There was a pause that seemed to last an eternity. Then, Mary came to the door.
"Oh, it's you, Angela." She said sleepily, but not in a mean way, "What is it?"
I tried to catch my breath and a tear went down my cheek.
"It's Tae-Hyun." I said.
When I arrived back at the Mess Hall with Mary, Leo had his arm across Tae-Hyun's back and she was still throwing up blood. Chris had woken up and he had his back pressed against the wall; He looked terrified.
"Leo," I said.
Leo looked up. His eyes were red and tears were streaming down his cheeks.
"I brought Mary." I said.
Mary put one hand over her mouth and said, "Oh my God."
She ran to the office across the Mess Hall and dialed 911.
"Hello?" Mary said, talking fast, "Yes. I have a sixteen year old boy who is vomiting blood. We need help immediately!"
I was glad that she hadn't noticed Tae-Hyun was actually a girl, but we had bigger problems than that.
Kids started to pour out of their cabins when the ambulance arrived. By the time the paramedics got the gurney out, there was at least twenty kids there watching. Oh, God. So much for Tae-Hyun's secret. I still had no idea why she had pretended to be a boy, but I would figure that out later.
My head was reeling, but then I thought of Leo.
I stood by him as we watched the paramedics lift Tae-Hyun onto the gurney.
Leo bit his lip and walked over to the paramedics, Mary, Mrs. Green, and Principle Nelson.
Leo said to Principle Nelson, "Ms. Nelson,"
She looked at him and said, "Yes?"
"Please, please let me go with Tae-Hyun to the hospital." Leo said, "I want to be there with him."
Principle Nelson shook her head, "I'm afraid not, Leo. Only Mary and I are going."
"Oh, please, Mrs. Nelson." Leo said, fighting back tears, "Please, I'm his friend. I have to go with him."
"I'm sorry, but..." Principle Nelson said gently, but she was cut off.
"Leo..." Came Tae-Hyun's small voice.
Leo and Principle Nelson walked over to her and Leo put his hands on the side of the gurney.
"Yes, I'm here." Leo said, his voice shaking.
Tae-Hyun looked up at him and smiled weakly. She was quivering all over.
Tae-Hyun put her hands on Leo's and said, her voice wavering, "I want you here."
Leo breathed in deeply, but he started crying.
I leaned over Principle Nelson's shoulder and said softly, "Principle Nelson, please let him go with. He's Tae-Hyun's best friend."
Principle Nelson sighed and said, "Leo..."
Leo bowed his head and tried to stop crying.
Mrs. Nelson put her hands on his shoulders and said, "I think you should go with."
Leo bit his lip and nodded.
"Thank you. Thank you so much." He said. He was so choked up I could barely understand him.
I leaned my head on Chris' shoulder and a tear went down my cheek.
Chris put his arms around me and I hugged him.
I cried hard and he let out a shaky breath.
"It's okay," Chris said, setting his head on mine, "It's gonna be okay."
I looked up from his shoulder and we watched Leo get into the ambulance with Tae-Hyun and the paramedics.
Mary and Principle Nelson got into Mary's car and they followed the ambulance.
All the kids that had gathered around (which was almost everyone at the camp, including the kids from other high schools) were all talking at once.
Mrs. Green stood in front of all of us and said, "Hey, calm down everyone!"
The noise ceased slightly and Mrs. Green said, "Please, everyone, calm down."
"What happened to him?" One kid yelled.
"YEAH!" A bunch of other kids said.
"Is he gonna die?" Another kid said.
Mrs. Green raised her arms above and said, "Look, calm down, kids! Now, I can tell you that everything is under control."
"No, it's not." I said in a grim tone.
Mrs. Green looked at me, "What did you say, Angela?"
"I said," I said, my voice low and shaking, "You're wrong. Everything is not okay."
"Angela, please-" Mrs. Green said, but I cut her off.
"That boy just puked up blood! You can't just say that everything's gonna be okay!" I yelled at her.
"Angie," Chris said, "Calm down."
"You don't know that he's gonna be okay!" I screamed at Mrs. Green.
Mrs. Green held up her hands and said, "Angela, will you please calm down?!"
"NO! I WILL NOT CALM DOWN!" I yelled, "MY FRIEND IS ON HIS WAY TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM! I WILL NOT CALM DOWN!"
"Angie!" Chris yelled at me, "There is nothing more we can do! We got him to the hospital and now the rest is in the hands of the doctors!"
Mrs. Green said, "Listen to your brother, Angela."
"He doesn't know anything! He doesn't know if Tae-Hyun's gonna die or not!" I screamed.
"ANGIE!" Chris said, "What has gotten into you?"
"What's gotten into you?" I yelled at my brother, "Our friend might die and you're acting like that's okay!"
Chris stared at me for a long time.
"This... Isn't fully about the hospital, is it?" He said in a low voice.
People were buzzing about the ambulance and Tae-Hyun again.
I stared at my brother with red, tear-filled eyes.
"This... This is about what you saw, isn't it?" Chris said, "You're mad because I didn't tell you about Tae-Hyun's secret."
I glared at him for a long time. I shoved him hard and hollered, "You liar!"
I stomped off to my cabin with Mrs. Green calling after me, "Angela Harper, come back!"
I flung open my cabin door and slammed it behind me.
To my surprise, Tina was sitting on her bed, one leg crossed over the other. She had a stuffed animal giraffe in her lap and she was petting it like it was a cat. Today, her hair was in two buns with hair spinning out of them like sparklers.
"Tina..." I said.
Tina looked at me and said calmly, "Were you crying? Your face is streaked."
I touched my cheek. It was hot and damp with tears.
I swallowed and said, "Why aren't you outside with everyone else?"
Tina set down her giraffe and stood up.
"I'm not very interested in the whole riot-gossip thing." She said, adjusting a poster of a giraffe on the wall.
"Riot-gossip?" I asked.
"You know," Tina said calmly, her back to me, "People gathering around during a big event and gossiping about it later. It's just honest curiosity, right? Standing around and watching while two guys beat the crap out of each other and post the video on Facebook the next day? Just fun and games right? No one got hurt..."
She paused and added, "Well, except for those two guys in the fight."
I sat down on my bed and said, "You're really different, you know that?"
"I've been told." Tina said, fixing another poster. She turned to look at me, "Why?"
I shrugged, "I don't know. You just... You stick to yourself, you change your hair every day... You're just different from everyone else."
Tina sat down on the other bed and said, "Is that a bad thing?"
"No, no..." I said, "I don't know why I brought that up."
Tina cocked her head and said casually, "So, why were you crying? If you don't mind my asking."
I let out a shuddering breath and looked down at my lap. Then, I started crying again.
Tina got up and sat down next to me. She gently took my head and leaned it on her shoulder.
I cried on her shoulder and Tina said, "Don't worry, it'll be okay."
I sat up and wiped my nose on my hand. "Will it really be okay? Everyone keeps saying that, but what if it's not?"
Tina crossed one leg over the other and said, "Well, life always gets better eventually. Even when things seem terrible, they're always going to pass and the good things will come back."
"Well..." I said softly, shaking, "What if someone dies?"
There was a pause before I said, "If someone dies, they're not going to come back. They never can and never will."
"Hmm..." Tina said, pursing her lips, "That's another topic. With death..."
She looked at me and said, "Do you believe in reincarnation, Angela?"
I sniffed and shook my head, "No, I don't."
"Since you don't, it's like this." Tina said coolly, "If a person dies, they're not going to come back, but that doesn't mean someone else can't come along."
"Come along and what? Replace them?" I said, shaking my head, "That's stupid."
"Not replace," Tina said, "But be there for you. Be a new friend to you. A new partner, a new family member..."
I looked at Tina and she continued, "A new baby could be born. A cousin, a sibling, a son or daughter. You could meet a new friend that could change your life. All sorts of people are out there, you just have to be open to meet new ones."
I gave Tina a look and said, "Did you read all that somewhere? Like, in a magazine or something?"
Tina looked at me and asked calmly, "Was it magazine quality?"
"Um, no..." I said.
Tina looked straight ahead and said, "Actually, that was all me. It's just logic, really."
I furrowed my brow and said, "Wow, you're um... You're really smart."
Tina looked at me and said, "Why, thank you."
She smiled a small, friendly smile.
I smiled back.
Maybe Tina wasn't someone I should be avoiding.