It Could Have Been Me...

January 18, 2009
It was 5 degrees outside; everything was frozen, including the window I was looking through. I wanted to be outside, in the snow. Except mum wouldn’t let me. I had been sick with pneumonia for the past couple of weeks and was only just recovering. I still had a pretty bad cough. From the window I could see my friends, laughing and playing without me. “Can’t I go outside, just for 5 minutes?” I plead.
“Sweetie, you know you can’t, you’ll just get sick again.”
“But mum, pleeeease, I’m fifteen; I’m big enough to make my own decisions?”
“There are no buts, Eliza, you’re not going outside,” she replied sternly.
So I stay sitting at the window, imagining, wishing.
Then I see it, a silver - grey commodore flying around the corner, skidding on the icy road, heading towards my friends. I scream. But obviously they can’t hear me. Just in time they dive onto the footpath, except one. Both my hands fly to my face, I can’t look. I peek through my fingers, the car is still catapulting towards him and in the split second I look Tommy is hit, sprawled on the ground. The car doesn’t stop, I grab the rego. XTE 311. XTE 311. Trying to remember the numberplate, I race out to see Tommy, mum yelling after me. A crowd is already gathering.
“Call the ambulance!” I yell. “And the police; it was a hit and run.”
XTE 311. The letters and numbers race through my head. XTE 311 silver -grey commodore XTE 311. I have to remember. I have to. Remember. Remember. Remember. I kneel down next to Tommy. His eyes are closed.
“Please be alive,” I whisper.
I hear the sirens. Ambulance and police are on the way.
“You have to hold on Tommy, everything will be alright, I know the car that did this to you.”
XTE 311. XTE 311.
The Ambulance pulls up first.
“Car versus pedestrian, everyone out of the way.”
The two ambulance personnel push me aside.
“Sorry miss, we need you to move away.”
“No, please let me stay, he’s my friend, I want to stay…. pleeease,” I sobbed.
“Sorry miss, we need to do our work.”
I get up from Tommy’s side and move to join mum. XTE 311. I look away not wanting to witness the horrific site in front of me, crying into mum’s shoulder.
Then I feel a hand on my shoulder.
“Excuse me, miss.”
I turn and I’m looking straight at a police officer.
“I’m sorry to do this to you but someone over there said you witnessed the accident?”
“Uh huh.”
“Is it all right if I ask you a few questions then?”
I nod. Not able to muster anything else.
“What is your name?”
“Eliza, Eliza Jacobs.”
“Where were you when the accident happened?”
“Um, I was inside my house, looking out the window,” I utter.
“So what exactly did you see?” The question brings back the sounds of Tommy’s screams; I break down, not wanting to remember.
“It’s ok, Eliza, take your time, if you don’t want to answer these questions now, we can try again later.”
“No, no it’s ok, I can do it now, I want to. XTE 311.”
“Is that the number plate?”
“Uh huh.”
“Ok, so do you remember the colour?”
“It was a silvery grey kind of colour.”
“Very good, now, from where did the car come?”
“Well... It was going awfully fast around that corner; I saw it slip on the ice and, and… yeah.”
“Thankyou, you did very well, but we still may need to ask you a few more questions later.”
“Ok,” I mumble, “Please find who did this.”
I am sitting next to Tommy at the hospital the next day; he is still, lying there like a statue. He had made it through the night; the doctors tell me it is a positive sign. His parents are sitting in the corner comforting each other, praying for their little boy.
The police are still searching for the car and they keep asking me questions. It is so frustrating, I’ve told them everything I know, but they still keep pestering me.

I look up, startled by the voice, which was barely audible above all the machines.
“Tommy? You’re awake; I was so worried you weren’t going to make it.”
I race out into the waiting room, to notify everyone of his consciousness. They all start cheering, it is like a miracle, but he still has a long way to go. The surgeons have to amputate his left leg and recovery from that, physically and emotionally, will take an eternity.
I stay sitting in the waiting room, giving him and his family
some space. They deserve the right to be alone for a while.

Sitting there thinking about yesterday, sends some evil thoughts running through my head. I thank mum for not letting me out, even though I desperately wanted to be outside with my friends. I secretly count my lucky stars that it wasn’t me, because in my head I know that it could have been….

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