Shattered Glass and Broken Bones

January 18, 2012
My luck. Course I get pulled over on this same god-forsaken road. What is it, the fourth time this… month… this year… this… Oh, what does it matter? If I keep thinking about these things I’ll plumb forget to pull over! Hah. But… How long has it been?

I pulled over onto the rain-soaked grass beside the road, empty except for the wailing police car behind me. As my last wheel bumped off the road, the sirens silenced and the cop skidded into the mud from our recent rains.

I jammed the ancient car into park and stared up at the roof of in frustration. I frowned. There was a shallow dent there with a thousand hair thin scratches around it, forming a halo. But I didn’t put those there… I had the car detailed yesterday. Wait, no, the mechanic I always use is sick so I couldn’t have. Actually his wife is sick. Right, his wife, so he couldn’t have detailed my car. So where did the dent and scratches come from?

The cop stretched out of his car, his boots clumping and squashing in and out of the mud. I bet myself that this one would be the old fashioned type. You know, the type that call you ma’am and claims to be a ‘real civilized gentleman’ as they scratch their heavy stubble. As he trudged towards my once sky blue Mercedes, I realized that my registration wasn’t in the door compartment. I could have sworn I had told myself to keep it there. I began fumbling around through the conglomeration of useful and monotonous junk that had accumulated there. Wait. My son told me to keep my registration somewhere. I- I have a son… don’t I? I must have a son, or else why on earth would I think I would? But, god, why can’t I remember where that damned registration is?

“Mornin’ ma’am.” What did I say? “Miss, you were goin’ seventy five in a fifty five mile zone. My apologies but I need to see your license and registration.”

“Yes, officer. Just let me find it.” I learned a long time ago to always be courteous to men in suits. I saw another man in a suit recently… recently… No, I can’t get distracted.

I opened that old, obstinate glove compartment, letting it slam. Naturally, the entirety of its contents came out in a landslide of old receipts, melted lipstick, and shiny take out menus. I groaned and leaned over, shuffling through the pile on my dusty car floor. I spotted the white corner of a paper and dove for it, pulling back as a pair of scissors poked me, and handed the paper over to the officer.
But as I did, something caught the sun, shining into my eye. My thumb went to my naked ring finger. I stared at my thumb as if it had just grown scales. I never wear rings, I’m not married! But no, I have a son… I have a son and… I bent over and picked up the reflective object. Oh my god… I spun the small cold ring between my fingers.
“Ma’am?”
Oh my god…
My husband.
It was so dark that night as our headlights glared steadily through the heavy rain. I looked over at my husband in the passenger seat and my son behind him. They looked so much alike. We laughed at our lives, content with ourselves. Happiness is always short lived. As we turned another corner, our guts dropped. The car seemed to lift off the road and we began to hydroplane. Light blinded my eyes and the world exploded in shattered glass and crunched metal. The car tipped forward. I was thrown up from my seat. Just like that, the moment was over. Everything was so dark. I felt hot, thick streams fall down my face and arms like tears. I couldn’t understand. I saw what I saw but nothing made sense. My husband was covered in shining black in the blinding darkness, contorted, still, horrible. The warmth flowed into my eyes and I only saw black.
I remember. The dent had been made when my skull had nearly shattered against it. The doctors had told me that I would have severe memory problems but I never imagined… That ring. My son… my husband… Gone.
The policeman stared in confusion as I gripped the steering wheel to my chest, wishing beyond anything else that I could be holding my husband. My eyes tried in vain to push away the memories in heavy tears as I once more realized that my life was defined by shattered glass and broken bone.





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