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Save Your Tears

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They say that the good die young. This is the notion that Tyler mulled over as he looked to the stars, unable to move. He firmly believed that this thought was his last, and as he lay on the pavement, he entertained and even romanticized the idea of dying young. Tyler Welsh, heroic football player, immortalized through remembrance after a horrific accident, leading to his untimely death. “The good die young,” his obituary would say. He felt comforted by the thought of his short life remembered and cherished forever by everyone in Columbia County.

The sirens wailed and rang and woke the neighborhoods nearby, without penetrating the bubble of sabotaged consciousness that Tyler floated in. He faintly noticed the red lights bouncing off the rooftops and reflecting in the windows where shocked faces lingered. The freezing midnight air radiated off the rusted metal guard rail, the only separation between familiar concrete freeways and harsh, unknown conditions under the umbrella of towering trees. Tyler could not see these trees from his resting place, but he heard the crispy leaves rustling wildly with the violent wind before an October storm. The trees took the form of demons, and as they swayed, their long limbs reached out in search of someone to drag into that menacing forest, which stretched for a mile between the nearby apartment complexes. Tyler flinched away from the faceless creatures that perhaps existed among the trees, but he could not move an inch under the weight that crushed him.

Only then did he turn his limited attention to the pressure he vaguely felt on his torso. It depressed his lungs, stabbed his liver, and cracked his legs. Tyler felt no pain, though; he only experienced the echoes of it. His legs pulsed and became numb as the blood drained from them. How funny, he thought, that this substance he so desperately needed to stay alive simply drained away into the lifeless concrete, which was built at the hands of man. Everything was—the freeway, the apartments which housed onlooking eyes, the new truck that now lay in pieces upon Tyler, even the ambulance that grew closer—all constructed at the careless hands of man. All except for the trees, which now perhaps cried and reached out in aid.

Cell phones, athletic shoes, paper bags, and various auto parts—all once so attentively labored over—now fell to the ground. Tossed from car windows and tears in the white sheet metal, they landed harshly in the gutters and were swept off to the shoulder, later to be picked up by unnoticed clean-up crews. These man-made objects, once so important, were now destroyed and lost at the merciless hands of fate to be inevitably crushed into Mother Earth.

Tyler did not witness any of these gadgets strewn across the ground to their final resting place among the curbside weeds. He focused instead on the twitching of his fingers, governed by the struggling tendons encased in his purple-splotched skin.

“I die here,” he thought as his abs clenched and his torso writhed under the tires, the engine, and the assorted metals that scraped and burned his soft cheeks. Sadly, Tyler was wrong. The willing sufferer did not get his wish that night. Tyler was not buried and remembered; he was not glorified and enshrined the following Monday at school. Friends and family did not cry into receivers at the news of his passing. “We’re just glad you’re okay,” he would hear endless times in the coming weeks.

“Okay.” What a relative term.

If the good die young, why did Tyler not perish that late Friday night? It was this question that haunted him long after his recovery.





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