This is a regular column featuring original poetry and fiction by and for teens, provided by Figment, the online community writing site for young readers and writers.
By Lucy Shifflett
She doesn't stand out. She isn't tall. She isn't blonde. She doesn't wear the latest fashions or have the most seductive eyes. It's almost ironic that she is named for a flower that symbolizes beauty. If someone had to describe Rosalie, cute would be a more appropriate word.
Her hair is caramel colored and reaches her shoulders. Her eyes are dark brown and almond shaped. I've always thought Rosalie's eyes are her best feature. She is only five foot three. Rosalie is an artist; always stuck in her garage covering canvases with her brush. She is fairly quiet around most people and suffers through a pathological fear of reptiles. Like most girls, she is insecure. She loves sunsets and hates the rain.
She is my best friend.
Our mothers had been close friends all throughout middle and high school. After graduation, my mother married her high school sweetheart and Rosalie's mother married her long distance boyfriend. They soon found, only three months apart, that they were pregnant. Both friends hoped for daughters. However, a few months later my mother found that she was instead pregnant with a son. Soon after, Rosalie was born.
We became the best of friends. I'm her study partner, her advisor. She's my confidante, my constant. We question and debate life together. We prank the post man and stalk the shoppers of Willman's together. She drags me to the chick flicks and art museums. I make her wait in line for the midnight release of each and every sci-fi movie.
"What if it was true though?" She had asked me one evening.
I remember turning my head from its position facing the stars. She was lying in the grass next to me with her hands folded on her stomach. Her forehead had been crinkled with concentration and her eyes watched me questioningly.
"Well," I began, "I guess it would mean we aren't as high and mighty as we think. Either that or we would all be used as slaves when they took over the planet."
She chuckled and turned back to the sky taking in the innumerable amount of twinkling lights, eyes still filled with fascination.
"Everything doesn't have to end badly, Luke," she said quietly.
"Even alien invasions?" I aske
"Even alien invasions," she whispered without turning, a small smile on her lips.
I realized I was in love with her four months ago. When I was certain only one word went through my head. Typical. But being the pessimist that I am, I saw every reason not to tell her. I was able to find every excuse to persuade her from dating Michael Finley, but she had laughed and told me I was being ridiculous.
"But, Rose, he's like obsessed with dragons," I reasoned.
"What's that have to do with anything?" She asked, chuckling.
"You hate reptiles," I answered.
She had looked at me with an odd mix of frustration and amusement.
"Dragons aren't real," she laughed.
"Still," I returned, having realized it was hopeless.
Nevertheless, Rosalie accepted his offer. Soon thereafter, Michael Finley drove his newly acquired girlfriend to Jamie Lynn's homecoming party, and then, an hour after midnight he got into the driver's seat, completely drunk. When I think about it, I still don't know how he was able to persuade Rosalie into getting in the car, or if she was even able to recognize a drunk person.
I hadn't been there. I could have stopped him from taking her home. I don't know how, but in some way I might have been able to prevent the accident. In effect, three miles from the townhouse where Rosalie lived, Michael Finley crashed into another vehicle, because he drove straight through a red light. I can almost picture Rosalie's face, filled with fear, as she saw the incoming car. Upon impact, his junky Toyota spun out of control and made contact again with the opposite vehicle on the passenger side, her side. The driver of the other car was killed; the little boy in the backseat left fatherless. Michael walked away with a few cuts and bruises and a bad hangover right before being arrested. Rosalie was sent into a coma.
I stand over her hospital bed. For the past two weeks the hospital has become a second home, the dedication has left me feeling drained. Our parents are sitting in the hallway crying their eyes out. The doctor is honest with us; he doesn't think she will make it. I see that she looks emotionless. I brush strands of hair away from her eyelids. A heart monitor on the opposite side of the bed beeps steadily, reassuring me that she is still alive.
Without checking I already know that my eyes are red and swollen; run dry of any remaining tears.
I know she won't make it because I am a pessimist and that's what I do: think of the worst. The difference this time, though, is that the worst is very probable. I hear the steady beep from the monitor start to slow down. I watch the screen in fear as the mountain range of red line begins to look more like a hillside.
"No," I choke.
I can feel the life leaving her. I grab her frail and injured arms and shake her. I'm quite certain you're not supposed to shake a coma patient, but I found myself doing it out of desperation.
"Don't leave me," I whisper, eyes welling with tears.
The little points of hope on the heart monitor start growing fewer and farther between. My eyes burn and my heart drops.
"I love you," I whisper, sounding pathetic.
Then I felt something compel me to place my hands on her shoulders and lean down, putting my lips on her cold, almost lifeless ones. It isn't romantic, it’s desperate. The last thing I expect to happen is her eyes to open. I guess, though, everyone is blessed with a miracle now and again.
I pull back and widen my eyes in shock as her eyelids slowly crack open. The beeping returns to a steady pace.
"Luke?" Her frail voice questions.
I'm speechless as she stares back at me, looking helpless and innocent.
"You're alive," I gasp in wonder.
I pull her closer to me and begin swarming her in a fit of desperate kisses. She doesn't pull away until the door to her room opens, the creak of the wood echoing throughout the little room. As the nurse runs to the monitor, checking her heart rate, Rosalie looks at me in confusion.
"What's going on?" Rosalie asks, her voice hoarse and cheeks red with embarrassment.
"Rosie?" I hear her mother call behind me.
Her mother runs into the room, right past me, and embraces her daughter. Grateful sobs shake her body. Rosalie's father pulls his wife and daughter into his arms and my mother wipes away tears of joy, watching from the doorway.
I see a gap emerge between her parents and so I lean down and put my mouth next to her ear, nearly laughing with relief, "You've just been fast asleep."