Author: Ron Sparks
Sarah looked at the clock impatiently. American Postmodernism Poetry was an interesting class, but there was only so much whiny poet she could handle in a day. All these depressed poets using their poems to confess sins or deep psychological issues; it’s no wonder so many goth chicks like poetry, she mused. This lecture class was filled with wannabe poets. As she looked around she realized that poets were a social class all unto themselves. They had their own style of dress, their own dialect, and their own cliques. She was definitely not one of them; she disdained them. They were here just so they could look the part of the wounded and troubled poet. Not a single one of them could craft a verse in iambic pentameter if they tried, she guessed. They all wanted to be confessional free-verse poets because they think it’s easy. What-ever.
The class couldn’t end quickly enough for Sarah. As the lecture concluded, she edged past all the tattooed and pierced sycophants trying to woo the professor for attention and made her way out of the building. The chill February air bit through the light jacket she was wearing. She hunched her shoulders against the cold and walked across campus towards her next class – Greek and Roman Humanities. She was so intent on getting to class as quickly as possible to get out of the cold that she almost didn’t see the commotion in front of the Science Hall. Two firetrucks and an ambulance were blocking the entrance to the hall. Curious, Sarah slowed down to observe, joining a crowd of about 50 students already looking on.
As she watched, a stretcher was wheeled out with someone on it. Craning her head for a better look, Sarah gasped aloud when she saw that it was Eric. Dropping her books, she pushed her way through the crowd and ran up to the stretcher.
The EMT raised an arm to block her, “You need to step back, ma’am.”
Sarah saw that Eric had an oxygen mask on and his eyes were closed. “That’s Eric Neith,” she said, “He’s my boyfriend!”
The EMT lowered his arm, “You know him?”
“Yes!” Sarah said impatiently, “What happened?”
“Ma’am, we have to get him to the hospital. If you’re his girlfriend you can ride with him since we have no other family members here.” Without giving him a chance to reconsider, Sarah jumped into the back of the ambulance and waited for Eric to get loaded inside.
When Eric was loaded into the ambulance, Sarah grabbed his hand and looked at him. He was pale. Very pale with a bluish tint, and his breath was coming in shallow gasps. The electronic leads the EMT connected to Eric indicated that his blood pressure was dangerously low and his heart rate was severely elevated. She looked up at the EMT and asked again, “Tell me, please, what happened?”
The EMT shook his head, “All we know is that he was found like this on the second floor of the hall. We’re treating this like a heart attack at the moment. His apparent symptoms match a heart attack.”
“A heart attack?” Sarah asked dumbly. “But he’s healthy. He just had a physical exam last month when the semester began. He runs three times a week!”
The EMT shrugged, “I don’t know ma’am. The doctors will make a definitive diagnosis at the hospital. Right now we need to keep him stabilized and get him to the hospital as quickly as possible.”
Sarah nodded and looked out the back window. A heart attack. That just wasn’t possible, or was it? Last year a member of the wrestling team had died from an unexpected heart attack right after practice. These things do happen, she realized. But not to people she knew. Not to Eric.
She looked back at Eric, tears in her eyes, just as his EKG flatlined.