“Oh god Trina. Open your eyes, please be ok,” I beg as I burst through the doors to the emergency room at Nepean hospital, carrying her in my arms like she’s a baby.
Frantically I look around, ignoring the shocked gasps. I’m so overwhelmed that I just yell. “Somebody help me!”
The entire room turns to stare at us, it’s as if all the sound is removed from the room for a moment and all I can hear is the sound of my own heart thudding in my ears.
Then all of a sudden, the sound returns to me as Katrina is pulled from my arms and placed on a gurney being swarmed by people who are asking me questions that I’m only babbling answers to.
“Oh god! Trina!” I yell out as they wheel her away from me. I try to follow but there’s a man who’s holding me back. My hands go to my hair as I grab chunks of it, trying to somehow stop the thudding of my heart in my ears. It’s painful, and I desperately want to be with her. “Please tell me she’s going to be ok,” I say to the man in front of me.
“She’s in good hands mate. You look like you’ve been through a bit too, why don’t you let me have a look at you and you can tell me what happened.”
I nod once and follow him in to the general treatment area of the emergency room, where he gives me an ice pack for my swollen face and cleans up the cuts and scrape marks on my hands and arms.
“I can’t lose her. You don’t understand how important she is to me,” I ramble. I guess I’m in shock because all I can think about is the sight of all that blood over Katrina’s beautiful face. “She’s my world. I can’t lose her.”
I’ve been sitting in the waiting room for at least two hours now, I don’t think my leg has stopped bouncing once. I lean forward on my knees and that’s uncomfortable, so I sit back and rest my head against the wall, but that feels horrible too.
My guts just won’t stop swirling and I need to see her. But no one will let me – I’m not counted as family, even though I’ve known her virtually all of my life.
I look up and see Katrina’s whole family rush through the automatic doors with frantic looks on their faces. After answering all of the questions I could about Katrina to the doctor, or nurse – I don’t know what the hell he was – I called them.
As they move closer to me, Mrs Mahoney gasps upon seeing my swollen face and blood stained shirt.
“Oh god, is that your blood? What happened?” she practically whispers.
I drop my head, feeling responsible for what happened and shake it slowly from side to side.
“Where is she?” her father asks urgently.
“I don’t know, they won’t tell me anything.”
Mrs Mahoney spins on her feet and heads straight to the reception desk, asking after her daughter, with Mr Mahoney hot on her heels. Her brother Tom stays with me.
Closing my eyes as the images of that day’s events flash through my mind, I shake my head in an attempt to clear them away. “Christopher happened.”
“I knew I didn’t like that guy,” Tom says through gritted teeth.
“He came home early, and you know he isn’t a fan of mine. But Tom, I never expected him to lose it like he did. You should have seen his face. It was all twisted up and vicious. He decked me and threw me out of the flat, locked the door. Then I heard her scream…” the rest of the words seem to lodge themselves in my throat as a weakness overcomes me and I drop back into my seat.
“What happened?!” he repeats, more desperately this time.
“He put her through the glass sliding door. I’m sorry. I couldn’t stop it.”
I remember the first time I ever saw Katrina, I was probably ten years old at the time and she was a little younger than me – the new kid at the school. I noticed her because she was so much taller than all the other girls and she had two long plaits that sat over her shoulders and were tied with blue ribbons.
Something inside me, made me really want to either pull on her plaits or undo the ribbons. But I restrained myself – experience had told me that girls didn’t really like that. Even though it was all in good fun.
We both lived out in Cranebrook which was the last stop on the bus route travelling from Penrith Primary School and it took me a couple of weeks of watching her to finally decide that I was going to sit next to her.
She just looked too lonely to me and I figured that we may as well be friends since the bus was completely boring once everyone else got off.
“Can I sit next to you?” I asked her. She had her bag sitting on the seat next to her, it meant that she didn’t want anyone to sit there, but I was going to try anyway.
“I guess,” she said, bouncing her shoulders and pulling her bag onto her lap, hugging it close to her chest.
“I think you get off at the same stop as me,” I told her, even though I knew this for sure.
“Yeah, I see you get off the bus before me every day.”
“Oh. Where to you live?”
“Etchell Place, what about you?”
“We’re only a couple of streets away from each other,” I informed her. “How come you don’t catch the bus in the morning?”
“My dad drives me.”
“Lucky you…” I commented, thinking for a moment before I came up with, what I thought, was a brilliant plan. “Hey, if we become friends, do you think he could drive me too?”
“I don’t know…maybe.”
“That settles it then. Besides, you look like you could do with a friend.”
“Yeah. I’ve seen you around school. You don’t really talk to anyone much.”
“I don’t have much to say.”
“I’m pretty sure you’ve got plenty to say. You just haven’t found the right people to talk to.”
“Maybe. Those girls don’t want to listen to me anyway.”
“I want to listen you. You can talk to me all you want,” I said, attempting to peer into her face. She shrugged and turned her head and was watching the world fly past us through the bus window.
“So how do you like catching the bus?” I asked, just trying to get her to talk a bit. I remember thinking it would be really cool to know someone from my school who lived near me. Not many kid’s parents were happy to make them travel so far for school, especially when there was a local one within walking distance of our house.
“I hate it,” she said, turning to look at me. “I hate that my parents moved so far away from my school. I hate that I have to catch the bus. It stinks. It smells like armpits and buttholes and rotten fruit. The fabric on the seats prickles the backs of my legs and itches. It sucks!”
I was a bit shocked when this tirade of words spilled from her mouth, but when she finished, I started laughing.
“What so funny?!” she demanded, her face set in a scowl.
“You’re right.” I laughed even harder at the indignant look on her face. “It does smell like armpits, buttholes and rotten fruit!”
She looked at me for a moment. I guess she was trying to decide if she was angry with me for laughing, or whether she thought it was funny too.
Thankfully she chose to laugh along with me, because it was that moment our friendship started.