliver my message was the one to inform my parents of my fate, assuring them that I had been a fighter and that they had done all they could. My parents flinched at his use of the past tense when speaking of me. He paused once he finished, but did not walk away. With a rather sheepish expression he asked if my parents knew a Noah Cameron. Of course they responded that they didn’t, because I had never told them about him.
The doctor graciously excused himself and I thought that would be the end of it. But he continued to search for Noah. He researched and made phone calls until two days later he found himself outside of my school, face to face with him. He was kind in the way that he spoke, said that I had wished to give him a message, and he repeated my words to Noah, exactly how I had said them.
Once the doctor finished, Noah stared at him for a moment. When he finally responded, he said, “I’m sorry, who?”