At first, Iggy refused to speak to me the next day and I sat on his bed most of the time, watching him bump his way around the room in the wheelchair, trying to figure out what to say. I knew I couldn’t throw any of those sayings that Gabe had given me, because they definitely rub off on him like they had on me. I knew that much already. And they wouldn’t help him any.
Maybe only make him even more bitter.
So I had to figure out a way to bring him back to life without putting too much pressure on him.
Thing was, I wasn’t sure how to do that.
I finally decided to start in on him slowly, and work my way towards what made him tick. Just maybe . . .
“So how old are you, Iggy? Really.”
He gave me a look and crossed his arms. “Fourteen. Why the heck would you want to know?”
I ignored him and kept talking. “Have any siblings?”
“Sister . . . brother?”
He glared at me. “Looking for a girlfriend or something?”
“You just keep telling yourself that. How old?”
I nodded. “You talk to her much?”
“Not really.” Iggy looked down at his lap and fiddled with his folded up pant-leg. “She lives in France . . .”
“That’s pretty far away.”
He nodded. “Yeah. She always hated the States. And thought Dad was too controlling. When she turned eighteen, she moved out and ran away to Chicago.”
“She didn’t go to school after high school?”
“Not until she moved to Italy when she was twenty. She quit after two years and moved to France.”
“For the last year, then?”
He sighed. “Dad isn’t sure where she is anymore . . .”
“Yeah. Scary, huh?”
I stared at him for a moment. “You mean you haven’t heard from her in a year?”
A tiny nod. “We aren’t sure if she’s even . . .” He fell silent and bit his lip.
“Alive . . . ?” I finished hesitantly, unsure of what he was about to say.
“Yeah,” he whispered.
I wasn’t sure what to say. And he surprised me by speaking first.
I glanced at him. “For what?”
He shrugged and said, “You gave me a reason . . . to live. I’m not going to be like her. I don’t want to run away from my problems. Not like she did.”
“But you shouldn’t make it your reason to live just because it was her reason not to.”
He rolled his eyes and stopped his ever-moving wheelchair right in front of me. “Can’t accept a simple thanks, can you?”
I smiled slightly. “Guess not.”
So I guess I saved him after all. But he did most of the saving himself. I just needed a confidence boost from Gabe.