My mom stops the car right in the front. “Are you sure you don’t want me to to walk you in?” she asks. I quickly unbuckle and look her in the eyes. “I’m fine” I answer while mustering up all my energy to plaster a infinitesimal smile on my face. Before she reads into it I open the car door and hop out. I turn around and wave as I feel the smile casually fall from my face. With hands in my pocket I walk through an open door of the building. I look around at the smiling faces of middle aged people who couldn't think of a better way to spend there life then “helping others”. l man with a name tag that reads Ben skips over to me. “What your name?” he sings out. I try not to gag as I answer. He writes my name down and reaches over to plaster it on my jacket. My arm snaps forward as I grab his wrist and carefully take the name tag off his hand. I place the name tag on my jacket and gradually release his wrist. “You are all checked in so just go through those double doors and you all set”. He says expeditiously skipping away to his next victim. I immediately hate myself. “How could I say such a thing? How could being greeted by a man make you a victim?” I shake my head and walk through the doors.
I shiver as the mood shifts drastically from a warm, welcome sun bathed lobby to a grey dreary room. I walk cautiously feeling the ambiance slowly creep up my body. I sit in a chair and look around at the other teens. Five others are there including a counselor Jen. I look at the clock on the wall waiting for the arrow to tick its way up to 12:00. I look down and notice my knee bouncing. I try to stop it with willpower upon little success resulting with my hand flying down and grabbing it holding it in place. Looking up again I lock eyes with a boy. I look at his chest finding his name tag, Patrick. I look away finding Jen’s eyes. She smiles at me before glancing at her watch. She then looks up and fixes her posture. “Welcome everyone I’m Jen and it looks like this week we have a newcomer.” All ten eyes stare at me, I take my hand of my knee and give a little wave. “Why don’t you tell us why your here” she says, “we want to what brought you here your experience, your feelings and everything you remember from the incident.”
I look at her half expecting her to chuckle and yell “joking”. But no instead she stares at me. I wait for a minute for something to change but no, all eyes still on me like lasers burning holes through my body. Jen nod’s at me waiting for me to begin. Boy did I begin. 12 times. Each time I started Jen stopped me saying “more detail”, or “or how did you feel”. Each time I looked at her as if a dog was on her head. I sit there feeling hot as every single person observes me with the sun in their eyes. I sigh heavily and begin telling the strangers what I had never been able to say.
“Most everything from that day is foggy. I don’t remember what I had for breakfast of what we learned in class. But I do remember the glass. I remember walking out of school laughing with kids while looking for my best friend. Not my outfit or shoes. But the image of blood running along the pavement will be stuck in my head forever.” I stop talking and take a breath only know realizing that I had held my breath the entire time.In the back of my head I laugh. It sounds so corny, so fake but when I look over at Patrick his fire eyes rapidly transform into a ocean. It calms me as I continue my story. “His hair was stained and his legs were maimed. I don’t remember the day of the week but his eyes were open looking right into the sun without a glare or a squint. I remember the black SUV stopping right before it accelerated away. The sirens seemed so far never getting any closer. His perfect parted blonde hair looked out of place in the scene of mayhem. I had slowly walked forward, my body moving without my brain. My brain had wondered elsewhere, thinking of the times we laughed and cried. My body got close as the smell of mint hair and caramel breath slowly started to slip into an aroma of spoiled eggs, garlic, and rotting cabbage.” I introspect Jen and stop talking while leaning back in my chair. “That was a great start” she say firmly. I sigh sensing a but coming, “But now I want the the end”. I take a deep breath and continue, “My body kept moving towards him even though my mind kept telling me to stop. Without my brain I knelt down and shut his eyelids. I held him as my clear tears turned to pink. I remember the flash of phone cameras but the worst, the worst were the yells. Those voices are still in my head, still ringing in my ears. Those voices are in my dreams, my mind, and I can’t get them out.” I want to stop talking but I can’t the words continue to roll of my tongue, “I refused to look back at his legs for the first time I did I had seen bones sticking out as if they were pointing in ten different directions. I did not care about my clothes getting ruined, all I could do was lay there holding him. It was the most helpless I had ever felt. I could not help my best friend no matter what. I had to lay there and watch him die a painful death. All I could do was cry and let my tears stream down from my face off his body and finally run alongside the blood on the pavement. I could not save him all I could do was think about the happy moments from scavenger hunts in the woods to watching Survivor every Wednesday night. I don’t remember how long I stayed there on the ground. But when the paramedics came they kept asking me to let go. I told them I that I had to be with him. Then eventually pulled me away from him and searched for a heartbeat. It seemed as if they gave up so easily. So quickly. I looked at him and memorized his face. Not his broken nose or his missing teeth, but the traces of him that were there. I stayed right there on the ground paralyzed. There was nothing I could do, but watch as the angels took his soul up. My eyes looked up trying to find the cloud that would be his new home.”
I sat there for the rest of the meeting not hearing what anyone else had to say. And when that meeting finally ended, I walked out of the building and looked up at the sky searching for his cloud.