"Ow, when did I put that there?" he muttered aloud as his foot stumbled across one of the many boxes strewn across the room. He was suddenly reminded that he only had three more nights left before he would make the three thousand-mile trip to New York University, where he finally decided to attend college. There was a heated debate between him and his parents, who were reluctant to see their youngest child leaving so far away. Adam partially chose NYU because it would get him as far away as possible from his parents' control. They couldn't quite understand that he is now eighteen years old and needed to find out exactly who he was. He certainly could not do that with his over-protective parents constantly hovering over him like they did while he was in high school. "One day they will understand why I am doing this," he thought as he opened the creaky door as quietly as possible and headed for the bathroom.
First thing he did, Adam tried to push back his curly mass of hair from his face so he could put in his contacts. Every morning he saw himself in the mirror and wondered why everyone could tell he was Korean, but only a very few ever guessed he was actually biracial. It was always obvious to him that he was of mixed heritage. He definitely inherited his crow-black hair, dark brown, nearly black eyes from his father, broad shoulders and dominant cheekbones, and golden undertone in his skin from his Korean father. However, he also had the curly hair, light dusting of freckles in the summer, and pale skin from his predominantly Irish mother. He was just grateful that he did not inherit his mother's bright red hair; that would have been overly bizarre. He sometimes chuckled at the thought of that; his older brother had it and it never failed to generate plenty of laughs in school. Somehow, he was the only one of the four kids with curly hair, which managed to become even wilder as it grew out. His girlfriend, Tanya frequently joked with him "I know you are Asian and white little man, but you must have some black down the line because your hair is just as bad as mine!"
Once his contacts were in and he could see sufficiently (without he was nearly as bad as Billy), he made his way downstairs and raided the refrigerator for something to eat. He grimaced at the sight of last night's leftovers; the results of his mother's horrendous attempt to display some degree of domestic skills. He noticed some fruit on the counter and ignored the disgusting blob of food in the plastic container. He made a note to himself to cook dinner tonight, so that there was something edible. "It's not her fault," he thought "It's just that she spends so much time working at the hospital that she forgot how to cook." However, sometimes it was so bad that even the dog wouldn't come near it!
Adam heard someone coming down the stairs. He silently prayed for it to be the dog, or his mother. He knew if his father saw him up at this hour, he would receive a severe interrogation.
"Adam, it's 4:30 in the morning." Mr. Park said sleepily, startling Adam. This was not the person he wanted to deal with this early in the morning. "Why are you up so early? And in just those hideous boxer shorts?"
"I couldn't sleep." Adam replied, making conversation as brief as possible. He and his father did not have the ideal relationship to say the very least. "Either way, I am supposed to meet Tanya at seven, so I kinda had to wake up early."
"Oh," responded Mr. Park, "exactly what did you two have in mind?" He was constantly asking this question. It was his attempt to be subtle but obvious way of finding out if his son was having sex. For some reason he thought that Tanya was a poor influence who just wanted to get every guy in bed with her. Of course Adam could just say the truth that both of them were indeed still virgins, but it really was not any of his business anymore.
"Um… well, we didn't exactly make...definite plans, but I think we are just going to…. hang out and take advantage…. of these last couple of days together." He knew exactly what his intentions were, if he could get up the nerve to do it, but he decided that his dad could find out later, when it will be too late for him to interfere. It was bad enough he sometimes invaded his privacy by going into his room, searching his drawers and reading his journal, Not to mention listening in on his phone conversations with Tanya and Rocky. It was just too much to take at times. He never did anything to betray his parents' trust, but he was constantly treated as though he was going to cause problems as soon as he was out of their sight.
"Can I ask exactly what you see in this girl?" Adam's father asked, although it sounded more like a demand.
"I can't put what I feel for her in words Dad," Adam explained "She means more to me than my own life. I am in love for the first time in my life. I love everything about her; even her flaws attract me to her. I care for her as much as you care about Mom. Every moment I am with her, I am just…. Content with my life and am at peace in my soul. I think that we were made to be together and this little move is not going to stop us. I would gladly give my life for her, so that she wouldn't have to endure any pain. We have a mutual love for one another and I wish you could see that like everyone else does. You should be happy for me rather than passing judgement on my decisions. Understand that she is MY choice and I just wish you would giver her a chance." After that episode, Adam stormed out of the kitchen and headed up to his room, fighting back tears. "Why won't they just understand what love is?" he thought.
Once upstairs in his room, Adam decided to get dressed. He would surprise her early since he knew there would be another argument if...he stayed at home. He was surprised his mother didn't get up and defend her husband in telling her son that he was too young to understand love. He decided to put on a pair of black slacks, a deep purple shirt with a back vest to go over it. It was slightly formal for a casual date, but he intended to make it the most special one either would experience. He knew that if his dad saw him again, he would resume his prodding, so he quickly grabbed his keys, and put another small object into his pocket, opened the window and timed his jump into the tree limb outside. The limb was barely strong enough to support his weight and he was surprised that in the three and a half years of sneaking out of the house that the branch never snapped and sent him to the hospital.
Adam slowly walked down the street toward Tanya's house. "All the sane people in this city are still in bed, he thought to himself as the first hint of light could be seen on the eastern horizon. Hopefully she was not going to mind being woken up so early. She was definitely not a morning person, as her body demanded at least seven hours of sleep to function properly.
As Adam advanced on to the Sloans' house, he was slightly surprised that there were lights on in the house. He was glad that someone was up, since he knew they would not mind him being there. Unlike his parents, Tanya's greatly approved of the couple's relationship and more or less regarded Adam as a son. He was always welcome in the house and frequently sought refuge from the constant bickering in his household. He knocked gently on the door and was even more surprised when Tanya was the one who answered the door.
"Morning gorgeous" Adam whispered in her ear. He still thought she was beautiful, even without make-up and her hair in disarray.
"Okay, I know you are not Tommy, but don't you think you are just a little TOO punctual?" She grumbled, even though she was glad to see Adam. He knew that she was not much of a morning person.
"I have to talk to you… well, more like ask you something" Adam responded, giving one of his sweet lopsided grins.
"It must be somewhat important for you to come over here at five a.m. Or your parents are driving you nuts again." Tanya said with a laugh.
"Actually, it was a little bit of both, but I better do it now before I can think properly." Adam started. "Tanya, we have been going out for two years now and it has been nothing short of absolute bliss for me. I love you with all my heart and I would give my life for you without a single regret. We have been through hell and back together and I really don't know how you put up with me… You know that I am leaving in a couple days, and the thought of not being able to see you, or feel your kiss is agony in itself. Please come with me to New York. I know this is short notice, but I couldn't get up the nerve to ask you earlier."
He noticed the glowing smile on her face and realized there was no going back at this point. He reached into the pocket of his vest and removed the small object he slipped in before leaving his house, a small velvet box. He took her hand, dropped to one knee and asked her in the simplest way "Tanya Sloan, will you marry me?"
That last question left Tanya with tears streaming down her face as she embraced him with her muscular arms. "Of course sweetheart." was all she could muster as he placed the delicate gold ring onto her slender finger. They looked into each other's eyes and gave the most passionate kiss the two had ever shared. They reluctantly pulled apart at the voice of Mrs. Sloan.
"Uh Uh Uh, you two are joined at the hip again, or should I say lips?" Mrs. Sloan joked. She had the greatest sense of humor.
"Mama, Adam and I are going to get married!" Tanya squealed while Adam's cheeks flushed to a bright red.
"Oh, I am so happy for you my little one. The two of you certainly have my blessing. But that means that both of you are leaving me."
"Don’t worry, Mama." Tanya cried, "I promise I'll call you all the time and let you know how things are going. Either way, I have three days left, so we can spend some time together."
"Yeah, but you need to pack, and you are never home as it is. Do you want me to start packing your things or are you going to do it yourself?" Mrs. Sloan asked sincerely.
"Oh, no Mama, I'll do it myself later on." Tanya quickly replied, while wiping her face.
"Knowing how you are you are going to do it all in the last fifteen minutes" Mrs. Sloan joked once again.
"I'll help you later on" Adam offered to Tanya, "I really don't know how my parents are going to react to this. Actually I have a good idea and it's not a pretty picture. I intend on telling them at the last minute, or better yet, after I arrive in New York."
Should we start calling everyone?" Tanya inquired.
"Now?" Adam replied in disbelief
"I think the others would like to hear the news." Tanya defended.
"First of all this probably will not surprise them in the least." Adam reasoned. "Everyone in school and on the team has always suspected that the two of us would stay together and eventually marry. Secondly, I really think everyone would be more appreciative if we tell them at a decent hour." He was half-joking, half-serious. He knew he would get scolded or clobbered by Rocky if he dared to wake him up at this hour.
"Alright, lets go to my room and start packing." Tanya suggested.
"The two went upstairs and began sorting piles of clothes and miscellaneous junk. However, it didn't take very long before they became distracted by each other and found themselves entangled by their arms and lips. The collapsed unto Tanya's bed and fell asleep in each other's arms.
The two awoke again at a quarter past eight and decided that now was a half way decent time to start waking up their friends. The first person they called was Rocky.
"Hello, why are you calling me now?" Rocky grumbled. He was just pulled out of bed. "This better be important!"
"Hey Rocky, it's Adam." he replied, not offended by the rudeness of his best friend.
"ADAM!" Rocky scolded, "damn it I know that you like to wake up in the middle of the night, but remember that some people like to sleep in, especially now that they are not in school!"
"I have something kinda important to tell you," Adam responded, chucking at his friend's agitation, "I just proposed to Tanya this morning, and she accepted!"
"What?" Rocky said, the news quickly waking him up. "Oh my god, congratulations. I bet it took you a month to say it. Can I speak to Tanya?
"Sure, I'll talk to you later, alright, bye." Adam said and tossed the phone across the room to Tanya.
"Hey Rocky, what's up?" Tanya inquired.
"Promise me that you will take care of Adam and somehow manage to get him to come out of his damn shell. Knowing him, if he probably won't have the nerve to kiss you at the wedding, if he ever manages to make it that far." Rocky wisecracked.
"Really, are you ever going to grow up?" Tanya responded.
"What did he say?" Adam asked, knowing Rocky's warped sense of humor.
"He said that you were so shy that you would not have the guts to kiss me at our wedding!" she exclaimed.
With that Adam took the phone, a little bit peeved at the remark "I may be slightly on the shy side but at least I found the right person the first time unlike some horny companion I know." He turned the phone off before listening to the response. He knew Rocky was joking and it was kind of true but it didn't alter the fact that he was hurt by the comment.
"The entire morning was spent calling around and telling friends and family the news, with the exception of Adam's parents. Adam handled most of the rangers since he knew every one of them to some degree. Nobody was entirely shocked because they have either seen the couple or heard about them from their companions. Aisha was ecstatic; Tommy claimed he expected it before Adam left, and Kimberly mused that Adam was the last one to find a steady girlfriend but would wind up the first to marry.
Upon finishing the telephone calls, both were a little tired, but there were still a couple more people to reach.
"I'm going to the command center." Adam told Tanya as she was once again going through her things. She still had clothes from when she was a toddler for some reason in her closet.
"Are you ever going to get rid of your baby things?" Adam inquired.
"Hey, when we have kids, these things will come in handy!" she explained back at him.
"Well, I hope that THAT can wait for some time, alright." Adam said in response to her explanation. "Do you want to come with me, I really want to tell Billy, Zordon, Dimitria, Alpha and the new team."
"No, I have a few things to do. I'm sure Billy will be more than happy to hear the news." Tanya replied as she turned back to the piles in her closet, also known as the black hole.
Billy and Adam managed to build a close friendship over the years, particularly because of their similarities. Both were noted for being extremely shy, especially when it came to girls. Both were also quite gifted, although Billy outshone Adam on that one, and Adam never objected to taking the backseat on things. They were much more mature than any of the other male rangers, although sometimes that is not saying much. They found someone they could relate to and confine in.
They had just traded places a couple of weeks ago, but the reality of the end of fighting monsters had not yet sunk in. Adam still hung around the command center and served as a mentor to the four new rangers. It was difficult considering that the entire team was inexperienced, Justin having only been a ranger for several months. But mostly, he hung around because he was accustomed to being there over the past three and a half years.
"Hey Dimitria, how are you doing today?" Adam greeted the new mentor of the team. The others found her quite confusing at times, but Adam found her interesting although he missed Zordon.
"Adam, are y ever gonna go away? I like ya a lot kid but ya need to live outside of here once in a while. That's why ya left isn't it?" inquired Alpha 6.
"Don't worry, I'm leaving soon enough. I actually came here to tell everyone that Tanya and I am… engaged. I need to use the equipment to contact Zordon and Billy" Adam replied.
"Woah. You're getting married, but you are less than a year older than I am!" exclaimed Carlos, in his slight Spanish accent, the new green ranger on the team.
"Well, we are, eventually. It may take awhile since I'm going to college now and all that. I can't believe we are leaving together on Friday if she ever gets packed." Adam responded
"Love can wait a lifetime while being impatient Carlos." Dimitria interrupted. She always spoke in rhetoric and as a result, very few could understand her at all. This was one of those frequent situations.
"Yo, Adam," Alpha 6 said " I managed to get Zordon of the viewing globe for you but I can't keep the transmission for long, so be quick!"
"Well, did someone blow the news already?" Adam asked into the glowing sphere.
"Indeed, Adam" greeted Zordon. "I can hardly believe that you are now an adult. When you first came on the team, you were a sweet boy who was not yet fifteen. I have watched you and the others grow up and I regard you all as my children. I wish you only luck in your life and I give my blessings to you and Tanya." just then the globe went fuzzy and the reception turned to snow.
Adam then contacted Billy on Aquitar and told him the news. His friend responded in delight, as did the others.
"So when are you two actually going to get married?" Billy inquired.
"I don't know" Adam answered "I just proposed to her this morning, and that was hard enough as it is. We really haven't thought about it yet. She's packing since I'm going to college in New York and we leave in three days. I guess we might try for next summer, after I'm finished with school."
"Good luck to you two and give the others my regards." Billy said as the transmission faded again.
"Don't worry, I will." Adam said, more to himself than anything. Just then he burst into tears. He couldn't remember the last time he permitted himself to cry, nor could he explain why he was doing so. Everything in his life was going right for the first time, but he felt that he was abandoning everything in his life he knew up to this point, locking doors behind him and opening new ones. He was welcoming the change but in another way, he was afraid of what he was getting himself into. Everything happening at once just made his emotions take control of him.
"Adam are you okay?" Carlos asked. He knew that Adam had a tendency to hide any emotions he held, and he only knew him from the soccer field.
"Yeah," Adam replied "It's just that everything is changing all at once. I'm not sad at these changes at all but I can't help but think it is all occurring too rapidly. I don't know what comes next after this and it is driving me nuts. I just wish I knew that I am making the right choices."
"I'm sure everything will go just fine for you," Carlos said, just getting an idea. "Why don't we all have a going away party for you two. Give you your last chance at fun before you have to go to school again."
"I really don't know," Adam replied wearily, "I am nor really one for parties and both Tanya and I have a lot to do before we leave."
"Nonsense!" Carlos exclaimed, not permitting Adam to back out of this one, "I'll speak with Lieutenant Stone and see if we could get the Youth Center on short term notice. Alright, tonight at six."
"Fine," Adam reluctantly gave in, "We may be a little late since we have to run around town to pick up odds and ends and get a few details situated."
"See ya later" Carlos called as Adam left to run his errands.
Carlos immediately went to the juice bar to talk to the new owner, Lieutenant Stone. He knew that he could convince him to hold the party there because he was quite fond of Adam Tanya and the others who were preparing to leave. Tommy was going to race professionally, and Katherine was departing for dance school in London in two weeks.
"Hey Lieutenant Stone." Carlos called out "What's up?"
"Nothing much, business is more or less dead today." He replied.
"That's good because I have to ask you a huge favor. You know that Tommy, Katherine, Adam, and Tanya are leaving, right." Carlos started
"Yeah, but wasn't Tanya going to stay here for a little while?" Lt. Stone inquired, perplexed.
"Well, not anymore" Carlos explained, "See Adam just proposed to her, so she is going to leave with him to New York. I want to throw them a going away party before they all go."
"Well, I guess that's possible." Lt. Stone answered, "No harm could come out of it knowing you kids and I really want to see them all before they leave."
"Alright thanks," Carlos exclaimed, "I told Adam and Tanya to come hear around six, so I better start planning things."
"I'll help you out while you call everyone." Lt. Stone offered.
"Where have you been?" demanded Tanya. Adam had been gone longer than expected. "I need to go and pick up some more boxes and groceries at the store. Wanna come with?"
"Why would I turn down a goddess?" He responded followed by a kiss to nullify any anger she had with him. It always seemed to work in these petty things.
"Hey, I'm not a goddess, but I sure as hell am driving" she joked as they parted.
"Fine, it doesn't really matter to me" he said nonchalantly as the two lovers headed for the garage.
They both got into the car and pulled out of the Sloans' driveway. Tanya drove while Adam daydreamed about his future with this woman. Neither could see the red sports car speeding and swerving as it entered the intersection on a red light. They only noticed as it headed straight for them.
"Oh my god. I can't stop!" Tanya screamed just before the impact.
"The small yellow compact car flipped over several times before coming to rest upside down in the center of the road. The driver of the sports car, a young man, continued his run once he came to his senses a moment later. The yellow car was left with its passengers inside, crushed beyond recognition.
"Somebody call an ambulance!" a horrified bystander screamed, looking inside to see if the two teens were all right.
"Tanya was completely unconscious from the impact, but Adam slowly came about, in more pain than he had ever experienced in his hundreds of battles as a power ranger. His seatbelt had snapped from the force and his head had struck the windshield. He was throbbing in the lower half of his body, and his ribs and right arm were obviously broken.
"Shit, what the hell just happened?" Adam asked himself as he tried to catch his breath, to no avail. "Tanya?" he managed to wheeze before throwing up a moment later. He tried to catch most of it in his good hand and was horrified when he realized that it was pure blood that had erupted from his mouth.
"I'm gonna die" Adam thought as he heard the ambulance sirens in the distance. He took Tanya's hand and cried, still thinking "No, please, not here, not now. Please God, at least let her live, you can have me. Please of all days this cannot be happening today." He suddenly felt his lungs giving out on him and becoming extremely dizzy. "I can't breathe." he managed to wheeze to the bystander as he passed out, with Tanya's hand in his.
The paramedics rushed to the wreck of Tanya's car, where the police and fire department were already stationed. They were all prepared for the worst.
"I have two victims her" The paramedic reported into the radio, "One African American female, age approximately sixteen to twenty years and one male, Asian, of approximately the same age. Both are unconscious and appear to be bleeding extensively.
The other paramedics and firefighters were trying to get the two teens out of the car so they could be transported to a hospital. Tanya was carefully removed through the pried door and was immediately placed on a board and given a neck brace and oxygen mask. They strapped her body onto the board and carefully placed her on the nearby stretcher, which was wheeled into the back of the ambulance.
Once on the ambulance, paramedics attached Tanya to every monitor and machine available. They started an I.V. and began rushing fluids in her body. Her life signs showed that she was indeed going into shock and there was little that could be done there. Her pulse was weak and extremely rapid, due to the fact that she had lost so much blood.
"Hold on a little longer sweetheart." coaxed one of the paramedics as they raced down the street toward the hospital. "You aren't going to die on us."
While Tanya was being rushed to the hospital, the paramedics were desperately attempting to retrieve Adam from the wrecked car. Unfortunately, it was his side that was hit and his legs were trapped by the contents of the car. It was obvious immediately that his head was severely damaged and his ribs were most likely shattered and punctured his lungs. Even if they could get him out, moving him in any way could cause even more extensive damage. They were actually surprised he was still alive at all with how bad the situation was.
"His legs are trapped in this mess and its going to take awhile to get him out!" a firefighter yelled, "Somebody get him an oxygen mask immediately because he is having a lot of difficulty breathing!"
After an hour of struggling to get Adam out of the wreckage, it was decided that his condition had deteriorated and was continuing to do so. The only way they could get him out swiftly would require the paramedics to amputate both legs right there and pray that he would survive the loss of blood. They did not want to resort to such drastic measures, but the situation was desperate as Adam was scarcely breathing at all at this point.
At the hospital, numerous doctors and nurses crowded Tanya, who remained unconscious on the bed. They determined that her skull was cracked and her spinal cord severed. They were giving her numerous blood transfusions, preparing her for surgery to stop the internal bleeding in her skull. If this did not work she was never going to wake up. It was a bad enough prognosis that if by some miracle of God that she did survive, she would be permanently paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, but they were not prepared to let her go.
Mrs. Park was among the surgeons on duty at Angel Grove Memorial Hospital. She hated the emergency shift because she truly despised seeing people hurt by their own stupidity or someone else's. She heard about the accident involving two teens but didn't know about their identities.
"Dr. Park," a nurse called to her, "We need you to operate on a girl who was injured in a hit and run. We want you to see her and look at the x-ray and CT scan results before operating.
Mrs. Park ran over to the bed, responding in horror as she somehow recognized Tanya under all the machines. "Oh my god," she cried "I'm sorry, but I cannot operate on her. That's my youngest son's girlfriend!" Although she did not like Tanya much, she did not want to see her like that, or tell her son the devastating news.
Dr. Park ran to the nearest phone and immediately dialed home. A wave of terror filled her when there was no response on the phone. It suddenly hit her that the two were going out for the day, together! She ran to find the nurse and asked her in her calmest voice possible "Were there any others involved in this accident?"
"Yes, there's a boy who's trapped in the car who will be rushed here soon. They haven't identified him yet."
"What is the description they gave" she demanded. "Please don't be Adam!" she silently prayed.
"Um, they said male, about sixteen to twenty years old, most likely Asian, but he has curly black hair. He was wearing a shirt and vest outfit." the nurse replied, perplexed.
"NOOOOO!" Dr. Park screamed. The description definitely fit Adam, and not too many Asian boys had curly hair. "That's my fucking son, no please" she cried and then passed out onto the floor from the stress.
It was about seven in the evening and everyone was beginning to worry. Everyone was there who was within reasonable distance: Rocky, Carlos, Justin, Katherine, Tommy, Cassie, T.J., Ashley and LT. Stone. Everyone knew that Adam was very punctual and he would never be this late without calling. Tommy walked over to the television and turned on the news, more for the sake of having some background noise.
"I am on the scene of Sycamore and Jefferson where there has been a hit and run accident by a drunk driver. A white male, between the age of twenty-five and thirty-five driving a red Ford Mustang was heading south on Sycamore when it supposedly ran a red light an struck the yellow 1994 Honda you can see behind me."
"Oh my God!" Tommy cried, tears already running, "I think that's Tanya's car!"
A hushed silence overcame the crowd as they listened to the rest of the report, mostly in disbelief.
"There were two teenagers in the car; identified as Tanya Sloan, a nineteen year old African-American female from Angel Grove, is listed in critical condition at Angel Grove Memorial Hospital. The other victim is identified, as an eighteen year old Asian male, Adam Park, who has been trapped inside the vehicle for approximately two hours now and I understand that paramedics and firefighters are going to go to extreme measures to remove him. Excuse me sir? What exactly are you planning to do in this situation?"
"Well," A paramedic replied, ""This kid's been trapped in there for a couple of hours now. His condition is deteriorating rapidly and we are preparing to remove him by amputating both legs, which are trapped by the wreckage. It is quite possible that his wounds are fatal, but it is too difficult to examine him properly."
"Thank you. This is Sarah Stevenson reporting live and we will report more details as they become available."
There was an eerie silence across the room, only broken by an occasional sob from one of the teens. Lt. Stone slowly made his way to the television set and turned it off. The full reality of the recent events was still sinking in. The thought of not one but two of their best friends dying from something so common; it was somehow more expected that one would fall in the line of duty, they were prepared for such an risk when they took a job; this was merely one of those everyday occurrences that could strike down anyone. But still, how could such a thing occur on the day of their engagement?
"How can this happen?" muttered Tommy, the first to speak, "This was supposed to be one of the best days of their lives, instead, they are in the hospital, suffering because of some dumb asshole!"
"Of all people, why them?" questioned Katherine, "They were two of the sweetest and most innocent people I have ever met. I can't believe they are going to die."
"They are not dead yet, so stop acting like this!" snapped Rocky, "This is not the first time Adam has come close to death, and every time he manages to pull through, regardless of what odds the doctors give him. Neither needs us crying for them; they need us to support them through this. Adam is a very strong person, and Tanya is just the same, they cannot die now!" With that Rocky raced to the bathroom and violently vomited everything he ate that day.
"You know," Justin began, "If it really is as bad as they are saying, perhaps it is better that they go quickly. I mean, we already know Adam is losing his legs. My mom had to suffer for two weeks before her body gave up. I don't want the two of them to have to suffer, only to die a short time later. I don't want them to linger like that, in constant pain; I've already seen that and it is sickening." There memory of his mother's death just came back hard and he cried at the idea of his friends suffering in the same manner. He couldn't bear the idea of losing more people he cared about.
"I really think," speculated Carlos, "that if one of them dies, the other one will eventually follow, because I don't think the would want to or could live without the other."
"I didn't get to know the two of them well," stated T.J., "Tanya seemed really cool. Adam… well, to say the least he was slightly on the odd side, but nice, maybe too nice. Even I could tell in the past week or so that they were nuts about each other, that's for sure."
The new rangers, with the exception of Carlos, attempted to assist the retired rangers, who undoubtedly were suffering to a far greater extent than they were. They only knew Tanya and Adam for a very short time and didn't get the opportunity to build a bond to them. Rocky was taking the situation worst of all because he and Adam grew up together like brothers and remained best friends through every possible dilemma. Everyone knew this would also be hard on Aisha when she found out because she was very close to both Adam and Tanya.
"How… Why them… What the hell… they'd done… My… Best… friend's… gonna… fucking die… I swear… I'm could kill… that bastard!" Rocky grumbled between gasps of air. He suffered from a mild form of asthma. It didn't usually bother him, but the stress of the situation was definitely triggering it.
Tommy attempted to maintain some degree of level headedness. He managed to tell Tanya's parents what they just found out. They were completely devastated when they picked up because the hospital just called them. Tommy made an attempt to console them, but made little progress as he was a nervous wreck as well at this point. He also asked Lt. Stone if he could call Aisha, who was still in Africa. She couldn't believe that in the same day she was told that two of her best friends were engaged and later on they were in the hospital. She cried for a minute and told Tommy to let the others know that she was on her way home and was taking the first flight to America. He then made an attempt to call Adam's parents, but neither one was home yet. "Not like they care much about him anyway." Tommy muttered under his breath as he hung up the phone and finally permitted himself to burst into tears.
The paramedics had finally freed Adam's limp body from the wreckage of Tanya's car, being left no choice but to amputate both legs, as they could not move the twisted metal enough. They rushed him onto a stretcher and raced him into the ambulance where they did the same as they did Tanya, starting IVs and monitored him closely. They were able to confirm that his body was in shock, and he was almost definitely in a coma. His breathing was so slight by now that midway to the hospital, the paramedics carefully began to run a tube into his mouth and down his windpipe and start him on a ventilator. The drastic loss of blood was also taking a toll on his body as his pulse raced so rapidly, and his blood pressure was so low, they all thought his heart was going to quit at any moment.
One paramedic remained by his side the entire time, a mother
and was gently speaking to him, in case he could hear her. "You are a
very strong young man. If you make it through this, you could survive
anything. You did nothing to deserve this, it was just one of those
acts of God that has put you here. Hang in there." She despises when
she sees children and young adults in the back of her ambulance,
in situations like this. She could not imagine this being her own child
and how she would react. She gently took his limp hand in hers and
held on until they arrived at the hospital and it was time to wheel him
in the ER.
Surgeons were desperately attempting to save Tanya's life in the operating room. Things were not going well at all as her heart would fail for several moments and somehow kick back to operation. She was on life support, her head injury far worse than they suspected. Her brain was swelling greatly and there was a good deal of internal bleeding in her cracked skull. Suddenly, the monitor showing her brain activity went to nothing. The doctors waited to see if she would kick back. When she didn't the head surgeon pronounced her brain-dead, removed her from all of the machines, covered her body with a white hospital sheet and prepared to transport her in the morgue.
"Is Mr. Or Mrs. Sloan here?" Dr. Smith asked in the crowded waiting room. By this time, everyone had been informed and everyone living within a short distance was there, waiting for any news of the two teens' fate.
"Yes we're here." Both parents replied, nervous as any parent could be.
"I am Dr. Smith and I helped tend to your daughter."
"Please tell me, is she alright? What happened to my baby?" Mrs. Sloan demanded.
"I'm sorry, I'm afraid that we were forced to perform a risky procedure to repair your daughter's skull and she did not survive. We just pronounced her as being brain-dead. Even if she were to survive Madam, you would have to take care of her for the rest of her life since she would have been paralyzed and brain damaged. We did all we could to save her and we were actually surprised that she lasted as long as she did." Dr. Smith said, lacking any sense of emotion to his voice.
Mrs. Sloan could not find any words as she sobbed into her husband's shoulders. Nothing she thought could slip past her mouth. She had lost her only daughter for good after just finding her again after so many years.
"Do you know anything on how Adam Park is doing?" asked Rocky. He was praying that God would spare him at least. Just some good news would be welcome.
"I honestly don't have him, but I know that they just brought him in. He is critically injured as he has severe damage to numerous areas of his body and the paramedics were forced to amputate his legs to get him here. If I were you I would prepare for the worst with him as well." Dr. Smith responded, the icy tone of his voice melting slightly. After that, he turned and headed back to the ER to tend to his other patients.
Mrs. Park came to and saw the paramedics wheel her son into the ER, his body more or less lifeless. She shrieked aloud when she saw the sight of him, the bright blood everywhere, the numerous machines and tubes being inserted. She had seen thousands of cases just like that through her career, but she never had to face the results of a drunk driver on her own son. It was hard enough when he nearly died when he fell out of a tree as a child, or when he tried to commit suicide with an overdose when he was twelve. Never had she seen him so weak and she knew that injuries like his rarely healed. The patient either died within a day or two, or they were out of it for the rest of their lives. Her youngest child was now fighting for his life, and his beloved was already gone. "I really have to go." She said as she headed for the exit.
"Wait, we need some information on him so we can help him!" another doctor exclaimed before Mrs. Park left.
"Okay, his full name is Adam Patrick Kim Park. His date of birth is December 19, 1979. Social Security Number is 543-94-8721. He has AB+ blood type, and is allergic to penicillin. You guys have my address and insurance information in the computer, so I am leaving!" Dr. Park said, slightly agitated.
Adam remained motionless as the doctors were rapidly stitching the exposed wound caused when his legs were crudely removed. Several bags of fluids hung over him and their contents were released into his bloodstream. He was receiving on blood transfusion after another, replacing what he was losing. An antibiotic was given as well, to attempt to prevent a severe infection, which was quite likely considering the nature of his injuries. Somehow his heart kept beating and his brain showed slight activity, even though he was in a deep coma. Tests also showed that both lungs were punctured, and his kidneys, liver, intestines and bladder were all crushed and ruptured. His brain also swelled, although not nearly as rapidly as Tanya's, from when his head struck the windshield. A total of sixty-eight bones were broken or shattered, with others containing minor fractures. There was nothing that could be done but see if he recovers. His injuries were now in the hands of God, only he/she/it will determine his fate. Adam was taken upstairs to the intensive care unit where he was ordered on constant monitoring and close observation.
"Where is Mr. Park?" asked Dr. Mitchell.
"We don't know where either parent is." Katherine replied, "I think his dad left town for a couple of days and we can't find his mom."
"I already spoke with his mother, she had to leave once she found out." Dr. Mitchell explained, "Adam is alive by some miracle to say the least, however, he is in a critically unstable state right now. He is in a coma and has sustained numerous injuries to his entire body. I seriously doubt that he will survive another twenty-four hours, so I truly would recommend contacting everyone who should and say his or her farewells to him. I am so sorry that this has happened, I met Adam several times through working with his mother and I cannot see how such a good person must suffer like this. He is too young to know such pain, but he needs everyone there for him now." It was obvious that he was affected as well. Most of the doctors his mother worked with knew all of her kids, since they frequently visited the house, but Adam was almost always the favorite because of how he was.
The group went upstairs immediately to the ICU to visit Adam. Every past ranger had been summoned, and hopefully they would make it in time. Only one person was allowed in the room at a time, and Tommy decided he would go first.
Tommy entered the small room, with the seemingly tiny body lying in the bed with wires and tubes and such attached to every visible place. There was a deathly silence through the room, only broken by the sounds of the numerous machines. Just about every machine available was attached to Adam's body, trying to keep him alive: heart monitor, brain monitor, ventilator, a feeding tube, IVs, dialysis, and others that he could not identify. It was as though his entire body was systematically failing, and there was nothing that could be done but to be there and support him. Tommy actually had to look at the green bracelet on Adam's wrist to make sure it really was him.
"Oh my God," were the first words to escape Tommy's mouth as he squeezed his friend's hand, "I cannot believe that this happened to you, not on the day of your proposal. I guess if you can hear me, I should tell you that Tanya died while in surgery last night, just when they were bringing you in. She just… couldn't hold on any longer. How the hell can this happen? Why now? Please hang in there. I never really told you how glad I am that you were on the team; at first I was resentful of you guys since you were replacing my friends. You especially proved yourself; I just didn't want to admit that for awhile. I was honestly slightly jealous of you, I mean you deny this, but you are so multi-talented. You are intelligent, artistic, athletic, friendly, everything. I mean, you can sleep through English class or Calculus and still ace the test. You have written some of the best poetry I have ever come across. You actually can draw when you try not to mention play an instrument. You can play just about any sport and embarrass the other guys, particularly rollerblading and soccer. You have always been oblivious to the fact that every girl in school wanted to go out with you. You always sparred with Rocky and me as equals, even though you have to be forty pounds lighter than us. You always kept that innocence about you that made you seem almost too perfect to be human at times. God damn it you gotta pull through. You are one of those people, who have the potential to change the world given the chance, now you may never even see it again. I'm going to miss you so much if you go, I just wish I told you how I felt before all of this crap happened." Just then Tommy broke into a loud sob, as he could no longer take seeing the body of one of his best friends so feeble and mangled beyond recognition, knowing he will surely never walk again or go to college or marry Tanya. Those thoughts and seeing the result suddenly made everything come together that occurred in the past day: the proposal, the two ecstatically telling everyone the news, the reality of the accident, the feeling of uncertainty. He could no longer stay and maintain his sanity so he patted Adam's hand, told him goodbye and quickly made his way out of the door to head toward the waiting room at the end of the windowless hallway.
Just as Tommy returned to the waiting room, he was greeted by an all too familiar voice. "Tommy, how bad does Adam look? Is he really as bad as the doctors are saying?" Kimberly asked with tears in her eyes.
Tommy realized that all eyes were on him, waiting for a truthful response. "Shit, he looks even fucking worse than I thought." Tommy replied, tears still in his eyes, "He is hooked up to just about every damn machine they have in this place. I had to check his bracelet to make sure it really was him; that's how bad he is, I couldn't even recognize him." He continued to cry as he hugged Kim for support. He was still in love with her, but he knew he had to move on.
"I came as fast as I could," Kimberly strained, "I was lucky to get a flight here so quickly. Adam's gonna need all the support he can get. Shit of all the days in their lives why this one?"
"I'm going in to see Adam," Katherine interrupted, "Thanks for warning me on what to expect."
Katherine entered the room prepared to see the worst, but this was beyond anything she had ever experienced in her entire life. Tommy was right when he said it was impossible to recognize Adam, still motionlessly lying there, sandwiched between the mattress and the tubes and wires going in and out of his body. She started crying when she glanced toward his legs, realizing that they did indeed have to remove them. She took his hand and sat next to him, taking several minutes to compose herself.
"Adam," Katherine finally said, her voice nearly a whisper, "I don't know if you can hear me or not, but if you can, please listen to me. You cannot go now; you are too young and have so much to live for. You just turned eighteen, were supposed to be leaving for college and all that crap… Just be strong through all this. Please survive. This may seem selfish but I really don't think I could handle losing another one of my friends… You have always amazed me with your strength and determination, this is where you have to use it." With that she gently kissed his forehead, being cautious as to not disturb the wires on his head that were monitoring his brain activity. She also had to leave because she could not bear to see him like that, knowing that the image would remain with her until her own death.
By the time Catherine returned to the waiting room, Jason and Aisha had arrived and were talking to Tommy about Adam's condition. Rocky had fallen asleep in one of the hard plastic chairs and had said barely a word. Everyone was beginning to worry about Rocky and how he was holding up through all of this; it was definitely not like him to remain quiet on anything.
"If we have to worry about anyone snapping it would be Rocky," Aisha said to the others, "we knew Adam since we were in kindergarten, but the two boys were always closer. We never told you but when Adam was twelve, he became extremely depressed because of his parents ignoring him for so long. It got so bad that Adam decided to take a couple hundred pills and put himself in a coma. Rocky was put on the edge of sanity with that, and now I'm worried how he will react if indeed Adam goes. I honestly don't have a clue as to how I will react either. Tanya has been hard enough for me to cope with."
"Well, I understand how hard it is on you two since you knew both of them the longest. If it were Tommy who was in that accident, I would be in that same boat." Jason replied, "I mean, I care about Adam and all and don't want to see him die, but he can be so damn shy at times that you can't get to know him in a short amount of time." He was secretly relieved that he was not given the opportunity to know Adam as well as the others because the situation was hard enough to deal with as it was. He never did do well in emotional settings. He couldn't imagine the thoughts that raced through Rocky's and Aisha's heads right now or what Adam was thinking. Was he aware of what happened to him? Did he know that Tanya passed on already? What was Tanya thinking about in her final moments? Everything that had just happened was too unreal for comfort.
Suddenly Billy ran into the waiting room and didn't even need to ask before being given the news. Upon finding out about the criticalness of Adam's wounds and condition, Billy just collapsed to the floor and began crying out loud. Of all the people he met in his life, only a handful were capable of understanding him. Adam and Trini were the only two his age who understood him. Now one of his best friends was going to die and there was nothing that anyone could do to help him.
Justin decided that he would go and visit Adam now. Usually, you had to be thirteen on an ICU ward, but his maturity allowed him to lie about his age, anyway he was less than a year away, so it wasn't so bad. When he entered the room, he was not taken aback by the large amount of equipment, but there was still a slight awkwardness about being in such a room again.
"Hey, Adam," Justin began, "Can you hear me? I understand that you are in a lot of pain right now, and I won't blame you if you don't make it. Perhaps it's even easier since then you will at least get to be with Tanya. I wish I got to know you a little better since I kinda look to you as an older brother. Tommy's fun to hang out with and crack jokes but there is no way in hell he could help me with my math homework, or have a serious discussion on girls and sex and all that. I'll miss you if you go or I'll see you when you wake up, whatever you decide." He remained by his bedside for quite some time, realizing that it was only a matter of time before the frail body would finally give out. He secretly knew he wasn't going to make it, but he wanted to keep some hope.
Adam awoke in a beautiful garden, much like the one he encountered when he went to Korea to retrieve his portion of the Zeo crystal. Upon moving, he was surprised to find that he was not in any type of physical pain.
"Oh shit!" he said aloud into the emptiness. He very rarely cursed at all, but the sudden thoughts that came to him were overwhelming. "I must have died!" He remembered the speeding car, the impact, his heard striking the windshield, his lower body crushed by a ton of metal, the blood coming out of his lungs or stomach or whatever, his inability to breath. "Tanya! Is she dead too or did she manage to survive somehow. Is she alright?"
"Adam," a familiar voice boomed, "You are not dead, although your death is imminent."
"Zordon? Can you tell me what happened to Tanya?" inquired Adam.
""Yes Adam," Zordon replied, "Tanya died two nights ago, a few hours after the accident. I have contacted you through my spirit energy. There is nothing I can do to save you as I could not save Tanya."
"No, but why did this have to happen to us?" Adam demanded.
"You know that there is always a degree of chance in life. People do things that harm others and nothing can be done to prevent it. Life is taking pleasure in the joyous occasions and confronting these chances. The love you and Tanya possessed for one another was deep. You worried about her before yourself after that crash didn't you?" Zordon explained to the young man.
"Of course," Adam replied, "She means so much to me and I cannot believe she is gone. I am not sorry I am going soon either; it means the two of us will be together. I could not continue to live without her, surviving while I know she died in pain. My last thoughts are going to be of her."
Zordon laughed slightly at that final remark. "Tanya's final thoughts were of you as well. I visited her and she told me to tell you to survive and move on with your life and not let her keep you from falling in love again."
"Well, I already know that is not going to happen and I am glad of that." Adam responded.
"Do you know, Adam, that your friends have been by your side this entire time?" Zordon asked. "Kimberly came from Florida, Billy from Aquitar, and even Trini from Geneva. I cannot tell them your fate, but they truly care for you, even those who only known you for such a short time. You have made a lasting impact on all of them."
"How long am I supposed to linger here, like this. It is so lonely here and I don't want everyone to grieve longer than they should. I am not afraid of dying, heck, it happens to all of us at one time or another. I just always wanted to go quickly and quietly, nobody having to watch it happen. I don't want to hurt my friends any more." Adam suddenly realized that he was crying.
"Adam," Zordon said sympathetically, "your body will give out when it chooses, There is no way I can predict the moment it will happen."
"How are you so certain it is going to happen then? What if I just surprise everyone and make it? I never told you but I nearly died before and I pulled through even though the doctors gave me pretty slim chances." Adam said in a fury. He didn't need if but when.
"I know of your situation in the past Adam," Zordon began, "I am able to travel across dimensions and time barriers with ease. That is how I know what is going to happen. I never meant to hurt you, but you needed to know. I will always carry you in my heart, as I will the other rangers. I must leave now but remember that you will always be a power ranger in spirit and your life was not lives in vain."
"Wait, I'm sorry, Zordon. Please don't leave me here… alone." Adam cried as Zordon vanished and he found himself once again alone, in the garden in the world between life and death.
Rocky went into the bathroom and began ransacking the medicine cabinet. He was careful to make sure that the door was locked, because it was the only place in the house where he could do what he needed, without interference by his mother or one of his six younger siblings. There was aspirin, which he dismissed because it wasn't going to do much more than make him vomit.
"Damn there's got to be something stronger in this house." Rocky softly muttered to himself. He couldn't live with the idea of losing his best friend, who still lingered in a constant sleep. Suicide, he thought, would end his torment. Actually, the suicidal thoughts began in the hospital after having surgery on his back. Ever since he felt as though he was an idiot, a worthless being with no purpose in life. Unfortunately, that memory reminded him of something he had placed higher up in the cabinet.
"Where in the hell did I put that damn codeine?" he thought. The doctors gave it to him when he left the hospital, for the pain. He only took it once because the stuff made him sleep for fourteen hours straight and left him with a feeling like a hangover. His siblings also said that he became really mean and they couldn't understand him. Next to the bottle of codeine was a bottle with his brother's leftover penicillin. Rocky knew that he was highly allergic to penicillin and intended to take everything.
"I'm sorry mom!" Rocky cried as he took one pill after another until he found both containers empty. He then took out his pocket knife and commenced to slicing open the arteries and veins in his wrist and arms and watched the deep red liquid stain the cream tiles that covered the floor. If there had been a gun in the house he would have used it, it would have been completely painless, but sometimes plans never work quite like one hopes.
Mrs. DeSantos had just come home from work when she heard a thud from upstairs. After nineteen years and seven children, she had become quite accustomed to numerous sounds and knew which ones meant trouble. She definitely meant to investigate what that one was because it did not seem like a "nothing" thump.
"Rosa," Mrs. DeSantos called, "what in the world just fell up there? Are you and Ricardo rough-housing again?"
"No, Mama," Rosa, the oldest of Rocky's sisters, a slightly worried expression on her face. "I think it came from the bathroom. Rocky has been in there a long time. I really got to go but he isn't answering me!"
Immediately she grabbed the doorknob to find the bathroom locked from the inside. She then knocked on the door to no response. "Rocky are you alright in there? Are you sick or something?" she asked, her motherly instincts now causing concern when no response came. "Rocky, open this fucking door!" she demanded; now crying in fear that something was wrong. This was not like her son at all; he liked to play pranks, but he knew when not to joke. She suddenly began charging the door over and over until the cheap lock on the door gave in.
"Rocky, oh my God!" was her reaction to the bloody, unconscious form of her son lying on the floor. She saw the empty bottles of pills and the slashes in his arms and immediately knew what had just happened. "Rosa, go call 911! Rocky tried to commit suicide!" she screamed at her third born child as she cradled her son's head in her lap.
"Why did you do this?" she asked him, hoping he was conscious enough to give some type of response. She knew his motive was related to what had happened four days earlier, but she never imagined that Rocky could do this. He was angry enough with Adam when he decided to do the same thing nearly six years ago. She could not imagine losing her first-born son, not after their father walked out on them and all that.
The ambulance arrived in a little under five minutes and a stretcher was rushed up to the bathroom where Rocky laid. His breathing and pulse were too rapid and erotic and his throat was beginning to close up from the reaction to the penicillin. They asked what he had taken and Mrs. DeSantos gave them the two pill containers, not saying a word.
Just as one paramedic was moving him onto a stretcher, Rock's body began convulsing in a seizure, his body violently thrashing about and large amounts of vomit came out of his body. The episode lasted for three minutes and once he had finished, he was strapped in and carried out of the house into the waiting ambulance. They observed his breathing carefully, as they administered something to offset the penicillin. His air passage was nearly swollen closed and he was not taking in enough oxygen. They were forced to put a breathing tube down his obstructed airway and let the ventilator breath for him.
Once at the hospital, the emergency medical personnel immediately began to treat rocky. First thing, they began to pump his stomach, hoping to remove any undissolved pills from his system. Nurses began to stitch up the cuts in Rocky's arms, which were still pouring blood. A CT scan showed that he was in a mild coma and there was reason to believe that there was some brain damage from his blunder. They said he would most likely live, but beyond stabilizing him there was little that could be done and he was brought up to the ICU, only two doors down from Adam.
"He did what?" everyone said in unison when Mrs. De Santos came up to the waiting room and told them what he had done.
"How could he do that to himself?" Trini asked, her first words since she went in too see Adam, and ran out quickly, horrified by the image.
"I don't know either." She cried, "He was the one who tried to stop Adam from doing this all those years ago. I always thought he was too happy with his life to ever consider such a thing."
Now everyone was worried about two people again. "If Rocky wakes up and I see him, somebody please stop me from strangling him myself!" Aisha said; nobody was quite sure whether to take that remark seriously or not. Of her little subgroup of rangers, she was the only one who was alive and well. Tanya died needlessly, Adam was fighting for his life, and now Rocky did the stupidest stunt he ever pulled. "As if making an ass out of himself by defying physics and nearly paralyzing himself was not enough." She cracked. "I really don't think he can top this one on his "list of stupid things to do before I die!" She was now extremely upset and was on the brink of insanity herself.
"Rocky came to and found himself in the middle of a hot, sandy desert, the sun nearly set. Adam, who looks as though he can murder him, suddenly confronts Rocky. "But how?" He asked, his voice quivering.
"What the fuck were you thinking?" Adam demanded, "You have done plenty of dumb thins but THIS one takes the cake. I never thought you would do this of all things, especially after you saw what happened to me when I acted on impulse! Do you intentionally try to one up your latest stunt?" Adam's cheek was crimson red by now, and Rocky did not blame him at all.
"Well it's YOUR fault. If you didn't go get hit by that drunk we would all be happy right now. Damn it how did you expect me to react?" Rocky defended.
"First of all," Adam began, "It was not exactly my top choice of plans to get hit by that idiot and lose everything I care about. Secondly I expected you to respond like a sane person. The fact is that I am going to die and there is nothing you or anybody else can do to prevent that. But, I cannot let my body go until I know that you are not going to do this stupid stunt again. Don't get me wrong, I am royally pissed off at you, but I still love you like my brother. If you can't get over this by yourself, I want you to do what I didn't do, get some help. It would have saved me much pain and suffering. I am going to miss you most of all. Do you understand what I am saying?"
"I guess, but I don't want you to go away!" Rocky whined, slightly surprised since it was not like Adam to snap, but of course there had been few reasons for him to do so.
"Listen to me." Adam began, "It is by body that is passing on. The only way that I will be truly gone is if you choose to forget me altogether, something I don't think want to or are capable of doing. You are going to grow up, get married and have your own bunch of wild kids and all that stuff. Please promise me that you are not going to do this again. Please." Adam begged to his friend.
"I can't Adam because I don't think I will make it through life. I never did tell you this because I knew you would get mad but I have wanted to do this since I was put out of commission with that back injury. I don't think that I can control myself anymore." Rocky cried.
"Why would you think I would get mad at you for telling me" Adam asked, "I was down that same road before, when my parents more or less gave up on being parents to me. I am angry that you did not tell me until now, when neither of us can do anything. Please do me a favor and get me some help, counseling, someone to talk to. I cannot leave until you promise me that you are never going to do this crap again!"
"I guess you will be around for awhile then." Rocky replied as Adam left.
Tanya's funeral was held the morning after Rocky's suicide attempt. Her head was far too mangled for an open casket service, but a huge bouquet of flowers decorated the top of the varnished wood. Every single ranger, past and present, was in attendance with the obvious exceptions of Adam and Rocky. Her parents wept hysterically at the idea of burying their only daughter. Nobody heard the prayer given by the priest as they had to absorb this, upon all the other things that was occurring in all of their lives.
Shortly after, the procession moved from the elegant church to the graveyard, where her body was going to be put to rest. Tanya's folks decided that the two families would share the cost of a single gravestone, knowing that Adam was going to follow shortly after, as it would have been their wish had they the opportunity to state it. They also agreed that even though she never got to wed Adam, she would have been more than willing to take his last name. Everyone agreed it was befitting for the love they shared, as strong as any married couple could be.
Born: August 16, 1978
Died: January 3, 1998
As the service ended, everyone could not help but look to the empty place on her right, and wondered if and when Adam would join her by her side.
"Mr. and Mrs. Park." Dr. Walters said, "I'm afraid that Adam has taken a sharp turn for the worse major artery that supplies blood to the brain has ruptured. He getting very little oxygen to his brain now, even on the ventilator. I fear that he is not going to survive the night and it is your decision to make if you want the life support removed from him now. I must emphasize that Adam has less than a one- percent chance of survival at this point. I'll leave you two to decide." He left the couple in the waiting room to decide what to do.
Only now did both of Adam's parents realize how poorly they had treated him. They left him alone nearly all the time from when he was very young so they could peruse their careers. They never supported his emotional needs and sometimes pushed him to the brink of his sanity. They always criticized his decisions, even though he never did anything to betray their trust. They finally realized that he was actually a great kid, and he deserved better treatment than he was receiving. Now he was going and they would never apologize for how his life turned out.
"Meanwhile, Rocky's eyes fluttered open slightly, adjusting to the brightness of the lights and white walls. He turned his head slightly to see his mother crying in joy and firmly grasping his hands. He had been out for four and a half days and had so much to say to his mother, unfortunately he could not speak at all due to the ventilator tube was still in his mouth since his air passageway was still slightly swollen.
"Hey sweetheart," Mrs. DeSantos began, "I was beginning to wonder if you are ever gonna wake up." She noticed her son's eyes, filled with tears and giving her that I'm sorry look. "I am not angry with you. I understand that you are going through a rough time right now. All I ask is that you get some help, just something to sort out your feelings so you won't try to do this again. Why don't I go find your doctor and see about getting that damn tube out of your mouth."
An hour later, Rocky was taken off the ventilator on a trial basis and was doing quite well on his own, although he needed to keep oxygen tubes in his nose, much to his discomfort. His mother's pleas for him to get help, much like Adam's was finally beginning to sink into his thick skull.
"I'm sorry Mom. I just didn't know what to do. My entire life has fallen apart over the last through months." Rocky pleaded for forgiveness.
""Well we have to go forward from here, what is done is done and nothing can be done to change the past." Rocky's mom began, now obligated to tell her son the fate of his best friend, "But, I have to tell you that Adam…"
"He died, didn't he?" Rocky interrupted.
"Well, not yet. His parents have decided to take him off the life support. Everyone took their turn saying their final farewells. You are the only one left and the doctors agreed that you were well enough to be taken over there, either way, you are leaving the ICU and going to a regular room, so it isn't much of an inconvenience."
Rocky was in tears at this point, even though Adam told him this was what was going to happen. Mostly, he felt guilty because he never got up enough nerve to visit Adam in the four days that he could have.
"Mom," Rocky said softly, "how can I see Adam now when I was too afraid to see him before? I mean, he needed me there for support and I was selfish. I should have been the first one by his bedside, giving him strength. Instead I acted weakly."
"Don't worry," Mrs. Santos replied "I think Adam forgives whatever you did and wants you to be there now."
Just then the nurses came into the room and disconnected him from a majority of the monitors because they were no longer necessary. In a little bit he was to be moved into a regular ward of the hospital. They slowly wheeled the bed out of the room and carefully maneuvered it into Adam's room and placed the beds side by side. Everyone left the two boys alone, knowing they needed their privacy.
"Rocky could not help but to wail at the sight of his best friend, his body looked dead already. His skin even paler than Katherine's face is in the winter. Only small stumps remained where his legs once were. His hair was a ratty mess from being in bed for so long. They removed most of the monitors already, preparing to take him off of the ventilator next. Rocky realized there was no way that Adam could live a normal life like that, and it was indeed time for him to pass on.
"Hey Adam, I'm here," Rocky whispered, "You can go now. I promise you I will get some help and I swear on your grave that I will never do something this stupid again. I'll never forget you and will tell my children about you. You are right I cannot forget you while I live since I am stuck carrying you in my heart. Rest easy now and go to Tanya."
"Rocky reached out to Adam's hand and held it as tightly as he could. To his surprise, the hand reacted slightly, gently closing around the other. Rocky looked up and noticed a slight smile on Adam's face, just as the heart monitor alarm went off. That was just what he needed to move on, Rocky's assurance that he was over his suicidal phase. He didn't want any other friends of his following him and Tanya for quite some time to come.
"There was a great sense of relief among the teens as they knew what just happened was the best possibility for everyone. Everyone agreed that death for Adam was better than him lingering between life and death in a hospital bed, or for him to survive and live lonely and handicapped as to not be able to live under his own care. They liked to think that the two lovers were once again side by side, where they belonged.
Adam's funeral was conducted four days after he died. By then Rocky was released from the hospital the day before, after receiving a lecture from the doctors of how lucky he was. The ceremony was nearly identical to Tanya's and his body was carried out to the cemetery in a casket. There were hints of smiles through the tears as his body was slowly lowered into the freshly dug grave, just to the left of Tanya. They shared a single, dark granite gravestone, now inscribed with Adam's information. At the very bottom was carved a line from one of Adam's notes he wrote to Tanya in class and she kept, the line seemed to sum up what their relationship meant to one another.
Adam Patrick Kim Park
Born: December 19, 1979
died: January 12, 1998
Born: August 16, 1978
died: January 3, 1998
Togetherness is the bond when bodies are separated but are attached in spirit