10.03.2005

Hardly

As of that moment, there was nothing more frightening.

It’s hard to remember it all exactly as it had happened. I remember blurred vision and the feeling of spinning. A hard spin, harder than amusement rides, crushed into the side of the roller coaster car. All passengers that sit on the left feel the crush of body weight from friends forced down against you. If you laugh too hard, you’ll lose your breath.

I remember the sudden light, not from above us but from the passenger’s side, from Amber’s side. She found just enough time to hold her tongue and turn her head so that she faced forward, and that’s how I remember her, in silhouette. Brown hair pulled back into a ponytail with the loose curls falling over her ear. Her small nose, its tip pointed eternally upward. Her lips parted like she was about to speak again, off on a new topic. Maybe she would have mentioned the scientific study on infidelity, that mothers who cheat give birth to cheating offspring. And I would have said, faking surprise, “Oh?” Or maybe she would have only sighed, asking me to turn the car around and bring us both home. It had been nearly a decade for us, and without any trouble, something or someone was bound to come along and rock the boat, wasn’t it? “Nine years, Julia,” she would have said. “God, remember how in love we were?” I would have remained silent for only a moment too long like I always do, but I would have turned to her eventually and said, “Yes.” And she would have reached for my hand then, brought it to her lap, pushed my fingers between her thighs, squeezing them there. She had been wearing shorts, and her skin, her flesh, would have been warm and soft. But there was a loud crunch that stopped all of this from happening, all of these potential alternate endings. What I remember next was only the sound of spinning tires and of footsteps rushing through long grass. I remember the blood warm, dripping from the tip of my nose and on to the ceiling of my car that was now beneath my head. I remember a man’s voice saying, “Hold on there, pretty girl. We’re going to get you out,” and I remember looking forward to see the windshield smashed, the hole large and jagged, big enough as though it had been made for me.

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