The crash brought us together. His older brother and mine drag racing on a residential street. My mother and his parents had to be separated, faces red, fingers wagging, shouts filling the small waiting room, surging into the hallways.
He and I—I didn’t know his name, we hadn’t talked—stayed out of the way, quiet, almost like we were meditating. He laid his hand on the floor palm up. I put mine on top of his. Sweaty, nervous fingers entwined.
When the doctors came, we listened. Our parents began another verbal assault amidst their sobs. We squeezed our fingers tighter and cried. I didn’t know if my tears were because my brother lived or his didn’t.
Connor and I formed a bond that day. Our parents didn’t know. They wouldn’t have approved. At least, we didn’t think they would. We met after school at the mall, or at a movie, or sometimes at friends’ houses.
He goes away to college next year. We know we’re there for each other, regardless.