If Only…

Hiba A

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She was a delicate little thing- around five years old. With deep chocolate brown eyes and wavy chestnut locks tumbling down her shoulders like a waterfall. Your gaze stands transfixed, unwavering from the sight of the little girl that now rests feebly in the hospital bed that dwarfs her dainty figure under the covers. She lays there soundlessly with her eyes closed softly, her respiration toned and in accord with the beeping of machines that encircle her bed, the only indication of her heartbeat – of her existence. Her cinnamon skin has transformed into a thin porcelain film streaked with nicks and treated gashes, coating over her bones. An avalanche of brunette hair tumbles out against her pillow, fanning on all sides of her head in a tousled mess of fiery points, framing her ghostly appearance. In fear of shattering this precious china doll, you brush a gentle hand on her ashen forehead, from which a cold dampness glistens and recesses down her very nearly anemic cheeks. You hear footsteps sound beside you. Staring blankly from the corner of your misty eyes, you watch the horror that overtakes her mother’s features upon seeing her little girl amid her slumber. Her mother harshly pulls at your shoulder. Thick eyebrows arch over her tired, glassy auburn eyes- puffy and bloodshot. Her nostrils flare, her intense orbs flashing and closing into narrow slits as her face contorts in an expression of sheer anger on the verge of spewing out. You feel your heart constrict as her lips quiver, her eyes becoming glazed with a fresh glassy layer of tears that soon overflow again, racing down her once rosy cheeks, unchecked. She licks her chapped lips and whispers, her voice cracking over the lump in her throat, “Why..? Why didn’t you stop? Did you not see her..?!” If only. If only you had… If only you had ignored that measly buzz on your phone. It could have waited. Couldn’t it? Your eyes would have remained firm on the road that laid ahead, taking in the setting before you. A lively little girl, with brunette tresses bouncing around her shoulders as she tugs on her mother’s navy-blue dress. The little girl’s chocolate brown eyes are alight with awe and she squeals in excitement, ogling at the ice-cream vendor across the street. Before her mother’s brain could even register the vendor, the little girl is running, her steps in rhythm to the gentle tones resonating from vender’s truck. Having disregarded the phone and paying attention to the road speed limit, you are able to bring your rumbling car to an abrupt halt without triggering alarm or difficulty to those in the cars behind you. Through the windshield, you see two deep brown oculars widened in panic at your car merely inches away from her delicate form. You hear a scream escape her mother’s vocals as she scurries to grab ahold of her precious daughter. She scolds the little girl, moving off of the road, but not before turning her head to meet your eyes, a grateful smile playing on her lips as she waves her hand, thanking you. If only.