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I sat in my family room staring at the phone. I wanted to, needed to, know something about what happened. I knew that I had to study for my two tests the next day, but I couldn’t focus. My mind kept going back to what happened on the soccer field.
“Jennifer, guess who likes me…” Courtney said, as I was trying to read the “Young Goodman Brown” criticism that Mrs. Ross, my English teacher, had given my class for homework.
“Jennifer, go into the car and do your homework. I know you can’t concentrate,” my mom stated, handing me the keys. I decided to take her advice, knowing that she knew me better than I did. As I cut between the two boys’ teams practicing soccer, I could feel the sun beating down on me, and the wind slightly blowing in my face.
I read the criticism, nodding off between every paragraph. It was going to be a long night. It took me ten times longer to read the criticism than it probably should have, but when I was finished I walked between the boy’s practicing and back to where my mom was standing as the sun was setting. “Hey mom, what’s the score? Did I miss anything?” I questioned her.
“It’s two to three,” she replied, “We’re losing.”
“Was there anything that Allison could have done to save the goals?” I asked.
“No. The ball came in really fast,” she replied, just as a player from the Windy City Pride team made a break for Palatine’s goal, the one my sister was in.
It was a race, green against blue. Blue, Windy City Pride, was winning. I saw Allison get ready to pounce. This was her second nature. She came out, diving. The Windy City Pride player tapped the ball around her and scored. I zoomed in on Allison, still on the ground. “Weird,” I thought to myself, expecting Allison to jump back up, but she was curled up, on the ground, holding her head.
“Mom, what do you think happened?” I asked, not having the slightest idea, “I didn’t see anything.”
“It looks like she is grabbing her head. She probably got kicked in the face,” she answered. The referee allowed her coach onto the field to see what was wrong.
“It looked like her leg twisted when she fell,” I overheard a mom from Windy City say, “I hope that nothing’s wrong.”
As I saw Allison’s coach helping her up and walking her over to the side of the field, I started getting butterflies in my stomach. I couldn’t remember a time that Allison left the goal because she went down. “Mom, dad wants me to go over and see what’s wrong with Allison,” Courtney stated.
“Go tell dad to over there,” my mom replied.
I watched my dad walk briskly down the sideline in his collared shirt and navy blue pants. He came to the game right from work. I saw a girl from Allison’s team running our way, presumably to get one of my parents. I knew it wasn’t good. When my dad reached Allison and her coach, he and the coach faced the field and talked.
My dad started walking Allison towards the parking lot, I ran over to help as my mom grabbed my dad’s chair and told Courtney to get Allison’s soccer bag. When I got there, Allison was crying, her eyes closed, and my dad was holding her up as they were walking. I went to her other side to help her walk, acting on instinct. My dad kept talking to her, “Allison, there is a man coming with a golf cart. We are going to use that to get to the car and then take you to the hospital.”
I felt like I was going to puke. Allison had gone through so much the past three years; whooping cough, a stress fracture in her back, almost breaking again right after she got back to soccer, being diagnosed with ADD and an anxiety disorder and now this. I wanted to cry for her. Courtney and my mom joined us as the golf cart pulled up. “Batty, I need you to open your eyes just a little so you can get into the cart,” my dad said, helping her into the cart, “Jennifer is going to sit next to you.”
The three of us squeezed into the cart and my dad drove very slowly to the car. I was rubbing her back and telling her that she was ok the whole way there, reassuring myself she was going to be fine. When we got to the car, my dad gave me the keys to his car and said, “Jennifer, drive Courtney home.”
My mom and Courtney arrived at the car. “Courtney,” I said, “Get your stuff out of mom’s car. I’m driving you home in dad’s car.”
My mom crawled in the back with Allison as my dad took the driver’s seat. The automatic doors were closing and the last I saw of my sister was the neon goalie shirt she was wearing.
I went to mother mode, “Courtney, put dad’s chair in the trunk. When you get to the front seat, all of my books are there. Pick up my bag and get the twenty dollars I have in there from the neon shirts, we’ll go to McDonald’s for dinner on our way home.”
I stuck the keys into the ignition and clutched the worn black leather steering wheel with my clammy hands. I realized that I didn’t have my license with me. “What if I got in an accident?” I thought and got even more nervous. “Courtney, I don’t have my license with me, so I have to drive more carefully than usual,” I told her.
“Whatever,” she replied. I drove at exactly the speed limit to McDonald’s. We got into the drive through and ordered.
“Allison’s life really sucks,” Courtney said, “it seems like everything always happens to her.”
“Yeah,” I said, “but it could also be a lot worse. Compared to us, Allison’s life sucks, but compared to other people, Allison has it pretty good.”
“I guess you’re right,” she said as I paid.
I pulled up to the next window to get our food. “Jennifer, make sure that they give us all of our food. The last time mom went through the drive through here, they didn’t give us a lot of things,” Courtney reminded me. It was a good thing that I had her. I might not have been able to function. I had her make sure that we had everything and pulled out of the parking lot.
When we got home, I sat down at the kitchen table and ate alone. Courtney saw some of her friends outside and went to spread the news. Once I finished, I went to the family room, and sat down to do my math homework. It was the only time that I could focus. For some reason, math was the only thing that made sense to me.
…RRRRRIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGG. The phone rang and I pounced on it. It said “MOM CELL” on the caller ID screen. I felt a mix of excitement and nervousness.
“Hello,” I answered.
“Hi Jennifer,” my mom replied, “We are at the hospital right now and Allison is getting a cat scan just to make sure that nothing really bad happened.”
“Is she ok?” I asked just to make sure.
“Yeah, she’ll be ok. She got kicked in the head and doesn’t remember anything right now, but she is getting better every minute,” my mom said and then the call dropped.
My sister was going to be ok. I was happy to know that, but I knew that it was going to be awhile until she was going to be able to play soccer and do everything again. The weight still wasn’t lifted off my shoulders because they weren’t home yet and I didn’t know exactly what was happening.