Something was up. Something he hadn’t told me. I stared at the back of his head, listening to Mrs. Anderson drone on about the importance of measuring rocks. There was something wrong, but couldn't’t put my finger on it. His best friend Jack leaned over and whispered, “Hey, Jaden, how’s your concussion?” I gasped inwardly. He must have gotten a concussion at football practice the other day. I took out a piece of paper, scribbled a message on it, reached around him and dropped the paper on his lap. Why didn’t you tell me? He turned around and looked into my eyes. Sorry, he mouthed. I gave him a concerned look. “Mr. Smith, what have I been explaining?” Mrs. Smith asked. Jaden whipped around to face her. “E equals MC squared?” We all burst out laughing. Jaden laughed too, but I saw the grimace afterwards and watched him clutch his head. I turned to the whiteboard and copied the problems down in a notebook. “Ouch,” Jaden muttered. I looked up to see him tip sideways out of his chair. “Jaden!” I said, and lunged out of my chair to kneel next to him. His eyes are disoriented. “Lindsay,” he said. “I’m here.” I grasped his hand, and tried to pull him up. He tried to stand but flopped back down. I sighed, grabbed his shoulders, and hauled him up. By then, the whole class had gathered. “Miss Sorelli, what happened?” Mrs. Anderson asked. “He got a concussion the other day and it must be acting up.” Mrs. Smith said, “Take him down to the nurse’s office at once.” “Can Jack come with us? I can’t carry him all the way, he’s too heavy.” She nods. Jack puts Jaden’s arm around his shoulder, and I take his arm. We walk him out of the classroom. Jack looks at me. “I didn’t know you and Jaden were friends.” I roll my eyes. “Jaden and I are neighbors. We spend a lot of time together. He’s my best friend. I know I’m his. Well, except for you.” Jack laughs in spite of the situation. We get to the nurses office, and the nurse looks up. “Hi…” I say. The nurse gasps. “Oh, Mr. Smith, yes. He has a concussion, right? Lay him on the cot.” Jaden grabs my arm in a death grip. “Don’t you dare leave me.” He whispers. I nod. The nurse comes over and says, “I called the paramedics. They should be here soon. You can leave now, Miss Sorelli.” I shake my head. “He told me not to leave.” The nurse puts a hand on my shoulder. “Now, Miss Sorelli.” “NO!” I yell. “He’s my best friend! I’m not leaving! There could be something really wrong!” I put my head down on his chest, beginning to cry. The nurse sighs and leaves. I hear the door open. “Where is he?” I look up to see Mrs. Smith, Jaden’s mom, standing there. I stand up and run to her, and hug her fiercely. She is like a second mom to me. She embraces me back, and then we are both crying. We walked back to where he was laying, and when I saw him laying there like that, was really scary. “Miss Sorelli, you have to leave now,” the nurse says. “Ok. One second.” I lean down and kiss him on the lips, knowing that when he wakes up, I will be able to tell him how I feel. Just before I leave, I see him smile.
September 12, 2012