I wasn’t paying attention, straining to listen to violins, and I was off guard when I started to fall. There was an incline, and I tumbled, down, down, down. I hit my head, and cut my arm, but I was all right until I stopped. There was a rock, on me, around me, somehow, and my ankle was beneath it, pinned to the ground.
I screamed. Blood trickled from the gash in my arm, and a splitting pain erupted in my scalp, and my whole leg was fire, pure fire.
You came around the corner (or was it you?) and I felt the tears trickling down my face. One of the boys closest to me pulled me from the rocks. My ankle felt as though it was exploding. He knelt down, asked me if I was all right, if I could walk. Others moved in to fill the space around me, but I just stared at you, who I was trying to determine you were. Someone moved in between us, and I still stared, unseeing.
I heard you, and they parted again. I looked up, eyes red-rimmed, and you looked down at me. Your eyes were unreadable.
I broke my ankle, I choked out, sobbing.
Stop, you told me again.
I coughed, trying.
You didn’t look away from me. I don’t like it when people cry, you informed me.
I blinked, and a few tears trickled down my cheeks, the last of them. The others stared at you, bewildered. I wasn’t. I finally knew it was you. I felt like I had been found, as though I was the one who had been lost, not you.
Are you all right? You asked me.
And you’re sure your ankle is broken?
I nodded again.
You came over, and in an instant I was in your arms. I started to protest, but you just looked down at me and smiled.
I’ve got it.
So I let you carry me. You held me, and as you made your way through the woods, over hills, around trees, I was reminded of how your arm felt beneath my head that day that you didn’t say goodbye. I leaned against you, and you felt strong. I could ignore the pain, because you asked me to.
All of my hair stood on end.
I hear them, I whispered, closing my eyes.