the Composition
for Honours Class,
Howard University,

  Authors & Artists


Faces & Voices 4
Faces & Voices 5

Best Friends?
Angela Harris
Atlanta, Georgia - International Business

        For most people college is a time for creating genuine, long-lasting friendships, but what about the friends who existed before college? …
        She sat at her computer carefully reviewing, for what she hoped was the last time, the assignment on which she had been working all weekend; with each revision she had discovered a phrase or two which could be restated to better advantage. From time to time her attention drifted off-screen to Nancy Jean, her best friend since high school and now her roommate at college. Nancy Jean, whose closely observed personal habits were imposing unexpected stresses and strains; Nancy Jean, who now seemed unable to say ‘no’ to an invitation to a late-night party, and who always needed help in the last minute rushes to meet assignment deadlines. In high school Nancy Jean was a very quiet, proper girl, with high moral standards. College changes people.
        At midnight she closed down her computer, switched off the lights and crawled into bed, feigning sleep when she heard Nancy Jean’s key in the lock…
        “Susan, get up! Nancy’s at the hospital!” Sara, Nancy’s line sister screamed.
        “What? What happened?” Susan inquired as she scrambled for her shoes.
        “I’ll explain everything on the way, just come on.”
        On the way to the hospital Susan was told that members of a rival sorority challenged Nancy Jean to a mixed-drink-drinking contest. Unaware of exactly what drinks were mixed, Nancy accepted the challenge in fear of what her sorors might do if she refused. She was not a regular drinker, and failed to consider the fact that she had not eaten a complete meal in over nine hours. After completing her 14th shot of Hennesey and Vodka, she sat for a minute, then began shivering. She fell to the floor, regurgitating what appeared to be every meal she had ever consumed in her life. Fortunately, she was held upright to prevent her from drowning in her vomit. Minutes later the ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital. To make a bad story worse, on the way to the hospital, Nancy Jean was told that she lost the contest.
        Upon their arrival at the hospital, Susan and Sara were updated on Nancy Jean’s condition. Nancy was comatose, but more importantly, the doctors had determined that she was in need of an immediate kidney transplant. Nancy was unaware that she had a rare kidney disorder that would become fatal if she were subjected to a large amount of alcohol. The doctor further explained that death was inevitable if Nancy did not have the infected kidney removed. Every available candidate for donation was tested; however, no one had the same rare blood type as Nancy Jean.
        Susan was instantly reminded of the very first time she met Nancy Jean. It was the first day of their freshman year in high school; and Nancy had asked Susan to be her lab partner in an experiment to determine their blood type. Nancy and Susan were the only two members of the class who tested positive for O negative blood.
        “Would you mind if we tested you two as possible donors? Nancy’s kidney is currently releasing poison throughout her body. We must remove it within the next six hours or she will have no chance of survival,” an eager nurse interrupted.
        “Sure.” Sara responded immediately
        “I don’t believe in surgery.” Susan replied nonchalantly.
        “What?” Sara turned to Susan. “Nancy’s your best friend. The surgery won’t hurt you. Nancy could die if you don’t”.
        “Me and Nancy both had morals when we got here. If she had stuck to hers she wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. I’m not like Nancy Jean. I refuse to let college, or Nancy’s problems, change me. I don’t believe in medical science, and I won’t suffer from any surgeries.” On this note Susan left the Hospital.
        Nancy Jean was pronounced dead eight hours later.

© 2002 Howard University
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse, Prose & Art, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2002. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
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