Zack breaks his arm
due to Murphy’s Law, and he realizes there is a question he needs to answer: How
much pain is his friendship with Milo worth?
A run away bulldozer, a short cliff and some spiky bushes at
the bottom to catch his fall. In all honesty, Zack was lucky he only came away
with a broken arm.
It had been the most painful experience of Zack’s life, and
now he was stuck with this cast for six to eight weeks. In the back of his
mind, Zack always knew this was coming. He had chosen to be Milo’s friend and
he saw how often Milo got hurt. Zack just never fully believed it would happen
to him, or that it would be so painful.
The door opened to his hospital room, and a spunky redhead
“Melissa!” Zack greeted happily. It was nice to see someone
other than nurses and doctors for a change. His parents had been there, but
they left for a few hours and would be back soon with his Gameboy so he
wouldn’t be completely bored.
“Hey, Zack. How are you feeling?”
“Like my arm is broken, so not great,” he answered honestly.
He really wished the nurses would give him another dose of that pain
Melissa frowned. “Yeah, that was a pretty bad fall. I’m glad
it wasn’t worse.”
“Milo will be here in a minute,” Melissa said. “He had some
trouble with… well, you know how it is.”
Zack nodded. “Yeah, I get it. I’m just glad to have some
visitors. I was getting pretty bored in here.”
To Zack’s surprise, Melissa pulled herself up to sit on his
bed, her feet still hanging over the edge.
“Listen, Zack, I wanted to talk to you about something
before Milo gets here.”
Zack decided he didn’t like her serious voice, it made him nervous.
“Uhh, okay? What is it?”
“I’m just going to get straight to the point: Are you
planning to stop hang out with Milo and me?”
Zack stared. “What?”
Melissa sighed. “It’s not a hard question. You got a broken
arm because you were hanging out with Milo. It’s possible that it will happen
again, and maybe it will be worse next time. We won’t think less of you if you
decided that you can’t hang out with us anymore.”
Zack raised a confused eyebrow at her. “Yes you will.”
She smirked. “Okay, maybe I will, but you know Milo wont. He
understands more than anyone how hard it can be to deal with Murphy’s law.
He’s… used to not having a lot of close friends. He won’t take it personally.
Plus, you will still see us at school.”
Zack shook his head. “But that’s not what I want.”
“But you also don’t want another broken arm.”
Zack hesitated. “No, I don’t want that either.”
There was an awkward silence between them as Zack looked
down at his cast.
“Do you really think this will happen again?” he asked
fearfully. “How many times have you gotten hurt?”
Melissa shrugged. “Gotten hurt? Plenty of times. Gotten
seriously injured? Three or four. Usually it’s only Milo that gets badly hurt,
but anything that can go wrong…”
“Right,” Zack said, swallowing a lump in his throat. “I get
“It’s okay, Zack. Milo will understand-”
“I’m not abandoning him,” Zack snapped angrily.
Melissa’s eyes widened at the harshness of his voice.
“And I don’t know why you think I will!” He glared up at
her. “Why are you trying to get rid of me? I thought we were friends too.”
“We are friends,” Melissa said sternly. “And that’s why I
need to make sure you’re not just sticking around because of misguided loyalty
or some stupid feelings of obligation. If you hang around Milo, it’s because
you want to and because you think he’s worth the risks.”
“I do want to-”
Melissa leaned forward until she was right in his face, and
Zack felt himself lean back into his pillows. “If this happens again, if you
get hurt because of Murphy’s law, then you can’t blame Milo-”
“If you stick around, it’s your own choice,” Melissa
interrupted before he could finish. “You can’t blame him, not even a tiny bit, because
he will know. He will be able to tell if you’re starting to resent him. Then
Milo will be unhappy, and you will be unhappy.” Melissa pointed her index
finger directly at his face and he had to cross his eyes to look at it. “And I
hate it when my friends are unhappy. That includes you, Zack.”
Melissa pulled away, giving him some space to breathe.
“I like you,” Melissa admitted. “I think you’re braver than
you give yourself credit for and you keep us both grounded, but I don’t want
you to hang out with us because you feel like you have to. That’s not what friendship is.”
Zack let out a breath. “Yeah, I think I get what you’re
trying to say.”
“You’ve lasted longer with us than anyone else has,” Melissa
continued. “And Milo thinks you’re going to stop hanging out with us now. Most
people don’t stick around past the broken limb stage. So, if you want to leave,
now is your best chance, since he’s already expecting it.”
The door to the hospital room opened and the two kid’s heads
snapped around to see a disheveled Milo enter the room. He was still breathing
hard, obviously still recovering from the last thing Murphy’s Law threw at him.