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Cross on the Roadside

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The school bus passed by the spot everyday. And everyday, the children would take no notice of it. They'd continue their innocent jokes and laughter, their uniformed smiles. But not Angela. She'd glance out that bus window everyday, her face grave, and she'd wonder.

The spot was somber, but pleasant at the same time, depicting all the love that had been thrust upon this unknown person for his or her entire existence. Every week, fresh flowers would be added, sometimes light and fluffy daisies, and sometimes bright roses, the color of blood. The flowers depended on the family's mood, Angela supposed.

That day, the roadside cross was decorated with deep red poinsettias for the Christmas holiday. Last night's sprinkling of snow flurries had just begun to cover the lavish flowers, making them look almost beautiful. But Angela knew better. She knew the cheery flowers expressed the great sadness of a family, a family going through their first Christmas without a loved one. Angela's heart began to quiver a bit, even if this loved one's identity would forever remain unknown.

The cross on the roadside stood tall, almost proudly. It was a grand memorial to this unknown person, a tribute to the person who had spent their last seconds of life on the cursed spot. But somehow, the cross took away some of the sadness. It showed the love, not just the consequential grief.

Vaguely, Angela wondered how it had all happened. How the life of that treasured someone had gone out in the blink of an eye. It must have been around a year ago, probably during some godforsaken early hour, when even the sun lay hidden. The road had probably been treacherously icy. Angela could picture it clearly now; a car speeding down the road, the screech of the tires in some desperate attempt to gain control. In her mind's eye, she saw the car slam into nothingness against the oak tree, saw the beloved life give out just like that. Gone. Angela shuddered.

She imagined the family and friends, receiving the news just a bit later. She could see the parents, still in their robes with their coffee mugs in hand. There must have been disbelief and denial at first. Then pure, relentless grief, as memories of love echoed through their hearts.

And here the cross was, just outside the school bus window, serving as a constant reminder of the cherished life. Cherished, but gone nonetheless, living on only in treasured memories. Vaguely, Angela wondered just how many crosses dotted the roadsides of the world.




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