Dream. Damp air cuts your skin as it blows in the wind. Your body is bare, covered only by a small, white nightgown, just brushing the top of your knees and leaving your shoulders exposed. Burning on the road as each little bump pierces your skin, your feet scuff along, unable to find the strength to step. Shadows of the night bleed up the streets and hide from the scarce lights. You don’t know where you’re going but your turgid legs keep leading you along this road, knowingly balancing you on the faded white lines in the centre. Above you the bright stars soon disappear as the inevitable winter clouds destroy yet another beautiful thing. Gazing at the pitch-black sea above you, you almost miss the car screaming past, obnoxiously ignoring you, radiating their full beam lights. Stumbling backward, still feeling the wind slice through the air, your eyes can’t help but follow the car, and soon your legs follow too, moving faster than before but never fast enough to catch up. Adrenaline engulfs your veins as your breaths are lost in the hysteria and your gown trails behind you. Soon the cars brake lights explode into your eyes and burn them as this sudden flash of light is foreign to you. You feel powerful as you’re carried closer and closer towards the car, but you didn’t see the other one. Almost unrecognisable the front of both cars melt into each other, shards of glass litter the empty streets, both shattered windscreens face each other as blood pools on the road in your tracks. A wave of fright engulfs you and your breathe finally catches up and rapidly increases. You want to stop but you can’t, your legs won’t stop, you’re breathing won’t stop, the bleeding won’t stop. You leave them behind both cars, both bodies.
Wake. Panting and distraught, your body lurches forwards as breaths come back to you and sweat floods your pores. The comfort of your bed is soothing. Adjusting to the dim light sneaking under the crack of the door your eyes stretch open. Nothing has been the same since it happened, the nightmares, the car crash, the dead bodies, they’re plaguing your thoughts. Restlessness is holding you captive as your nightgown suffocates you. It takes you a minute to sit up and adjust yourself again, the relief is invigorating, the yearning for more leaves you tense. You’ve begun to work on a routine, sleep, dream, wake, remember, sleep, dream, wake, remember. Every day consists of endless thoughts infecting your brain, analysing, questioning. This sort of thing doesn’t happen to you. You were top of your class at school, your community respected you, your friends loved you, but nothing has been the same since it happened. Achingly your feet finally find the ground, they feel cold, out of place, on the mushy carpet that covers every corner in your small room. Blinded by darkness you can rely on your familiarity to guide you to the door handle. As soon as the door opens reality hits. The stereo blares, warning you about the icy roads, strong coffee floods your nose, leaving you feeling nauseous. The sudden concrete floor under your feet throws you out of your daze and across the room. Mum insisted on leaving the hallway “rustic” but she doesn’t have to walk on the biting ground every morning. You slouch to the kitchen in search of food, water, forgiveness, anything. Mums plastered smile tugs on your stomach and tightens your veins, she’s unforgiving but knows nothing can be changed. Rosy red strawberries clasp fresh pineapple. Pancakes stacked on top of each other comforted by the warmed plate below them. Bacon drips into a paper towel on a plate next to the bread, white, grain, rye, like an alluring ombre. Below you the food steams onto your face, leaving condensation on your pale cheeks. There are four plates set, a handful of eggs on each one, three of us sit down.
Remember. Friday afternoon. This is the first party you’ve ever been allowed to go to. Your friends are leaving at 8 and it’s 7:23. Organising a ride with your brother was a nightmare but he finally agreed and you are thankful. Coated with mascara, your eyelashes leave black dots on your eyelids and it’s getting frustrating having to wipe it away and start again. 7:32. The mirror reflects back at you, you see your blonde hair just touching your shoulders, pale face and red cheeks, you’ve always hated how bright you go and avoiding confrontation is the only solution. Long legs, long nose, long arms, you’re supposed to be thankful for your long legs but just want to be perfect. You’re black converse strangle your ankles, your black jeans meet them a few inches up revealing the bright pink pattern on your favourite socks. Pulling on a hoodie because you know how your mum will react to your low cut singlet, the clock reads 7:40. It will take 10 minutes to get to the party, he should be here by now, he promised. Your heart rate begins to increase. Mum storms into the room. Where is he? 7:45. He needs to be here. Pushing across your bed you dive for your phone, knocking your pillow off the side, it was teetering on the edge, bound to happen eventually. Pressing fanatically you find his name in your recents: “fave brother”. You smirk, he always changes it. You quickly press call and wait anxiously for the ringing to stop. No answer. You ring again. If he didn’t pick up 3 seconds ago what makes you think he will this time. No answer. You ring again. Frustration fills your cheeks, you’re about to hang up when his voice interrupts you. He sounds just as frantic as you reassuring that he’s on his way and that he’s sorry. Immediately forgiving him you encourage that 8 pm arrival is not mandatory, but the lateness annoys you, you’re never late, and neither is he, you’re concerned so quickly ask whats holding him up and that’s when it happens. The bang, the silence, the cry. The phone cuts off, you collapse on the ground. 8:00.
Sleep, dream, wake, remember. He was on his way you should’ve trusted him, if he didn’t pick up his phone he wouldn’t have heard the urgency in your voice, he wouldn’t have looked down to check the time, he would’ve seen the other car, he would’ve swerved back onto his side of the road, he would be here eating eggs for breakfast, and mum would stop crying, and dad would forgive you and everything would be okay. But there’s nothing you can do now.