I could feel the dry lump in my throat. I backed away and ran through the hallways, skidding past startled nurses and I stopped when I saw the nurse that had talked to me hours earlier. She saw me too and smiled. “Your friend is out of surgery. You can go and see her in room seventeen just down that hallway.” She said. I nodded and feigned a smile before taking off down the hallway.
Sure enough, Ali was there, still asleep. I shut the door behind me and sat in the chair beside her bed. Now I was crying. I kept trying to shake off the feeling of despair but it wouldn’t leave. I eventually gave up and let myself cry. After about two hours I stopped sobbing and wiped away my tears. I knew that my face would give it away, though. That’s when Ali woke up.
“I’m not dead yet.” She said hoarsely, smiling at me. I couldn’t even manage a smile back. She frowned and straightened up in her bed a bit. “What’s wrong?” She asked, grabbing my arm. “I lived on the North part of the valley and I saw the news report and…” I stopped when the lump in my throat made its return. Ali said nothing, she just waited.
“There were huge mudslides. It was worse than anything we experienced and for the first time I think I might be alone.” I blurted out the rest and stared at the ground, hoping I wouldn’t cry again. “You won’t ever be alone.” That is all that Ali said to me. I kept staring at the floor. “Do you promise?”
I took my mind away from the thoughts of mudslides and focused on Ali. The Nurse told us that Ali would be okay to travel again in a few weeks. For the first couple days Ali stayed in bed resting up and I sat in the chair by her bed NOT sleeping. I couldn’t even figure out how long it had been without me sleeping. On the third day Ali was looking much better. The color had come back to her cheeks and she said she was hungry.
She had to hold onto me as she walked to the cafeteria. We sat at a table and a nurse came and gave us tomato soup. One thing was really bugging me. I cleared my throat. “Why did you kiss me?” I asked nervously. “Oh that,” Ali began with. I furrowed my brow. Oh that? It was a kiss not a handbag. “Well, I was thinking that if I was going to de I should at least get my first kiss.” She said casually and went back to her soup. She could see that I was still staring at her so she added, “Sorry if that was weird.”
It was more than weird. I thought, but kept quiet. Instead I just laughed and said, “It’s alright.” We went back to eating soup and didn’t talk about it again. After a week Ali started walking all by herself. The Nurse gave her back the clothes she was wearing when we got there after a week and a half and Ali took them gratefully.
She showed me the scar when she got her clothes back, too. It was a purple-red color and was at least four inches long. It went from her side to pretty close to her belly button. After two and a half weeks the Nurse gave Ali the all clear. She said that the bus for the children’s centre would be stopping at the hospital briefly the next day.
The next day Ali and I waited outside of the hospital when the school bus came to a stop. The driver motioned for us to come in. The bus looked like it had been under water at one point. Mud lined the windows and it just smelled damp. I was surprised at how many kids were on the bus. None of them looked particularly interested in me and Ali so we took our seats in the first row.
It was a long and bumpy drive up and through the mountains, at least three hours. Ali soon dozed off and fell against my shoulder. I envied her for that. I was so tired, but I couldn’t sleep at all. Most of the kids on the bus fell asleep too. We finally stopped outside a small building. It looked like a building someone had built in a few hours. The roof was made of tent material, and I wasn’t sure the bricks were even properly cemented together.
We should’ve stayed at the hospital. I thought. I tapped Ali on the shoulder to wake her up. Since we were at the front of the bus, Ali and I were allowed off first. We went through the door and were stopped by a woman at a desk. She asked for every detail of us, and it took a while. Finally, she told us to go through the next door and into the lounge. The lounge was more like a big area with a few chairs and a whole load of kids.
I heard my name called and looked around hopefully. “Sam!” Screamed a guy’s voice, and I saw my best friend, Louis come through the crowd. My heart sunk. Because I knew something Louis didn’t know. I knew where his Mother was. I smiled anyways, “Louis!” I shouted back. Louis was the guy at school that new everything. No one knew how he got his information, but it was always accurate and it was always before anyone else.
He looked strange without his glasses on. “Ali, this is my friend Louis, Louis this is my-Ali.” I stuttered and both Ali and Louis laughed, shaking hands. We sat down in a circle and chatted, relating stories and places and people we had met.
“Tomorrow they’re starting to match kids up with their parents. They’re going to do that for about a week hard core.” Louis said. “What about the kids that are left?” I asked. “Exactly, those poor souls are the forgotten kids.” Louis sighed. “What happens to the forgotten kids?” Ali gulped. “I’ve got one word, orphanages.” Louis replied simply. “But that’s not fair, one week isn’t enough!” Ali said louder. “It doesn’t have to be fair. At a time like this we should be glad they’re helping us at all.” Louis said.
“Most orphanages already have too many kids so they’ll probably ship the remaining kids to whatever family they have left, if they have any family left.” I knew this was directed at me.
I didn’t know is my parents were alive, but I wasn’t about to go to an orphanage.
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