Have you ever lost something? And I’m not talking about losing your lucky penny, or favorite rubber duck. I’m talking about something important. A parent, a pet, a family member. I almost lost a friend. And not in the way you would think. I didn’t get in a fight with her, or steal her favorite lip-gloss. It was more than that.
We lived in a small town just outside of San Diego. Life was good. We had good grades, great family, the spring weather was perfect, and we were both having the time of our lives. Her name was Lily. She had dark brown hair and deep brown eyes, freckles, and was tanned in the California sun.
“Hurry!” She laughed as we ran towards school.
We were going to be late, but we treated it like a game, laughing and smiling and cutting across people’s lawns in our dirty sneakers. Her brown hair flew behind her as the wind blew into our faces. Then we came to the small intersection of Main Street and Slosberg Avenue. No one ever drove down this road, so we didn’t give it a second thought and we ran across the road. Our feet pounded on the pavement as we sprinted across the intersection.
“Lily!” I screamed. But it was too late. A big red Jeep came speeding down the street and ran over her. I heard a sickening scream as she went under and the driver stopped the car, and Lily was right under one of the over-sized tires.
“GET OFF OF HER!” I yelled, tears streaming down my face. The driver put the Jeep in reverse and I tried not to faint at what I saw. Lily was bleeding, badly. And her eyes were closed in pain, and then they relaxed and she was unconscious. Her arm looked, wrong. Like it was in the wrong place. The driver got out; he had red hair and a stubbly beard.
“Gotta get er to da ‘ospital.” He said in a strange accent.
He picked her up and put her in his passenger seat. I got in the back.
Then we drove up to the hospital. He jumped out of the Jeep, picked Lily up again, and carried her towards the ER waiting room. I followed, and when we got inside, a woman at the desk looked at me. She gasped and scurried over to us and got a closer look at Lily, then went back behind her desk and picked up a phone and pushed a button.
“We have a patient in the Emergency Room waiting area. Looks to be ten years of age, female, bring a stretcher quick. That means NOW.” She said into the phone.
We waited about three seconds, and then a man dressed like a doctor came barreling out of the hallway pushing a stretcher in front of him. “Put her on this.” He said quickly and the driver did. Then the doctor looked straight at me, “It might be a while, you should get her parents.” Then he wheeled her away.
I waited for what seemed like forever. Lily’s parents came as soon as they could after a hurried phone call from the woman behind the desk. Then Lily’s parents yelled at the driver and told him that he had better have a good lawyer because he was going to court on Sunday. I sat quietly in the waiting room chair and waited. And waited. And waited. After an eternity, a doctor walked over to us.
“I have news of the good and bad variety.” He stated. “Bad news: almost all of her ribs are broken and a couple cut into her left lung, so she needs surgery immediately. Also, her right arm is dislocated and fractured, and her thumb is broken and she has a twisted ankle.” I gulped back tears. “Good news is that is you get her that surgery, she’ll live. She will be in a full body cast for almost a year, maybe more. Afterward she’ll need to go to rehab to strengthen her muscles after being underused for so long. Overall, it will be a long while until she can leave this hospital.
I burst into tears then, right there in front of everyone. I got up and looked at the doctor with a pleading look. “Can I see her?”
He nodded and led me through the hallway. I solemnly trudged through the hallway and into Lily’s room.
I was not surprised to see her sleeping. She was in a hospital gown with blue flowers on it. Her head rested against a soft pillow and a thick blanket covered her. Sunlight filtered through a window by her bead, casting a white light over her and making the whole scene that much more peaceful. I leaned over her sleeping body.
“This won’t happen again.” I whispered, not even caring that the doctor was right behind me. “Things are going to change, and I won’t be able to see you for a while, but don’t worry, I’ll be more careful.”
Her eyes fluttered open. “Hey.” She greeted me through a scratchy throat. “Am I okay?” I was surprised buy her question. Usually she’s the one asking me if I’m okay.
So I just told her, “You’re alright. And next time,” I smiled. “We’re gonna look both ways before crossing the street.”
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