I didn't know exactly how long I'd been sitting and waiting in the waiting room of the clinic, playing Swipe on my tablet (God, it's just so addictive!) to pass the time. But I must've waited a very long time, because by the time a nurse called for me to come into the examination room, the sun had sunk below the horizon and the once-light blue sky had turned solid indigo. Not to mention that I also felt extremely tired. My parents were probably wondering where the heck I was—more than likely, never in my fourteen years of living had I stayed at a clinic this long.
Honestly, though, I didn't give a damn about what they thought anymore. Not tonight.
When I walked into the examination room, the first thing I noticed was...the boy. The same boy I'd found behind my school several hour ago, lying half-dead and covered in blood and soil, now looked completely healed. (Thank God for the wonders of modern medical technology.) Then I noticed the thick, bloodstained gauze wrapped tightly around his right leg; he wasn't completely healed after all.
"He'll have to stay overnight," the nurse—Nurse Lenora—said to me, "just so we can confirm that he's negative for lethal infection. If you want to talk to him, you can; just don't make any physical contact." With that, she turned quietly on her heels and walked out of the room.
If you want to talk to him, you can... About what, though? "Oh, hi there, Mr. I-don't-know-your-name! I'm so sorry you got..." No. That would only trigger horrible memories. "So, what do you like to do for fun?" No, not now. Save that for when I see him in school next. "And that is the reason why I cannot listen to Dakotah Brea's Rewind without bursting into uncontrollable—"
"Wo bin ich?" the boy whispered as he sat up.
I barely managed to stifle my gasp of surprise. "You're okay," I exclaimed as I walked over to him. "Oh, thank God; I thought you were comatose or something. How about—"
Then it hit me: whatever he'd just said, it wasn't in English. It sounded like it was in...
"Oh sh—" I caught myself in time and took a deep breath. I saved the life of a child of America's enemy. Great. Just great.
Then again, the kid almost freaking died. I should probably just cut him some slack.
The boy stared at me. "Wer bist du?"
"Um..." How should I respond? I don't speak German! "Lemme get out my tablet..." I reached into my bag and pulled out a rectangular black device. "...and turn on my translator..." With a few taps, I'd opened up Culture Pro and set it to Mode Verbose. "...then ask the translator how the hell I'm supposed to respond to you..." I typed What are you asking me? into the translation box, then switched the "Language to Translate to" section to German. "...and finally, press this fancy little Enter button." Another tap.
"Was fragst du mich?" the chipper voice of the translator chimed.
The kid's eyes widened, and he let out a small gasp. "Du sprichst Deutsch?" he asked.
According to the translator, that meant, "You speak German?" So I responded with one of the few words of the language I did understand: "Nein."
I had no idea how long this went on for. But after what felt like only a few minutes, I had to face the fact that I reeeeaaaaaaallllllllly needed to get home.
"Ich muss jetzt gehen," I told him at last. And a few more taps later..."Auf wiedersehen!"
"Auf wiedersehen!" he told me back. By this point, he was smiling...even though the gauze on his leg was still a bloody mess. (He'd managed to sit up, but not stand up.)
Of course, since the world hates me at times, I didn't realize that I'd forgotten to ask him for his name until I was out the clinic door and walking down the sidewalk. "Dammit!" I cried aloud. "How could I have been so stupid?!"
Yet, even with this bit of cruel knowledge, I felt a warm feeling inside my chest—one I hadn't felt in quite a long time.
I, Hayley Mariana Wilson, just made a new friend.
(And if my parents chose not to understand...screw their logic.)