He Listened This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     My brother was only 15 years old when he got his license, and he thought he was invincible. As his older sister, I always made him wear his seat belt and told him to be careful.

One Sunday, he drove to his friend‘s house to spend the night. I went to school the next day and was in class when a lady walked in, whispered to the teacher, and then told me to get my things. Once in the hall, she told me my brother had been in a car accident and my aunt was there to pick me up. Great, I thought, another of Sean‘s mistakes.

My aunt was yelling for me as soon as I stepped outside, so I jogged to the truck and we sped off to the hospital where we met my hysterical mom and her boyfriend, Rick. I comforted her as much as I could but nothing seemed to work. I didn‘t realize how bad things really were until I finally saw Sean.

It was like a nightmare in slow motion. My little brother was on a stretcher covered in blood with tubes and body braces and bandages everywhere. He was unconscious and his head looked like a wad of mashed clay. I couldn‘t take it so I told him I loved him and left. I tried to hold back the tears, but they came pouring out like Niagara Falls.

After hours of waiting, the doctors told us Sean would have to be life-flighted to Seattle, Washington. They got my brother ready and left with my mom in an ambulance. Rick and I went home to pack our bags for the long drive to Seattle.

When we finally arrived eight hours later, my brother was stable. Days passed quickly as Sean went through surgery after surgery. Family members kept arriving from everywhere; it felt like a family reunion gone bad. All we could do was wait and see.

When Sean could finally open the eye that wasn‘t swollen shut, he was drugged-up on medication. He got so frustrated because his mouth was wired shut and his arms were tied down. He didn‘t understand why he couldn‘t speak or move. Seeing my brother like that made me feel guilty for all the times I was a “bitty” to him and made me wish I had been nicer. Like an elderly person, Sean had to eat pureed food.

Slowly, Sean got better and finally he could come home. Rick and I got the house ready for him by building a wheelchair ramp, putting up cheerful posters, and getting all the necessary medical supplies. We set up his hospital bed in the living room so that he could watch TV and we could keep a better eye on him. We had to prepare his food in a special way and store it in little containers because he could only eat a bit at a time.

When Sean came home we took turns watching him, moving him from his bed to the toilet to his wheelchair, and being really careful of him. Friends and family were constantly stopping by to see how he was doing, and their company really made him feel better.

It‘s been five months since the accident and Sean is walking and back at school. He still needs new front teeth but he should get them soon, which will make him happy. He still walks with a slight limp and has physical therapy twice a week. I know he‘s doing much better, because his attitude is back to normal, and he doesn‘t have emotional episodes like he used to.

Although Sean is recovering from this accident, I will always remember I almost lost my brother. I am trying to be nicer to him. I no longer take the little things, like having an annoying little brother, for granted.

Wear your seat belt. That‘s the one thing I told my brother to do, and he listened, which is the only thing that saved his life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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