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She sat there, in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere, Texas. The chords struck her ears with a pleasant familiarity; as of now, her guitar was the only thing she loved.
Her voice was soft as she sang a country song, "If I fall, can you let me down easy?" She wasn't loud enough to hear from far away, but as one got closer, the rich, passionate and hurting voice that could only belong to her was heard.
"If I leave my heart with you tonight, will you promise me you're going to treat it right?" The words of the song rang out softly. Face mascara streaked, voice shaking, long black hair falling into her deep purple eyes, she sat there. Gentle strumming was the only noise for miles on that clear June night.
"Let's go Christian!" Josh yelled from the truck as Christian came out the front door, guitar case in her hand. She climbed in the passenger's side and put her acoustic guitar in the back seat. She leaned over to give Josh a kiss and smiled when his brown eyes met hers. They were graduates, eighteen, restless, in love, and high on summer.
"Where to ma’am," Josh asked smiling.
"How about we just point the car down the road and drive?" Christian answered, strapping on her seatbelt. So that's what they did. Heading south, they left their small town, not knowing where they'd end up. A few hours later, out of big cities and off highways, Christian didn't know where they were anymore, but she liked it.
They were driving down a back road. "Look over there." She pointed west at the setting sun, as they pulled over the Chevy truck. Josh put up the console allowing Christian lay back in his arms.
This is where she wanted to be, where she had been all their senior year, and where she wanted to stay. They sat there on the side of a back dirt road and watched the sun, radio turned up and country music floating through the airwaves.
"Let me down easy" by Billy Currington came on and Josh sang to her, his voice deep and sincere. Everything was exactly how Christian wanted it to be.
They had been together since the beginning of their senior year, but they’d known each other since they were kids. Families knew each other where they grew up, and once Christian’s parents died and she went to live with her grandparents, it was Josh who was always there for her. Friendship grew to love, and it just happened to take until the summer before their last year of high school for both of them to realize that. Little did they know that they were perfect together, anyone with an ounce of common sense could see that, but the two were always waiting for the worst to happen.
“Let’s get out of here,” he whispered kissing her forehead. She nodded silently and sat back up as Josh slid back over to the driver's side. Now, it was completely dark, the radio read 11:07 p.m., they had been laying there for hours, and Josh started up the truck.
"It's late; do you think we should stop soon?"
"We will, but we have to find somewhere first."
Josh pulled back out onto the back road and set the headlights to bright. Out in the country, it was eerily quiet; the only sound was the radio set to whatever country station they could find. Josh hummed along with it as Christian sat staring out the window at the moon. Usually something like this would make her tired, but she had an uneasy feeling for some reason, like something was about to happen. Maybe it was just because they were going sixty and getting faster down a gravel road.
“Josh, slow down, it’s just dirt and gravel out here.” She said a little nervously.
“Relax, you’re tired. Why don’t you take a nap until we find somewhere?”
“I’m serious, slow down,” she demanded. He started to slow down, but the unease was still there. Maybe she was just tired. Christian laid her lead back and took a deep breath, thinking about what was to come and how everything was slowly coming together.
She woke when her head hit the window. She felt the truck swerving and saw Josh frantically turning the wheel to stop it.
“There was a deer… I was going too fast… I’m so sorry Christian…” he stammered, still trying to get straight on the road.
Christian grabbed the dashboard and braced herself. Up ahead the road narrowed with trees on either side. They took a sharp turn to the left and Christian saw her life flash before her eyes; she saw friends and Josh and memories but there was one memory that stood out to her. She was ten, going to church with her parents, they made her go even though she didn’t like getting up early and looking nice. She didn’t know that would be the last time she ever saw her parents.
They sat in the back with her grandparents, Mimi and Granddad, that day they were talking about love, the verse that came to mind was 1 John 3:18, “Let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” Carrie, Christian’s mom, leaned over and whispered in Christian’s ear, “I will always love you, no matter how far we are apart; you will always be my little girl.” Then she kissed her daughter on the forehead and left the sanctuary with her husband. The last thing Daren had ever said to his daughter was, “Be nice to Granddad.” Then they left her with her grandparents as they went to Dallas for Carrie’s work. On the way there, they were hit from the side by a semi, it had run a red light and her parents were unlucky enough to be crossing the intersection. They never had a chance, but Christian knew they were in Heaven. And she prayed every night to this day, that she would be like them and show her faith through her actions.
She glanced at the clock that read 11:11 and prayed again, that they would both get through this somehow. The only sound she heard was Josh yelling her name, she saw him trying to get back under control, trying to slow down. She heard the gravel crunching underneath the tires, Josh’s constant apologies. Then she heard him say, “I love you, and I’ll be waiting for you.” The car skid sideways into a tree crushing the driver’s side, Christian screamed and her head slung forward and whipped back as her neck cracked. Then everything went black.
Christian woke up sometime later that night to see the Chevy completely crushed. Josh lay there unmoving; she didn’t want to believe it, but she knew it was true. The tears came slowly as she turned his face towards her; his eyes were closed and he looked peaceful. But, Christian would never forget the sound of his voice telling her he loved her one last time before she blacked out.
She forced the door open and climbed out of the truck; she was scraped, bleeding and bruised but alive. Her body was numb from the shock of what had just happened, her mind played back scenes. The passenger side of the truck was fine. It was the driver’s side that was totaled, the front completely crushed. It seemed to swallow Josh. Blood leaked down his temple, so he must have hit his head. She didn’t want to believe he was dead, but she knew better than to lie to herself.
Christian placed her hand on the cool, black metal of the 1991 Chevy Silverado; on her side it was still smooth. She walked around to the tailgate and it was fine, then she got to the driver’s side. The metal was crushed, bent like a contortionist; no amount of repairs could fix the damage that had been done. The front end was crushed, pinning Josh in the seat, the wheel crushing his chest, head thrown back and bleeding against the headrest. On his neck was the necklace she had gave him for his eighteenth birthday, it was a cross and on the back it read “John 3:18. Let my actions show that I love you. Love, Christian.” She pulled hard on the door and unhooked the necklace. She caressed his cheek and kissed his stone cold lips.
She took her guitar out of the backseat. It remained untouched and in perfect condition. Her phone had been in the floor board between passenger and driver’s seat and Josh’s was in his pocket. There was no way she could call anyone.
She was on her own now, Josh was dead, her parents were dead, and Granddad was dying slowly. Everything that she loved was gone. She took the blanket out from behind the seat and draped it over Josh’s body and left the door open. No soul would travel these roads, especially not so late. So she did the only thing she could.
She took her guitar out of its case and climbed the old iron fence which led to an abandoned field. She walked and the tall grass scratched her bare legs where the tops of her boots ended. The crisp June air pricked at her legs, arms and face, it was too cold for summer, but it fit Christian’s mood perfectly, cold. When she was in the middle of the field, she took the chain off her neck that always held an extra pick, It read, ‘For my everything, I Love You,’ a present from Josh on her last birthday. She then touched his necklace, that now hung on her neck, lightly and the first tear fell.
She sat there, in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere, Texas. The chords struck her ears with a pleasant familiarity, as of now, her guitar was the only thing she loved. Her voice was soft as she sang a country song.
"If I fall, can you let me down easy?" She sang shakily.
She wasn't loud enough to hear from far away, but as you got closer you heard the rich, passionate and hurting voice that could only belong to her.
"If I leave my heart with you tonight, will you promise me you're going to treat it right?" Face mascara streaked, voice shaking, long black hair falling into her deep purple eyes, she sat there and sang. Gentle strumming was the only noise for miles on that clear June night.
The tears came harder, her voice grew softer, and she choked back sobs. She sat there, alone, and played. She played for Josh, for herself, for her parents, for anyone who would listen. Showing the people who had now left her, how much she really loved them.
She was on her own now. Everything she had lived for, everything she loved, and all she had left was back in the driver’s seat of that Chevy truck. Now all she could do was love through her actions, because there was nobody left to hear her words.