by Kirsten (age 12)
::If you haven’t yet, read Gender Bender – Part One:
Mom and I sat in the ER Waiting Room. I flipped pages in a fashion magazine. “Mom, do you think Jacob’ll be alright?” I asked as I turned to face her. “I don’t know,” Mom answered, looking straight ahead. “How much damage can a simple fall give him?” I continued. “He didn’t just fall, Jasmine, he bumped into one of the poles surrounding the field and then the quarterback didn’t see him and…” Mom didn’t finish. That’s, like, weird because he broke his ARM. What can a pole do to his ARM? Who told my mom this? I don’t think that’s what happened. “That’s a stupid reason to go to the emergency room,” I mumbled. Mom’s cell phone rang and she scrambled through her purse to find it, but she was too late. “That was Dad,” Mom said, finally pulling out her black Razr. “Did he leave a message?” I asked, peering at the phone. She nodded. “Guys, come back to the house now,” the message said. There was also a lot of other male voices in the background. Mom looked at me. “What happened now?!” I jumped out of my seat. “We can’t just leave,” Mom said, her voice low. “Yes, you can. I think Jacob is going to have to have a sleepover here at the hospital,” a nurse said, coming towards us. “Thank you,” said Mom, grabbing my hand as we ran to the car.
Mom drove quickly. So quickly that I thought we were gonna crash. I glanced at my watch. 1:27, it read. Mom pulled into our neighborhood and stopped. Urchhhh! Mom and I looked toward our house, which was the fifth down on the right. There were blazes of fire coming from the roof and the windows. “My straightener!” Mom gasped. Mom pulled into the neighbor’s driveway, since our driveway was filled with fire trucks and firemen. A couple of neighbors were outside watching. I scrambled out of the car and ran towards the house. Mom followed. Dad was talking with a fireman. He looked toward us. “Jainie!” he yelled, hugging my mom. “I’m sorry,” Mom said, complete with sobs. “You’re sorry for what?” Dad asked, confused. “I left the straightener on,” she managed to say. “Where are we going to LIVE?” I yelled, starting to cry, too. “I arranged to stay at your Aunt Silvia’s house,” Dad said, turning to me. Mom’s face was buried in Dad’s shirt, which was probably soaked with tears. “Where’s Jacob?” Dad asked me. “Hospital,” I replied. “The HOSPITAL?!” Dad’s eyes got so wide. “Football accident.” I wiped my eyes. “Is he okay?” Dad rested his hand on my shoulder. “I don’t know. He is staying overnight.” I looked towards the house. The fire was getting sprayed by this white stuff. Dad was speechless. “Did you save anything?” I looked at Dad. “I saved our safe box and… Pepper.” He blinked a couple of times. Our safe box had blankets, a first aid kit, pillows, canned food, photo albums, and water. Pepper was our family cat. I looked towards the pet cage that Pepper was lying in. “That’s it?” We had so much more stuff. Dad nodded, but I knew he looked ashamed. “It’s not your fault.” I tried to cheer him up. “This is the worst day ever.” He looked into the sky, which was all gray because of the smoke. “First Jacob… now the house.” Dad had tears in his eyes, but he was trying to not let them come out. “At least we haven’t lost anyone.” Mom tried to pick everyone’s spirit up. “Yet,” I said and started crying more. Mom couldn’t help but cry with me.