“Kelly, I need you.” Her voice was soft and desperate.
“Bobs, are you home?”
The phone greeted my question with silence.
“Bobbi? Are you at home?”
Not even a whisper.
“I’ll be right there.”
I went into motion, grabbing my keys, purse, and laptop within seconds. “Hon, I’m going to Bobbi’s. She needs me,” I said to my husband.
I twisted the key into the ignition and stopped – I needed her house key just in case I couldn’t get inside.
A quick trip back inside for the key and I was gone, praying for the stoplight Gods to be merciful. Eyeing the speedometer and planning in my head what I would say if a cop dared pull me over.
Can I use your sirens? My friend needs me.
Only seven or eight minutes had passed when I pulled into her apartment complex.
I already knew I was too late, but it didn’t stop me.
“Bobbi?” I shoved open her door and a chocolate lab greeted me, not with his typical exuberance, with restraint. Anxiety. His eyes pleaded with me.
“I’ll take care of her, Cooper,” I said, already moving around the small apartment, searching.
I found her on the kitchen floor.
Her body was still, splayed facedown. Her left arm and foot were shoved under the end of the counter, the newly painted cupboard beneath the sink wide open, as if she’d tried to grab something.
She only wore a T-shirt and underwear, her usual attire for lounging at home. The marks on her ankles were clear, but I couldn’t tell if they were new or old.
I moved towards her head, careful to dodge the spot on the unforgiving tile where she’d wet herself. I checked her pulse and the rise and fall of her back as I noted the white bubbles in her mouth.
I was right. It had been another seizure.
I moved away, noting the time and scratched Cooper’s ears as he pawed at me.
Several minutes passed before she stirred, coughing and spitting out the foam in her mouth as tears of frustration raced down her face.
I was at her side instantly, rubbing her back.
“Shhhh…. Don’t cry. It’s over now. I’m here.”
“Wh-why?” she asked, confused and disoriented.
“Because you called.”
We’d like you to explore friendship. You can talk about a current friendship or one from your past, a friend you met over kindergarten snacks or happy hour at your first job. Examine your emotional interest in the friendship and the role it plays, or played, in your life.
The word limit for this prompt is 400 words.
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The backstory: Two weeks ago, my friend Bobbi collapsed as I caught her, shattering the glass she’d been drinking from on my kitchen floor. I set her down as carefully as I could, avoiding the shards as her body seized, her hands shaking. Foam gurgled in her mouth and I rolled her onto her left side. I had never witnessed anything like it.
It was her first seizure. They would strengthen and become stronger over the next few weeks, escalating into grand mal (tonic clonic) seizures where she’d bang her head and feet into the floor. Often they came in pairs.
She is lucky – she has an aura preceding the seizures – a warning. Her dog, Cooper, is very sensitive and can pick up on them several minutes before she can.
But she’s scared and stubborn. And sometimes, she thinks sheer willpower can overcome or delay the onset of a seizure, as she has been able to do with panic attacks. As in the case described above, she didn’t head the warning, until she called me seconds before seizing.
She has no memory of calling me.
She’s learning it isn’t a weakness to listen to the warnings. It isn’t failure to “give in” and lie on the floor, surrounded by pillows. She’s going through the long doctor process to hopefully get the cause diagnosed so she can treat it.
Meanwhile, I’m on speed dial.
Right where I should be.
Even if there isn’t much I can do.
* * *