"I'm not going to Shuel today," I announced the morning of September 18th 2001, in between bites of Rice Krispies.
"I don't blame you honey, none of us feel like doing that," sighed my Mom.
No one was sure exactly what had happened to Alexis yet, the last I had heard my Mom had told me that she had probably suffered a stroke, but they were still doing tests and monitoring her.
I ran upstairs after I had managed to eat a bit more cereal to get dressed, and then back down to walk to school. This was the first day I could remember not walking to school with Alex, and I guess my Mother sensed that.
"Do you want me to walk with you?" she asked, and I shook my head.
"God Mom I'm ten that would be sooo embarrassing," I said and my Mom giggled.
"Okay, well be safe, I don't like you going across that busy street alone," she said and gave me a tight hug.
I didn't however, have to walk alone, the minute I opened my door there was Mitchi outside, waiting for me.
"What are you doing here?" I asked him.
"Well I know you and Alex usually go to school together, so I thought I'd go with you so you wouldn't have to be alone...you know, just until she gets better," he said and I was so touched I could have cried.
"Have you heard anything else about Alex?" he asked and I shook my head.
"Well whatever it is I'm sure she'll be just fine--HEY we should have a get well party when she gets out!" Mitchi exclaimed. That caught my attention and we spent the rest of the walk planning out Alex's get well party, and how cool it would be for her to tell people the story of what happened to her, and how she survived it.
School that day seemed to drag on forever. I had more than a dozen kids ask me where Alexis was, and all I managed to say was "she isn't feeling well but she'll be back soon." It seemed exhausting to say more than that.
During science class in the afternoon, the Principal whose name was (I think) Mrs. Bertram called me out of class. I didn't associate me being pulled out early with Alexis, my mind just wouldn't go there, but much to my shock she led me to my Mother standing outside the school with my eight year old brother Sean, and Alex's seven year old brother Eitan.
"What's going on?" I asked her, and I could tell she was forcing a smile.
"Nothing honey, I just think you might want to go visit Alexis in the hospital. Would you like that?" she asked.
"Um...sure is she okay?" I asked hesitantly.
"Well...as I just told Sean and Eitan she is most likely going to be just fine, but she has gotten a little bit worse. Her brain was bleeding, and they finally were able to stop it completely but she's blind now," said my Mom.
"Blind?!" I exclaimed, I couldn't imagine Alexis living a happy life as a blind person.
"Yes, and she might have some other problems, but you're her friend and you're going to be there for her right?"
"Of course," I said, and the four of us began heading home.
My Mom quickly made us a snack, and then got all of us into a cab where we began the long drive to Victoria General Hospital. My brother Sean and Alex's brother Eitan both looked pale and in shock, while I continued to listen to Michael Jackson on my discman and tune out what was happening.
We finally made it all the way to the pediatric ward of the hospital, where Eitan was immediately smothered by his parents.
"Chelsea go see her, she would love to see you," said Alex's Mom Essy, and in I went.
"Alex?" I breathed as I looked at her. She was hooked up to machines, and just seemed to small.
"Zeyda?" she whispered not opening her eyes, which I guess wouldn't have mattered anyway because she couldn't see me.
"No...he's dea-no...it's me Chelsea," I muttered.
"Zeyda?" she whispered again, and I just stared in shock.
"No! It's Chelsea! Chels! Your best friend," I said.
"Yeah! I like Michael Jackson! That's right," I said happily.
"Akh hakhaverah hatovah beyoter sheli."
That night we silently dipped our apples in honey, normally this was a happy tradition, it signified a sweet new year, but this felt different. All of us were silently praying for Alexis. Her parents had called just before to tell us it wasn't good. Something had happened. They had picked her up to move her to BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver, and her brain had bled again. They didn't know the extent of the damage yet however, so I held off on calling Mitchi, I knew that no matter what shape Alexis was in Mitchi wouldn't mind.
After we finished our apples and honey, Sean and Eitan went downstairs to play video games, and I went upstairs to my bedroom to pass time. I was re-reading the Harry Potter series, in preparation for the movie that was to come out in just six weeks. Then I heard the phone ring. I quietly crept downstairs. My Mother screamed. My Father gasped. I knew.
"Chelsea..." my mother said tearfully, and I knew.
"She's dead isn't she?"
All my Mom could do was nod.
"Akh hakhaverah hatovah beyoter sheli."
Her last words to me had been in Hebrew.
"You are my best friend."