“Watch out,” Fourteen-year-old Emmy called out, her voice nearly lost in her laughter.
Mason was laughing, too, “Alright!”
Emmy squinted and shaded her eyes with her hands, still staring a Mason, who was halfway up the oak tree in Emmy’s front-yard. Mason’s friends: Christian and Carson, were up in the tree, too.
Mason made his way higher and higher up the tree, and Emmy studied the landscaping of her front yard. On the ground, around the tree, little flowers bloomed. The grass was bright green and taller in some areas and needed a good mowing…
The sound of a hand scraping against a branch and a muffled scream caused Emmy to look up suddenly. She watched with wide eyes and dropped jaw as Mason fell from the tree to the ground with a loud thud.
“Well, I’m afraid he may never walk again.” The doctor told them very straight-forward.
Emmy, Christian, Carson, and Mason’s family along with a few other of Mason’s friends were crowded in the small waiting room of the Oakville Medical Hospital. It was a small room, faintly lit by one light-bulb in the middle of the room. It smelled like dust. The walls were painted gray and the linoleum was black and white. There were 5 chairs in the corner by a table with a stack of magazines.
Emmy stopped breathing, twisting a piece of her long golden-brown hair. Her light-blue summer dress and flip-flops could barely be seen because of the poor lighting. Christian put his arm around her and whispered, “I’m sorry,” in her ear.
She pushed him away; she didn’t want to think about anything now- except Mason.
They’d dated for a year, but known each other since they were babies. Emmy loved Mason whole-heartedly. This never should’ve happened.
“Can I see him?” she asked the doctor.
The doctor nodded.
Emmy was led to a small door, which revealed an even smaller room. There was one hospital bed. The window was mostly shaded, but just un-covered enough to allow some moonlight to pour through, illuminating Mason’s pale face.
Emmy flipped on the lamp on the table. Mason looked up at her; thank God he hadn’t hit his head.
“Hey Em,” Mason forced a weak smile.
Emmy’s expression stayed grim. “I’m sorry,” she told him, tears forming in her eyes.
“For what? It’s not your fault!”
“I know, but…”
“But, nothing, it’s just my leg. I’ll be out of here tomorrow with a wheelchair and go on living my life!” He shouted.
Emmy stayed quiet. She was kneeling beside his bed now.
The next day, Mason was released from the hospital. In a wheelchair. He was paralyzed from the waist down. Emmy held her tears back as she pushed him out of the hospital.
For weeks, Emmy would take him on walks. Down to the harbor was his favorite place to walk. There was a long dock she would push him out on.
One day, she walked him down the harbor, and then stopped when they reached the end. She wheeled him around to face her. She bent down close to his face. Her breath slowed. She leaned in closer, “I love you,” she whispered quietly. Then she kissed him. For minutes they just stayed like that. Then Emmy sighed and stood back up.
“Emmy!” someone called suddenly loudly from down the street. “Emmy! Come here!”
“I’ll be right back,” she said to Mason. She ran down the end of the dock and looked around. There were a few little restaurants. She looked behind them, between them, and everywhere, but couldn’t find the person that’d been calling her. She grimaced and ran back down the dock to Mason.
But Mason wasn’t there, just his wheelchair. She looked around confused and stared dead-straight into the water. A scream caught in the back of her throat. She tried to call for help but couldn’t.
Mason had fallen in. Emmy couldn’t face the truth. Mason was gone. This time for good.