The hospital elevator slowly moves up, floor after floor, I patiently wait. A card in one hand, wiped tears in another hand. Even the soothing elevator music can’t calm me down. Nothing in this world can ever make me feel better. I glance at myself in the elevator mirror, noticing everything from my blue eyes shining from all the tears, to my shaking hand holding the card. I try to pull myself together, I try to be strong for him, at least, and I wipe my tears with my sleeve.
I happened to be walking down that street, just the way I like to spend my Saturdays. Walking, hoping for something interesting to happen. Then, I saw him and said absolutely nothing. I stood there and just watched.
Stop remembering it.
He was drinking a beer bottle down a dark avenue with his friends. I know what I saw and he was Noah.
Stop remembering it.
I just looked away and ran, I just ran away disappointed. I thought he was better than this.
Stop it Ciara, just stop it.
I take long and deep breath, trying to cage whatever monster is trying to bring me down. At that moment the elevator door cued to open and I arrive on the third floor where I begin to pace down an empty, white hallway. Biting my lip, I constantly try to ignore the flowing river of memories haunting my every step.
It was cold that night, I was running. My cheeks were burning, my heart was pacing, my breath was short, but I kept running because I was afraid.
What was I afraid of?
He could have seen me.
It takes a while for me to find the room Noah was put in, but eventually I do.
That night, after I stopped running, I walked home in silence.
Right in front of me.
I might have strolled in a random direction for an hour.
I place my hand on the handle.
A car sped by.
My shaking hand is on the door handle. I use the other hand to control it.
To fast to even process.
I cautiously open the door, a sudden draft of cold air blasted creating goosebumps all over my arms. In the very center of the room, a teenage boy was laying in a small hospital bed. The closer I walk toward him the more I wince. His misshapen body was enveloped with bruises, cuts, and burns, his wrists were linked to the IV. Stitches covered a small part of his forehead and unappealing patches of blue and purple covered his eyes. Where his rosy cheeks used to be, a ghost-like paleness had settled. Where his bright eyes gleamed, closed eyelids replaced. If this is the definition of tragedy, then what, oh God, have I done to deserve to see him like this. Tears were flooding my eyes, and the memories just continued.
The car lost control, it spinned, and its tires screeched on the road pavement. It flipped over, creating an inferno of flames surrounding the car. I panicked, I could feel my heart beating rapidly against my chest as I crept toward the car. Every instinct screamed at me to run, call for help, anything but walk toward the fiery hell in front of me. The closer I got the more I observed the four bodies in the car, limply hanging, covered in dark blood from head to toes. I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the mass amount of flesh that had appeared on the surface of their skins Three passengers, one driver. The driver seemed awfully familiar, I peered again to identify his face, and I do.
No, no, no, this can’t be. This can’t be.
I could feel my body shaking, my body becoming feeble. Through the window of the car I entered, and grasped onto his blood covered body and pulled him closer. The glass shards cut my arms and legs and started to sink into my skin as I carefully carried him. My palms are smeared with his blood as I dragged his heavy body all as far away from hell as possible. I cupped my hand on my face and I could feel the iron taste of his blood on my lips. Uncontrollable sobs escaped from me as I fumbled in my pockets for my phone and clumsily typed 911 on the keypad.
“911, what is the nature of your emergency?” The operator calmly directed.
Through the constant hiccups slipping out of me I managed to whisper “Help...”
I droped my phone and the world goes dark.
The light returns, the memory ends.
I can finally breathe.
I place the ‘Get Well’ card near his bedside and take a seat, my eyes glued to him the whole time.
My mouth opens to say something but nothing sputters out.
Ciara… you will never have the chance to say this ever again.
Let your heart speaks its mind.
The room echoes, a buzzing silence diminishes it.
“I’m Ciara. I have a class with you at school during third period chemistry, one row back 2 seats to the left of you. You probably know me, I sometimes help you with your homework-”
This isn’t what I came here to say.
“I’m sorry. I’ve never been really good at expressing my thoughts. I’ve practiced this scenario a million times in my head and it's gone a million times better than this awful speech I’m giving to you.” I awkwardly shrug, “Look…”
He doesn’t move.
Why was I expecting him to?
I sigh and continue, “Noah I know you. Not just in my chemistry class, we used to play when we were younger. When we were 7 years old, every day during recess we would go to the school jungle gym, I would get my legs tangled inside the net and you would laugh your head of every time. I’d hang upside down for a minute or so, and watch you laugh, however at the end you’d always helped me get down. A few weeks ago you got yourself in a hell of a jungle gym, and I just want to say I’m glad I was able to pull you out. You probably don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. I don’t even know if you can hear me now.”
Keep going Ciara.
“When we were 11 years old and would play basketball in the gym, you would always pick me on your team. I never understood why, you're probably the best basketball player I know and I was one horrible athlete. I’d fall, I’d stumble, I’d shoot the ball I would never score. However, you would always pass to me when no one would. Maybe it’s just me but... I felt like I could talk to you, with my eyes. We could communicate with one glance, a 1000 page story would be shared among us. I felt it, I don’t know about you.”
What in the world am I saying?
“Maybe I’m making this up, maybe it’s my imagination running. Maybe my brain is creating this as a way to reassure myself that for a moment of my life I actually had a friend. We grew apart over the years, you met new people, I met no one really. We went our separate ways, traveled different paths, wandered diverse roads. I know you maybe forgot all about me but…”
There won’t be another chance to say this.
“I didn’t forget you. There’s something about you and I can’t name it. I saved you from that car accident, I could have left you there. I should have left you die, it probably would have been better than being in this condition you currently are in. Am I right?”
“The point is… I have always liked you. I can’t say I love you, I thought I did but I was wrong. I realize now that if I had truly loved you, the moment I had seen you drinking I should have dragged you all the way to your house if necessary. If I loved you, I wouldn’t have cared what you thought of me afterwards, as long as you were alright. I take back all those years of believing ‘I loved you’, cause I don’t. I’m so sorry I ever thought I did.”
Tears are rolling down my checks, I can feel the never ending sobs returning.
“That’s all I had to say. Thanks for listening.”
He can’t hear you.
I stand and begin to walk away. Before I can reach the door handle a weak voice mutters, “I forgive you.”
I turn around, for what seemed like infinity seconds I look directly into his bright eyes.
And I know, just by looking at his eyes he says, “I’m sorry too.”