He never saw it coming.
The first day back to school after the cold winter break and all he could think about was getting back to class to see the friends he had not seen in 2 weeks. What he really wanted was to see her again. He saw her dark brown eyes in his dreams. Each night they stared back at him, accenting a smile that shined brighter than the moon. Her voice was a sweet bird song on a warm spring day and filled him with warmth in the harsh Chicago winter. He knew he’d have to wait until at least 3rd period to see her. It was hours away, but it gave him butterflies. He wondered what she’d be wearing. It was only 15 degrees today and that Chicago Hawk was cutting through the city and surrounding suburbs like a blunt instrument striking a skull. Maybe she’d wear that purple sweater again…the V-neck with those black jeans. He smiled at the thought, and the butterflies increased as he neared the intersection separating him from the school…and from her. He saw the light change and stepped into the street. If it were warmer, and no one were looking, he may have skipped.
But he never saw it coming.
The thoughts of her that filled his mind, heart, and soul were quickly interrupted by the excruciating pain of the metal object upon him. He went down quickly, but kept moving. There was an oppressive weight upon him and a searing heat. Whatever it was that struck him…he was underneath it…and they were both still moving. He struggled to get free, to roll away…he screamed as loud as he could for the driver to stop. The pain was unbearable and the fear of the unknown, the fear of…something worse invaded his thoughts. What if he came free and the car continued to move forward only to find him in the path of the vehicle directly behind it? What if they came upon something in the road that would cause more damage…strike him in the head…the eye…take a limb?
He screamed…at least he thought he was. He was pleading for the vehicle to come to a stop. Every inch, every foot, every yard brought with it a new pain and a new fear. He needed it to end. One way or another he needed it to end.
And finally…it did.
As the vehicle spun out to the side he slid and rolled from underneath it. His eyes were hazy but he finally found himself staring straight up in a rested position. He was laying upon his back, his backpack beneath him and the ground below. He felt the tiny droplets of rain upon his face. The cool wetness was a welcome contrast to the heat he’d just felt and continued to feel all over his body. Disoriented, he looked around, uncertain about his location and in disbelief about what had just occurred. He’d been struck by a car. No…not a car…a pick up truck. He could see it as he turned his head. He could see it as he watched a man exit the driver’s side and move toward him. He wanted to say something, but he was speechless. He heard voices…multiple voices. A man…the driver…a woman…among many others. It was like a small symphony with a tone deaf conductor.
The pain in his right leg was unlike anything he’d ever known. It was as if a vice was tightening around it. As he regained some of his bearings he tried to move. He rolled to the side in an attempt to stand but was stopped by the sensation of movement…extra movement in his right leg. He reached down to touch it, and it was twice the size it had been. It was swollen. He rolled back to his resting position again and felt that movement once more…inside his leg. It felt as if two needles were moving. Moving against his muscles, his nerves…his flesh. Moving against each other.
No…not needles. Bone!
An entirely new fear swept through him. His heart was racing and again all he heard were voices. Some were soothing, some were interrogative, and still others were just bits and pieces of noise. He tried to calm himself, but with all the sounds, the rain, the heat, the pain…all he felt was alone in a time of crisis. He needed to relax and regroup. He needed to respond to the questions so they knew what was happening. He’d heard sirens and thought one of the voices was that of a police officers. Surely he could respond to him. He needed to do something. He needed to say something.
He needed her!
He thought of her. Her skin and the way her walk was more of a glide across the floor…and the sweet scent of the perfume she wore. When she walked by, visions of sweet flowers growing in an oceanside garden danced in his head. The beauty of it filled him with happiness…with hope…and with love. He thought of her and his heart slowed down. Looking straight up he smiled and let the rain continue to fall on his face. There was no more pain in his leg, no more fear, no more loud voices. Just the wonderful warm sensation of her and his love for her. A love that she didn’t know existed. He continued to think of her through the second set of sirens. Paramedics had arrived to take him away. He would be taken care of…patched up…and sent on his way for another chance. She didn’t know how he felt.
But she would now.