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It was the weekend. Florence and Maggie were heading to a museum. Florence had insisted on the mannequin arms again.

“Flo, you don’t need those. Just be yourself!”

“It’s not about that.” Florence pouted. “I’m OK, I just don’t want people to stare.” She wore an almost empty tote bag, just to have something to keep her arms in place.

A security guard asked to check her bag.

“Go for it.”

“Please remove your hands, Miss.”

“I can’t”

“Then you can’t enter.”

“Mags?”

Maggie pulled an arm out. “See?”

The security guard blanched and waved them through.

Florence leaned over and whispered, “I guess there’s SOME benefits.”

They toured the museum, most of it was natural history, so there were diagrams of population maps, and stuffed mammoths. Florence was getting bored.

“Flo, there’s a show in an hour. Wanna check it out?”

“I guess… What’s it about? How fake this place is?”

“No! It’s about birds, and they’ll have a rare one!”

“It better be good.” Florence shrugged her empty shoulders.

“Apparently it’s one one of the closest living species to a T-Rex!”

They sat in the front row. Maggie was excited. The docent stepped out and began his presentation. It was about the extinction of dinosaurs and the different theories of their evolutionary relatives.

“…And so, this is where I bring up a member of the audience to come FACE TO FACE with one of these rare creatures! You, Miss!” He pointed at Florence. “Yes you! Come on up!”

Florence stood and walked on stage.

“What’s your name?”

She leaned into the microphone. “Flo.”

“Good to meet you Flo! I’m Kenneth! Are you ready to meet a relative of… THE DINOSAURS?”

“Sure.”

A box was wheeled out on stage. There were holes on the sides. When it was center stage, Kenneth started up again. “All right, Miss! I’m going to have you stick your hand in and see if you can guess what’s in here! Ready?”

She leaned into the microphone again. “No.”

“I promise nothing will bite!”

Florence rolled her eyes and leaned in again. “I can’t, you dork.”

Away from the mic this time, Kenneth said, “Look, they’re just chicks. Baby chickens. Stick your hand in like this.” He grabbed the false arm and pulled.

Someone screamed as it fell to the ground. Kenneth stared at her in shock. She leaned into the mic once more. “Dumbass. I said I wasn’t ready.” She unceremoniously kicked the mannequin arm off stage in Maggie’s direction. Her friend snatched it up quickly.

Florence stomped off-stage. “That was bullshit. escort bayan Let’s go, I want In-N-Out.”

They got back to the car and Florence ditched the jacket and mannequin arms.

“Sorry Flo, I never expected that to happen.”

“Whatever, he was an idiot.”

“You know what?” Maggie brightened. “Let’s get pedicures!”

“Ha… That’s why we’re friends, Mags.”

They stopped at a burger drive through and ordered from the secret menu. She stuffed a napkin in Florence’s blouse and hand fed her as usual. She played some funny videos on her phone as they ate.

They went to their favorite salon. It was owned by a Vietnamese woman named Linh, who was really sassy and they loved her sense of humor. When they showed up the owner asked, “Hey what happened? No arms now?”

Florence shook her head. “No… No arms now.”

“OK you got feet though?”

“Haha! Yes, I got feet.”

“Good. You still customer then.” Linh led them back to padded chairs with foot baths.

As their feet were being worked on, Maggie reflexively put her hand on Florence’s armrest, as if to hold hands.

“Maggie?” Florence was smirking at her.

“Oh! Crap sorry.”

“No… It’s OK. Put it on my leg.” Florence leaned back against the headrest and closed her eyes. “Do you have another story about Fishface?”

Maggie laughed, “Haha… When you were gone, Fishface flooded one of the bathrooms! It started getting into the cafeteria before anyone noticed. Soooooo gross! Anyway they caught him in his swim trunks.”

Florence chuckled. “Sometimes I miss that weirdo.”

It made Maggie think back to the day of The Accident.

The pair had been texting back and forth for hours; Florence was with her other friends and she’d been doing some tongue-in-cheek trash talk about them. Her playful insults had been making Maggie laugh all afternoon.

Flo Miller:

Haha Manda? Resting bitch face? Um, yoga bitch face? Shopping bitch face?

Me:

LOL not a fishface?

Flo Miller:

fishface lol he tried talking to me

Me:

Haha about what?

Me:

Flo?

Me:

U ok?

Me:

Calling you

No answer. She kept calling though, and eventually Florence’s mom picked up. “Maggie, it’s Flo’s mom. It’s… It’s…”

“What’s going on, is she OK?”

“Honey, Flo’s been in… an accident. She’s in the ICU. Oh God, oh God.” Ms. Miller was crying now.

“Where are you? Can I come see her?!”

“Yeah… you can. We’re at Montrose Hospital. Text my number when you park. I’m turning off her phone for now.”

Maggie izmit eve gelen escort was already out the door. She drove like a madwoman and parked clumsily.

Me:

Here

Hannah Miller:

Coming down. Front entrance

They met in the atrium. Ms. Miller hugged Maggie with violent desperation and sobbed. Maggie wept with her. “Is she going to be OK? What did the doctor say?”

Ms. Miller breathed for a moment before responding. “They don’t know yet, Maggie. It’s serious; she was thrown from the car. It’s bad Maggie, oh God…”

They hugged again. Words weren’t useful anymore. They made their way through the byzantine halls of Montrose and sat in the ICU waiting area.

“Who was with her?” asked Maggie.

“Manda and Jake. They seem to be OK. Jake broke an arm and has a fractured… something. Manda was in the back seat I think, so she was mostly safe.”

They sat in silence together. In a lot of ways, Maggie was like family, and the Miller women were mostly alone. Hannah Miller had divorced ten years ago and left town to escape the mess. Maggie was the first friend Florence had made, so she was very much like a second daughter.

The doctor called for them and walked into the hall to avoid speaking in front of the other people in the wait area. It was her arms or her life. Hannah Miller was beside herself in panic and pain. Maggie held her hands. She eventually consented. The doctor offered some forgettable words and returned to get started.

They slid into an uneasy sleep on the uncomfortable couch. “Ms. Miller?” Maggie woke first and shook Hannah. The doctor said, “This was a double shoulder disarticulation. There was no opportunity to save a portion of either humerus.”

“What does that mean?” Hannah clutched Maggie’s arm.

“It means complete removal of both arms; there are no stumps. She’s woken up a couple of times, but is on heavy medication so she’s not totally aware yet. When she’s conscious and we can perform a couple of cognitive tests we’ll have you come back to see her.”

Eventually they were brought to the recovery room. It was frightening, it seemed like there was so little of her under the hospital sheets. Her eyes were open. “Mom…”

“Oh baby… How do you feel?”

“Hehhhhh, I farted.” Flo had a silly grin on her face. Maggie had to laugh.

The first couple of days were rough. Florence was in and out of consciousness. Maggie had her parents get her out of class until school, and eventually took watch to let Ms. Miller go home and take care of herself for a few hours. izmit otele gelen escort The two friends had barely lucid talks. Florence was in no state to have a real conversation.

“Hey Maggie, Maaaaaggie Maggieeeeeeee…” Florence smiled at her. “I love youuuuuuu.”

“I…” Maggie’s glasses fogged up. “I love you too, Flo. I’m… um, IN lo-“

“Wanna know sumthinnnnnn?” Florence smiled crookedly.

“What?”

“You’re cuuuute.”

“I think you’re beautiful.” Maggie was stepping into a reality that Florence couldn’t follow.

“Yer my BEST friend Maggieeeee.”

As the days passed, Florence had become self-aware again. The moment came when she understood her situation.

“No. No. No no no no no no. Mom?!”

Hannah shook her head. She had no words.

Maggie spoke up. “Flo… A lot of people have had this happen to them… and they have pulled through. I… PROMISE you I’ll be there every step of the way, OK?” She clutched Florence’s leg.

“It’s too much. It’s too much to bear. Mom…” Florence began to cry. Her mother hugged her head and cried with her. Maggie joined in the misery.

A physical therapist began to visit daily, helping with some light exercise and flexibility training for her legs. Florence hated it. Maggie was there to encourage her. At the end of each day, Maggie would hold her friend’s leg and watch her fall asleep… Then go home exhausted.

Florence was starting to doze off. Maggie looked at her and smiled.

“You love her, hey?” Linh was standing there, ginning at Maggie.

“WHAT?!” Maggie wasn’t expecting that.

“I can tell. I have good eye for that. You love her.”

Maggie leaned in. “Shhhh… Yes. Kinda. Yes!”

“You tell her. Hey? Tell her, when she wake up!”

“Noooooo. No way.”

Linh folder her arms. “Come on, you a woman now! Tell her.”

“Shhhh, shut up! Yes, OK? I’ll tell her!”

“OK good. I have eye you know.”

Maggie was quiet during their trip home. I need to do this… I’ve been miserable for so long. She looked over at Florence, who was napping in the passenger seat. She looked so beautiful and fragile. When she was awake, her personality was a force to be reckoned with, and Maggie was enamored with how strong her best friend was. With everything she had been set up against, Florence never gave up, and came out even stronger. She’s like a diamond. I have to say SOMEthing to her. Maggie clutched the steering wheel a little tighter.

They arrived at their apartment. Maggie helped Florence out of the car and grabbed their things. She was nervous and kept dropping her keys.

“What the heck, Mags? You’re weirding me out!”

Maggie unlocked the door and let them into the apartment. “Flo, can we talk?”

“Talk about what?” Florence kicked her shoes off; her sleeves trailed behind her.

“Us.”

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