It takes me three steps to cross the sidewalk, the line between your world and the rest of the world. My legs fold under me and I let my tears finally leak from the corners of my eyes as I stare down at the blurred stains on the street. My hands are shaking as I fumble for my car keys. I want to be anywhere but here, anywhere but by your side. I move without thinking and act without remembering. Somehow, my body has mechanically dragged me to my car. The car shutters on beneath me. I feel its whines and grumbles like they are my own. The steering wheel beneath my hands are the only stable things that I can lean on right now, the gas pedal begs me to take myself far away from here, and the clutch beneath my fingers becomes my crutch. You’re somewhere in your house. Probably having a mental breakdown or something. The hot anger pressing against my eyelids makes me want to not care but a part of me still does. It would take only a few steps for me to go back to you but I’m done with being hurt. Four clicks down and I’m in drive. I peel away from your neighborhood, leaving the smell of burnt rubber in my path. All I can see as I drive is the yellow line dividing the road. All I can think about is the sidewalk dividing your world from the real world and the problems dividing you from me. It takes one bad turn for me to crash. The street becomes a maelstrom of chaos. My car is on its back, wheels spinning in the air. I think I can taste blood in my mouth and then I don’t think I can think at all. My last thought isn’t that I forgot to signal or look over my shoulder. My last thought is of your face imagined in the rearview mirror, stopping me before I go. In another world, this narrative ends differently. It takes me three steps to cross the sidewalk, the line between your world and the rest of the world. My legs fold underneath me and I let my tears finally leak from the corners of my eyes as I stare down at the blurred stains on the street. My hands are shaking as I fumble for my phone. I want to see anyone but you, be by anyone’s side but yours. She answers on the third ring, her voice a puff of air and a crackle in my ear. She hears my sobs and I ask her to come pick me up. When my best friend pulls onto the street, she promises we can come back later for my car. As we drive away, the cool window pressed against my cheek grounds me and her voice is a siren call back to reality. All I can see as we drive is my blurry reflection in the window: a girl with eyes burned red from crying, sniffling because of a heartbreak. All I can think of is the sidewalk dividing your world from the real world, the world where I’m not alone and my best friend is here for me. My last thought as I fall asleep is how grateful I am for the people in my life who can keep track of the cars passing by when I’m too distracted to check my side mirrors. She keeps both hands on the wheel and focuses on getting me home.
A short story about the two different ways a drive home can end.