Friday, December 12, 2014

The Almost Kiss, A Short Story

Douglas Winslow Cooper and Brian Maher

The score was tied in the last half of the last inning for Eddie Gomez’s baseball team. Bases were loaded, Eddie at bat. The pitcher’s fastball came toward Eddie, who tried to get out of the way but was hit smack in the middle of his chest. Down he went.

The umpire signaled for Eddie to go to first base, because he was hit by the pitch, and the runners all advanced a base, forcing home the winning run. The fans, few in number, went wild or at least showed substantial enthusiasm. Eddie stayed on the ground, moving but silent.

Tess ran over to Eddie, asking, “Are you OK?”

No answer. Little movement. Tess looked closely at his face and saw that his lips were turning blue. She yelled, “Call 911! Call 911! He’s not breathing!”

A fireman’s daughter, at least this particular fireman’s daughter, knows CPR. Tess rolled Eddie onto his back, put one of her hands behind the other, and pumped on his chest two times per second for 30 pumps.

He was still not breathing. Tess bent over him, pinched closed his nose, covered his open mouth with hers and breathed strongly into him. His chest rose, then fell. She did this a second time, and then did another 30 chest pumps. The third time she started to breathe into Eddie’s mouth, he coughed and started breathing on this own!

Tess started crying, and Eddie took her hand. “I’m OK. I’m OK. Thank you. Thank you. You saved my life!” And so she had.

The Emergency Medical Services ambulance arrived a few minutes later, with Tess’s father and his EMT partner. When they heard what had happened, they talked with Eddie and checked Eddie’s vital signs, then congratulated Tess on her swift and skilled CPR.

That evening, Eddie’s mother and father, Sergeant and Mrs. Gomez, came to visit Tess and her family, thanking her over and over again for saving Eddie’s life. They complimented her parents on what a fine young woman Tess had shown herself to be.

Mrs. Williams replied that Eddie had proved himself worthy of their daughter’s friendship the time he walked her home when she was being bothered by some teenagers along Highland Avenue. She said that she and Mr. Williams were pleased that Tess and Eddie were good friends.

A reporter for the home-town weekly paper came to the Williams home and asked Tess about that day’s event. When the paper came out on Wednesday, there were pictures of both Tess and Eddie and a headline calling her a “local heroine.” She was not sure about that, but she was certain she was happy to have been where Eddie needed her and happy she had known what to do.

In the evening after that game, Tess wrote at length in her diary about what had happened: she told it she was glad she knew CPR and could save Eddie’s life and…she was pleased she had gotten from him, during the mouth-to-mouth part of CPR, her “almost kiss.”


One of our 50 somewhat instructive short stories for young readers.

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