STORY TIME: I almost killed my cancer-survivor best friend


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McKenna Corson

One of my worst qualities is that I’m highly susceptible to peer pressure, and this made for innumerable bad decisions during my childhood (no, Mom, this doesn’t mean drinking or drugs.) I also like to drive fast.

I found out my best friend since elementary school, Kila, was diagnosed with leukemia through a Facebook post her mom made that December after I moved from Cincinnati to Cleveland before our freshman year of high school.

I called her, confused and scared, and started crying so bad that my mom took the phone to comfort Kila.

I was over 200 miles away and couldn’t be there with her, trying to make her laugh with a stupid story of mine.

She slowly improved, and in the summer of 2014 before our senior year, Kila made the biggest mistake following her hospital discharge: inviting me along for a relaxing vacation with her and her family to their vacation house on Fripp Island to celebrate her health.

On Fripp Island, a small island barely off the coast of South Carolina, the main form of transportation was golf carts. Kila’s parents rented two, one for us to drive around with her 14-year-old brother and 13-year-old friend and the other for them.

The vacation started off without a hitch. Kila would mostly drive to the various beaches and eateries, and I would take in the beautiful island, thankful to have been invited on such a retreat.

One fateful night that shall forever be apart of our friendship, Kila, her brother and his friend and I were cruising around the dark island when we were pulled over by the island’s golf cart police (yes, that’s a real thing.)

The officer informed us that Kila was too young at 16 to drive all four of us, meaning I was the only eligible driver at 17.

I took the wheel, and the night immediately went downhill.

“Go fast, go fast!” the boys shouted from the rear-facing seat.

I looked at Kila and gave her a crooked grin, smashing my flip-flopped foot so hard against the gas pedal it stung.

The golf cart lurched forward so suddenly we screamed, me and the boys in excitement, Kila in pure fear.

“Slow down!,” Kila screeched, holding on to the side rail for dear life.

“Faster!” My brain screamed in response.

I felt free, zipping through the cool, salt-heavy air to the sound of tinkling laughter. And then I had an idea.

“Should I do donuts?” I yelled to be heard over the shrieking wind.

All I heard was the immediate call of “YES” from the back seat, drowning out Kila’s final attempt to get me to stop.

I put both hands firmly on the plastic steering wheel and turned it as hard I could. The golf cart shifted hard and suddenly on a dime, whipping severely.

All we could do was scream, holding on to anything we could to stay in the speeding cart.

Barely five seconds later, the circle had been completed, tire marks imprinted into the asphalt, and I slowed the cart. Laughter exploded from the backseat, and I joined in, feeling alive and unstoppable. But the front seat was suspiciously quiet.

I looked over, expecting to see Kila slowly uncurling herself from the ball she’d made in fear, but instead, all I saw was an empty seat.

I braked, sending the boys off their seats. “Kila?!” I yelled out into the darkness as a lump far away in the distance slowly moved.

I cursed, leaping out of the golf cart and sprinted to the lump, noticing it started to moan softly.

She had landed hard on her back, and she barely moved.

I didn’t know if I should touch her. I remembered people on medical dramas in TV making sure not to move people following accidents, so I stood there, panicking.

I killed her. That was all I could think. She survived cancer, and I kill her with a golf cart during vacation. 

She was fine besides a big ass bruise covering her back. And although it didn’t ruin our friendship, needless to say she drove the rest of the vacation.

McKenna Corson is the managing editor. Contact her at [email protected].