Hold Me. I’m Drowning.

“She’s not answering,” I had called Sadie’s phone five times in the last two minutes. “Should I call an ambulance?”

Dizzie’s mouth was scrunched up in deep thinking. I tapped my foot impatiently. “Dizzie? Should we—”

“Shut up! I’m thinking!”

I kept tapping my foot. I needed to do something. I’m not sure why, but I felt partly responsible for Sadie. Maybe it was because I liked her or maybe because I was guilty about what happened with Chev. Dizzie would never forgive me after tonight.

“We don’t know what happened to her. She could be fine.”

“She could be dead.”

“Shut up! Shut the fuck up!” Dizzie was shrieking like a banshee. There was a wild look in her eye and she stepped on the gas pedal. I didn’t say anything for the rest of the car ride, even though I was scared for my life and, above all, for Sadie’s.

We pulled up to her duplex and Dizzie kicked me out of the car. “I’m going to find parking. Keep knocking on her door and don’t stop.”

I ran up to the door and began pounding at it. Someone the next building down shouted at me to shut up. I didn’t stop, and he eventually poked his head out.

“Shut the fuck up!”

“I need to get in!” I yelled, still banging on the door.

“I’m calling the police!”

Fine with me. Dizzie ran up to me by this time. “Nobody’s answering!” I told her, a little out of breath.

“Fine. You can stop knocking.”

“Someone’s next door says he’s calling the police.”

“We don’t need this,” she said under her breath. “Can you drive?”

“I’m not leaving.” I sounded braver than I felt.

Dizzie looked at me for a moment before scratching her head. “We don’t have time to argue.” She looked up at the building. “Window’s open a smidge. Give me a boost.”

Fueled by Chev’s meth, I cupped my hands and pushed her up to the window. “A little higher,” she said. I was also feeling the ass-whooping I got from Chev, but Dizzie was able to slip her fingers under and pop the window up. “Yes!” She kicked my head crawling in.

I looked around, panicking about people watching. Aside from a few moths in the streetlights, the streets were pretty empty at this time of night.

“Dizzie!” I whispered shrilly to the window. She didn’t answer. “Diiizie!” I tried to jump up but it was slippery on the ledge. A hand shot out of the window like the saving moment in an action movie.

At the other end was my big sister’s scowling face. “Get up here and help me!”

I dug my feet into the wall as she hoisted me up. Dizzie pulled me through the window frame and fell over backwards. “Phew! You really shouldn’t be so heavy if you’ve been taking meth.”

“It was just that one—”

“Come over here for a sec. I need your retard strength.”

It’s pitch black in the room except for one light coming out of the back.

“I can’t hear anything coming from inside,” she said quietly, though the room seemed to make even our breathing seem obscenely loud.

“You think she’s all right?”

“I don’t know.”

I ran to the door and began pounding on it. “Sadie? Sadie! It’s Seamus!” My mind kept running to the worst case scenario, that I would find Sadie sprawled out, pale as a ghost with vomit running caked to her cheek. I rammed my shoulder into the door and busted a hole in the exterior after the fifth time.

“Seamus! Hold on!” Dizzie pushed me out of the way. “Sadie! Can you hear us?” She knocked again. “It’s no use.” She pulled out her phone and tossed me the car keys. “I’m calling for an ambulance. Check the drawers in the kitchen for a screwdriver.”

I darted off toward the kitchen and started throwing open drawers. I could feel my heart trying to tear itself out of my chest. I kept repeated the word in my head: screwdriver, screwdriver, screwdriver, screwdriver. I was amazed to find it already in my hand. I was so excited that I nearly stabbed Dizzie on the way back.

“Shit! I’m sorry!”

“The door!” she screamed. “Get the fucking hinges off!”

I started at the top and then removed the bottom hinge. I held on to where my shoulder had cracked through and pulled the door toward us. A bright light filtered into the room. Dizzie ran in as soon as I had the door out of the way. I threw it aside and heard it thump against a wall.

Dizzie had already reached Sadie and was checking her pulse. Sadie lay there wide eyed and moving her mouth open and closed like a suffocating fish. The bathroom smelled a little acrid.

“She vomited before we got here. That’s good.” Dizzie was mumbling to herself. Without even taking her eyes away, she said, “Get her some water.”

I threw open all the cabinets in the kitchen before I found a plastic Scooby Doo cup to use. It went under the tap and then into Dizzie’s hand.

“Drink,” she told Sadie and poured the water gently into and on her mouth. “Help’s coming.”

Sadie coughed. “I. Wanted.”

Dizzie shushed her gently.

“N-no. I wanted. Let. Go.”

“I’m not letting go of you, Sadie. I’m right here.”

I wasn’t sure what to do or say then. Watching my sister folder her arms around her, I felt embarrassed that I ever thought that I loved Sadie. It was ridiculous to think that I could be as strong as Dizzie had been tonight with Sadie and Chev. Though I guess that wasn’t really my fault. I guess I was mostly ashamed for making her go through the trouble of taking care of me and being my big sister. She didn’t deserve a screw-up brother like me.

“Seamus,” Dizzie said, this time looking straight at me, her face like stone, her friend limp in her arms. “Go home.”

I left out the window and took the Mini Cooper to our house. I tried to drive slowly and it just ended up being sporadic toe-tapping on the gas and the brake to keep with the speed limit. There was one police car out on the way home. I immediately made a right turn just to get out of the way of him. It took a lot longer to get home than it should have. All the while, I was thinking about Dizzie and Sadie and Chev.

When I finally got home, I couldn’t sleep. I was incredibly parched so I grabbed a glass of water and paced around back and forth most of the night. Dizzie got home the next morning and reported that Sadie would be okay.

After this, my sister did something I’d never seen her do: she cried. I stood there for a moment just watching her face get rid and contort until I didn’t even recognize her face anymore and she was just a sobbing mess. I folded my arms around her like I’d seen her do.

“They’re gone, Seamus. I don’t have anyone left.” I don’t think I really understood what she meant back then. Still, the words caught me in the throat. We stood still for what could have been at least ten or twenty minutes. All the while, my heart was beating hard against my chest, trying to break through.

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Filed under Novel, Session XIX

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