The Accident – Part One
I told Eddie it didn’t hurt too badly.
“Give it a couple of minutes,” he said, smiling that smile of his. Like he knows it’s going to hurt, and like he’s secretly going to enjoy it.
Eddie has this habit of being by my side when times are tough. He was there for me after my mother had died, and I was scared that he was going to watch me die now. We’d been driving to get a late-night snack at the local drive-in, Herby’s, when a deer had run out in the road, and he’d swerved to avoid it. We smacked into a tree after rolling over, and my side was pinned. I couldn’t feel my legs, and blood was dripping from my head into my eyes. Eddie had some cuts, but he kept telling me he was okay. He looked so worried about me, but he always made jokes in the worst situations. I think it helped him deal with it.
“Am I going to die, Eddie?” I asked. I wanted to know if I needed to pray. I needed to know that if I did die, everything would be okay.
“I’m not sure, sweetheart. You don’t look too good,” he responded. He was always honest; it’s why I liked him so much.
Suddenly, I felt an immense surge of pain go through my body. My arm felt like it was on fire, and I couldn’t move it either. It was trapped between the door and my seat. I wasn’t quite sure how that had happened; the whole car was warped.
“Eddie, it hurts!” I screamed.
“Help will be here soon. I’ve already called for help. They should be here any minute. Hey! I have an idea. Let me tell you a story that’ll keep your mind off of all the pain, huh?” he said enthusiastically.
“Okay,” I said quietly, trying not to focus on the pain that was now soaring through my body. Tears welled in my eyes. I was scared. There was still so much more I had to do before I died. I had dreams of becoming a doctor.
“Remember when we were little, and your mom caught us drawing on the walls? She wasn’t even mad. Well… at least she didn’t show that she was. She just picked us up and brought us into the kitchen, and we all made cupcakes,” he said.
The memory flooded back in. Eddie’s mom and mine had been best friends for years—long before we were even born. We’d grown up with each other, and Eddie was in so many of my memories.
“I remember. I colored in yellow, and you colored in red. They never cleaned off that wall either. We sold that house, and the realtor kept telling my parents they should clean it. They responded by telling her that the house was filled with memories, and some family would appreciate that. Mom’s favorite cupcakes were chocolate,” I said.
“Maria… I love you. I always have. I love your family and your pets, and you. I’ve never had the courage to say it. But now I have to because I don’t want to lose you.”
I wasn’t sure what to say. I knew he was telling me now because he was scared of losing me. I loved him too. I had for a few years now. I’d watch Eddie go through a few girlfriends, and I was jealous of every single one of them. But I didn’t think he had feelings for me more than brotherly love.
“I love you too.” I smiled at him.
We were both trapped in our seats and could only move our heads slightly. Just enough to see each other out of the corner of our eyes. I heard sirens in the background.
“Eddie! They’re here! Do you hear that?” I yelled. I was excited that help was finally here.
“I hear them too! Now listen to me, Maria. You’re going to do everything they tell you to do, and you’re going to be okay. They’re going to take us separately, but I will see you soon. Okay?”
“Okay,” I said quietly.
The door on Eddie’s side opened, and three firemen stood there. “Hi guys, I’m John. We’re here to get you out.” One of them said, lowering his head inside the car to get a better view of what they were dealing with.
He turned around and whispered to the other firemen. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. One of the other firemen handed John a yellow backboard, and he slid it underneath Eddie. They had to use a seatbelt cutter to cut him out, and they lowered him onto it and strapped him down.
Eddie was talking to them and telling them that I was badly injured and needed more help than he did. I rolled my eyes and thought about how he was constantly putting my needs before his own. How did I not realize he loved me? He never let anything bad happen to me, and he was always looking out for me.
Another fireman came in and was trying to figure out how to get me out. They would have to lift me through the driver’s side to get me out. My side was pressed into the tree.
“My arm is trapped,” I told the firemen.
“What’s your name, kid?” he asked.
“My name’s Maria. How’s Eddie? Is he okay?”
“He will be. He’s got some pretty serious injuries too, but he’s in good hands. Let’s work on getting you out of there.”
It seemed like it took them forever to get me out. A paramedic had come in and given me some medicine to help with the pain. When they managed to get my arm free, it felt even worse than when it was trapped. Tears streamed down my face, and it looked like my arm had been shattered. They took me to the hospital in the ambulance and immediately took me into surgery.
When I woke up, my dad was sitting in a chair nearby.
“Maria! Oh, thank God you’re awake!” he cried, running over to my bedside.
“Hi, daddy,” I said.
He smiled at me and ran his hand through my hair.
“You’re okay. You’re pretty beat up, but you’re okay,” he said.
Some doctors came in to check on me and explained my injuries. I had broken my arm in four places. They put some pins in to help stabilize everything, and I would have to be in a cast for eight weeks before they took it off to see how it was healing. I had some internal bleeding, but they’d fixed that in surgery. I had cuts and bruises everywhere. The worst news they had was that I was likely paralyzed from the waist down. At this point, all I wanted to know was how my best friend was doing.
“How’s Eddie?” I asked, cutting the doctor off from whatever he was saying about my legs.
He and my dad both looked at me sadly.
“His family gave us permission to tell you. He had some complications during surgery. We have him in a medically induced coma right now to stabilize him before we take him back in for surgery two days from now. His family is with him right now.” The doctor said, “I’m sorry.”
All I could think about was that Eddie must’ve been pretty bad off when we were in the car, and he hid it well to make sure I was okay.
“Thank you,” I said solemnly.
The doctor left, and my dad went and sat back down on the chair. He didn’t say anything, just let me have my moment to pray for my friend. I prayed hard. I begged God to find it in his heart to let my friend live. I didn’t care that I wouldn’t ever walk again. I cared that my Eddie was lying in a bed with tubes down his throat—tubes that were keeping him alive. Memories from our childhood flooded through my mind. I wondered if he would be okay because I couldn’t live without him.