Deserving

I can’t feel anything anymore. All the pain is gone. All that I can remember now is the crash. There was lots of light. I was smiling. I was smiling at Wittman. And laughing with Jessie.

“That was a awesome party though.” Wittman laughed.

“Totally. I’m glad that…“

And then she screamed. Jessie screamed, and pointed her finger at the windshield. We looked at her, her arms drawn to her mouth, as if she was holding in some horrible noise.

But when we look back, it was too late.

Now there are people running. They all are yelling. There are still lots of lights. I see their feet. Someone looks down at me. They have beautiful blond hair. There is red flashing light behind it. Their hair turns to fire.

I didn’t hear any honking. The truck… it must have been softly honking or something. It couldn’t have been my fault. I mean, I only had a few drinks. A lot less than Wittman or Jessie. That’s why I drove. I told them I was the responsible one.

“You guys can trust me!” I said as I flung my arms into the air.

“You’re a lot less drunk than I am!” Jessie giggles. Wittman laughs with her. I feel great. I pull myself into the drivers’ seat.

The party wasn’t even that fun. Wittman was the only one who really wanted to go. Carroll Jessie and me didn’t care. Wittman just wanted to see his girlfriend. I wouldn’t have come if it weren’t for him.

I sound like I’m blaming him. No. I don’t want to blame him. Just maybe he deserved more than I did to get hurt. Maybe they did get hurt. I try to look to see if they’re all right. If they’re standing above me, looking down at me with worried eyes. But I can’t move my neck.

We had spun off of the truck like a bug. The world had spun with us. It all blurred together like when you ride a rollercoaster. But the screams were different. They were terrible noises. They hurt my chest. I shut my eyes tight and prayed that it would be over. And that we would be all okay.

I feel the wet, sticky warmth on my arm. It’s dripping. Something is wrong. I know it is. But I can’t see it. I can’t even move.

Did I have to drink? It was a party. They had beer. Everyone else was having some. I didn’t know Carroll would drink. He always seems like such a mellow guy. Not some party animal.

“Come one! Just have one. You have had a beer before, right?” Carroll laughed at me.

“Yeah, of course I have. I just, haven’t like…” I trailed off. Carroll pushes the plastic cup at me. I knew I would have to, and I reached out and took it.

I see red on my eyelash. On the pavement, spilling out from somewhere. Somewhere on me. Oh my god… The puddle is growing. But I imagine it bigger than that. A pool. A pool of warm, stickiness that smells of burning tires and copper, that makes me want to throw-up, that makes me want to go back in time.

I don’t deserve this.

I hear an ambulance. But the sound of the siren is so dull. Like they’re going past us. But that isn’t right. We need help. And everything is getting gray. And dark. Like sadness. It’s quiet. Someone is putting a muffler on the world. I can’t see anymore. But I don’t want to be alone. Without Mom, or Dad, or Carroll and Wittman and Jessie. Mary was going into second grade. I had her old teacher. She said I was a good sister. It was almost graduation. I was into Columbia. I had a boyfriend. Carroll. Where is Carroll? Was he in my car? I can’t remember. Maybe he stayed. Maybe he didn’t get hurt like me. Like us. I couldn’t have been the only one who was hurt. It wouldn’t be fair.

But why would I want it to be fair? I want them to be okay. I want me to be okay. But the red keeps coming from my lashes. And it rolls down my face softly, and warmly.

They all loved me. They wouldn’t let this happen. And it wasn’t my fault. It was the truckers. I’m smarter than this.

The car stopped, and I remember the pain was in my eyes. The pain was in my eyes. It was pushing at the front of my head. It was all over my body, stabbing me in the side with a thousand needles. I cried out as I tried to move. My arm. Little crystals dot my legs. Little glass shards are in my arm. Wittman. His eyes are half closed. His bone… you can see his white bone. Poking from his arm, the contrast of white against dark chocolate colored skin surprising me. And fire, lighting his face up behind him. Thick, dark and sickly-sweet smelling blood is everywhere. It hurts my head. Everything does.

I had maybe three cups of beer. Okay, four cups. Not more than that though. You can’t get drunk off of four beers. The cups were small too. Barely the normal size, and they weren’t even filled all the way. It had to be something else. I couldn’t have hurt… I couldn’t have maybe killed… two, three people. Maybe another driver fell asleep. Maybe the trucker got angry and was driving riskily. Jessie scared me and made me turn. It wasn’t me.

My eyelids close gently. I see light from behind them. It’s still all seems so far away, so soft, like it’s slowly being erased. I hear soft crying, and sobbing.

I didn’t deserve this.

Emma Callahan
Age 12, Grade 7
MS 51 William Alexander
Silver Key

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