I am going to begin where any good tale starts; the beginning. My name is Garth Ambrose. I was born October 30th, 1993, which makes the year that I’m writing this the year I turn eighteen, 2011. When I was born my mother gave me up for adoption so I never knew her or my real father. My parents didn’t want to see me, for reasons I do not know. I know my mother’s first name is Meredith, and my father’s is James. I don’t know their last names or even the town that I was born in. I grew up bouncing between fosters homes, always thinking could this be the house I will stay? It never was. The adoption agent would come take me away. I never settled in a place too long, not because I was a problem child; I didn’t get into fights at school, I always did as I was told, and was as well behaved as possible. I just wanted a family to call my own.
When I was fifteen a nice couple finally adopted me. They had a daughter about my age, thirteen. I never felt anything for this girl. She was blond with big blues and long legs, just coming into her adulthood features. For some reason I wasn’t attracted to her like all the boys in our school. Maybe because I always thought of her as sister? I don’t know. I went through the next two years happy that I actually had a family that loved and cared for me. I got straight A’s, eventually made it too all honors then advanced placement classes. I was a natural genius I guess you could say, but that didn’t stop what was coming.
I didn’t feel anything strange at first. Everything was the same as it had always been. My parents got up and went about their business, getting me and my sister up for school. She got the bathroom first so I went to the kitchen and ate my breakfast, just like every morning. Nothing was unusual about it. It was May 4th, 2008, just a normal day getting ready for school. When my sister came out of the bathroom, I snuck in and began my morning ritual. Everything was just as it was supposed to be.
After completing everything, which included making my bed before school, we all gathered in the family car, a 1995 blue Buick. My sister and I were in the back, my parents were in the front, my dad driving. (There is a difference between father and dad, mother and mom. A father and mother make a child, a mom and dad raise that child.) The radio was turned low so we could have a healthy family conversation about problems at school or even within the home. There was never any tension between my sister and I, we were simply siblings with a few things in common, and even a friend or two. We got along wonderfully. Same thing with my parents; in the two years I had lived with them we have never been in a fight. We simply coexisted comfortably with the four of us. It was a nice house to live in and I didn’t want to screw it up like all the foster child did in every home I had always been in. I had learned from their mistakes.
We were stopped at a red light when my sister punched me lightly in the arm. “Garth, you’re so funny. I’m glad Mom and Dad adopted you. I couldn’t have a better big brother. I love you.”
I looked at her, surprised by the sudden display of affection. Like I said we were simply siblings and friends. We never showed affection toward each other than what was polite. It was something we silently agreed on, because that how siblings were. And I think she thought I was mentally damaged, and that’s why foster parents wouldn’t adopt me, when truly nobody knew the reason why they didn’t want me, not even the foster parents. I smiled after my initial shock. “I love you too, Sara-Beth.” I noticed our parents smiling at us. It was then the semi-truck smacked into us. Sara-Beth screamed as the truck hit from the driver side, where my dad and I sat. My dad stuck his hand out to protect my mom as we rolled. Our school bags flew all over and I grabbed Sara-Beth’s hand as she screamed. I squeezed my eyes shut and listened to the screeching of tires and the scraping of metal as our car tumbled over itself. I don’t how many times we flipped but it seemed like an eternity. I heard screaming that wasn’t my sister’s, it wasn’t my mom’s, or my dad’s. I realized it was me. I was screaming as loud as I could.
I opened my eyes as we flipped one more time I looked at my family. The car was on its side, Sara-Beth and my mom leaning against their doors. Everybody was all cut up and bleeding. I grabbed ahold of the Oh-Shit Handle before I opened my door. I took my seatbelt off and climbed out of the car. A man was running down the embankment. “Oh shit, son! Are you and family okay? I didn’t see you guys. Oh my god. I’m so sorry.”
“Can we get them out?” I asked, looking at the dented car. “Can we get them out of the car?” The man was now in front of me, grabbing my shoulders. “Can we get my family out of the car?” I repeated.
“Son, I don’t know what you’re saying.” He said. “You need to come down and quit yelling.” The guys face was red and he was sweating.
“I WANT TO GET MY FAMILY OUT OF THE CAR!!” I screamed, pushing the man away and going back to the car. I yanked open the driver side door. “Help me!” I ordered. “Call 9-1-1!” The man grabbed my shoulders and pulled me back. I fought him, trying to get to my family. I just wanted my family out of the car. The action movies where cars blow up kept popping up in my mind.
“I’ll do it, son, calm down. Here’s my cellphone. You call 9-1-1.” He handed a small device, which I flipped open and dialed in. I watched the guy remove my dad.
“Be careful with my sister. She’s only thirteen and I think she hit her head.” I said, sounding frantic. I heard the other line pick.
“9-1-1. What is your emergency?” The voice was kind and belonged to a woman. It was all professional and cold, like the fact that somebody was calling 9-1-1 didn’t bother her. “Hello? 9-1-1, what is your emergency?” She said, concerning coming through a little.
“There was a car accident. I was in the car. The car is rolled over. My family is still in it.” I said, my voice raising a few octaves.
“What is your name?”
“My name? My name is Garth Ambrose.”
“Alright, Garth. Where did the accident happen?”
“On 72nd, going toward the high school.” I answered. The man was now getting my mom out of the car. He had laid them side by side as far from the car as he could. I bit my lip and tasted blood. I kept my eyes on the man as he walked to me. He asked for the phone so I handed it to him and ran to my family. They were all breathing, but Sara-Beth’s was shallow. “Make them hurry!” I nearly screeched, kneeling between my mom and sister. I pulled Sara-Beth’s head into my laptop. I realized a few hours later this was when I knew she wasn’t going to make it. She had blood all over her, and her head was bleeding on to my jeans. I didn’t know until later that she had a concussion. Her head had smacked and cracked the window. I pushed her hair back from her face. “At least I said I love you.” I quietly told her. I looked at my parents. Their breathing seemed normal. I grabbed my mom’s hand and squeezed it. Her hand remained limp in mine.
I heard sirens in the distance before I realized that I hadn’t moved, my hand still grasping my mom’s and Sara-Beth’s head still bleeding in my lap. I had started crying at one point, probably a long time before the sirens sounded because the blood was nearly gone from my sister’s forehead. The paramedics took my parents my first, then my sister. I rode in the same ambulance as her so the paramedics could check me out. The police followed us to the station. The whole while I was with Sara-Beth I never once took my eyes off of her. She was my sister. The only sibling that I knew, the only I had ever had.
The doctors came and went from my room, and soon the police were brought in to question me. “Do you know anything about my family?” I asked. They shook their heads.
“No. They don’t tell us that. We came to ask you about the accident.” One said, his brown eyes looking sad, like he pitied me. I looked at them.
“The accident?” I asked, then it all came back. The crash. The rolling. The blood. Oh God, there was so much blood. “My family! Are they okay?” I asked, getting up. “Is my family okay? Are they alive? What about Sara-Beth?” I tried to walk out of the room but the officers stopped me.
“It’d be wise for you stay here, so the doctors can make sure you’re okay.” The second one, blue eyes, told me. I tried to push past them. “Kid, you need to stay here.”
“No! My family needs me!” I started to struggle against them, and a nurse came in. She gave me a sedative. I tried to fight it off, but eventually it won and I was lead back to the bed. I grabbed the nurse. “My family. Where are they?”
“They’re in the ICU. Please, rest and you can see them when you’ve calmed down.” I shook my head, trying to speak but my body didn’t work, it wouldn’t move when I told it too. “Get some rest, Garth. They’ll be okay.” I wanted to make her promise, make her swear to me that my family would be alive when I woke up, but my eyes were too heavy to keep open. They slammed shut and I was pledged with nightmares of the car-crash. Of my family dropping dead all around me. Just standing there talking, the next I was alone, Sara-Beth, Mom, Dad, all laying around me soaked in blood. All the blood.
I jumped awake and looked around my empty, dark hospital room. I sat up, feeling dizzy and fuzzy from the sedative. A nurse walked by the door and I rushed out to her. She looked startled. “My family. Where’s my family?”
“What’s your name?”
“Garth Ambrose. My mom’s name is Adrianna Ambrose, my dad is Michael Ambrose, my sister is Sara-Beth Ambrose. We were in a car accident. Where are they?” I asked. “The other nurse said I could see them once I woke up. Take me to them.” The nurse looked at me, a little worried by hooked her finger and turned down the way she came. I followed her right into the ICU. She pointed to a little room where my parents were, bandaged around their arms, their heads propped up. My dad looked at me. I rushed in.
“Garth.” He said, seeming to struggle. “You’re okay. Thank God you’re okay.” I smiled, tears pouring out of my eyes.
“I was so worried about you, Dad. Is Mom okay?” He nodded. “What about Sara-Beth? How is Sara-Beth?”
“I haven’t heard anything. Maybe the nurse knows?” He asked, looking at the girl in the door way. She nodded and asked me to follow her again.
“I’ll be back, Dad.” I promised. I walked behind the nurse as she took me down a series of hallway, and an elevator.
She kept her eyes forward. “I’m not supposed to do this, you know? But you’re young, you’re a big brother. Your sister came in with a concussion and the doctors immediately when to work on her. She had gotten the worse of the crash, and they did everything. I mean everything. I’ve never seen them work so hard on a person before. Your father must be an important person.”
“He’s not my father.” I whispered. “He’s my dad. I don’t know my father.” The doors slid open and I resumed my place behind her. We pass through double doors. I looked at the plague. Morgue. I stopped moving. “My sister is in here?” She nodded quietly and I ran back to the elevator, franticly pushing the button. “I’m going to throw up!” I yelled. “She was my only sister. She was my sister! She can’t be dead! I don’t believe it!” The doors dinged open and ran inside, pushing for the first floor. “I need to get out, I need to leave.” I said. The nurse followed me in, calmly grabbed me and hugged me. I sobbed and my knees buckled. I grabbed onto her and cried. “My sister, she can’t be dead.” I cried quietly. “How can she be dead?” The nurse didn’t offer any consolable words, and I’m glad she didn’t. She let me cry. We passed the first floor and went straight to mine. She brought back to my room and injected a sedative into me. I shook my head as it took it’s affect. “Sara-Beth.” I murmured. “Tell my parents.” I demanded, grabbed her cuff. “Tell them, right now. They deserve to know.” I passed out.
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