The Day After

Sarah K

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The day after, I walked that curve again and realized there was a sign. A curvy black arrow starkly set against the yellow diamond. It was right there. Why didn’t I see it? I visited my friends in the hospital. They look scary, all hooked up to tubes and beeping machines. I wouldn’t be able to tell who’s who, among the swelling and bruised up faces, but for the bright white profile sheet at the foot of each bed. They say Abby might not make it, that she might join me soon. How can I see her again, knowing it was me that put her there? I went to see my family. My parents who don’t understand why they have one less child, and my siblings who keep going into my room, then realizing there’s no one there to talk to. My dog sits in the corner, curled up a ball, wondering why I didn’t come home last night and pat her on the head before I went upstairs. I went back to the road, hoping maybe to find out what was so important in that moment, why I needed to look away from the road. All I see are fragments of the car, the bumper, the tire rim, and scattered pieces of broken glass. Among that is a flickering cell phone screen, thrown from the wreckage, pinging weakly every few minutes as another notifications pops up. This time it isn’t about the football game or new likes on my photo. Just a litany of RIP, taken too soon, we miss you… And I can’t go back. I can’t switch my phone to airplane mode, shut it off, pay more attention to that curve. Because I needed to check that notification, needed to take my eyes off the road. It was only a few seconds…but long enough to end a life.