I’m sitting in the waiting room of the Emergency Unit at Entabeni Hospital wringing my hands in worry. I can’t believe I’m in a hospital for the second time in 24 hours!” –

“I’m sure she’s going to be fine,” says Zack for the twentieth time since he hauled Deevya out of the surf, unconscious and bleeding. 

Turns out Zack had been strolling on the pier eating an ice cream when he’d spotted Deevya running into the water. Then he’d seen me running after her. And when she started to sink Zack jumped straight off the pier into the water and pulled her to the surface. 

The lifesavers took over from there. Deevya was breathing normally even though she hadn’t regained consciousness, so she didn’t need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. There was an ambulance already on standby at the beach for New Year’s Day emergencies and the ambulance staff quickly loaded her onto the stretcher and into the back. Zack and I climbed in with her. By the time we got to the hospital her eyelids were flickering and she was moving her hands, but she hadn’t yet been able to open her eyes or speak.

“Have you phoned her parents?” asked the nurse when we arrived at the hospital and I felt even worse because it hadn’t even occurred to me. Deevya’s parents travel on buying trips for their chain of shoe shops all the time, and I’m totally used to Deevya being all by herself at home. I’ve almost forgotten that she has parents. 

Mrs. Padayachee arrives about half an hour later, at exactly the same time as the doctor comes out to speak to us. 

“How could you have let her go swimming?” she shouts at me. “You know she doesn’t know how to! You’re her friend – you’re meant to look after her!

“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Padayachee, I tried to stop her …” And then I run out of words to explain that we were having a fight and that Deevya was actually running away from me.

“It’s alright everyone,” says the doctor in a reassuring voice. “Accidents happen and Deevya is going to be absolutely fine, so there’s no point in getting over emotional. I’ve put in a few stitches on the back of her head, but the cut’s not deep. Head wounds do bleed profusely, though, so I imagine it gave you quite a scare.”

He looks at me kindly and tears well up in my eyes.

“Deevya’s got a slight concussion, and when the painkillers wear off I’m sure she’s going to have a bit of a headache, but other than that she’s fine. She’s just feeling a little stupid for trying to swim in the sea when she knew she couldn’t swim. But we all make mistakes sometimes. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t, would we?” 

He gives Mrs. Padayachee a meaningful look as he says that last sentence. Then he opens the door to the ward. 

“If you’d like to see her you’re welcome to come through,” the doctor says.

“Deevya! My little princess! You could have died!” wails Mrs. Padayachee as she sees Deevya.

“Hi mum,” says Deevya in a surprised voice as we walk into her hospital room. “I didn’t think you’d be back until tonight.”

“We finished our business in Hong Kong faster than we expected and we managed to get on an earlier flight. Thank goodness we did! Look at you!”

“I’m fine, mum. Please don’t make a huge fuss. It’s not a big drama.”

Then Deevya turns to me.

“Hope, I’m so sorry.”

“That makes two of us,” I say with feeling. “We’ve had quite an emotional 24 hours and I think maybe we both weren’t really ourselves. I’m so sorry I hurt your feelings.”

“Chill sister,” says Deevya. “When I’m over my concussion, and if I haven’t lost my memory, then maybe we can talk about it properly sometime.” Deevya laughs at her own joke and then winces as she puts her hand up to the bandage on her head. “Ouch. That hurt.”

“Listen, I think we should leave Deevya to get some sleep,” says Zack.

“There’s no way I would ever leave my daughter when she needs me,” says Mrs. Padayachee a little too defensively.

Yeah, whatever, I think to myself, but I’m not about to argue with her.

“Sleep well, Deevya. I’m so glad you’re ok,” I say before I close the door behind me.

I phone my mom as soon as we’re out of the room.

“Hi mom. I need your help. I’m not at the beach anymore and I’ll explain everything when I see you, but don’t worry, everything’s fine. I just wanted to ask you if you could please come and pick Zack and I up from Entabeni Hospital?”