The process of moving Karabo to the x-ray room, and having the x-rays taken, took forever. The nurses kept on asking Isla how Karabo had ended up with such a bad injury. Isla had to retell how Karabo had been smashed by a hockey goalie. In return, they’d offered more horror stories – about the kid who had been hit in the heart by a hockey ball and collapsed dead, or the kid whose teeth had been smashed by a stick and had to have his jaw rewired.

By the time they had finished with the x-rays and wheeled Karabo back to the emergency room, Isla felt distinctly nauseous and convinced she was done playing hockey forever.

Parked once more in one of the bed bays in the emergency room, Karabo lay motionless and fast asleep. Isla felt reassured that Karabo was safe and stable and she could now leave her friend and return to William to give him the latest update. She spotted him across the waiting room, and walked over to him. As she did, she passed an old man in a wheelchair winking at her approvingly. William noticed the winking man and nearly fell over laughing. Isla slapped William on the back. ‘Don’t laugh!’ she hissed at William as a nurse wheeled the old man away. Looking down at her outfit, Isla realised she was still in her hockey kit from earlier in the day, her long legs in full view. No matter how hard she tried to pull her skirt down, the Lycra jumped back up in defiance. When she looked up, she saw William still thoroughly amused at her predicament.

‘Come!’ she huffed, and grabbed William’s elbow. ‘We are safer in there with sleepy head, than we are out here,’ she said, observing the people in the waiting room in various states of disrepair.

A nurse was attending to Karabo as Isla and William returned to their friend’s bedside. She eyed them with distaste, before undoing the tourniquet around Karabo’s arm, reading her blood pressure and writing it on Karabo’s file. Once she’d returned her attention to William and Isla, she scanned them from top to toe, before huffing and yanking the curtain around them and filling the air with the strong smell of antiseptic floor cleaner. Isla sat on the end of Karabo’s bed, a loud growl erupting from her stomach. ‘Wow was that you Isla?’ asked William in surprise. Isla rolled her eyes and sighed. ‘Yes William. I do need to eat too, you know!’ she snapped back at him. He could be so annoying.

‘Jeez, just asking. I’ll go get some snacks from the shop,’ he decided.

‘Sorry Will, I’m tired,’ Isla said looking at the floor, ‘and… I’m thirsty too,’ she added, widening her big eyes and looking at him pleadingly. William’s grin slid up the one side of his face, and he made his way around the curtain and out of sight. Isla slid off the end of the bed and moved to Karabo’s side. She touched her friend’s unbroken hand and gently squeezed it. ‘I don’t know what you see in William. He can be such a prat, but whatever it is — and I am only saying this because you are knocked out — he definitely feels something for you too. In his own weird way,’ she whispered into Karabo’s ear, before sitting up again and looking carefully at Karabo. Her dearest friend lay completely still, with only her chest moving up and down. Isla touched

Karabo’s face softly; her skin felt sticky. ‘Poor Karabz, I know this is terrible, and when you wake up, you’re going to murder someone when you find out you can’t compete for Provincials this year.’ Isla admired Karabo’s long, lush eyelashes and how they rested on her cheeks. ‘At least it’s your left hand, so you can still do schoolwork. That’s good right?’ Isla told the sleeping Karabo. A hint of colour seemed to be returning to Karabo’s still slightly grey skin. Isla squeezed Karabo’s hand again, praying that her friend would heal quickly.


Question: Who winks at Isla, how does that make you feel?