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His eyes stared into hers, red from crying. It killed her for him to see her like this. He shouldn’t have to. They barely knew each other, and yet here he was, holding her as her body racked with sobs.
“What’s wrong?” he finally asked, and her story spilled out. How her mother was diagnosed with cancer, how her boyfriend who she thought she loved dumped her for the stereotypical blonde cheerleader, how her father left when she was too young to even remember his face. His brown eyes grew a little darker as she went on, until they seemed almost black.
“Why do you care?” she asked, unsure of the motives behind his kindness. He hesitated, and then shrugged.
“You were crying. You looked like you needed some comfort.” She smiled slightly, her heart too heavy for much else.
“Is that it?”
“That’s it. My name’s Aaron, by the way.”
“No way. My name’s Erin.”
They shared a quick smile.
That was how they met, two freshmen in high school who had never seen each other before.
Two years later
“What is it, Aaron?”
“Wow…” Erin smiled at her best friend, her blue eyes shining, her black hair pulled up into a messy ponytail. Aaron’s brown eyes crinkled as he smiled back at her. He ran a hand through his dark brown hair, messing it up even more.
“How’s Mom doing? Any better?” Aaron asked. Over the two years he had known her, he had begun to call her mom ‘Mom’.
Erin’s face fell.
“They say she has a month to live. The chemotherapy is doing next to nothing,” Erin said bitterly. His arms wound around her waist.
“It’ll be okay. Pray for a miracle,” he whispered.
“I think I’ve misplaced all my miracles, Aaron,” she said sadly. Aaron smiled and shook his head.
“You can’t misplace a miracle. You’ll get one. You’ll see,” he said confidently. She wished she shared some of his confidence.
They got into his car, Aaron driving like usual. As he started the car, they talked about normal things, like being juniors at last, and what colleges they wanted to go to. Erin was off to be a doctor, and to hopefully find a cure for cancer that was taking her mother’s life. Aaron wanted to be a rock star, but when that didn’t work, he was aiming for a degree in physical therapy.
They never saw it coming. Erin heard the honking and squealing, saw the bright lights, felt the world spin, and felt her head crack against the window. Then all was quiet.
“Uhh…” A cry of joy echoed as Erin’s head throbbed. She slowly opened her eyes and saw the bright white walls of a hospital. Her mother was sitting in a chair, crying tears of joy. The doctors and nurses were celebrating, jumping up and down and cheering. Erin cleared her throat. “What happened?”
“Erin, honey, it was a car crash.”
“You suffered severe head trauma, and we thought you’d never wake up,” one of the nurses said.
“Never wake up?”
“Erin, you’ve been in a coma for three years.” The bluntness of the statement took her breath away. Three years of her life… gone. She was nineteen… or was she twenty? There was no way to know.
“What about Aaron? And Mom… The cancer….” The room went very still. She could have heard a pin drop. “Mom? What happened?”
Her mother’s hand covered her own.
“No. No, he can’t be dead.”
“He’s not dead.”
“Then what happened? Answer me!” She demanded, sitting up so fast her head spun. “Where’s Aaron?”
“Erin, you’re awake!” Aaron’s voice floated in from behind her, and Erin turned in joy, only to see a shadow of the boy she once knew. Sitting in a wheelchair, he smiled at her. Both of his legs were gone, and horrible burns and scars covered one side of his face. But it was Aaron, her best friend, and he was alive.
“Aaron…” He waved a hand dismissively.
“It’s nothing. The truck that ran into us was carrying gasoline, and it blew. You’re lucky you got out almost without a scratch. I was so worried about you.” One of the doctors butted in.
“If it hadn’t been for this boy, you would have died. He pulled you from the wreckage of the car.” Erin smiled. It didn’t matter what he looked like now. This was her Aaron, the boy she had spent two years falling in love with. Nothing mattered now. Except…
“Mom? What about you’re cancer?” Aaron answered her instead.
“The doctor’s decided to do a kidney transplant, and it worked. Finally.”
“The donor?” Aaron smiled again.
“You mean…” Erin’s mom smiled.
“Aaron saved my life, Erin. You have a good friend.” Erin smiled at her mom, then back at her best friend, smiling back at her. The love of her life. Her Aaron.
“Yeah. Yeah I do.” She wouldn’t have to tell him now. There was plenty of time for that. “Aaron?”
“Erin?” She gestured for him to come closer, then leaned in and whispered in his ear. “Three years ago, when you said you couldn’t misplace a miracle? You were right. I never misplaced a miracle, because I never lost you. You are my miracle.”