"This has trouble written all over it."
"What are you talking about? I promise that it's perfectly safe, I've done it before. Besides, if you don't do it, I'll tell everyone what a chicken shit you are."
I sighed. Becky had a point. I have never done anything exciting or life threatening in my life, not that I'm ashamed of it or anything. "Fine. You win, one one condition. You're going first."
Becky shrugged, "fine with me. I'll have you to break my fall in case I slip."
"Don't say that! Especially when I'm about to climb the Eiffel Tower by hand."
Becky laughed. "Lighten up Carrie. I would barely call it the Eiffel Tower, you always dramatize things, you know that?"
I laughed. Becky was always up for anything. "Let's get this over with."
Becky pulled herself onto the ladder. "This is going to be the best moment of your life, I promise."
I followed closely behind, scaling the tall water tower. "It'd better be."
Half way up, I looked down. Big mistake. "Uhh...Becky.."
Becky stopped and looked behind at me. "What did I tell you about looking. Didn't you ever hear that curiousity killed the god damn cat?"
"I guess it's a good thing cats have nine lives," I said, slowly catching up to Becky.
Becky pulled me over the ledge. My arms were killing me. We were finally at the top of the water tower. We sat on the egde, holding onto the railing, feet dangling in the air.
"Take a look around man, what did I tell you? Totally worth it!" Becky exclaimed.
The view was amazing. The air was chilly, but I barely noticed. The town's lights were shining in the distance and the roar of traffic sounded like it was a million miles away. Nothing could ruin the moment. I spoke too soon.
"So what's up with you and Brad? You never talk about him. Like, never."
"What is there to know?"
"Don't be dodging the bullet, you know what I'm talking about. Everybody always sees you guys hanging out and stuff."
"Yeah. I mean, come on, we're like, best friends. You owe me."
"Owe you? You're the one that dragged me up here. Just to question me about my life?"
"Exactly. So spill loser."
"Okay, here's the deal. I like Brad, he likes me."
"So...what's the problem?"
"You know me. I hate commitment things. I won't even join up for a sports team."
"Dude, commitment? You're like, only eighteen. When did commitment ever become an issue?"
"Listen, you got your life ahead of you. You don't need distractions like Brad."
"So Little Miss Perfection, what are you planning to do with your time?"
"I'm hopping out of this town once I quit my 'low paying not worth it' job and I'm gonna travel down to California and figure it out there."
"You can't just leave everything behind without planning out your trip! You don't even know what you're gonna do."
"It'll be fun." Becky smiled her michevious smile.
"What are you thinking?"
"Why don't you come with me?"
"Come with you?"
"Yeah, just the two of us."
"How about this: I'll have no fun planning out my college life and become a successful designer and you can jump into your car and have a great road trip but become a bum on the streets of Los Angeles."
"See, that's your problem, you think too much."
"And that's a problem?"
"Let's just forget about the idea and talk about something else."
In the distance I could hear music playing. It must have been coming from a nearby car or house. "Do you hear that?"
Becky bounced onto her feet. "Darn right I do! That's one of my old time favorites, 'Dancing in the Moonlight' by Toploader." She started dancing around the water tower. "Come on Carrie! Join me!"
"What? Are you crazy?"
"Come on, no one can see us. Don't ruin the moment."
"Fine," I said. I jumped up and grabbed her arms as we swung each other across the concrete surface.
Lost in the moment, I guess we swung too hard and lost grip. I flew to the center of the tower while Becky didn't have the same luck. She flew into the railling, toppling over. I watched in slow motion as her hand missed the iron raling and she disappeared over the side. I screamed as I got off my knees and ran to the edge. I heard a sickening thump. Tears streaming down my face I hurridly crawled over the side and how I made my way to the ground so fast I'll never know. I ran over to the lifeless form of my friend. I was too scared to flip her over, scared of what I might see.
"Becky!" I screamed, "get up! Becky, please...stop joking.." My words came out in sobs and gasps.
I figured there was nothing I could do so I ran to the road to hopefully get some help. The street was empty at this time of night and there were no nearby houses. I hear an engine in the distance, it was quickly approaching. I ran to the middle of the road. I could clearly see the headlights.
"STOP!" I screamed, holding my hands out in front of me.
The car wheels screeched and came to a complete stop. The driver got out of the car.
"What are you? Crazy? You could've been killed!" The man exclaimed.
I rushed over to him. "Help, I need help! My friend...needs help...she fell and oh my gosh, I can't see her face and there's blood...and call 911!"
The man whipped out his cell phone. "Tell me where she is."
He followed me into the bushes and I led him to where Becky lay. The sirens of the ambulance could be heard approaching.
"Oh my God," he said as he flipped Becky onto her back. I turned my head, I didn't want to see her like that.
The man started giving her CPR, not stopping even when the ambulance people came rushing through the trees. He had to let the doctors do their thing. One of them put his ear to her mouth.
"It may be too late," he whispered. "Hurry up guys! I need a stretcher over here fast!"
Becky was quickly laid on the red stretcher. I couldn't bare to see her go. Will she make it? Stupid question. She has to make it. She has to. We had plans. She had a life. What will I tell her mother? That it wasn't me who flew over the railing but me? That's not too comforting. What would Becky do if that was me in the stretcher? She'd make some jokes to keep everyone's mood lightened. I can't do that. Who can joke about something like this? This is crazy.
"Miss?" The ambulance driver said, waking me out of my daze. "Do you want to ride with her to the hospital?"
"Okay, you'll have to get into the passenger's seat, there's no room back here."
I must have looked really bad because the guy said, "Don't worry kid, she'll be fine."
I hopped up front. The driver put the pedal to the floor, engine roaring and sirens wailing. He couldn't get there fast enough, it seemed like the longest ride of my life. It's true that time stops when you're stuck inside your head. I could hear the doctors in the back, grunting, trying to awaken Becky. I prayed. The first time ever. Would God forgive me for all those nights I dismissed the idea? This is the perfect time to start a relationship with Him I figured. But it's not like you can go your whole life without giving Him a thought and then once things get tough, start. I'm not a Catholic, but I'm pretty sure that's how things work. I gave it a shot anyways. I opened my eyes, we were finally at the hospital.
The driver or doctors didn't even wait until I was out before getting Becky all strapped in and rushing up to the hospital doors. I ran in behind them, following them to the Emergency Room. A doctor came and stopped me before I could enter the room.
"Sorry Miss," he said sternly, "but you're going to have to stay outside here in the waiting room until the doctors are done."
"I can't do that," I said, pushing past him.
He grabbed onto me before I could get to the door. "You'll have to wait in the waiting room."
"My friend is in there dying and you want me to wait?!" I screamed at the man. I took a deep breath. This night took the life right out of me. It was like I was a vegetable.
"Listen, I'm sorry, but you have to. Do you want to be in there distracting the doctors or do you want your friend to have the chance to make it?"
I nodded. What else was there to do? I sat on one of the chairs in the waiting room. It was empty besides me. I guess not too many emergency cases happen at night. That got me to thinking. I wonder whatever happened to the CPR man. Had he just disappeared once the ambulance came? Would I ever see him again? Did he give Becky a good chance to live? Maybe I should learn CPR...
My thoughts were imterrupted again by the same doctor. "Would you like to call your parents and your friend's parents to tell them what happened?"
"Okay." My mom was probably worried sick for me.
"The phone is over on the counter."
I picked up the phone and dialed my number. What was there to say?
It was Mom. "Hey Mom."
I could hear the relief in her voice. "Where are you? You were supposed to be home an hour ago? Are you at the police station?"
"No Mom, I'm at the hospital." Like that sounded any better.
"What? Why? Are you okay? I'll be right there."
I didn't have the opportunity to say anything else before she hung up. I knew my Mom was hopping in the car right now, grabbing my dad from the television.
Next was to call Mr. and Mrs. Wallace. I hope their reaction wasn't the same. Becky's parents were usually pretty sane when it came to this kind of thing.
It was Mrs. Wallace. "No, it's Carrie."
"Carrie, is Becky with you?"
"Umm...yeah. She is."
"Can you put her on the phone?"
"She's in the next room."
"What? Where are you?"
I was dodging this question. "We're at the hospital."
"Is everything okay?"
See, this is Becky's mom's calm reaction opposed to my mom's. "I think Becky's really hurt."
"I'll be right there, you tell her to hold on."
I wish I could.
I would never wish waiting in the waiting room on my worst enemy. It gives you too much time to torture yourself inside your head. It's like hell.
My parents and Becky's came rushing in at the same time. I stood up to meet them.
"Where's my little girl?" Mr. Wallace demanded of me.
I shrunk ten feet. "She's in the emergency. Doctors say she's going to be all right. She's past the worst part yet." Okay, so maybe I lied. But it did make them feel better.
"Thank goodness." Mrs. Wallace sighed, sitting back into one of the chairs. "So what happened?"
Oh God, this was not going to be good. "Well we were climbing the water tower, as a way to complete our high school year..."
"What?" My mother gasped. "Comeplete your high school year? Couldn't you have gone to the beach or even gotten drunk like all the others?" My mother grimaced. "Wait, scratch that last part."
"Fell? From what?"
"From the water tower..."
Mrs. Wallace's eyes fluttered back into her head. She was out cold.
"Water! I need water over here!" Her husband yelled to the secretaries.
One of them disappeared into the back room and came back with a glass of cold water. She put it to Becky's mom's lips. We were all watching on. Her eyes opened. She sputtered, choking on the water. The secretary pulled her up into the chair.
"You'll be all right Miss, just sit back and relax."
From that moment on, nobody said a word to each other. I guess it was tension. Well, what were we supposed to say to each other? Looking in from the outside, you would've thought we looked rather calm. But being on the inside, we were all screaming with anxiousness.
A doctor came out of the emergency room. His name tag read Dr. Drew. We all turned to look at him. He didn't look like the barer of good news. He threw up his hands. "We did all we could possibly do."
"So what does that mean? How's our girl?" Mr. Wallace asked.
The doctor looked down at his feet and then back up at us, taking a deep breath. "She slipped back into a coma. We don't know how long that'll last. We need for her to get special help. We'll have to fly her out to a better hospital, where her needs can be met. Don't worry, we'll take care of the costs."
"Well let's get her there then!" I said.
"I'll need the parents to come with me and everyone else is free to go home and get some sleep. There is nothing else you can do."
We said good bye to Mr. and Mrs. Wallace and Dr. Drew led them quietly away. I turned to my parents. They looked distressed and tired.
"Let's go home and figure this all out in the morning," my dad said.
This time, I couldn't argue. I was exhausted, but yet, if given a comfy bed and pillow, I probably wouldn't be able to sleep anyway.
The next morning, the phone wouldn't stop ringing off the hook. People were calling, after hearng the news, wondering what happened and if I was okay. I didn't bother going to answer it, I felt weighed down and sunken inside my bed. Nothing felt real. I couldn't move. My parents didn't come near my room, they didn't know how to act, they didn't know how I felt. My best friend was in the city and here I was, no bruises, no cuts, but feeling more miserable than ever. Was it my fault that she fell off? I didn't try to stop her from dancing. I was the one that let go of her hands when we were spinning. Talk about bad timing. I shouldn't have climbed the water tower. I should have promised her that we'd move to California together.
I heard a knock on my door. I didn't reply, but my mother walked in.
"How are you feeling?" she asked, sitting beside me.
"I'm feeling nothing," I answered.
"Well get out of bed. I just called the hospital and Becky is still in the coma, but she'll be able to hear you talking and that will help her get through. We're going to the hospital."
"You don't understand. I don't want to go and see her in that condition."
"She needs you now, it's time to help her out, get our jacket on, we're leaving in ten minutes."
Without arguing, Mom left my room, closing the door behind her. Does she actually think I'm going to go to the hospital. Yet, ten minutes later, here I sit in the station wagon.
The ride to the hospital was the longest ride ever, besides the ride in the ambulance. The nurse directed us to Becky's room. The walls were empty, it didn't look very comforting. Tubes were hooked up to different parts of her body. Her face was pale, her hair looked dead and her eyes were sealed shut. I didn't think it was this bad. My parents left me by myself with Becky. I sat beside her bed on a wooden chair. It felt strange. Becky was usually talking non stop, and now, what was I supposed to say? It was like talking to someone who was asleep. The doctors said that she might be able to hear me talking and that I should talk about positive things, things that are happening around us.
"Hey Becky, it's Carrie," I started, my voice a little shaky. "When my mom told me we were coming to visit you, I was excited but scared at the same time. I didn't want to come see you...looking different. But things are going to be okay. The doctor and nurse are really nice. Once you get out of here, we're going down to California. We'll take a big roadtrip and stop along the way at different places. Doesn't that sound like fun? Oh yeah, and another thing: how about next time we'll stick to climbing trees. Well our parents are coming in to see how you're doing. I'll tell them there's nothing to worry about. So I'll be back soon. Call me the second you wake up."
I left her side, and gave her one last look before leaving. The hallway was empty except for mine and Becky's parents. Their faces were drained of their usual energy. I probably looked the same.
"So how is she?" My dad asked, worriedly.
"She seems fine, but then again, I wouldn't know."
I sat in the comfy chairs outside her door, waiting for the adults. Nurses passed me by, giving me sympathetic smiles. So far, it probably seems like my life has been a downhill turn of unfortunate events. But before this whole affair, life was treating me well. I got good grades in school, I hung out with a cool group of friends and I played on a lot of sports teams. I can't really turn around and say that I hated my high school life. But I was finally ready for secondary school and college life.
When I arrived back home I decided to call the rest of the gang and have a movie night thing, just to get our minds off of Becky. Around seven o'clock, the crew came over, arms loaded with pillows and sleeping bags. There was Heather, Brianne, Jillian, Caitlin, Savannah, Erin, Brittany, Nakita, Sam, Anna-Lee, Marcia, Micheal, Chris, Mike, Tyler and Reid. I rented some movies earlier. We ended up watching all of them. Our conversations never included Becky until Tyler spoke up.
"So was anyone in to see Becky?"
"I was," I answered. "She doesn't look all that great, but you know Becky, she'll be fine."
"You should have called me, I would've come with you," Savannah added. She was always there to help out with anything.
"Well it was kind of last minute. I didn't really think I would be going to visit her."
"Why not?" Caitlin asked.
"Well I didn't think her condition was that serious that my mom would offer to drive me three hours to go see her for like ten minutes."
"Well I mean, come on, she did fall off a water tower and was rushed to the city. That sounds pretty serious to me," Marcia said. She always offered her opinion, whether others wanted to hear the truth or not.
"How about we just don't talk about it. She'll be outta there son enough. becky wouldn't want us sitting here talking about her," Nakita said.
"I suppose you're right," Brianne said, "let's go set up the tents."
We all piled outside, into the backyard. It was fenced in and shaded by towering trees. The flowers were starting to poke their way through the soil.
"Well we got two tents for the girls and one tent for the guys," Anna-Lee said.
"Everyone just grab a pole and let's get those things up," I said.
It took awhile for everyone to get themselves ordered. When we all get together, chaos usually breaks out. Poles were lost, tents were ripped, pillows were stepped on, jokes were made, it was madness! But it definitely broke the tension that was created only a couple minutes before.
It was getting dark and everyone grabbed the flashlights. My parents came out to see if everything was set up. Jillian, Heather, Brianne, Sam, myself, Erin and Brittany crawled inside one of the girls' tents and Anna-lee, Nakita, Erin, Marcia and Caitlin and Savannah went into the other one. The guys stayed in our two tents but once we started falling asleep, they left and went in theirs. The giggling and laughing carried on long into the night. The morning came soon enough.