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meet me in the band room

Chapter 15

It felt so frightening, to see the tables turned in a heartbeat. I stared down at his battered face, crusty and brown from the dried blood. The rhythmic beep of his heart monitor and rise and fall of his respirator were the only things in the room making noise.

It had only been a few months since Derrick was sitting where I was now and I lying where he was. My parents were wandering the commons, having breakfast as I stayed behind with Derrick. We had of course called his mother as soon as possible, but she was still nowhere to be found.

I remember very little after our car was hit, only vague memories of terrible screams and sirens. I had come to in a hospital bed of my own just a few hours ago. Immediately after the accident (although I wouldn’t really call it that) we were both med-flighted to UW Hospital in Madison, although I was released quickly. I had come out of everything with a few scrapes and bruises and a mild concussion. Derrick, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. One of the O.R. doctors had told me that he had multiple fractures throughout his whole body, severe brain trauma, and couldn’t breathe on his own. Every moment was uncertain as our future hung in the balance.

Mom and dad had immediately clicked into counselor mode and were doing everything in their power to console me, but there was little they could do. I spent every moment next to his bed, with only hope driving me onward.


The next few weeks were terrible, to say the least. Every morning I went to classes, ate lunch, and drove straight over to the hospital to spend as much time as I could with him, until visiting hours ended. It was a long forty minute trip to Madison, but I couldn’t care less.

My concern had grown to anger once I had spoken with one of the officers who was the first to respond to the accident. Apparently the other driver had blown straight through a red light and slammed straight into us. He wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car and died instantly. The autopsy revealed that he had a Blood Alcohol Content of .20 which was more than twice the legal limit in Wisconsin. The worst part was when I looked up his name on CCAP and found that he had been convicted of drunk driving three times before; Wisconsin has a knack for slapping people on the wrists when it comes to drunk driving.

I had to block all of it out, though, to keep my attention focused on Derrick. He showed no improvement in more than two weeks and doctors were becoming unsure about his chances. Every number they told me I ignored. I wouldn’t let some survival rate control our lives. I remained as optimistic as I could, as hard as that was.

It became more and more painful to look at his motionless body just lying there, like some cadaver waiting to be hauled away. I began to question why I continued to come. Was I even helping? Was he even aware of what was going on around him? Again, the doctors couldn’t help. They did a brain scan to see how much damage had been done and how alert he was. The results weren’t good.

Half of his brain was becoming inflamed, which forced the doctors to remove part of his skull to help relieve the swelling. His brain also showed little activity, well enough above the level to be considered alive, but not quite high enough to be considered conscious and aware.


After the third week of little improvement, the doctors decided to put him into a chemically induced coma. This made no sense to me, didn’t we want him to be active and conscious. One of them explained that his body might be able to heal better. I had no choice but to trust their judgment. They knew a hell of a lot more than I did.

Still, I felt so totally helpless. So many things were going on around me that I couldn’t control. I believe highly in an internal locus of control. Most things that happen to me happen as a result of my actions, but suddenly something like this comes along and throws my whole outlook on life into perspective.

Was this just a freak accident, or is it possible that this is God’s way of saying I’m heading down the wrong path. Thus question lingered with me and made me question my whole sexuality all over again. What if I was truly evil for choosing this life? Did I deserve this in the end?

I did a lot of deep thinking before I was finally sure of my answer. No. I didn’t choose this life. Everything would have been so much less complicated if I was straight, but that was a life I couldn’t live. This is who I am and there is no turning back or changing my mind. If it meant I were damned to hell for being the person I am, then so be it. But I believe that no God could condemn a person for loving, and I loved Derrick. It was the only thing I was sure of nowadays; I loved love him. For as long as there is a flicker of life in him, I would remain his, and only his.

This made me think though, what would I do if…if it really happened? I don’t know how I could just move on from the person I shared a part of my very soul with. To just leave him in the past was unthinkable. Could I ever love another person as I much as I do now with him? Could I ever love another person…period? I tried desperately to shake these haunting questions from my mind and only focus on the here and now. I tried, really I did.


The distant ringing of the phone had jolted me from my sleep. I could hear mom grumble through my door as she must have woken too. The phone topped ringing as she must have answered it. I was still half asleep, yet completely aware of the situation and listening inventively for any signs. The sound that followed was the one I had feared for so long now…silence. There was no beep from the phone indicating it had been hung up, no cursing on mom’s part indicating a late night telemarketer, only silence. I tried desperately in my heart to deny what my mind knew was happening.

I had finally heard the phone being hung up and listened closely to the footsteps which followed. I closed my eyes and pretended to sleep as I could hear my door being cracked open. The gentle sobs of my mother lingered in the air as I heard my dad softly whisper, “Let him sleep.” The door slowly closed again and I heard mom and dad return to their beds.

I was overwhelmed with so many feelings for my body to respond in any way. The strongest feeling to overtake my body was despair. I didn’t know what would happen now. In an instant, my whole future became uncertain, everything had changed. The only thing that had kept me going was the hope that Derrick would make it and we would live happily ever after. The despair cut through me like a knife, the pain beginning to resonate throughout my body.

I remembered the hydrocodone in my nightstand that was prescribed to me after I was shot. One pill could dull any pain for six hours. The whole bottle could dull my pain forever.

Never forget to tell the people you love that you love them, you never know when the day will come when you can never tell them again.

Note:  A special Thanks to all of those who supported "Meet."  To answer a general question I get a lot, most of the characrers are based on real life people in my life; however, the story line is completely ficitious.  A very special thank you to all of those of you who have told me how the story reflects your own life in some way.  Each of your stories personally touch me very deeply and I appreciate hearing from all of you.  Thanks again to all!

-Ryan, or

Ryan Petty the author!

I'm an eighteen-year-old college student, what more is there to say? I have been fencing for more than four and a half years and simply love the sport! I'm pretty good academically and do a lot of tutoring. I love playing the saxophone (for more than seven years) and try to learn new ones as well (euphonium is my best alternate now). I have made many new friends since publishing Meet online and am always interested in making new ones.

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