The Boy Next Door

February 25, 2012
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I was reading my favourite book on the front porch when I heard the sound of rubber screeching against the asphalt. I chose to ignore it but as I continued with my book, the screeching grew louder and louder as the vehicle came nearer and nearer. Finally, it came to a stop. Right in front of the vacant house next door. A tall boy with messy brown hair climbed out of the car, carrying a box labelled 'Danny's Stuff'. He made his way to the house and dropped the box on the front porch. Then, he made his way back to the car to help his mother carry the rest of the boxes.

I sat there watching him, my book long forgotten. As he carried the last box out, I decided to drop by and say hello. I stood up and placed my book on the chair I was sitting on. I quietly walked over to his house, my hands buried in my pocket. I slowly snuck up behind him, wanting to scare him. When I was certainly sure that he was completely preoccupied with his Star Wars light saber, I tapped his shoulder and mumbled a quick hello.

He turned to the direction of my voice, swinging his light saber as he did so. I quickly ducked, the light saber narrowly missing my head. He was clearly surprised to see me. For a while, he didn't say anything. He just stared at me. I decided to make the first move.

"Hi," I said. "I'm Kate. I live next door." I extended my hand out to him. He hesitated for only a brief moment before he took my hand and shook it.

"Hey, I'm Daniel. But, you can call me Danny," he said. "Nice to meet you."

"You too," I replied. We soon fell into an awkward silence. It was I, who broke the silence. "Well, I better get going. You seem to have a lot of things to unpack." I bid him a quick goodbye and made my way back home. I wasn't even 10 steps away when Daniel called me back.

"Wait!" He yelled. He jogged over to where I was standing. "Do you want to stay for dinner?" Danny asked, clearly nervous of what I would say next.

I waited a moment before answering. "I would love to." Together, we walked back to his house. Little did I know, that was the start of a beautiful and long-lasting friendship.

Ten years later....

My best friend, there on the hospital bed. Looking so serene while I know he's fighting for his life. IV tubes snake around his frail body. Daniel has been in a coma for 2 weeks. The doctor said he would never wake up. But, he needed to wake up. His family needs him. His friends need him. I need him.

I can remember the accident clearly, as though it happened only yesterday. The moment that truck hit Danny. The look on his face as he reached out for my help. His pained screamed as blood gushed out of his body. The scene kept replaying over and over again in my head. I hadn't slept for days. And on the rare occasion that I did sleep, I would wake up a few hours later, as the sound of his scream lingered in the air. Dark circles formed under my eyes. My face grew paler with each passing day. And my appetite decreased.

I tried to save him. I really did. Every day, I would think of ways to go back in time and prevent Danny from ever getting hurt. If only I reached out to him one second earlier. If only.

I dragged my chair closer to his bed so that I was sitting right next to him.
I laced my fingers through his. With my other hand, I reached out and gently swept the soft ends of his hair away form his face.

"Danny," I whispered. "Danny, please wake up" I watched him closely. My eyes searching for any small movements. "Danny, please. I need you," I pleaded. Nothing. "Danny," I say, my voice barely audible. "I-, I love you." Just then, I felt his hand lightly squeezing mine. His heart rate increased rapidly. The heart monitor beeping wildly. All of a sudden, it stopped. A loud and continuous beep fills the air as Danny breathed his last breath.

No, he's gone. I squeezed his hand, waiting, hoping that he will be back and everything will be back to normal. I stood there, in stunned silence. I didn't realise how long I've been standing there until I felt someone lightly tapping my shoulders. I turned around only to see that the doctor had came in.
"I'm sorry," the doctor said. I didn't say anything. Instead, I just looked down at my hands. Finally, the doctor excused himself.

I decided that I needed to get away from that place. I gazed down on Danny. And for the last time, I bent down and kissed his forehead. I walked out of the hospital feeling completely miserable. When Danny died, a part of me died with him.

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