I yawned though it was hardly past 10. After a long day I wanted nothing more than to curl up in my bed and fall into a dreamless sleep.
“Did you see how he was looking at me?”
“God he was hot.”
I smiled at my friends’ naïvetés. He was an asshole, kept looking up everyone skirts. But of course I wouldn’t say this to them. They were after all my best friends since high school Freshman year. And now we were all lucky enough to be starting our first year in college together, and I couldn’t be happier.
I had the window down a crack, just enough to let the autumn air seep in. The country road flashed by, occasionally making the dust spit up around the car. I let myself get lost in my thoughts.
I jumped at the sound of my name and looked up.
“Sarah, did you see anything you liked?”
“Jess, you mean, anyone I liked?” I laughed, “and no not really.”
“God you need to have more fun at these parties,” joked Sam.
“Guys, I got a text, maybe it’s from him!” screamed Jess.
“Wait, you gave him your number?” I asked.
“Well duh,” Jess replied.
She pulled out her phone and looked at the screen.
“Jess a deer!” yelled Sam.
Jess looked up and we all stared at the shadowy silhouette straight ahead. It started at us lit up by the headlights of the car. I stared back, looking into its eyes, when Jess swerved the wheel a hard right. And that’s when time stood still.
I vaguely heard the airbag go off as the car began to spin; like a carousel we couldn’t get off of. We all screamed and I felt a jolt. My stomach came up to my throat and I felt myself falling. My seatbelt tightened, pushing into my ribcage, restricting my airway.
It’s the car, the car is falling I thought to myself. My body began to roll and suddenly everything was upside down. Confused I tried to yell to Jess or Sam, but I don’t know if any words came out. I felt myself rolling like that for quite a while, though my judgment of time was disoriented.
The car began to go slower, as if it realized it was going too fast for us. It stopped, but not before I banged my head against the hard glass of the window. I waited for gravity to bring me back down but it didn’t. Am I upside down, or floating? I can’t tell. Wait which way is the car? Where’s Jess and Sam? I was confused and way too dizzy but I gathered up my strength to call their names. No answer.
For the first time I began to feel fear coarse through every part of my body as I remembered Sam rarely wears her seatbelt. What about Jess, was she wearing one? I can’t remember. I turned my neck towards the front of the car. Wincing, I brought my hand around my throat and felt the stickiness of blood. Glass decorated the leather of the seat I was somewhat still sitting on, prickling my body as the tiny shards went into my skin. Is that their hair or the seat? Everything’s too dark and dizzy. I couldn’t tell what anything was anymore. This frustrated me but I was too weak to care.
Thinking I heard a noise, I perked up, listening more carefully. Was it Jess or Sam? No wait it’s a man’s voice. I started to think I was hallucinating and after listening a few more times, ignored the voice to my own subconscious. I began to hum to drown out the noise. It was a song my mother used to sing to me, the name long forgotten. The voice grew louder; can’t it see I’m singing?
“Hello? Can you hear me?”
In my peripheral I saw a blurry dark spot. I tried to focus and I saw the outline of a man. He was saying something.
“Are you okay, can you hear me?”
I nodded my head, still unsure if this was a hallucination or not. If it was, what a mean trick to play. He came closer stepping around glass, and unbuckled me from the restriction that was making it hard to breath. I tried taking a new breath but with no avail. It wasn’t the seatbelt that made it hard to breath.
Slowly with careful hands he half picked me half dragged me out the car and laid me on the grass as if I were a piece of china not to be broken.
“Ma’am are you alright? I’ve already called 911 and they’re on their way.”
Was he saying something? I couldn’t tell. I looked up at the night sky. I saw stars but I couldn’t tell if they were real stars or if I was about to blackout. For the first time I was aware of my legs. They were red and chunks of bone not protected by skin protruded but I didn’t feel any pain in them. That made me relax and I smiled, relieved I felt no pain.
“What’s your name?” the man asked me.
Was the man asking me something?
“What’s your name? the man asked again, louder this time.
What’s the right answer? I thought to myself, what does he want me to say?
“Sarah?” I said vaguely unsure of the answer, though more unsure of myself.
“Sarah? My name is Tim.”
I mumbled something unsure of what.
“Sarah I need you to stay with me, ok.”
I nodded feeling a wave of extreme exhaustion wash over me.
“No don’t you close your eyes; you stay with me.”
It took every once in my body to keep my eyes open. Can’t he see how tired I am?
“Rest,” I pleaded.
“You will but not now ok?”
My vision became blurrier and I tilted my head to the ground.
“Sarah come on stay with me.”
“Let me go,” I whispered.
“No you are not gonna die tonight Sarah, you hear me it is not your time.”
Why does he care so much? He doesn’t even know me. I’m tired, I’m so tired. Let me go right here. It’s so peaceful. The cool wind carried with it the smell of freshly fallen leaves and animals skittered across. The grass was soft, comforting me like a feathered pillow. Yes I thought to myself, I could die right here and be happy. I smiled, “In Hands that Hold Me”, that was what the song was called. I faintly heard the sound of sirens in the distance as the stars began to get brighter and I wondered if the deer was okay.