As I sat in the principal’s office, awaiting my impending lecture from my parents, the paramedic arrived. She was a middle aged woman but age had treated her kindly. She had shoulder length red hair and really defined cheek bones like someone who had been malnourished.
“Ah, yes,” Mr. Markham said, observing the paramedic as she strolled across the room to me, “He got in a bit of a fight with some bullies about a half hour ago, took some heavy blows but gave as good as he got.”
The paramedic gave me a disappointed look but I could see the smirk starting to form on the edge of her lips. “Tell me whereabouts it hurts” she said, kneeling down beside me, getting back into her work persona. I told her that I had a splitting headache and a searing pain in the side of my chest. “Sounds like you might have a concussion and maybe some bad bruising on your side but I don’t think you have any broken bones”.
‘Broken Bones?’ Why did that make me think I was forgetting something? TJ! “Where’s TJ?!” I asked in a panicked tone.
“He should be in class, I didn’t see him in the fight, was he there?” Mr. Markham asked, he obviously showed up too late.
“Yeah, and he had his arm broken too”
“Shit” I just managed to make out from under Mr. Markham’s breath “Do you know where he’d go?” I did, but I wasn’t going to tell Mr. Markham where he was, it was where a few of us would go when we needed to be alone.
“You two go find him, he’s in worse shape than I am, I’ll be fine here, not like I’m going anywhere” I said to Mr. Markham and the medic who hesitated for a second before leaving me alone in the office. I waited a few minutes to be sure they wouldn’t see me. I stood up and headed for the door, the pain blinding me for a second as I reached for the door to steady myself, not realizing just how bad I was hurt until then. I made my way down the halls, careful to avoid being detected I headed for the elevator, it was put in for people with disabilities and utility purposes, which meant it lead right to where we go to be alone. The roof.
Sure enough, as the doors opened, there he stood, tears running down his face as he held his snapped limb, leaning against the railings. It was obvious that the fight had damaged more than just his arm, it had also damaged his pride and TJ was a guy with a fragile sense of pride and dignity. He believed that he should always win in anything he did.
“You shouldn’t be up here alone.” I said as I cleared my throat to get his attention. He didn’t even turn his head but I knew he was upset, I had known him for the majority of my life. “There’s a medic downstairs, you should probably get your arm checked out, and it looks pretty bad.”
“It doesn’t hurt” was his only reply.
“Don’t bullshit me, I know it does. If not for the pain just go get it checked out, I ain’t sure if it’s dislocated or broken, maybe both” He knew I was right but he just wouldn’t bring himself to admit it. I stepped over to him, the wind blowing a fierce gale as I made my way to the railing. That’s when I started seeing stars. “Uh TJ?”
“Yeah Tommy?” he said turning just in time to catch me with his good arm as I passed out.
I again awoke this time in a bed with wires and tubes sticking into me, the smell of disinfectant thick in the air. I was in hospital. I looked to my right to see TJ sitting upright in the bed across from me, he hadn’t noticed I was up yet and his arm was in a cast. I turned to my left to then see a police officer, who had noticed I was awake and was glaring down at me.
“My name is Officer Marsh and you, my young friend, are very foolish, you should just be thankful your friend over there got you downstairs.”
That’s when I passed out again.
I awoke again in the same bed, this time I could hear someone talking, I didn’t recognize one of the voices but I did recognize the second. It was my mother. I decided this time I would just play dead and hope she would leave after a while. It’s not that I wasn’t glad she was here; I just didn’t want to listen to her lectures with this headache. Trust me, they’re bad. I lay there for a good couple of hours before I heard my father say “Mary, you should go home and get some rest, he’ll be fine, I’ll stay here with him while you sleep” my mother agreed. Thank the Gods.
I waited another 5 minutes before pretending to wake up, I had been pretending to be asleep for a few hours, so I was a little drowsy. As I opened my eyes, I saw my father sitting in a chair beside my bed, he was reading a newspaper but he seemed disinterested in it.
“Hey dad” I said as groggily as I could, still wanting to keep up the illusion.
“I was wondering how long you’d pretend to be asleep for” he said looking up at me as he set down his newspaper.
“You knew?” I asked, baffled that he had figured it out.
“Course I did, you snore when your asleep, so how long have you been up for?” I was still a little surprised but I couldn’t find a flaw in his logic.
“A couple hours, I woke up and heard mum talking so I went back to sleep.” I wasn’t sure how he’d take that.
To my surprise he began to laugh “I do the same thing sometimes, with women it’s better to avoid them when their emotional, especially when it your own fault”
“Is the police officer still here?”
“No, he left before your mother got here”
“I see, so, listen I’m sorry I-“
“Don’t be sorry, you stood up for yourself, something that many people in your situation don’t do often enough and besides, now you know to take extra reinforcements to fights just in case.”
“Speaking of my reinforcements, where’s TJ got off to?”
“He was discharged an hour ago, but not before retelling the events to your mother, right up until you passed out, the second time. Doctors say that it was just pain induced and not caused by anything too serious, they’ve got you on some morphine to ease the pain.”
“That’s good, how are the rest of them doing?”
“Nate and Lenny got off without so much as a scratch and Gerald is a little bruised but other than that he’s fine.”
“Good, good. I think I need some food or something, how long was I out for anyway?” I really wasn't sure how long I was out before I woke up the first time here.
“The fight was yesterday.” He said, sounding as if I should have known.
“YESTERDAY!?” I exclaimed breathlessly as I lay back in my bed because I started seeing stars again. Well here we go again.