I was laying down in the grass in the school courtyard, but I didn’t feel like I was at school. The chatter subsided as I began to zone out. I glanced at the tree that was shading both Emma and I. There was a bird, it looked to be a blue jay but I wasn’t exactly a bird expert. I watched as it began to take off and soar in the sky. It’s wings flapping about but smoothly it flew under the clouds. So free that bird was. Maybe I could be a bird someday. Maybe I could fly away from this city and the still opened wounds it left on me and my heart. I didn’t like to be here anymore.
“Ryder,” I blinked a couple of times, realizing I was still in deep conversation with myself when I should really be talking to Emma. “dude you are so out of it.”
“Yeah sorry.” I mumbled, upset by the interruption. I sat up and looked in her brown eyes, they were rather beautiful for brown.
“And I am not just talking today I am talking since you were born.” A cocky grin played on her bubblegum pink lips.
“Yeah, since I was born I was out of the womb.” She rolled her bright brown eyes and I couldn’t help but chuckle. I picked some blades of grass and just let them fall back down. There was really no reasoning I had for doing this, it was just something to do with my hands.
“It’s almost time to go in.” Emma said, also picking blades of grass. She got a whole hand full and ripped them all out of the ground. Once her hand was full of grass I watched as her hand hovered over my chest. She made it rain grass right on top of me. I groaned unnecessarily loud.
“You’re a pain in my ass Emma.” I stated, still allowing the grass to fall from her hands and onto my body.
“And you are so nice to let me do this.” She picked more grass.
“Whatever.” I grumbled.
I heard the bell ring. Every student out in the yard started to head back in, but Emma and I continued to be in our little world. We did this almost every day. Refusing to continue our day. School kind of became dull and I became very interested in what everyone had to say. All anybody did now was pity me anyway. It has been a whole year, and still I get looks of sadness and words of “I’m so sorry”. I know they aren’t really sorry, it was just something to say.
I looked at Emma once more, enjoying her short brown hair whip around in the wind. She was watching the other people walk into the school. I examined her face. Emma had light brown freckles on her face. They were cute and I always would ask her if I could play connect the dots with them. She would slap me and always say no. He nose was small but a little pointed, like a pixies. Her ears were the same way. I noticed right behind her ear was a tattoo of a lily. ‘Lily’ The name replayed in my head. I felt the aching in my chest. the kind of emotional pain, not physical. Emma turned her head to me; I couldn’t see it anymore. “Should we go inside too?” I shook my head, unable to say anything.
I remember when I used to hate lilies. I hated the look of them. I hated how they were so pretty, I hated their name, and I hated that my mother planted them all around our house all because of that night. My mother thought it would mean a great deal if she planted some. It was ridiculous, how could it mean anything. I used to rip them out of the ground every time they bloomed. Let’s just say we don’t plant lilies anymore.
“Do you think I should get it removed?” Emma asked, interrupting my thoughts.
“what?” She pointed at her right ear and I immediately knew what she meant. “Why would you do that?”
“Don’t give me that look.” She commanded. “Every time you see it, you get this gloomy look.”
“Your body, your tattoo. She was your best friend.” I tried not to look at her, but focused my attention on the hem of my pants. I played with a loose thread that was hanging off.
She glances at me, not knowing how to answer to my I-don’t-care attitude. “She was your girlfriend.” She said in a hushed tone.
“She was more than that.” I sighed, answering just as quietly as she had.
It was silent from a few minutes. I knew that now we were both in a sort of unhappy mood, we weren’t going to finish school today. I laid there a little longer before I decided to get up. I was thinking about holding out my hand to help her up, but thought against it. I made my way to the end of the courtyard, where the metal fence stood tall, but clearly not tall enough if Emma and I kept climbing over it during this lunch hour. I could feel Emma’s eyes on me, burning into my back. There is no way she would go the rest of the school day without me.
“Planning on leaving me huh?” Emma said. She was on my left side at this point, grabbing onto the metal bars.
I gave a light smile, even though I knew she couldn’t see it. “Never.”
I hoisted myself over the fence, landing on the the balls of my feet crouched down low. I watched Emma do the same thing, in one swift motion. Her uniform skirt scrunched up higher then particularly necessary. I turned away at that point and headed to my car. Pulling the keys out of my pocket, I unlock the door to my Mustang and get in. Eventually Emma catches up and gets in the passenger's side.
Some people assume that Emma and I are in some sort of relationship, dating some call it. That is very false. Emma and I only became good friends because of Lily. She kind of just brought us together, and after what happened, it brought us even closer. Lily was friends with everyone, but really only had us. With that being said, only we knew the feelings it brought and could only be conforted by the mutual pain we felt. It created some special bond over time because everyone’s pity made us sick. Just friends, we were. I wouldn’t even think of dating Emma.
“Where we going today?” Emma asked.
“Home?” I suggested.
Emma shook her head no. “You haven’t went yet have you.”
It was my turn to shake my head no. I laid my head down on the wheel. I thought about banging my melon on it a couple times but like always, I thought against it. Emma would freak and I didn’t want to bother. “I went yesterday. You know I go every day.”
“Well I haven’t. So take me with you this time.”
I put the key in the ignition and turned it till my car started. We both were silent as I drove to the hospital. I went every day to see Lily there. There wasn’t a time that I missed a day and I hope to never. It’s not like I wanted to not go today, it’s just I wanted to go alone. I always went alone. I guess you could call me selfish since I wanted it to just be me and her but, It was like we still shared this special alone time even if she wouldn’t remember it since she’s in a coma. She has been for a year. I guess you could say it was better than death but, it was still bad.
I parked the car in my usual spot in the front. I locked the door when I made sure Emma was out. She was a little jittery for some reason. “What is it?” I asked, concerned.
“You know how some people say in a year you should be a bit better about the whole thing. Like, you should feel more used to it or whatever?” I nodded slowly “It feels like the first day I am coming to visit.
I nodded my head, I knew what she meant. For loved ones, you still feel that pain. Hell everything was still fresh in my mind, I watched it happen. There was this feeling like I was at fault. I did chase after her. I shook my head. It could've happened to anyone. That night destroyed me. I couldn’t even put into words how I felt. It still destroys me. It is so clear in my thoughts.
* * *
I was in the corner bawled up on the floor. My knees were covering my face. they wouldn’t let me in the room with her. I just wanted to be with her. Lily, Lily baby, I am so so sorry. I replayed that sentence in my head, over and over again. It didn’t feel like enough. Nothing I could do would be enough. I wanted to cry but would feel to weak. I just wanted to hear to talk to me, to sing to me.
None of this felt real to me. I felt like I was in some kind of sick nightmare, like I would wake up next to Lily. Her bright smile greeting me along with something like “Did you sleep well?” or “Did you have sweet dreams?” I missed her already, if that’s weird. I missed her touch. I wanted her to look at me and tell me she loved me.
I heard a loud wale that sounded like a cry. “My baby!” I glanced to my left. It was Lily’s mother she just got here I assume “What happened to my baby?!” She screamed out in sobs. I wouldn’t be surprised if she choked. “Who did this to my baby?”
The man with the red truck was here. When I looked at him, only anger and hatred subsided my sadness. How dare he show his face where he is unwanted most. But he stepped up, red roses in hand. “I am so sorry ma’am. I wasn’t watching where I was going. I should've-” He choked on his words. “Watched where I was going. I shouldn’t of been speeding like that in a neighbourhood.”
“You hurt her you monster!” A little more than a hint of acid was in her voice. I knew if it was legal to kill, he would already be dead. And if not by her, it would be by me. “How dare you!”
“I’ll pay for everything, every doctor bill. I am sorry I am so sorry.” If I could see correctly, there were tears ready to fall in the man’s eyes.
Lily’s mom continued to yell after that, but I ignored it and tucked myself farther into the corner. I watched as the doctor made his way out of the room they placed Lily. I got anxious, I could feel the pain in my chest. My stomach was sick with nerves.
“What’s the news?” Lily’s father asked with worry.
“She’s in a coma.” He said, like it was the most natural thing. I didn’t like how it slid off his tongue too easily. “We do not know when she will wake up.”
“What do you mean you don’t know!” Lily’s mom screamed. I would yell, but I think she was taking care of it for everyone in the hallway.
“I am terribly sorry ma’am but we can’t possibly know when she will wake up.” The doctor still had no worries on his face, like it was this easy to tell a family their daughter might never wake up.
“Honey, they can only do so much.” Mr. Knight told his wife. She had tears in her eyes. She turned and cried into her husband's shoulder, probably soaking his shirt with her tears.
I heard loud footsteps coming from my left. I looked and saw someone sprinting down the hall. It was Emma, Lily’s best friend. As she came closer her face was red and stained with tears just like everyone else.
“Ryder!” She saw me. I don’t know why she had come to me first and not her parents but she bent down to my level anyway to speak to me.
“Ryder I-” She couldn’t get out the words with all the sobs “I am so sorry. I know how much you two love each other.” I didn’t say anything as she placed her hands on my knees, but it hurt worse as she continued to speak. “She would tell me all the time about you. How much she adored and loved you. I know it wasn’t some puppy love junk. You guys were the real deal.” She sniffled.
I felt the tears threaten to fall. “It’s okay to cry.” She told me. “You don’t have to be strong for anyone. I know you love her and I know it hurts. It should hurt just as much as her parents feel it hurts. It should hurt in all kinds of different ways then they know. She is your soul mate Ryder.”
I didn’t want to hear her talk anymore. Tears began to fall before I knew what was even happening. The love of my life was in a hospital bed unable to wake up.
“I love her so much.” I said in a whisper, hugging my legs and crying.
* * *
“Ryder, we are here.” Emma nudged my arm. We were standing in front of room 211. Emma grabs the handle and enters the room. Laying in the hospital bed was my beautiful sunshine. I could already feel the pain in my chest increase. She looked lifeless, and that scared me a lot. i hated walking in to her not smiling up at me.
“Hey Lily.” Emma said softly, taking a seat by the bed. I could see pain in her eyes but she tried to stay smiling. “You’ll never guess but me and Ryder skipped school again.”
I always thought it was weird how people talked to coma peasants, but now I understand why they do it. “Don’t be mad, but we did it for you.” I half smiled.
“We are rebels now!” Emma cheered. “Sometimes I don’t even wear my uniform correctly anymore.”
I laughed at that. “Oh whatever, you go by all the rules!”
Emma rolled her eyes. “Anyway, I am going to get a new tattoo. It is going to be the word rebel.”
“Bullshit.” I chuckled. “You wish you were a rebel. I am a real rebel. Check it, babe, last week I got detention.” It wasn’t hard getting detention at our school.
‘Ohhhh Mr. Bad Boy over here. So slick. OHHH!” Emma shouted. I was sure the nurse would come in here to tell us to shut up.
“Listen here sunshine,” I started, looking at Lily, “I am way bad. I am even getting a motorcycle soon.”
Emma paused to look at me. “You are what?”
I nodded my head yes with a wild grin. “Rebel.” I mouthed.
“There is no why your parents are letting you get a motorcycle and there is no way I am riding on that Ryder.”
“Who said I would let you on the back of it?” I snorted.
“You’re my only ride!” She yelled.
I shrugged it off, looking at Lily. I leaned over and placed a hand on hers. I missed her holding my hand. I missed having her in conversations. Just then the the nurse walked in. Her name was Candy and she was the sweetest, no pun intended.
“I am sorry you two but ya’ll have to go.” She gave a saddened smile.
“Couple more minutes?” Emma asked.
Just then my phone went off, it was a text from my mom telling me to get home.
“I’ll give you five, but that is all I can offer.” Candy said, checking all the machines Lily was hooked to.
“I have to go.” I said to Emma. I got up and kissed Lily on the forehead. “You can have your girl time.” I laugh and walked out the door with one more glance at Lily’s beautiful face.