Peter’s father turned to look at Peter. “That was good news − from David’s brother. David is in the hospital. He was brought in unconscious. They thought he was in a coma but now he has opened his eyes!”
All around the room were involuntary cries of joy and thanks to God. Peter felt a rush of something like adrenaline through his body. He realised it was intense, painful relief.
“He’s speaking. He’s asking for you, Peter,” said his father gravely.
“For me?” Peter looked around the room, panic in his voice.
“Yes. Let’s go. This meeting will have to wait.” His mother looked at Busie’s mother as she spoke.
Peter watched the adults exchange chilly goodbyes. All he wanted was for Busie to look at him, maybe even smile at him and make him feel like everything was going to be alright. Busie would not face him. He knew he had lost her, even before they really became friends. He was sure of it. Watching her limping behind her mother and father made him so sad. He felt tears stinging his eyes, but he was not going to cry.
Everyone seemed to think he was to blame but he knew there was nothing that could be done to fix that. He couldn’t run to the national stadium and announce to the world that he was not guilty, that he hadn’t been driving, that it was not his fault that David was now lying in the intensive care unit. And he knew that even though he had not been driving, that fact did not absolve him of responsibility.
When they were about to turn into the hospital, an ambulance overtook them. Peter’s father pulled to the side of the road. Peter wondered who was inside the ambulance. A police car raced past them. Its red light swirled round and round, throwing him back to the night before. He felt the panic again. He wanted to run back to Saturday afternoon, to before the night of the accident.
“I know I shouldn’t have run away. Maybe if I had stayed, I could’ve helped David,” he thought regretfully.
* * * * *
It was visiting time at the hospital − busy. His father circled the parking lot twice before he found a parking space. An ambulance was parked at the entrance to the emergency room. Two medics were wheeling a patient into the hospital. Peter looked on, numb with fear at the thought of seeing his friend. They went to the reception. Peter waited with his mother. She looked at him and pulled him close.
“He’s on the third floor,” the receptionist said.
“ICU can be scary, Peter,” warned his mother. “Nurses, doctors, machines… remember they’re there to give 24 hour care… and he wasn’t speaking before… Now he is. That’s a very good sign. We need to stay positive.”
They walked up the stairs in silence. Peter walked slightly behind his parents as they made their way to the ICU. His mother held out her hand but he shook his head. He was clutching on to the words she had just spoken. Every step he took, he said to himself: ‘David is going to be okay. He is going to get better. He is.’
Tell us what you think: Why does David want to talk to Peter?