Kai gets called in to work. There’s been a tornado that has damaged the high school. Teachers were there for their meetings before school starts.
“Yes, sir.” He walked over to the woman, introducing himself. He recognized her as his senior English teacher.
Ms. Harper recognized him, greeting him by name. Kai was pleased she was lucid. They talked while he cleaned and put steri-strips on her wound. Fortunately, it was superficial. Others were being pulled out of the rubble who were more seriously hurt. He left Ms. Harper and went over to the fire fighters as they brought up a man with both legs and an arm broken.
More ambulance teams had joined them by now, and he worked alongside people he didn’t know. They got the man stabilized and ready for transport. He and the others worked for hours, taking five minute breaks here and there, to get a sip of water or a chance to wash their sweating faces.
“Found one!” The fire chief yelled. “You!” He pointed to Kai. “Tell me if she’s alive.”
Kai approached carefully. The area wasn’t very stable, so he watched his footing. She looked young, maybe his age, and she was dressed in a blue business suit. Her blonde hair was matted to her skull with blood. Her body was bruised almost beyond recognition, but he knew her. Her name was Amy, and she’d been on swim team with him. She’d graduated the year ahead of him, and had gone to school to be a teacher. He was terrified that she was dead, until he saw a shallow, labored breath. He checked her pulse. It was faint, thready, but there.
“Amy? Hey, baby, it’s Kai. Can you hear me?” He checked her pupils and didn’t like how they responded. “She’s a mess. Thad!” he yelled. “Got a bad one! I need you!”
His supervisor ran over, kneeling by the young woman while Kai told him what he’d observed.
“Let’s get a collar on her and ship her. Start me an IV, kid.”
They brought the battered body out on a backboard, with a collar to support her neck, and strapped her to the gurney.
“Go with her,” Thad told him. “It’ll be good if there’s a familiar face, if she comes to in the truck.”
“Yes, sir.” He kept talking to Amy as if she could hear him, reminding her of some of the silly things they’d done in school. “Hey, you remember that overnight we had in Tampa? Or was it St. Pete? We got drunk on that homemade hooch, and danced on the bed? Man, I thought you were the prettiest girl I’d ever seen. You don’t know how bad I wanted to….” He stopped talking, aware that the driver was listening. “I really wanted to kiss you bad, Amy. Don’t die on me, sweetheart. I want to collect on that kiss.”
He continued the non-stop babble, as the ambulance crested the bridge and turned left into the hospital parking lot. They pulled up at the door, and were greeted by the medical team. Kai gave report as they walked her in. When he was done, he squeezed Amy’s hand.
“They’re gonna take care of you now, darlin’. I’ll come by when I can, and see you. Remember, baby doll, I want that kiss.” With a final squeeze to her fingers, he started to take his hand away. Amy’s fingers tightened slightly on his and he smiled. “Hang in there, darlin’!” Kai called after her.
Kai hopped back in the ambulance, up front with the driver. He leaned back, hand pressed to the bridge of his nose as he fought down the emotions he had building inside him. He wanted to cry, instead, he prayed—for Amy and all the others, but mostly for her.
“You okay, man?” The driver, a man that Kai didn’t know, asked him. “She your girlfriend or something?”
“No. Ever have a girl in your past, you wished you’d been less of a dork, and just asked her the hell out when you had the chance?”
“Yeah,” he admitted.
“That was Amy. She’s my regrets girl.”
“Mine was Angelina,” the man replied. He was Latino, slightly older than Ka. “She was a goddess. Danced and sang like an angel…. She married a friend of mine because I didn’t have the cajones to ask her out.”
“I hear ya.”
“You did good, man. She’s gonna be okay.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“Been doing this job eight years. Never been wrong yet. Javier Constance,” he held out his hand while they were stopped for a light.
“Nice to meet you. Where you from?”
“Daytona. You been in the game long?”
“Not even a year.”
“First big emergency?”
“Other than a wreck, yeah.”
“Could’ve been worse. At least we ain’t lost nobody.”
“Thank God! Did they get everyone out?”
“Pretty sure, yeah. They got a dog checking now just to be sure. The principal had a list of the teachers at the meeting, and there were two or three office people there. Fortunately, school’s not in session yet. Can you imagine?”
Kai shuddered. “No, I can’t. My brother and sister are both in high school.”
“Yeah, it could’ve been a whole lot worse.”
© 2019 Dellani Oakes