MIA

My face pushed up against the cold glass windows separating me from the ICU. One of the doctors told us that she was in the far corner. I continued to press my face into the glass even though I couldn’t see her.

Her parents were behind me talking to a doctor in hushed tones.

The doctor looked at me. “You’re sure you don’t know what happened up there, son?” he asked.

“Positive.”

They have asked me if I know anything a million times, and I’ve told them the same exact thing a million times: I don't know.

“Well,” said the doctor, “She’s lucky she had you there today, son. If you hadn’t called the ambulance, she may not be here.” He patted me on the back and walked back into the ICU.

Mr. Richardson gave me a smile as he returned the waiting room. Mrs. Richardson wiped away her tears and embraced me in one big hug. I couldn't breathe.

“Thanks, Charlie,” she whispered in my ear before finally letting me go.

“No problem,” I mumbled. I turned around and pressed my face to the glass again. If I squinted really hard, I could see her feet in between the nurses’ heads.

Mia had a collapsed lung, internal bleeding, a fractured wrist, and a broken nose.

She had a machine that would breathe for her until she was strong enough to breathe on her own. The doctors said they had found the source of the internal bleeding. Her wrist would heal like any other broken bone, and her nose might need some plastic surgery if it was going to be straight again.

Even with all that, they said she was lucky. Lucky she had me. Lucky she didn’t hit her head or, even worse, her neck. Lucky she didn’t get hit by lightning. Lucky she left the ICU as soon as she did. They say I’m lucky, too. Lucky I didn’t fall. Lucky I didn’t get hit by lightning either.

Lucky.

Lucky.

Lucky.

But what really is luck? I think it’s a term we’ve made up to make ourselves feel better when good things happen. It gives us a reason to believe there is something bigger than this world looking out for us. It is just our human need for reassurance that we are doing something right, and that is why we've been granted the luck by this higher power we’ve invented. Mia’s survival is due to nothing but a series of actions. There is nothing lucky about it.


When the doctors checked Mia out of the ICU, I think they forgot to check for all of her layers because they left my Mia, the just Mia layer, in there. Even her school self seemed to be missing.

After she was released from the ICU, I went to see her, but the girl sitting in front of me in her hospital room was the roof Mia -- the Mia covered in so many raindrops I could barely see her, and she looked at me like she couldn’t see me through them.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” I mumbled.


She nodded. “You can leave now, Charlie,” she said calmly, too calmly.

I stood there. I wanted to open my mouth to tell her that she is lucky. Lucky she had me to save her, but I just stood there, squinting, trying to see through the raindrops.

A nurse walked into the room to change her IV bag.

“Can you please escort him out?” she asked the nurse.

The nurse frowned at her and then frowned at me. “You sure?” she asked Mia. Mia nodded. “Get him out of here.”

The nurse looked at me, then at Mia, and back at me. She shrugged and said, “Well, you heard the girl. Get out.”

I looked at Mia one last time and tried to picture what she used to look like before the accident, before the rain, but I couldn’t.