What If

February 14, 2011
The sounds of angry honking force their way into my room, intruding the space in my eardrums like a herd of angry geese. My pencil scratches across the page all the more quickly, finishing the last of the math homework I was supposed to have finished last night. I brush my bangs out of my eyes with the eraser end of my pencil and stifle a yawn, taking a quick glance out of the darkened window, barley making out the silhouette of the green minivan parked in the driveway. My cat, Whiskers, rubs against my legs, purring, and I gently nudge her with the tip of my toes until she leaves. The honking continues, each beep more drawn out, until it just becomes one long droning sound. I jump up quickly and run to my closet, throwing on the first outfit I see. I throw my notebook into my messenger bag and sling it over my shoulder, then manage to put on my coat as I scramble down the stairs.

With one hand I turn the doorknob, and with the other I pull on my right glove. I burst into the swirling snow only to find that my ride has disappeared. I whisper angrily under my breath, then take off, my feet pounding across the sidewalk as I run as fast as I can, hoping to find the car. From behind me I hear the sound of my mom yelling, “Goodbye!”

I don’t respond, just run faster. My head turns and I see the headlights turn the corner. With a short burst of speed I manage to catch up. The car sees me and slows to a stop, pulling into a nearby driveway.

If I had said goodbye, I would have stopped and turned around. I would have waved. Then I would have kept going. I would have never seen the car turn the corner. I would be left in the cold winter air, to stumble to school by foot, eyelids squeezed as tight as they could without reducing visibility. I would have been cold, I would have been unable to see through the darkness. I would have been late, and my hair would curl up and frizz and I would have a red nose all day.

I readjust the book bag on my shoulder and thankfully hop into the car, greeting Alyssa and her mom. Alyssa sighs as I flop on the seat.

“Seriously, I thought you’d gone and DIED or something!” she pauses for a moment, then laughs, the force of it propelling a tiny wisp of dirty blond hair off of her face, “I don’t know anyone who takes so long to get ready!”

I give way to a little lopsided smile, “My alarm clock didn’t go off,” I say, “and I forgot to do my math homework.”
She laughs again, “Why do people say that? ‘My alarm didn’t go off’? I mean, obviously you just didn’t set it or had the volume all the way down or something. It didn’t just CHOOSE not to go off!”
I roll my eyes, “Whatever. Hey do you have any food? I forgot to eat breakfast.”
Before Alyssa can answer, her mom pipes in. “Oh, I have a box of donuts up here!” she grabs a giant Dunkin Donuts box from under the seat. Momentarily, she swiveles around to hand them to me, going on to say something about an anniversary party tonight for a friend of hers but she can spare just one donut.
I reach out greedily and grab one, beginning to automatically chime, “Thank you!”
Suddenly there is a flash of light, and a long, drawn out beeping nose. The crunch of metal against metal, a sound like a pop can getting smashed under someones heel. Alyssa screams, I freeze, unable to comprehend what is happening. I get jerked forward, then back, then harshly to the left. I hear another crunching, this one like a stick getting snapped in half, and an agonizing pain in my ribcage. Something hits my head, and the pain goes away, taking the light with it.
I’m left in a daze. A blurry, tingling sensation, not very cold, but not very warm either. It’s dark, and thick and sticky as putty. I can’t move, and I can barely think. All I know is...
If I would have said goodbye, I would have spend a half hour picking my way through muddy slush on the way to school. I’d be hungry. But Alyssa wouldn’t, and then there would be no reason for her to ask for a donut. And then there would be no reason for her mom to give her one. And they would have seen the oncoming garbage truck, and would have swerved away.
The time blurs together, and memory fades and smears like watercolors in the rain, rainbow fingers stretching across the page, distorting the original picture. I have no sense of what has happened, or what is happening, or what is going to happen.
I’m lost in a world of black, and I cant finds my way out. I’m scared. I feel my palms shaking, I feel beads of sweat drip down my forehead, I feel my pulse beating at my skull from the inside.
If I would have said goodbye, I would have arrived at school late. I’d get nasty looks from the teachers as I tentatively stepped into the quiet classroom, and they’d ask me if I had a pass, and why I was late. I’d turn in my green tardy slip, and I’d get a florescent yellow detention slip in it’s place. I’d be miserable. But I’d have no idea how miserable I could really be, or what miserable really was.
Quickly, as if someone had just scooped up all the darkness and stuffed it in their pocket, the light returned. It was something between a welcome friend that woke me up and plopped me back into the real world, and a fierce enemy that burned my eyes with it’s unnatural glare. The first thing I noticed was the white, all the white everywhere. Then I noticed the sounds, and the smells, and where I was.
I situp immediately, looking around the hospital in disbelief. I’ve gotten in a car crash and woken up in the hospital. The idea is unbelievable. I’m a normal teenager, who lives a normal life without anything bad happening to me. I don’t get in car crashes. Other people get in car crashes, people who live in big cities or action movies. But not me. Not me.
There is a person in the seat next to me. Despite the pain that immediately flares up in my neck, I turn my head to see who it is. She sits there on the plain grey swivel chair, moving her mouth soundlessly. A nurse replies in the same silent language. Why can’t I hear them?
The woman stands up, not seeing that I’m awake. I search my throbbing brain for her identity. I’ve lost my memory. I can’t remember her. All I remember is pain.... and darkness.... and noise and confusion and a sudden flash of bright light...
It all snaps back into focus like a stretched rubber band.
“Bye Mom,” I manage to croak before the world is once more engulfed by blackness.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Mydagirl said...
Jun. 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm
this is a really good artical, What happens next?
flyingpinkgiraffes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm

I have no idea :-P


Mydagirl replied...
Jul. 1, 2011 at 5:22 am
please tell me !
MyConstRuctd_IdentiTy said...
Feb. 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm
Is this just a short story or is the beginning of something? Either way, it's pretty good, and other than a few missed apostrophes or an extra 's' in the phrase '...I cant finds...' it could really turn into something amazing if you ever wanted to make it into something longer. XJ
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