News at Eleven
By Molly, age 13, California"Hello, and welcome back to The News at Eleven. I am Gregory House," I say, looking directly into the camera. "We have just received news that there has been a car crash on Highway 105, and it appears that it involves two teenager drivers returning home from a party. The boy in the passenger seat was badly injured while the boy in the driver's seat only suffered some minor damage to his head. Both boys will recover fully with no permanent damage. Right now the boys are being airlifted to Genus Hospital. The driver may be charged with diving under the influence." The camera turns to a helicopter view of the crash. I can't recognize the car because of its severe damage.
"Hello, I'm Sue Walters. Both boys are students at Ridgeway Middle School." My son goes there, I think to myself. I wonder if he knows the boys in the car crash. "They are both excellent students and are on the school's swim team." My son's on the swim team. Then it hits me. I curse under my breath and run out the door.
I open my eyes. I am in a white room with lights shining directly into my eyes, forcing me to squint.
"Where am I?" I ask dazed. I try to pull my arm up to shield my eyes. However, I cannot, as my arm is strapped to the bed and pierced by an IV.
"Why are these holding me down!?" I yell, frustrated. The nurse rushes over to my side. My head ... my head hurts.
"It's okay, you're alright now," she says, trying to soothe me.
"Why am I here?"
"Well, Mr. House -"
"Don't call me that! It's Michael."
"Sorry, Michael." This is the last thing I recall before drifting off into a sleep.
"Heyyy ..." My best friend Noah says in a slurring noise.
"Heyyy," I say, mimicking him, raising my beer bottle.
"Great party, huh?" he says, raising his beer bottle with me.
"For sure," I say as we clink our beer bottles together and then take a drink.
"Well, I need to get home. Want to come with?"
"Sure," I say, relieved that I've found a ride home.
"Ok, cool. Let's hit it!" We both throw our beer bottles into the bushes.
"To the car!" he yells as he stumbles through the grass towards the car.
"Want me to drive?" I offer.
"Nah, I'm good," he says, putting a hand up in a gesture that says no big deal. I climb into the passenger seat.
"Onward!" he yells as he presses down on the accelerator. The car shrieks as we propel onto the winding main road. It was too late to switch seats. The car skids around a corner and collides into a telephone pole. Then everything goes black.
"Michael ... Michael," someone says, shaking me as I open my eyes. I am in the white room again. This time, though, it is my mom leaning over me. I find the remote and switch off the screen that displayed my dad giving a report on a car accident. My accident, I think to myself. Why was he talking about my car crash like he didn't even care about me? What happened to our good bond? Ever since he got his new job we haven't seen each other for more than an hour at a time.
"Why did you turn off the TV? Don't you want to know what happened in your car crash?" my mom asks, turning on the TV again. The camera shows an overhead view of the crash site.
"Back to you, Gregory," the reporter from the helicopter says.
The camera pans back to the newsroom where I watch my dad stand up and rush out of the building.
"Where are you going?" one of the producers in the background yells.
"To the hospital! That's my son!" he yells back, as he races out the door. Then the show breaks to commercial. He did recognize me ... or at least I think he did.
"Of course he did, sweetie," my mom says, brushing my hair with her fingers.
"Michael, the orthopedist is going to do surgery on your leg to repair the damage. You are not going to feel anything," she assures me.
"Okay," I sigh, as I lay my head back against the pillows.
"Good luck, honey! I love you!" she calls out, as the nurses push me away.
"I love you too, Mom," I call back.
"Sir, you can not come in here!"
"I have to see my son!" I yell as I shove past the nurses.
"You will have to wait."
"That's my son in there. I have to see him!"
"You will have to wait until he gets out of his surgery."
Now, if you can picture a three year old boy greeting his father after he has been away on business, that is how it appeared when Mr. House saw his son for the first time after the surgery.
"Son! Don't you ever do that to me again!"
"I won't, dad."
"I'm sorry that my job has caused us to drift apart."
"I'll forgive you. That is, if you play baseball with me once I get out of this cast."
"Of course. I love you, Michael."
"I love you too, dad."
"Gregory," Mrs. House says with her arms crossed
"Your mother is calling me. I'd better go." They step outside.
"We need to talk about Michael."
"The question is," she says, cluing him in, "do we want to testify against the driver?"
"Well, that has to be Michael's decision."
"That is our son. We can't let him make another bad choice!"
"Honey, it is his decision. It might be hard for you, but this situation affected him, and Noah is his best friend."
"Hey, Noah," I say, as I limp into his hospital room.
"Hey man, I am so sorry. I should have let you drive. You weren't as drunk as me. This is my fault," he began to cry. "I thought I was sober enough to drive. I should have known better."
"Don't beat yourself up. I understand. It's my fault too. I shouldn't have let you drive."
"Are you going to testify against me?" I thought he was kidding until I saw that his wrists were handcuffed to the bed.
"Of course not!" I say, appalled that he would think I would ever testify against him. "Dude, I would never do that! We are best friends."
"Thanks, man, he says, leaning his head back and staring at the ceiling. "I should go to jail though. I should take and accept my punishment."
"No. Guilt is enough of a consequence, not jail. That would ruin your life. You worked too hard to let one mistake ruin your life," I say, trying to make him see.
"You're right, I shouldn't go to jail, but I should do something. This is not something to forgive and forget." he says with a look on his face that let me know he was thinking hard about something.
"Community service?" I suggest.
"Yeah, I think I'm going to do that. Maybe talking to kids about drunk driving or something like that."
"Good for you, man. Good for you," I say patting his shoulder.