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November 9, 2011
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Beatrice stared up at the milky white of her bedroom ceiling. She lay on her bed, her back smothering the blankets underneath, her arms crossed behind the base of her neck. Slow and steady were her breaths, mind racing with insanity, but on the outside she plastered her body in a calm, cool, collected appearance. She had been lying there motionlessly almost the entire day. Her cellphone that was sitting on the night table next to her bed began to chime, but it wasn’t the first time it had that day. Ten missed calls waited patiently in her phone, but Beatrice had no intention of picking it up, no intention of placing a single, trembling finger on any of the plastic buttons. No, not until her home phone echoed throughout her house, the tell-tale call that would let her know if he was ok…or not.

Since the accident last night, Beatrice hadn’t spoken to him. She wouldn’t have been able to even if she tried. She knew he was lying scared and alone in that cold hospital bed hooked up to God knows how many contraptions that would try and pump the life back into him. It scared her; to think that life could be taken from someone just as quickly as it is given. When was the last time she had hugged him? When was the last time she had called him up on the phone while he was a tear-stained mess and comforted him until four in the morning? When was the last time she had told him how much he really meant to her? And maybe if she had been there with him last night, she could’ve done something, anything, to stop this from happening. She couldn’t keep from blaming herself; over and over in her head rang “it was my fault, my fault, all my fault,” that he was balancing on the fine line between life and death.



It was only two days ago that she had curled her fingers through the spaces between his, fitting snugly as a glove. Two days ago that they had sat alone with each other in their favorite coffee shop and she said to him, “You’re going to be ok. I promise I won’t ever let anything happen to you. I love you so much,” then fitting her lips into the contour of his, exchanging breaths smoothly, one after another, she wrapped her arms around his neck, and he placed his own around her waist as if they were meant to be there ever since he was born. It was the most perfect fairytale moment of her life that she couldn’t erase from her mind even if she wanted to.



“Things die every day,” her father had said to her yesterday. They stood together in the cold, outside the front of their home, watching the December sunset fade slowly out in the distance. He bent down and plucked a tulip that had been buried under the snow and held up the withered flower to his face, scrutinizing it. He said that it was dead now, but in life it had been beautiful. You appreciate the beauty of everything while you still have time because you only have one life to lead, one chance to love what you can.


“I know how much you loved him. I loved him too. We all loved him, Bea. And if he doesn’t make it, the only thing you can do is remember how much you loved him while he was still here with us, and I know you did with all your heart. Everyone knew it.”
With her back facing him, he placed a sympathetic hand on her shoulder before turning around and walking back into the house. But Beatrice stayed outside in the cold, staring blankly at the sunset in front of her, tears beginning to creep up behind the corners of her eyes from the bitter chill of winter and the sorrow that was leaving a gaping hole in her chest.


The hour hand struck number eleven on the face of Beatrice’s grandfather clock downstairs, erupting into a steady chime that became the sound of a death march. It was all too much. The pain, the pure aching of her bones radiating through her entire body could just about bring her to tears, despite the fact that she’d be trying her hardest to keep herself together all day. Sitting up for the first time in hours, she hoisted herself up and walked over to her bedroom window, looking outside, and saw the moon that had risen above the trees, big and bright, a beautiful shade of yellow lighting up the sky. Snow was falling quietly, covering the earth in a white blanket and tucking it into bed. It’s funny, she thought, how the outside world can seem so peaceful, so wonderful, while so many people out there are hurting inside just as she was. She looked across the street and saw her two neighbors, elementary school children, playing carelessly in the snow, not a worry in the world and it turned her a ghastly shade of envy. She looked away from the scene and back to her room, though now it was more like a self-ordered prison cell. Her house was empty and silent. Until the house phone rang.

Beatrice’s heart stopped and sank like a stone to the bottom of her stomach. She went numb for a moment then shook herself out of the state and brought herself back into reality, running over to her door, thrusting it open with fierce strength and making a hysterical dash for the stairs. She raced down them, almost tripping twice, sweat dripping from her brow down to the very tip of her nose. Upon reaching the kitchen, shaking and panting like a dog, she stopped at the entrance and stared at the phone that continued to ring and ring almost endlessly; now all that was left to do was to pick it up from the holster.
“H-h-hello…?” she said into the receiver.
“Yes hi is this Beatrice?”
“Yeah.”
“Hello, Beatrice, I’m Doctor Rockwald from the Crystal County Hospital. Your friend, Oliver, he’s going to be okay.”





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