“Sara, can you hear me?”
“She’s conscience now, Sara?”
“People, stand back, we need room to work.”
“Hello, Sara, look at me honey.”
“Her eyes are dilated, can we get this room cleared out.”
“I’m her friend, let me through!”
“Sir, stand back, you can see her when we’re done.”
Oh the lights, everything is so bright, where am I? It’s so cold, my head hurts. There’s the flashlight, ‘get that out of my face’.
“There we go, Sara can you tell me where you are?”
“um- I think-, I’m in class.”
“Okay, good, can you sit up honey? There we go. Slowly.”
“Her vitals look good, wanna tell us what happened?”
“I don’t’ know, I haven’t eaten much.”
“Ma’am can you stand up, or do you want the gurney?”
“No, I’m good, I can stand.” Slowly the paramedics help me to my feet, ‘oh fuck my knee.’
“What’s going on with your knee, ma’am?”
“I fell yesterday, I’m okay.” I stabilize myself. I can see again, the haze is lifting and I start to walk out of the class. I pass all my classmates as they all wait in the hallway. They clear away creating a path towards the ambulance. Everyone’s face is scared, curious, all wanting answers but, I don’t know how I will face anyone again.
“Sara!”, slowly I turn and I see Allen. I signal that I’m alright but continue towards the ambulance. Once there, the paramedics sit me on the back of the truck, they continue to check my vitals and the endless questions. God, why did I faint? Stupid question I know. They know where I am. I don’t know what I am going to do now. I can’t call my parents, they have just moved on. I’m all alone.
“Ma’am, we suggest you go to the hospital for more testing, but it’s your call.”
“I’m okay now, thank you.”
“Do you have someone you can call to take you home?”
“Umm-.” Suddenly Allen peers into my line of sight, “I’ll take her home.” The paramedic eyes me and I nod reassuringly.
“Ok Ma’am, just take some Ibuprofen for the headache, you hit your head pretty good. Get lots of rest.”
“Yes sir, thank you.” With that, the paramedics packed up and drive off, leaving me to recuperate. I hobble off to a bench close by, and I feel Allen follow me.
“Man, you sure know how to clear a room.” Sitting next to me, his gaze never leaves my face. I’m sure he’s trying to read me, but I’m no book anyone can pry open. I’ve had years of practice keeping everything locked away. Allen sits silently, I can feel his anxiety growing with how much he’s rubbing his hands together. My head’s still pretty dizzy, but my adrenaline has gone down enough for me to feel the throbbing in my head. Focusing on my converse, I try to muster up a conversation, but words fail me.
“When ever you’re ready to go home, let me know.”
I don’t answer back, my voice just isn’t home. After a few minutes, I nod and with that Allen fishes out his cell phone and calls a cab. One of the few benefits of this small town is that taxis arrive within ten minutes. Once it does arrive, Allen opens the door to the back seat and I gently ease my way in. He closes the door and makes his way to the other side and sits next to me.
“Head North down Webster, and make a left.”
“You got it.” The driver switches the car into drive and pulls away from the courtyard.
“At Marcus St., the house will be on the left, it’s the grey one.”
I sit silently the entire ride, my mind still can’t wrap around the fear in my heart. They now where I am. After all this time, how did they find me? I knew I burned every tie I had, I knew I did everything to make sure I just vanished, there’s just no way.
“Sara.” My thoughts interrupted, “come, let’s get you inside.” He holds out a hand for me, and I take it. Once I’m standing on my own, Allen pays the cab in cash and thanks him. The cab backs out of the drive and heads down the road. Allen turns towards me, “can you walk inside?” I nod slowly and I reach in my pocket for my keys. He gently takes them from me and walks with me to the front door. My knee doesn’t hurt so much now, so walking is a bit easier.
Unlocking the door he follows me inside. I make my way to the sofa and sit down.
“Hey, do you want some water?”
“Umm, yes please, the glasses are in the right cupboard”. I try not to focus too much on Allen as he moves about in my kitchen, but my eyes drift to his shoulders and the way his muscles move underneath his black long-sleeved shirt. He fills the glass with tap water and before he turns around I gaze back at my feet, transfixed on the color of my white converse.
“Here you go”. I reach for the glass and we both eye my shaking hand as I reached to grasp the cup. Slowly, I bring the cup to my lips and sipped the water. The liquid flowed ever so welcoming down my dry throat. Downing the water rather quickly, I gasp for a breath.
“What are you even doing here?”
“Sorry, I’m not trying to be rude, it’s just, I’m not doing to well right now, and I barely know you.” You look down at your hands and begin to rub them together for a bit. You begin to scare me with the longer you keep silent.
“You may think I’m weird, but-“, you lift your gaze from you hands to my eyes,”I can’t seem to shake you, something about you.”
“What do you mean?”
“I guess, it’s stupid, but when I ran into you the other day, I don’t know it’s just something about you, I like.”
“Oh.” I break our gaze and stare into the empty glass in my hands.
“I’d say I’ll leave, but I don’t want to”, I glance at him and my eyes widen a bit and you notice,”I didn’t mean anything by that, I’m just worried about you.”
Freaked out, I just stare back at my glass. I don’t know what to say, my head is still rather hazy, and I can’t process your words.
“Look, I’m sorry if I’m scaring you, maybe I should go.” Quickly you head for the door and open it to escape.
“Wait, umm, can you stay for a bit?”
I can see your thoughts running through you mind. You close the front door, still you stand with you hand on the door knob. I can’t hear your thoughts, but I know your trying to find your next words.
“Come over here, sit next to me.” Breaking you reverie, you look up at me and slightly smirk. I feel like it’s your way of showing me thanks for not throwing you out. I can feel my throat dry as you make your way to the couch. You don’t sit next to me, but instead you sit on the couch to my right. You place your elbows on your knees and stare down at your feet. I can’t help but stare at your face, I can see you tightening your jaw. Without thinking I spill the beans.
“To be honest, there’s something about you too-.” You pick up your head and stare at me almost in disbelief, “something, I like too.”
“I hope I don’t freak you out more, but I feel like I know you.”
“What do you mean?” I’m genuinely curious, because how can anyone possibly think they know me? All my years of hiding, people can never figure me out. You’ve spike my interest.
“I don’t know what it is, but I feel it in my core, that you need me.”
“Wow, that’s rather bold of you to say.”
“Well, like I said, I don’t know, I just have this feeling.” You sit back and cross your arms. I know I’ve offended you, but I don’t mean to. I just don’t know that I can trust you yet.
“I’m sorry, I’ve just had a rough day, and I think I need a nap.”
“Well, like I said before still stands, I worry about you and I don’t want to leave unless I know you are okay.”
“Fine, you can stay here, but you are not allowed in my room.” I stand as quickly as I can, but I still disorient myself and almost fall over. Just as I am about to fall I feel your strong hands grip my upper arms and steady me.
“Can I at least help you to your room?”
“No.” I limp over to my room and shut the door. I contemplate locking it, but a part of me wants to feel like an actual human being genuinely cares for me. So ignoring every fiber telling me to lock it, I leave it alone and head over to my bed.
I feel the heat consume my body, I try to pull the covers off but my arms don’t respond. Panic doesn’t set in just yet, so I test me legs, but they lay there with no response. Then I hear someone enter my room.
“Hello again pretty thing.” Oh no, not you, it can’t be, “Remember, keep quiet and it’ll go soo much smoother.”
No! Please no! Not this again. I can’t handle this, someone help me. ‘SOMEONE HELP ME PLEASE!’
“Sara! Sara! Wake up!” I feel someone shaking me, but my eyes refuse to open.
“Sara! Wake up! It’s just a dream.” Finally my eyes spring open and I see Allen frantically searching my eyes. Aware of my body now, I realize that I had been crying in my sleep and that I am once again drenched in sweat. Slowly I sit up and pull my knees up to my chest, wincing at the pain caused by hugging my knees. Allen sits at the edge of the bed gauging my appearance.
“Care to share what you were dreaming about?”
“No.” I say almost shouting, “It was just a nightmare.” I fist my eyes trying to wipe away all signs of tears, trying to sniffle what’s left, but I just begin to sob uncontrollably. What is going on with me, I cannot be breaking like this. Clearing my face of my fiery strands I take a deep breath.
“Would you like some water?” I nearly forgot Allen had been sitting on my bed staring at me. Crazy enough, huh?
“No, I need something stronger.” I stand, I begin searching for my slippers, “If you really care, like you say, then there are some things we need to talk about.” I slip on my furry, grey slippers and walk out of the room. Allen doesn’t hesitate to follow right behind me. At the fridge I grab two beers and pop the caps off. Handing one to Allen I head to the couch and plop right down. Allen makes his way to the couch on the right while I slug down some beer. I take a tissue from the box sitting on the table next to me, I stare at it then blow my nose. I take another swig of beer and toss the rolled up tissue onto the floor.
“Be honest, why do you even care?” I say making no eye contact. Continuing to stare at my beer I ask the million dollar question,”what makes you so special that I’d let you in?” You sit there staring at the floor boards almost scared, then look at me with pain.
“This is going to freak you out, but-.” You take a deep breath, “I’ve seen you before, but in New York, only you had dark hair.” I can just feel the lump in my throat, I could just throw up. The color drains even more from my face and the bottle almost slips from my hands. Squeezing the bottle tighter to keep it from falling, I swallow and just stare at you hoping you will say something.
“I saw you there.” You break our gaze and stare at the bottle, “with this dirty looking guy, and I saw him pulling you and throw you into a van.” You sit up and throw back what I guess is your first swig of beer. “Thing is, I knew you didn’t want to go, so I tried to run across the street to get to you, I just couldn’t get through.”
I sit there as emotionless as I can, but all my fear and aching sadness is trying to force it’s way through. I bite my lower lip as a last resort to hang onto the last of my bearings.
“I swore I’d never forget your face, this happened what, like five years ago. I promised that if I ever saw you again I’d never let you go.” Again you sip your beer, then just stare at the floor. My chest is so tight and I grab at the neck of my sweater and tug at it gently. The lump in my throat getting bigger, so I inhale deeply then finish off my beer.
“I promise you, I really did try to get to you, but Time Square is a bitch during lunch.”
“You can’t hold yourself to a promise like that, especially for a stranger.”
“Someone took my kid sister a few years back and she turn up dead, I couldn’t let it go. Then when I saw you.” I could see the anger come over you, it radiated so strongly as you tightened your jaw.
“How did you do it? I mean, how did you get away?”
“Trust me, I don’t think you’d still be here if I told you and I’d rather not relive it.” I stand up and walk over to the fridge. “Need another beer?”