Was there nothing?
Moonlight filters through broken glass. Smoke from the engine leaks into the night sky.
Were you awake?
Pedal down, we laugh and shout and turn up the radio. Never mind the driver and the age on his license. Never mind how buzzed he is. A ride home is a ride home, after all.
Does anyone survive?
At least I wasn’t drinking. Sure I’m eighteen but I’d be in so much trouble if my dad ever found out. I know better.
Did you know the driver, a year older than you at nineteen, had twice the legal limit in his system?
The laughing stopped when he drifted too far over the solid white line. Dirt flew through the air and I watched the tree get closer and closer.
But you were in the back seat - I thought you should’ve been safe?
The car slid sideways until that tree smashed right into my door. The kid next to me, 250 pounds easy, wasn’t belted. He ended up on top of me. It was 45 minutes until the medics lifted him off and lifeflight carried my body to the hospital. Until then we lay there bleeding, alone, growing cold.
Was there nothing that could’ve made you think twice before stepping into that car?
The next morning my Dad, a paramedic, sits in front of the nurse and that registration girl and he cries. And cries. All six foot five of him. But I don’t know that. Every time they try to bring me out of it I start seizing again.
How do any of us survive our teenage years?
You never think you’re going to be the one. You know? The one they tell stories about, the girl who didn’t make it to graduation. Funny how things turn out.
Did you know you were loved? Did you know?
I overheard the nurses talking, they’ve already alerted the organ bank. I guess maybe that’s for the best. Maybe someone else can use this tired heart of mine.
Can I tell you there’s something more? Is it too late? What has this world done to you, little one?