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“I Dare you!” Jonah said.

“Citrus you don’t have to do it!”

“Ever since Freshman year you’ve been like this!” Owen cried “Why don’t you just leave her alone”

I just stood there shaking as I looked around me. There were trees littering the forest...the dead forest, as the boys called it, I could feel my tight curls swaying through the wind as I gripped the rope tightly with my left hand.

I could feel little stings around my wrists from the cuts I made last night… and the night before…..  I looked behind me as Owen trembled, Chris grabbing him so he couldn’t move.

“Citrus! Please! You have so much to live for, please…..”  he sobbed.

I smiled as I rose the rope and started to make a knot, slowly putting it around my neck,  having Jonah telling me to do this stupid dare, I guess it made me feel like it was okay.. But it wasn’t a stupid dare. To me, he was giving me permission to allow me to… fall into a deep long sleep. I could feel tiny droplets of water rolling down my face, once one tear streamed down, many followed. I thought back to when my dad was in my life...and that was it. The way he treated Owen, the way he hurt my Mother...

It all happened so fast, the knot tightened around my neck, allowing me  to collapse to the hard, solid, ground, leaving me gasping for air, my eyes started to drop, “CITRUS! What have you done!” I heard a loud thump, “Don’t ever -thump_ go near - Thump- Citrus AGAIN!!” - Thump- .

Jonah and his friend Chris, swearing and cursing, “Citrus!! I’m sorry, I was just tired of being on the sideline! I wanted your attention. I didn’t think you’d actually do it !I’m sorr-” Hurried Jonah  but ran as I heard muffled police sirens. We could hear Chris chuckling to himself.

Someone was tugging at the ropes around my necks, almost…. loosening them. I felt as the rope slowly slide off my neck, leaving a sharp pain around it.

This time it didn’t feel good, it felt...bad. I felt a sudden burst of life in me. I opened my eyes, they were lifting me up on a stretcher, as they saw me arisen they hurried, but carefully. This was strange why didn’t they talk to me, better yet my neck was slowing down it’s throbbing. My eyes felt sleepy as flashes of light hit the trees and just as my head turned and hit the pillow I saw the tiniest bit of Jonah behind a tree, almost looking melancholy, That must’ve been when I fell asleep. I woke up to the smell of bleach, a sterile environment.

A paramedic and Owen were in the N.Y.C. Ambulance with me, Owen had his phone up to his ear, “Yes she’s alright…..Citrus! yes ….. She’s awake...alright bye.” he hung up. “Citrus! Oh-my-gawd! Are you okay?? I’ve been worried sick! I was just on the phone with your mom! She’ll be there at the Hospital.” he looked anything but mad. I tried to sit up, I felt a jerk.

The paramedic looked at me “Sweetheart, please stay still, we are supplying you some oxygen from this mask, please don't take it off.”  I just layed there not knowing what to do.

I was just wondering how the Ambulance showed up. “Owen?” he glanced at me with worried eyes, and tight lips, “Did you .. or how did you call the Ambulance?” he chuckled. “I have them on speed dial,”  with bright red cheeks he added “Cystic Fibrosis, I have Cystic Fibrosis, when Chris grabbed me, it clicked the button.” I smiled as my cheeks burned. I kinda felt ashamed, all my life i’ve known him but I never knew my best friend had Cystic Fibrosis. Maybe he didn’t like to talk about it? Maybe he didn't find out until recently, Maybe he was waiting for an opportunity to tell me he had Cystic Fibrosis?

I waited until we got the the hospital as they eased the stretcher off the back of the Ambulance and tried not to think about what my mom will do to me while they  wheeled me to a room, as Owen followed right beside me, holding my hand. When we got to a room, there was sign on the door that says : “ Relatives Only!” the paramedic asked if Owen would open the door,  she strolled on through, Owen just stayed there, she turned around and waved him through. Giving him a wink


And there was my mom waiting for me, as we entered a little bit more, I could see all of my family was there!! Even the ones from Kingston, Jamaica. What was going on? Why were they here?  But then I realized why they were here, this weekend was DeShae’s Bachelorette party! Oh Crap! I so horrible, I ruined her Party. My mom wiped my eyes as they started to get puffy and pink. DeShae walked over to me with her beautiful brown and orange dress. Her mascara was running because she has streaks of black stuck to her face. She reached for my hand. “It’s okay now. Shh”

She cooed. “DeShea .. i’m so sorry!! Your party is ruined. It’s all because of….” Deshea snatched her hand away from me and laughed, “Baby… hehe-” she laughed an uncomfortable laugh “The party isn’t ruined!”she said in her Jamaican accent,

“We were all worried sick when Owen called  your mom.” said Glenmore, De’Shea’s Fiance. she glanced at him “I insisted we rush to the hospital to make sure your okay.” she sighed “You know I...we love you and if you ever hurt yourself we would all be devastated. And there's nothing you could ever do to change that….” she paused and leaned close to me “Except ditch my wedding!” she whispered is a voice so low you could hear the whispyness of her breath shaking.

     After that I realized that there will be still be some dark days but my family is here for me, and i’m going to need a lot of therapy. But most of all i’m going to make sure to support my best friend through his Cystic Fibrosis.


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