Brothers Forever

The Game

Michael prayed that the player lying motionless in the corner wasn’t his brother Jonny. He took a deep breath as some of the other players in the scramble moved out of the way and exposed the numbers 22. “no,” he whispered under his breath closing his eyes. He re-watched the play in his head. Nothing malicious, nothing with intent to hurt, just a fluky play as both pairs of skates got tied up close to the boards forcing Jonny down with a bang.

He watched the trainers run out on the ice. Then, after a few minutes, the trainer from behind our bench left. Michael watched closely praying for Jonny to show some life, movement. His heart sunk when he saw the trainers calling for the stretcher. Michael closed his eyes again, not wanting to look up into the crowd to see the concern on his family’s face.

There was a gentle tap on his shoulder. Coach Lucia was looking at him, “You should go, he’s your brother”

Michael hopped over the boards, trying to ignore the frightened looks from his teammates. He glided over on the ice, taking deep breaths trying to hold back the tears. He stayed off to the side letting the doctors do their work as he watched an unconscious Jonny get strapped up on the stretcher.
And then his eyes opened, and he moved his hand towards the closest person to him, squinting his eyes. Michael’s tensions eased a little. The trainer said something in his; a “yes” escaped Jonny’s lips.
As they got him on the gurney, Michael went over to see Jonny, “Michael what are you doing here?”

Michael rolled his eyes, “I’m your brother. I think I have a right to make sure you’re alive if you are going to be strapped to a stretcher and taken off the ice.”

Jonny smiled, getting the joke, “Promise you’ll finish the game, no worries then come and see me. No matter what happens?”
Michael took off his glove and took hold of his brother’s hand that was now strapped in across his stomach, “we gotta go boys.”

“Promise” Michael said as the EMT’s and the SCSU trainer followed the gurney off the ice. Michael stood there for a few moments watching his brother getting escorted off the ice. For the first time he let the cheering of the crowd and the tapping of the players' sticks against the ice and boards enter his ears. Then he found his parents in an embrace in the stands. His father’s eyes looked down at him, curious of what he was going to do. Michael lifted his stick up in the air and tapped it on the ground, looking his dad right in the eyes indicating everything was going to be okay.

He watched his Dad close his eyes in the stands, nod his head, and tell his mother, before Michael shoved his hand back into his glove and skated back towards the bench. As he hopped back over the boards, “you okay?” Ben Marshall his D partner asked.

Michael nodded his head, fighting back the emotions that were currently flooding through is body. His breaths were a little shaky, as he watched the players skate back out onto the ice and get ready to restart the game.
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