"Ladies and gentlemen the cabin doors are now closing," the flight attendant said over the intercom.
I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. I wasn't a good flyer. But I couldn't pass up an offer to go to Paris for a school field trip. My name is Jonathan Van de Water. I'm a 12th grader at The Bush School in Seattle, Washington. The 12th grade class is taking a field trip to Paris for our graduation.
"Hey Jonathan! Can I have the window seat?" My best friend Nate asked.
"I thought you already had a seat!"
"Grant and Daniel kicked me out and this is the last seat available to sit with the class! Or else I will be in row like 700! By the way did you notice how big this plane is? It's huge!"
"Fine," I said, "You can have it."
"You're awesome dude! Thanks!"
We sat there for just a little while and then we pushed away from the gate. The 747 was rumbling down the runway now. On the window the tiny droplets of water from the rain were getting smaller and smaller as we accelerated. It was just so hypnotizing watching them, I don't know why though. The plane smoothly glided up into the air.
"Hey wanna play cards or something?" Nate asked.
"Nah, I'm good. Thanks though," I said. All of my attention was going to a girl named Victoria Waldorf two rows ahead of us. She was my crush and had been since 10th grade. I never has the guts to ask her out though.
Nate broke through my daydream, "Are you staring at Vic again?"
"Dude you got to ask her out! You know she's probably looking for a boyfriend!"
"Yeah but.." I was interrupted. The plane started to shake violently. I broke into a freezing sweat. The cabin lights flickered and went out. You could hear the compartments above open. People young and old knew that this was it. Then a large bang and a glowing orange light illuminated the cabin. The fuselage of the plane was stressing and breaking.
"Oh my God," Nate said with fear in his voice.
"Oh God please save me please..." I said. Oxygen masks dropped down from the ceiling. I quickly grabbed one as part of the plane on the other side ripped apart, sucking people with it. I screamed. Then, I blacked out.
I woke up still strapped into my seat. The rain trickling down my face. My body ached. I realized what was going on and noticed my seat was the only one in a pile of destroyed 747. I could hear distant sirens. The only noise was the rain and the crackling of the fire. I stood up. A sharp pain shot through my body from my ankle. I kept going on though. I started screaming.
"HELP! HELP ME PLEASE! SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME!" I shouted through sobs. My hair was wet and hanging over my face. My body was dirty. Jeans ripped, shirt tattered, mud was caked into my pores. I was in shock. A man approached me. I pushed him down. I don't know why. I was delirious, confused then there was black again.
I woke up in a dark room. I was warm. A faint beeping was orignating from a maching to my right. My mom was curled up in the arm chair. Mascera stained her face. Something was attached to my ankle. Something really heavy. I couldn't move it.
"Oh my God! Frank he's awake! Come in here now!" She hugged in tears, same with my father.
"Oh my poor, poor baby," my mother said over muffled tears.
"Mom, Dad what's going on? Why am I here?" I asked.
"Sweetie, you were in a plane crash last night. You were the only survivor."
"What? But Nate! And everyone else!" I started to sob violently. The nurses took my mother and father out and gave me some sleeping medicine because they didn't want me getting worked up. I woke up to doctor's voices outside the door.
"The state that he is in now he will survive and be able to live a semi-normal life. The known injuries at this point is a right fractured ankle, three broken vertebrare, a sprained neck, and a sprained wrist." The doctor said calmly. Then hell broke loose with reporters screaming questions and flashing cameras. He came back into the room while the security handled the mob outside.
"Hi there! We haven't gotten a chance to meet yet. My name is doctor Reynolds. I'm sure you have many questions but I have to say one thing. You are going to be okay. I have no idea what you are going through but it must be extremely difficult. Now, your current injuries are a broken ankle on your right leg, three broken vertebrae, a sprained neck, and a sprained wrist." He said.
"Those are minor injuries though, how am I the only survivor?"
"I don't know and I am sorry. I really am. But, we have to stay on topic. Today around 3:00 you will be having a minor surgery on your vertebrae just because one of them is shattered. Your parents are meeting with some investigators now but they will be here in about half an hour. Again I am sorry. So, so sorry."
"Dr. Reynolds to the ER immediately. We have an incoming passenger from flight 447," His radio announced. I caught my breath.
"Oh my God," I thought as he left the room quickly. "There is another survivor," I thought. I was again, in shock.
When my parents came later that day it was about two hours before my surgery. I had still not yet learned the name of the fellow survivor. My parents figured I was ready to watch the news and see the images of the crash. I reached for the remote on the bed table.
"We are still following the investigation of Volee Air flight 447. About half an hour ago we got breaking news that there are now two survivors from that doomed flight. Only one of the names has been released and that is Johnathan Van de Water who is a son of the CEO of Amazon.com. He was found last night at the crash site, concious, but when he finally realized what was going on he passed out..." The female reporter said.
"Great, they don't have any information either," I thought. I fell asleep watching the report on the crash. I couldn't remember much of it so it didn't bother me that much. The only thing I want are my friends back. I knew that Nate saved my life by switching seats with me but he didn't know it then. He was a good guy, I will never forget him.
I woke up in the dark. It had to be around 11:30 at least because the hospital was very quiet. My neck was sore. I had totally forgotten that I had surgery but I guess they just put me under while I was sleeping. There was a note on the table.
"[size= 15px; font-family: Arial; background-color: transparent; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap]Dear John,
[size= 15px; font-family: Arial; background-color: transparent; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap]We were going to spend the night at the hospital but me and your father decided to rent a room across the street at the Hilton. We will be there around 6:30 to check on you! Oh, I also forgot to mention that you can leave the hospital tomorrow!
[size= 15px; font-family: Arial; background-color: transparent; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap]Much Love,
[size= 15px; font-family: Arial; background-color: transparent; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap]Mom :)
"I get to leave tomorrow!" I thought. I almost shouted it I was so excited. I remembered that I still have not found out the name of the other survivor so I turned on the news, I couldn't sleep anyway.
"...The plane crash in the hills of Seattle yesterday has left with a death toll of over 350 people. 73 of which were students from Bush High School in Seattle. There were two sole survivors though both of which were students at Bush. Jonathan Van de Water and Victoria Waldorf were both found barely alive at the crash site. Jonathan was found last night while Victoria was found this morning..."
"Holy crap!" I yelled. Not meaning to but I was overjoyed by the fact that Victoria was alive. I listened to the newscaster more;
"...While Victoria is in critical but stable condition, Jonathan will be released from the University of Washington hospital tomorrow morning. They are both expected to be ready to go back to school by next week at earliest. Bush will also be having a memorial service next week when there graduation ceremony was supposed to happen in Paris, but was cancelled because of the crash. They will not be having a graduation for the two remaining survivors but they will be invited and highly encouraged to come and speak at the service..."
I didn't know what to think. I couldn't think. I felt so guilty for living while everyone else died. The tv went black and I buried my head in the pillow.
The next morning I woke up to the noise outside my door. All you could hear were gurneys being pushed along the shiny floors, doctors chatting, everyone having a normal day, except me. I looked at the clock, it read 6:45.
"They must have gotten breakfast," I thought. Then I heard my moms voice. They came in with three cups of coffee and a donut.
"Hi honey! Are you feeling ok?" My mother asked.
"Yeah I'm ok. I just woke up."
"Oh that's good! Sorry we were late we went to a coffee shop down the street to get you some stuff. We got you a coffee and a donut!"
"Thanks! I'm tired of eating this hospital food," I said. I almost sounded happy. I wasn't though. Not even close. Guilt was eating me alive, and as soon I stepped out of the safety of my room I would be swallowed up by reporters. My mom said something but I don't know what she said.
I ate the donut carefully. My neck still hurt from the surgery. Every time I lifted my head it felt like someone was squeezing the back of my neck.
The doctor came into the room, "Hello! Before we talk about your departure today may I have a word with Mr. and Mrs. Van de Water? Outside?"
They went out silently and shut the door behind them. I knew what they were talking about. The doctor knew I wasn't ready for school, emotionally speaking. But I already knew that. He was going to tell them that years of therapy would be needed. I knew.
They came back in, "So Johnathan! Are you excited to be on your way? You have made an excellent recovery progress."
"Yeah I am, but my neck still hurts a little."
"Your neck will hurt for about three or four days. Just take some advil and it should relieve the pain. Now, you can leave whenever you want just be sure to check out with one of the nurses at the front desk."
"Okay. I will go get changed now. Mom, will you go check me out while I change?"
"Yeah I will, we will meet you by the front desk," My mother said. I went into the changing room and removed my gown. It was the first time I got a look at my cuts. There were about 20 of them I guessed. The largest one was on the right side of my stomach, the same side as my broken ankle and my sprained wrist. I got into my jeans and sweatshirt and got on my crutches and hobbled out of the hospital room. As I stepped out of the room I was not prepared for the stares that I was getting. It seemed like everyone had stopped what they were doing and looked at me. My mom had tears in her eyes because of the look I had on my face. I limped out silently but as soon as I left the hospital I was swallowed by reporters. I was told there would be a lot but I never thought this many. I felt a strong hand on my shoulder. It was a hospital security guard and they were pushing the reporters out of the way. As I got into my Escalade there were reporters trying to get a word out of me but I wasn't talking.
"Sweety, I know this is very overwhelming but you have to speak to the news tomorrow. I am sorry but they need to have the story out of you to help the investigation. I'm so sorry." My mother said carefully.
"Okay, I just need today. I just need to have quiet today." I said. My mother nodded and looked at the road ahead. I stared at the rain on the window. My life would not be normal ever again. No matter how much I knew that, I could not accept it. It was blocked from my mind. My brain would not let it be believed. The only thing that made me happy was that Victoria was alive. I wanted to see her so badly. She was all I could think about, all that was left, all I could understand.
When I got home all of my family and some of my lower grade friends were sitting in the living room. They all jumped up when they saw me and started to give me hugs.
"Sweetie! Oh my God," My aunt said between sobs.
"Oh my God Johnny! I'm so sorry!" My sister Kate said. I was sobbing and hugging all of them. This was the only time I felt happy since the crash.
"Johnathan!" My friend Alex screamed. He was crying. Balling actually. I had never seen or thought I would ever see him cry. He was the captain of our football team and he was only in 10th grade. He was the the toughest guy I knew.
After all of the hugs and tears we talked. There were about 25 of us crammed on three couches. Nobody mentioned the crash. They knew better than to bring it up, even though they wanted to know.
We talked for a couple hours and then my friends and some family left which led to more tears. My sister wasn't going back to New York where she went to college for another week and my aunt and my cousins weren't heading back until Wednesday, which is three days away.
I went up to my room around 8:30 and started to get ready for bed. I walked into my bathroom and brushed my teeth. I could hear the wind howling outside my window as the foam dribbled down my chin. I spit into the sink and turned the light off in the bathroom and went to bed.
I layed in my bed for about an hour, wondering what is going to happen after this. I got tired of sitting so I stood up and looked out my window. The city was dark and quiet. I looked at my clock. 1:30 a.m. it read.
"Jeez, I didn't know it was that late," I thought. I walked out of my room and down the quiet hallway. My ankle brace made a large "thud" as it hit the ground every time. I was still getting used to having it. But I didn't need to be this quiet considering that I was the only one sleeping on this floor. At the end of the hallway were stairs and in front of that a balcony. Two large french doors guarded the exit but I pushed them open causing rain and wind to enter the room. I walked outside onto the cold, wet wood. I made it to the railing and stood on it.
"I could end it. Right here, right now," I thought. It was a thirty foot jump so I had a pretty good chance of dying if I landed in the right spot. I was facing my drive way where a Range Rover, an Escalade, a Lexus SUV, and my sister's 2003 BMW. The closest neighbor we had was about half a mile away so my family would be the ones to find out. I got ready to jump.
"This is it," I thought. "Here we go." I was just about to jump when my ankle brace slipped off the wood and I fell backwards. I landed on the cold, hard wood and got the wind knocked out of me. I just layed there and fell asleep.
I woke up. It was still dark but there were birds chirping. I was soaked in water. I got up slowly. My body ached. My neck was sore and stiff. The doctor said so always keep it elevated or in a comfortable postition, I don't think a balcony qualifies.
I limped back to my room, ankle brace dragging on the floor. I am supposed to be using my crutches but I keep forgetting to. I changed my clothes and went back under the covers. They were so warm. Better than outside. I had completely forgotten why I was even out there though, but I knew it wasn't good.
I woke up the next day to the smell of coffee and bacon. I hobbled downstairs and into the warm kitchen where I was, once again, greeted with hugs. We ate breakfast like normal. My mother reminded me of the interview with the news stations today. I was dreading that. I didn't want to talk about the event that had happened four days ago in any way shape or form. But, there was no getting around it, so I had to suck it up and do it.
Hi Guys! So this is all I have so far! I'm working on more and I know it needs some work but feel free to give me some advice!!