There was no one on the bed on the right hand side of the ward. Peter looked away from the empty bed and went to stand next to where David was lying. It was a shocking sight. He could hardly recognise him. His head was covered in bandages with only one swollen, bruised eye showing. Peter searched for David’s hand but both of them were wrapped up, like he was a mummy.

“David… David. It’s me. Peter. Hang in there. You’ve got to hold on… Busie is here. She’s fine. So are Tshepo and Thato…”

Maybe he was imagining it, but he felt that under the thick bandages David gave a tiny nod, and then he heard the faintest whisper: “Good.”

He rushed on: “We’re all waiting for you to walk out of here…” He didn’t know what else to say. He knew he wasn’t going to mention the accident and everything that had gone on before. It was enough for him to let him know he was there.

The nurse walked towards them. “You need to leave now,” she spoke softly. “He needs to rest.”

Busie looked up at him when he walked out of the ward.

“How is he? What did he say?”

Peter shrugged uncertainly. “He didn’t really speak to me… well, when I told him we were all fine, I am sure he managed to nod ever so slightly and whisper ‘Good’. I guess he had no clue about us. Maybe he thought we were dead? But I spoke to him for a little while. Told him we’re waiting for him to get out of the place… didn’t know what to say, really. ”

Busie smiled. “He heard you. Bet next time we come here, he’ll be walking.”

“I hope so. I really do. Wish there was something I could do.”

“Just be his friend. That’s all you can do.”

“I guess you’re right.”

“I’m leaving tomorrow after I see the doctor. I’ve got to go to back to school.”

“How’s your leg?”

“I’ll be fine,” she laughed. “No broken bones, just a sprained ankle. My Ma’s the one insisting I should see the doctor again. You know, she’s not always like that. This accident thing really freaked her out … my Dad was in an accident once and he nearly died. I guess this sort of reminded her of that, you know.”

Peter nodded. He looked at his own father walking like he needed a walking stick. He looked like he had sprouted grey stubble overnight and his mother − he could not bear to think of her. She had been so proud of him, always. Always boasting about what a good boy he was, how blessed she was to have a son like him … and now because of one night of madness, all that had changed. He wished he had been stronger. He wished he had been himself and not tried to impress Busie and be cool and all that.

Busie’s father was calling her. “Got to go Peter,” she said.

“Can I call you?”

“Um… you know, maybe its best we stay away from each other for a while, you know, until all this is settled. There’s going to be a court case and police… I don’t know, you know. I’m just a bit confused right now… and my Ma’s taken my phone away.”

Busie was brushing him off, telling him in a roundabout way that he was no good, that he brought nothing but trouble. That hurt, but he wasn’t going to let her know that.

“I understand. I do,” is all he said.

He watched her walk away from him, limping still, and he immediately felt bad for being angry with her. She had done nothing wrong.


Tell us what you think: Is Busie really brushing him off? How is she feeling?