An immense thud. A sickening crack. And a rumble of bodies that was heard around the world.
I watched in horror as Ryan Koehler slipped from the gutter on Oliver Dormitory. The girls stopped in the middle of their fun, their screeches of laughter transforming into screams of hysteria. Everything seemed to stop. But as he fell, one thing occurred in my mind: we’re fucked.
When he let go, when every single finger on his hand released his grip out of shock, my mind immediately thought of my mother. What would she say when, only three months away from graduation, I wasted all four years of my education. I quickly counted in my head: $55,495.34, times four. The Academy was one of the most expensive schools, after all: our skiing was unparalleled. $221,981.36 of my Mom’s investment was falling from the second floor of the girls dorm like a sack of bricks, and when it hit the ground, I was sure that every penny was going to be wasted.
One of the boys on the pole beneath let out a yell when Ryan’s foot hit his head. Eloise Sinclair had grabbed my forearm and was squeezing it. The numbness spread over my arm, but I could’ve swore that I was numb all over. Like the time I first moved into Hayward as a freshman, realizing that this was to be my home for the next four years. The white washed walls, the smells of Korean noodles, smelly Lacrosse gear, and dirty communal bathroom…But it was home. Home wasn’t where I went for weeks at a time; home is where I lived, learned, and grew up in a little world of my own.
Ryan rolled over in midair, hoping to make less of an impact on his athletic body. As some of the boys moved to try and catch him, I thought of everyone at the Academy. I would no longer hear Hannah’s loud giggle, or feel Catherine’s silent support, or stare into Mariah’s glossy blue eyes. I wouldn’t sit in and listen to Anderson Taylor’s loud ego, or Gill Edward’s sloppy sexcapades, or Ryan’s latest victory story on the soccer field – if he made it through this. I saw Khloe Tennyson’s gaze from the windows, serenity mingled with curiosity. Jessica Clarkson was right next to her, motioning to Eloise next to me. I thought of Talia and her golden honey locks, her Spanish chatter that rolled off her tongue. I remembered how Ian Davis would loudly laugh and interrupt everyone’s lunch, then blush and smile and command the attention of his table again.
Right before Ryan hit the ground, my last thought truly hurt the most. Most of all, I would miss beautiful, confident, and loyal Anne Carey: that thought was almost as painful as the impact on Ryan’s body, sprawled out on the concrete patio of Oliver dorm.
The night was silent. Everything had stopped. As they say, “life flashed” before his eyes. And mine, too. I think it did for everyone.
Just when I had given up hope, the clump of limbs and brown curls began to stir. Noise came crashing back in. Eloise let go of my arm, which I hadn’t felt. The girls began filing out one by one to join the circle around Ryan.
All I heard was, “I’m alright.”
And that’s all that I needed to hear. Yet, as I turned to leave, my eyes made contact in the night. There was no mistake ~ Anderson Taylor had seen me.