We watched as he languidly walked into the quiescent room. He looked lethargic-nervous, even-as he kept his eyes on his prize. None of us, friends included, could have imagined this moment to take place like this. This moment that was about to go down, not even I, his cousin, could have imagined taking place like this.

I remember when they had first met in grade school, my cousin and I both in fourth grade at the time. Once again, I was waiting for him on the playground. His lateness was no surprise to me. This was something of my cousin that I had become quite accustomed to. I believe I was sitting on a swing when I saw a girl pushed down the ground before me. She was beautiful, to say the least, her long, black hair contrasted well with her emerald colored eyes and slightly tanned skin. She was tiny-in both senses-but I was sure she was in my class.

"Please stop." I heard a voice beg. It was then that I had looked back up and saw she was towered over by the meanest boy in elementary: Trey Blaton. He was tall, not as tall as my cousin, but close to. Rumor had it he had a rough childhood and was held back a grade or two. In the end, he was not one you wanted to mess with. So, at that moment, I wanted to repose myself deep within the grass, hoping he wouldn't see me. It was when he spat at the girl's face that I realized I had no reason of hiding, but she sure did.

At that time, I had had enough. That was disgusting. I stood up swiftly, opening my mouth to say a few words to the older and bigger boy. Mind you, I was pretty lanky, but shorter than him still. My father, though, had taught me not to fight girls and I was willing to teach this guy a lesson; or try.

"Hey," I said, but my small voice was not heard due to a bit of a deeper and gruffer voice that came from behind me. I swiftly turned, though not before noticing the girl's green eyes direct themselves to the voice behind me. Trey, too, stiffened and looked up.

There stood Michael, not looking slothful for once. His black hair was ruffled, as usual, due to him probably just getting up. His arms were crossed before his chest and his eyes, hard. His shoes had mud on them, probably the result of him tracking across the mud to reach us.

I looked down at the smaller girl and tried to give a reassuring smile. My cousin was here.

Trey instantly stepped back. "S-s-sorry," he finally sputtered out. Quickly, he ran off, probably to the little girl's room. The look on his face, 'til this day, still has me amused.

My amusement was wiped off my face, though, when my cousin's hand was clasped intermingled with the girl's. He was helping her up. This was a shock to me, for my cousin usually stayed to himself, and me, of course. When he had fully helped her up, I found that she was shorter than I thought, only reaching up to below his chin.

Michael released her hand, but the two continued two stare at each other, no gaze wavering. When I was younger, this scene seemed rather soporific, but now, with a girlfriend by my side, I have a better understanding of it. They were soul searching, even at such a young age. Their souls must have liked what they found.

"Nadia," she said, as he began to walk off. He stopped then and turned his head back. She looked at him, a small smile appearing on her face. "My name is Nadia. Would you two like to share some apple slices with me?"

For the first time, Michael gave a true smile.

The three of us became best friends after that. We breezed through elementary school and middle school. Nothing could pull us apart. It was in high school, though, that I really began fearing. It was obvious, to me, at least, that there were some feelings between Michael and Nadia. Would I become the third-wheel?

Then, our first Homecoming Dance came up, and he asked her. That's when she surprised me. She told him yes, she'd go, but only if I either found a date or came with. So, I found a date and we had fun…the four of us.

After that, the two really got together, and it wasn't so bad. Actually, I enjoyed giving them their time together. Both pairs of parents enjoyed the two together. Nadia showed him the world in so many ways and he, the same for her. They even went to college together, he attracting sports fame and her attracting academic fame.

It was like a fairy-tale.

But, unlike most, this fairy-tale had not a happy ending.

The few nights before this day that I am tragically taking part of, was horrid.

I fell out of my stupor as I watched him cry, as a twenty-four year old man, by her hospital bed side.

I heard him whisper sweet words into her ear.

I smelled the tears his eyes shed.

She was bloody; mangled. She hadn't spoken a word since she arrived at the hospital. She barely moved. Sometimes, I wondered if she was breathing.

The car hit her hard.

And now, we're here, on this day. My mother held my shoulder, tears in her eyes.

I watched as he practically somnambulated to the front where she waited.

I watched as he gave her a look over.

I watched as he smiled, though it was not like the first smile they shared.

I watched as he picked up her hand and placed it in his own left.

I watched as he pulled out a ring.

I watched as he gently placed the ring on her ring finger.

I watched as he enclosed her fingers so her hand made a fist.

I watched as he kissed each and every finger, and then brushed it against his cheek.

I watched as he placed her hand down beside her side.

All of this I watched in pure melancholy.

He stepped back and nodded to the men on both sides of her. Then, he turned away, as I watched as the mahogany case closed.

Soon, I found everyone outside. I stood next to him, the furthest up, the furthest away from the smell of tears and the sound of sobs. We looked down as we watched dirt fly. It was then when I looked at the inscription underneath her name on the casket that I had an epiphany.

I was so sick of it…sick of watching; sick of watching and never doing. Nadia…her name meant "Hope" according to the inscription that was written on her tombstone. For once, I felt I had hope.

So, I say this for you to pass on with your friends. This beautiful story of love and peace can all be quickly taken away. No, I tell you this story today as a warning. I hope that it will help you all. For you see, many can have what these two had, but many can have it taken away, too.

So I hope this story teaches you what it has taught me.

Stop watching your friends do stupid things. Do something about it because...

This is what happens…this is the kind of love that ends…when friends watch friends drink and drive "around the bend".

1,363 words.

As I was watching the news one day, I heard the most interesting statistics. According to the National Commission Against Drunk Driving, every 33 minutes, a life is lost due to someone who drinks and drive.

And that is how this short little was created. Too many times, a death can be prevented. If you're the friend who keeps watching and never voicing their opinion, you're allowing a death. Stop watching and start speaking. Stop your friends from doing the wrong things. Drive them home, call a taxi, call anyone for all I care. We can help lessen the number of deaths that occur due to drunk driving.

So stop watching.

Speak up.

To Dream A Story