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Hugs Not Drugs

I pull back the curtain just a little so I can watch as high school kids file into the bleachers of the small gym. I hear a thud behind me and forget the awful feeling that was welling up in my chest. Jimmy had just dropped the stool for his drum set. I walk over and slowly bend down to help him pick it up.
“That’s all right, Amanda. Go make sure you’re ready for the show.” He smiles and easily picks up the stool and waves me away. “Stop worrying, you’re gonna do great.”
“I hope you’re right, Jimmy. Do you know how embarrassed I would be if I messed up in front of the whole school?”
“Well, hopefully we won’t have to find out,” at that he goes out onto the stage to set up the rest of his drums leaving me to wonder if I should stay and do the show or run all the way back home.
I walk a little ways and go into the bathroom. I turn the water on and watch the water gush out of the faucet. I gather some up in my hands and throw it on my face, completely forgetting about my make-up, saying I would fix it before the show.
I lift up my head and stare at myself in the mirror. I looked like a wreck.
Not only was I super nervous about the show that was for the pep rally that would take place in front of the entire school, but today meant something else to me. Today was the one year anniversary of the crash. The crash that killed an innocent man and was caused by my boyfriend who had been high.
I remember it so distinctly. I remember me and Nikki, my ex-boyfriend, had gone to a party at Mike Zucko’s house. We had thought it was going to be an average high school party. But it was much more intense. They were using the most hard core drugs I’d ever heard of. I was straight edge, so I wasn’t going to deal with that cr**.
I tried to get Nikki to leave with me, but a guy he knew real well offered him some pretty heavy meth. I told him that I was leaving that he should come with me. When he didn’t I walked out not believing he was seriously doing this. I walked through the brisk night air home.
That night, was when I saw it on TV. The camera man zoomed in on the two cars. One had a black body bag next to it. The newscaster said that at twelve thirty-seven a black Delorean ran a stop light and t-boned this little Toyota. When I heard them say a black Delorean, I automatically knew. Nikki owned one of those, the only one in town. They said the man in the Toyota died instantly, while the other driver had a major concussion and was being rushed to the hospital.
I didn’t even wait to hear the rest of the report. I grabbed my keys and my phone and ran down to the garage and hopped into my little VW Bug. Whipping out of the drive way and down the street toward the hospital, wishing I had stayed and made him leave with me. This was all my fault.
Finally arriving at the front desk I ask where they have Nikki Grey. The pretty blonde tells me room 203. I rush down the hall to the elevator. I reach the room and hesitate. What would I do if he wasn’t okay?
I push the thought away and walk in. A nurse is writing something down on a pad. She looks up and asks if I’m family.
I nod remembering how he always used to say when we got older we were going to get married and grow old together and have a bunch of cute little grandkids. He had been saying that since he was nine, for eight years he had been promising to spend the rest of his life with me, and I had left him at a party were there were a bunch of drugs.
She leaves the room and I pull up a chair. He is asleep but he has a bandage rapped around his head. I grab his hand and lay my head down and cry. I cry for three hours, my face all red and puffy by the time I’m finished. I kiss his forehead promising to come back tomorrow. I leave praying to God he’d be okay.

**********

A week passes before he finally wakes up. I’d never seen anyone sleep so long. He was going to be perfectly fine according to doctor who let me in his room. As I walked in she said she’s like to talk to me when I was finished. I nod wanting her to hurry up and leave. The door closes and I grin at Nikki who props himself up on his pillows. I go and sit down on the bed next to him. I was so grateful that he was alright, that he was even alive.

He hugs me but that takes so much out of him that he falls back to the pillows out of breath. Thankfully he wasn’t too out of breath to talk to me or listen to my millions of apologies. He says he is sorry for what he did too. We sit there together talking, crying, and laughing for an hour.
I look at my watch seeing the time, “Hey I have to go, I’ll see you again tomorrow.”
I get up and he grabs my wrist, “Promise you’ll never leave me, promise me you’ll always love me. Even when I do stupid stuff like this will you always love me?”
I blink back tears as I kiss him and whisper, “I promise I’ll never leave you. And I promise I’ll always love you.”
I walk out and remember that the doctor had wanted to see me. I turn the corner and find her sitting on a bench. She pats the seat next to her and I go and take a seat. She rubs her hands together and lets out a long sigh. I sit there patiently waiting for her to begin.
“Amanda, you can’t see Nikki anymore,” she stares at me, her serious eyes burning through me.
“What are you talking about?” My eyes are already starting to water, “He just woke up, and now I’m not allowed to see him?”
“We are going to have to send him to rehab for six months…. its better if he is cut off from others, so he can gain better treatment.”
“Why is he going to rehab? You only had drugs once!” My voice begins to rise and I can see nurses looking at me out of the corner of my eye.
“Yes, but the meth he had was extremely strong and he had a very high dosage of it. We want to send him to rehab before he has time to get hooked on it.”
“This is crazy! When are you sending him?”
“As soon as he is fully recovered.”
I shake my head, “Why can’t I see him from now up until he has to leave?”
“Because, the less he sees you the less he’ll think of you while he’s gone, so he can think more about the treatment.”
I scream out in frustration and run away down the hall, down the stairs, and out the front doors to the parking lot. I finally reach my car, I try to find the right key, but my hands are shaking so much I drop them. I bang on the side of the car with my fist and sink down to the ground. I cried and sat there on the cold ground for what felt like forever.
I wasn’t going to see him for six months, I wasn’t going to see him because he was going to rehab because I didn’t stop him from using those drugs when I could have.
I felt so defeated, and all I could think about were the last words I’d said to him, “I promise I’ll never leave you. And I promise I’ll always love you…”

**********

I blink my eyes, and grab a paper towel to clean up my face. Once I make sure I no longer look like a zombie, I walk out the door and to the backstage where the rest of the band is waiting to go out on stage. I can hear Mr. Baker, our principal, speaking about random school events and then introduce us and we walk on stage. We had two songs planned for the pep rally since it only lasted about thirty minutes and they usually did contests and grade rivalry stuff too. My hands are shaking as I hold onto the microphone stand for support. Aaron starts the song with his awesome guitar playing. I start to sing and instantly feel better. Letting everything flow out. I hear everyone cheering and I start to become more confident.
I had been singing since I was little. I would always write silly songs about random things. One time I wrote Nikki a song about how his car smelled like McDonalds. I missed him so much. Event though his treatment had only been six months I hadn’t seen him in a year. I couldn’t face him. He had called multiple times and tried to see me at my house. My parents had always loved him and thought I should see him.
And trust me, I wanted to, I wanted to so badly. I just couldn’t see him again knowing I had lied. I had left him, I had abandoned the one person I loved more than life itself. I didn’t deserve someone like him. He’s probably got a new girlfriend who he deserves, who’s better than I’ll ever be.
I look over to the corner of the gym and see my mom and my dad smiling. After everything it was nice to know they were proud of me. My mom then walks over to the door that leads from the parking lot to the gym. I watch her the whole way, wondering what she’s doing. I then see a single black, biker boot walk I through the door. Followed by another, until I see all of him.
He dusts off his leather jacket, and bends down to hug my mom. She says something to him and then turns and points at me.
My eyes well with tears. I stop singing and Jimmy whispers from his drum set, “Amanda, what’s wrong?”
I don’t answer I just put the mic back on the stand and jump off the front of the stage. I’m in a total trance, only seeing him. He smiles and walks forward meeting me in the middle of the gym.
Mr. Baker has no idea what’s going on, but doesn’t want the kids to get bored and then get out of control. So he yells for someone to play something. Aaron shrugs and walks up to the microphone. He nods to the rest of the band and they start playing For Heaven’s Sake by Thriving Ivory, knowing it’s my favorite song of all time.
I look up into Nikki’s eyes, wondering if he’s real. A tear rolls down my cheek. He lifts his thumb up and wipes it away, holding my face in his hands. He smiles and pulls me in hugging me.
“Nikki, what are you doing here?”
“Your parents arranged this, thought it would be good for you.”
“Nikki, I don’t deserve someone like you. All of this is my fault. I didn’t stop you from using those drugs. Then I promised I’d never leave you, and I did. I’m so sorry.”
He pulls away slightly so he can look at me, “Don’t you ever say that. What happened to me was my own mistake. But I thought of you every single day. I’ve missed you so much. And you never left me, you were always there, your memory. That was the only thing that kept me from going insane in rehab. You.”
I laugh and smile up at him, “I never stopped loving you, though. Not a single day. I love you Nikki.”
He then did something I didn’t expect. He got down on one knee and pulled a box out of his pocket. He opens it up and I see a beautiful antique wedding ring nestled in it. I gasp, feeling light headed. I look around and see my parents smiling warmly.
“Amanda Nicolson, will you marry me?” He smiles showing his shiny, white teeth.
I choke back a sob. Of course I wanted to marry him, but I was only in high school. I was too young to be getting married. Bu then I got an idea. “Yes, but we have to get married when I finish school. I only have the rest of the year left. I already have a date set.”
“Thinking ahead are yah? Well, what is it?” He smiles and slides the ring onto my finger. It sparkled and shone so bright. I was breathtaking.
“To make up for the wrong I made, I’m want to get married on September 16th, the day I promised I’d always love you. Because even though I left, I’ve always loved you, ever since we were little, and I always will.”
He stands up and takes me in his arms, squeezing me tight. I kiss him and put in all the emotions that had been bottled up inside. My anger toward myself, my pain, my hurt, my yearning for him. The crowd roars and everyone starts to clap. I had never thought the day I’d get engaged would be in the middle of my high school gym. But if it meant I could spend the rest of my life with Nikki, then I didn’t really care.
He kisses my forehead and then whispers in my ear, “That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”
I giggle, “And what’s that?”
He winks and says, “You.”




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Annmarie11_12_13This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm:
I have tears in my eyes.  This was amazing.
 
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animaleana said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 9:09 pm:
I love it! Please keep writing:)
 
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