I knew from the way she her breathing was heavy and forceful that she wouldn’t make it if the ambulance didn’t get here soon. Every inhale was a loud wheeze and every exhale was a thud onto the cold dirt. “It’s going to be okay,” I said even though I knew she couldn’t hear me. I would have better luck talking to the horses across the field then I would communicating with her in this state. Then again, I didn’t want to talk to the horses. Or at least one of them. He had caused this. He had trampled her. He had tried to kill my best friend.
A tear made its way down my cheek and I could feel the winter air try and turn the trail it had made into ice. I wiped it away as quick as I could. I didn’t want her to see me cry, even if her eyes were closed. I wanted her to think it was all going to be okay. It all was going to be okay. It had to be. I couldn’t lose my best friend. The ambulance would get here any minute and everything would be better again. It was the waiting that was killing her, that was killing us both.
I heard a scratchy moan come from her lips. It was the worst sound I had ever heard. “It’s going to be okay,” I repeated, trying to sound certain. She groaned again. I looked at the way her legs were turned the wrong way, how her chest appeared almost caved in, and listened to the way each breath sounded like it would be her last. She must be in so much pain. I just wanted to pull her into a hug and let her know we were going to get through this. We got through everything together, but I couldn’t do that. I wasn’t supposed to move her and I didn’t know that it was going to be okay. I didn’t know anything anymore, certainly not how to deal with death.
“Hey, remember that time we skipped class to see Twilight?” I asked in an attempt to distract her. Her body rose and fell in reply. “I was so afraid we would get caught and you told me to suck it up…that we only live once, that we had to make the best of these sorts of opportunities while we still could. Do you remember that?” I knew better than to expect a reply. Water formed in my eyes again and this time when the tears spilled down my cheeks, I just let them. She knew I wasn’t as strong as she was. She would understand that I was even more terrified than I had been when the school called my parents to tell them that I hadn’t been in class that day.
Her body rose and fell with such a thud that some dirt flew up around her. I stared at her through my tears, waiting to see some sign of life but she just laid there on the dirt. There was no more wheezing, no more rising and falling, no more anything. Now my tears were uncontrollable. I buried my face in the sleeve of her jacket and sobbed for what felt like hours but I knew must have only been a few moments. “Why did you have to leave me?” I asked, sitting up again. I shook her lifeless body, and demanded that she return at once –that she come back to life. I needed her. I let her body fall to the ground one last time as the ambulance arrived with emergency responders who confirmed what I already knew: my best friend wasn’t coming back.